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Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
Ron Chernow's biography of Alexander Hamilton brings to life a man who was central to the formation of the United States, but is most often remembered, if at all, for being killed in a duel with Aaron Burr in 1804. He traces the arc of Hamilton's life from his birth in poverty on an obscure Caribbean island, to his days as a pampleteer in New York, his roles as aide-de-camp to General Washington and hero during the Revolutionary War, his authorship of most of the Federalist Papers, and his role as the first Secretary of the Treasury of the new United States government. Hamilton was a fiery writer and debater who believed in a strong central government, often quarreling with Jefferson, Madison, and other founding fathers. This intense behavior also led to an affair with a married woman whose husband blackmailed him, and his ultimate undoing in his feud with Aaron Burr. Alexander Hamilton has received mostly positive reviews. The Rocky Mountain News calls it "a book that does such a fine job, not only of bringing Alexander Hamilton to full and varied life but of providing the reader, as well, with a richly textured picture of the America that was emerging from the blood and turmoil of the Revolutionary War."