Top positive review
I prepared myself for a boring affair that I hoped might enlighten me a bit ...
August 22, 2016
Alexander Hamilton – the nation’s first Treasury Secretary and a man extremely reviled. A man that had become more of a footnote in history – other than his notorious death by Aaron Burr – until a Broadway musical became a smash hit and revived interest in this “soldier, thinker, statesman”. In “The Hamilton Affair”, Elizabeth Cobbs has created a novel as fascinating as Hamilton was, and one that sheds light on his unique place in history.
I confess – I was initially attracted to this book because of all the brouhaha about the musical. I was curious about the man that inspired such a massive hit, and knew little about him from my high school history classes. I prepared myself for a boring affair that I hoped might enlighten me a bit – what I got was a well-done and extremely interesting book about both Hamilton and his wife Eliza. Both viewpoints are covered in this book, and Cobbs takes great care to try and do justice to both. While the book portrays Hamilton in a positive light, and attempts to demonstrate just how unjust the characterization of him has often been, it also does not shy away from the damage he caused his wife and his family.
Regardless of one’s feeling about the man as a whole, it is undeniable that both he and his wife accomplished some amazing things in their lifetimes. Creating the Treasury department from the ground up, ensuring veterans were able to get back pay after the war that created our nation, and even the creation of the first private orphanage in New York – these things and many more can be attributed to these amazing individuals. Sadly, Hamilton never got a chance to tell his own story, and it appears that he truly gave his life in service of his country – for it was in that service that he made so many enemies, one of whom eventually killed him.
Overall, I really think this is an excellent book. It’s a great place for Hamilton newbies (like myself) to begin, and might even have a unique perspective on the man for those more familiar with him than myself. I highly recommend this book, and – as my highest praise – it has given me the desire to research its subject even more thoroughly than before.