At Home He's a Tourist

He fills his head with culture/ He gives himself an ulcer.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Book Reviews

This one has been out for a while...I'm not sure whether it's more useful for me to wait until I collect a lot of blurbs before posting or to post quickly with only a few reviews.

Chernow, Ron. Alexander Hamilton. Penguin, $35.

Economist: “Magnificent.” Library Journal: “A first-rate life and excellent addition to the ongoing debate about Hamilton’s importance in the shaping of America. Recommended for academic and larger public libraries.”
Atlantic Monthly: “Chernow is obviously not at home in the eighteenth century; his grasp of its religion, attitudes, and intellectual history is unsure, and he lacks command of the ideological, political, sectional, and social differences that divided the early republic….And too often, perhaps intimidated by this alien world, Chernow lapses into the sin that commonly afflicts writers of doorstop histories and biographies: he chronicles events, rather than interprets them.” Publishers Weekly: “Chernow’s achievement is to give us a biography commensurate with Hamilton’s character…makes fresh contributions to Hamiltoniana…a fine work that captures Hamilton’s life with judiciousness and verve.” Kirkus: “A splendid life of an enlightened reactionary and forgotten Founding Father…Literature and full of engaging historical asides. By far the best of the many lives of Hamilton now in print, and a model of the biographer’s art.” Booklist: “comprehensive and superbly written.” American Spectator: “Exceptionally thorough and absorbing…Though John C. Miller’s magisterial 1959 biography is a better choice for understanding Hamilton’s importance to the new nation, it will be hard to improve on this book as an intimate portrait of the man.” Foreign Affairs: “An original, illuminating, and highly readable study that admirably introduces readers to Hamilton’s personality and accomplishments.” Choice: “Encyclopedic. Recommended.” First Things: “Will undoubtedly take its deserved place as a standard reference on the founding era of the American experiment.”


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