November 21, 2017

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Alexander Hamilton, Revolutionary by Martha Brockenbrough | SLJ Review

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redstarBROCKENBROUGH, Martha. Alexander Hamilton, Revolutionary. 384p. bibliog. chron. index. notes. Feiwel & Friends. Sept. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781250123190.

Gr 7 Up –Brockenbrough engagingly re-creates the complex character and eventful life of Alexander Hamilton in her nuanced biography. The author explores this eloquent, passionate, and principled founding father, from his illegitimate birth on the Caribbean island of Nevis to his fatal duel with Aaron Burr. The chronological narrative relies on thorough research to present details of Hamilton as an orphan, student, Revolutionary War hero, writer, doting husband and father, womanizer, politician, and public servant. Delving into his relationships with George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Burr, John Adams, James Madison, the Schuyler sisters, and Maria Reynolds, the author tempers what would otherwise be a glowing tribute by investigating Hamilton’s all-consuming ambition, love of women, and obsessive devotion to being a man of honor. Readers not well versed in American history will appreciate the clear, approachable syntax and storytelling that compellingly presents complicated events and ideas. Judicious use of primary and secondary sources ensures historical accuracy as the title provides insight into Hamilton’s thoughts and offers a welcome scattering of humorous anecdotes. The prose strengthens as the well-paced work progresses; Brockenbrough hits her stride with a suspenseful description of the Battle of Yorktown.VERDICT A highly enjoyable, well-researched biography of Alexander Hamilton that both applauds his significant accomplishments and highlights his flaws. Consider for sophisticated readers.–Kate Reid, The Allen-Stevenson School, New York

This review was published in the School Library Journal June 2017 issue.

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