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Hamilton: An American Musical has changed the way the world looks at history and at Broadway. It shows no signs of stopping soon. It’s hard to believe that it has become such a cultural phenomenon in only a few years. That’s right, Hamilton first made its Off-Broadway appearance in February 2015 and has been in residency at the Richard Rogers Theater since that August. Since then, it’s won many Tony Awards, a Grammy award for Best Musical Theater Album, and spawned multiple tours and shows outside of New York, most famously in Chicago and Los Angeles. However, equally as famous as Hamilton’s catchy lyrics are it’s out-of-this world ticket prices. It can be hard for the average citizen to see the musical live. That hasn’t stopped people from falling in love with the soundtrack and the story though. If you’re one of those people and looking for something more to supplement your love for the American Revolution and the major players, check out these ten books about Hamilton’s life, both fiction and nonfiction.
As battle cries of the American Revolution echo in the distance, servants flutter about preparing for one of New York society’s biggest events: the Schuylers’ grand ball. Descended from two of the oldest and most distinguished bloodlines in New York, the Schuylers are proud to be one of their fledgling country’s founding families, and even prouder still of their three daughters, Angelica, Eliza, and Peggy. Eliza can barely contain her excitement when she hears of the arrival of one Alexander Hamilton, a mysterious, rakish young colonel and General George Washington’s right-hand man. Though Alex has arrived as the bearer of bad news for the Schuylers, he can’t believe his luck—as an orphan, and a bastard one at that—to be in such esteemed company. And when Alex and Eliza meet that fateful night, so begins an epic love story that would forever change the course of American history. In the pages of Alex and Eliza, bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz brings to life the romance of young Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler.
Set against the dramatic backdrop of the American Revolution, and featuring a cast of legendary characters, The Hamilton Affair tells the sweeping, tumultuous, true story of Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler, from passionate and tender beginnings to his fateful duel on the banks of the Hudson River. With brilliantly drawn characters and an epic scope, The Hamilton Affair tells a story of love forged in revolution and tested by the bitter strife of young America.
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s groundbreaking musical Hamilton is as revolutionary as its subject, the poor kid from the Caribbean who fought the British, defended the Constitution, and helped to found the United States. HAMILTON: THE REVOLUTION gives readers an unprecedented view of both revolutions, from the only two writers able to provide it. Miranda, along with Jeremy McCarter, a cultural critic and theater artist who was involved in the project from its earliest stages–“since before this was even a show,” according to Miranda–traces its development from an improbable performance at the White House to its landmark opening night on Broadway six years later. In addition, Miranda has written more than 200 funny, revealing footnotes for his award-winning libretto, the full text of which is published here.
Few figures in American history have been more hotly debated or more grossly misunderstood than Alexander Hamilton. Chernow’s biography gives Hamilton his due and sets the record straight, deftly illustrating that the political and economic greatness of today’s America is the result of Hamilton’s countless sacrifices to champion ideas that were often wildly disputed during his time. Chernow recounts Hamilton’s turbulent life: an illegitimate, largely self-taught orphan from the Caribbean, he came out of nowhere to take America by storm, rising to become George Washington’s aide-de-camp in the Continental Army, coauthoring The Federalist Papers, founding the Bank of New York, leading the Federalist Party, and becoming the first Treasury Secretary of the United States. His is a Hamilton far more human than we’ve encountered before—from his shame about his birth to his fiery aspirations, from his intimate relationships with childhood friends to his titanic feuds with Jefferson, Madison, Adams, Monroe, and Burr, and from his highly public affair with Maria Reynolds to his loving marriage to his loyal wife Eliza. And never before has there been a more vivid account of Hamilton’s famous and mysterious death in a duel with Aaron Burr in July of 1804.
In curiously parallel lives, Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr were both orphaned at an early age. Both were brilliant students who attended college–one at Princeton, the other at Columbia–and studied law. Both were young staff officers under General George Washington, and both became war heroes. Politics beckoned them, and each served in the newly formed government of the fledgling nation. Why, then, did these two face each other at dawn in a duel that ended with death for one and harsh criticism for the other? Judith St. George’s lively biography, told in alternating chapters, brings to life two complex men who played major roles in the formation of the United States.
From his less than auspicious start in 1755 on the Caribbean Island of Nevis to his untimely death in a duel with his old enemy Aaron Burr in 1804, Alexander Hamilton, despite his short life, left a huge legacy. In this meticulously researched, illuminating, and lively account, Willard Sterne Randall explores Hamilton’s life—his illegitimate birth, little-known military activities, political and diplomatic intrigues, and scandalous affairs—and its indelible impact on modern America.
Alexander Hamilton was one of the most influential figures in United States history—he fought in the Revolutionary War, helped develop the Constitution, and as the first Secretary of the Treasury established landmark economic policy that we still use today. Cut down by a bullet from political rival Aaron Burr, Hamilton has since been immortalized alongside other Founding Fathers such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson—his likeness even appears on the ten-dollar bill. In this fully-illustrated and impeccably researched graphic novel-style history, author Jonathan Hennessey and comic book illustrator Justin Greenwood bring Alexander Hamilton’s world to life, telling the story of this improbable hero who helped shape the United States of America.
He is the star of a hit Broadway musical, the face on the ten dollar bill, and a central figure among the founding fathers. But do you really know Alexander Hamilton? Rather than lionize Hamilton, Americans should carefully consider his most significant and ultimately detrimental contribution to modern society: the shredding of the United States Constitution. Connecting the dots between Hamilton’s invention of implied powers in 1791 to transgender bathrooms and same-sex marriage two centuries later, Brion McClanahan shows the origins of our modern federal leviathan.
“Why hasn’t anyone done a hip-hop version of Alexander Hamilton’s life?” said the Broadway composer and lyricist Lin-Manuel Miranda in a 2012 article in The New York Times. Lucky for us, Mr. Miranda — a history buff who had long been fascinated by the turbulent life and tragic end of our nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury — has done just that. This book, a selection of articles and reviews from The Times, chronicles the evolution of Miranda’s musical “Hamilton,” from its beginnings as an experimental rap project, to Off Broadway at the Public Theater and, ultimately, to megahit on Broadway. The overwhelming success of “Hamilton,” inspired by Ron Chernow’s 2004 biography, has had far-reaching effects. It has not only created a new kind of theater experience, it has also been influential in preserving Hamilton’s image on the $10 bill and has sparked a surge of interest in the man himself, whose importance as a founding father has often been overlooked by history.
America has fallen in love again with Alexander Hamilton and the Founding Fathers. Here is a popping fresh collection of facts and forgotten trivia surrounding the American Revolution and our forefathers – from those you’d expect (George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, and Hamilton, of course) to those you may never have heard of, but you probably should have (who the heck was Rufus King?) Readers will be left with a greater appreciation and deeper respect for these human beings who were just trying to accomplish the incredible: create the greatest nation in history.
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