It’s safe to say that since I read Ron Chernow’s tome of Alexander Hamilton way back when, before Lin Manuel Miranda picked it up, Hamilton has fascinated me. When it comes to historical figures, I also care about how these people are portrayed to children and their accuracy and objectivity. When my younger kids were obsessed with the musical when it first came out, I picked up Alexander Hamilton: The Making of America (Amazon) (AbeBooks) to see if it was worthy of my kids’ non-fiction library.
From the publisher: “The America that Alexander Hamilton knew was largely agricultural and built on slave labor. He envisioned something else: a multi-racial, urbanized, capitalistic America with a strong central government. He believed that such an America would be a land of opportunity for the poor and the newcomers. But Hamilton’s vision put him at odds with his archrivals who envisioned a pastoral America of small towns, where governments were local, states would control their own destiny, and the federal government would remain small and weak. The disputes that arose during America’s first decades continued through American history to our present day. Over time, because of the systems Hamilton set up and the ideas he left, his vision won out. Here is the story that epitomizes the American dream-a poor immigrant who made good in America. In the end, Hamilton rose from poverty through his intelligence and ability and did more to shape our country than any of his contemporaries.”
I thought this biography for kids of Alexander Hamilton was good. Sometimes the writing wasn’t engaging, but when discussing how to set up the treasury department, how engaging can you be? I also liked the fact that the author started off with the duel as a way to grab the reader’s interest. The author does a good job of showing Hamilton’s genius, yet also isn’t afraid of showing his flaws, too. Any man like Hamilton has an enormous ego, and sometimes it got the best of him, ultimately ending in his untimely death.
My favorite parts, though, had to be the depiction of Thomas Jefferson. Finally, a children’s book that doesn’t paint Jefferson as some sort of demi god! The author showed Jefferson’s brilliance and remarked what an accomplished statesman he was. However, more importantly, you also got the duplicitousness, backstabbing and hypocritical part of him, too. Extra star just for that alone. The founding fathers weren’t super human.
Want more Alexander Hamilton books for young and old? Check out this list I made of the best of the best.
For more reviews, visit www.bargain-sleuth.com
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