on 29 March 2005
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Like so many other people I know, I have fallen down the Hamilton Musical rabbit hole. I have become a bit obsessed with listening to the soundtrack and its not uncommon for me to use lyrics in my every day conversations. With this, I’ve had a renewed interest in reading non-fiction. I used to read a lot more non-fiction books than I do now and I do miss it. I miss learning things but non-fiction reads often take longer to get through and I’m so busy that I often pass them over in favor of lighter reads. But once I started to listen to the Hamilton soundtrack I became more interested in learning more about the man that inspired it. This led me to picking up Ron Chernow’s biography ALEXANDER HAMILTON as it was the source material for the show.
ALEXANDER HAMILTON is a *BIG* book and I admit to being intimidated by it as the print is also small. So I decided to tackle this one in small chunks at a time and I was very glad that I did. I really enjoyed learning more about this founding father as I really don’t remember much of him from when I was learning about American history in school. All I could really recall was that he was a founding father, he was never a president, and he was on the $10 bill because he helped found the financial system. After reading ALEXANDER HAMILTON, I learned that he did just so much more. Its a bit intimidating when you think about just how much he did in such a short amount of time and here I am thankful I managed to make it through the day without spilling coffee on myself.
I will admit though there there was a huge chunk in the middle of ALEXANDER HAMILTON that went over my head and bored me. Those were the sections where Chernow covered Hamilton’s financial plan and covered in detail all that he did to set up the banking system, stock market, and so much more. It was dry and my brain doesn’t naturally gravitate to numbers and such so the book lost me a bit there. But I do know that so much of what we know of modern American banking and government wouldn’t exist as we know it if it wasn’t for Hamilton’s influence. Hamilton was a genius and a visionary and we are so lucky to have had him on our side during the revolution.
What I loved about this book was learning all the personal details of Hamilton’s life. I was happy/sad to learn all the details that Lin-Manuel Miranda changed to make the musical flow better. I also may have cried when I got near the end of this tome. The musical has effected me on such an emotional level that its hard not to get teary eyed when it comes to reading about Phillip’s death and then Hamilton’s. I think this may be the first time that a non-fiction read has effected me this much. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. If you are a fan of the musical, or even of history, then ALEXANDER HAMILTON is a book that you should pick up. Its informative and important and gripping in many ways. Reading ALEXANDER HAMILTON has also renewed my interest in reading non-fiction and now I want to read more about our founding fathers to see how other biographers portray Hamilton and how their subjects contrast to how Chernow wrote about them. When I was reading the book I was lost in Hamilton’s life and at the end I was so glad to have invested the time to read it.