Saturday, April 11, 2015

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow, Scott Brick (Narrator)

5 of 5 stars  *****

A deeper understanding and respect for Alexander Hamilton is the result of listening to this Audiobook, expertly narrated by Scott Brick. The scope of Alexander's life is comprehensive in this rendition educating this reader to the man's humble beginnings and his thirst for knowledge and stature. 

At such a young age, Hamilton reveals an uncanny gift for absorbing whatever he reads and possessing insight into using that information. He is also a remarkable judge of character at an early age. These qualities, recognized by his elders, transport him off of St Croix, where he discovers, first hand, the brutality of slavery, to America's northeast. Once in America, Alexander's burgeoning life links him to the very best this country offers in gentlemen, leaders, educators, lawyers, and politicians. Alexander proves himself to be one of the best, hard working intellectuals and charming gentlemen of his era. 

The Revolutionary war campaign teaches him about courage, honor, leadership, and decisive decision-making while being George Washington's right-hand man. Before the Revolutionary War ends, Hamilton has the foresight to design a solvent plan for recovery and growth immersing himself in every detail of the undertaking. He is responsible for so much of America's infrastructure concerning its economy, military, foreign policy, and trade protocols to make the new government self-sufficient.

This biography also shows the tender side of Alexander Hamilton with his family, devotion to friends, especially George Washington, and his social prowess to converse with nobility and the average citizen. Hamilton trusts the government and upper class more than he trusts the average man, however. This leads to his notorious battles with Thomas Jefferson, who thinks quite the opposite and is most wary of the government. This causes Hamilton to appear like an elitist; but the fact is, Hamilton trusts neither group; he just thinks the upper class in government are the best chance to deliver stability in society. 

Alexander Hamilton's demise occurs in America's most famous duel, an outlawed behavior that is still practiced circa 1800s. He is shot and killed by Aaron Burr, the Vice-President of the United States at the time. The body of this biography explains the intricacies leading up to this infamous duel before revealing the repercussions that ensue. 

Ron Chernow masterfully interweaves the significant people and events into Alexander's life. His style makes for an engaging account of a truly great mind who is partly responsible for the construction and survival of young America. Society owes so much to this man with a rarely-seen work ethic, intellect, ambition, and keen insight, who dies in his prime.