The biography of one of the founding fathers of United States by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Chernow captures the inspiring legacy of Alexander Hamilton, which is albeit spotted with scandals. Reminiscent of the underdog stories, this biography traces how Hamilton overcomes the odds and obstacles as he steers a newborn nation.
In his review of the book, historian Joseph Ellis asserts that this book is a “robust” full length portrayal of the “most brilliant, charismatic and dangerous founder of them all.” It is an understatement to state that Hamilton is a controversial figure. Some has defended the warped perception of his legacy as a result of misunderstood representation. Chernow’s book, in many ways, tries to right this wrong by providing a nuanced and detail portrayal of the man as well as the politician. Chernow shows how the socio-economic ideals of modern day US is shaped by Hamilton’s vision which were highly debated and widely disputed during his time. It was Hamilton’s sacrifices that laid the foundation of American political and economic strength. Chernow criticizes Hamilton’s critiques by contending that “To repudiate his legacy is, in many ways, to repudiate the modern world.”
Intriguingly accused of harboring aristocratic ideals, as opposed to Jefferson’s Democratic inclinations, Hamilton was an orphan who was abandoned in Caribbean. The book humanizes him as a self-taught and self-made man so that when in the end he dies in the dual, it is no longer a subsection in history notebooks but rather a heart wrenching loss of a great man whose ambitions weren’t dictated only by self-gain but also by a desire to help the people, his patriotism and his loyalty to George Washington.
Chernow's book draws attention to the immense contributions of Hamilton in the establishment of the US as a superpower. Hamilton's rare vision and insight into the country's future enabled him to draw up plans and strategies for the US to become a financial power. He was instrumental in creating the nation's first bank, the Bank of New York and later the Bank of the United States. He also worked towards the creation of the US mint and planned taxation reforms. Hamilton's vision and plans helped the US to gain financial stability and strength. His political acumen and foresight enabled him to see and understand the rivalries between states, and also helped in the creation of the US Constitution, which is the backbone of the country's democracy. His ideas and plans enabled the US to become an independent and powerful nation and are still relevant today. Chernow's book is a testament to Hamilton's genius, and his immense contribution to the country.