A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
The book touches on many of the major political events that led to the American Revolution, the crafting of the United States Constitution, and the establishment of the federal government, most of which Hamilton was directly or indirectly involved with. Complex but essential vocabulary (such as "demagogue" and "mercantilism") is defined in helpful highlighted sections throughout the biography. And the book is generously illustrated with black-and-white images of etchings, portraits, paintings, and historical documents that give readers a feel for the era, its politics, significant locations, and military battles.
Hamilton's Federalist principles can best be summed up in his own words: "There is something noble and magnificent in the perspective of a great Federal Republic, closely linked in the pursuit of a common interest."
Positive Role Models
Aside from his foolish and tragic death in a machismo-fueled duel, Hamilton was and is revered as a brilliant jurist, a visionary thinker, and a skillful writer and orator. He also came from humble beginnings: He was a working-class immigrant, raised by a single mother, who through his hard work and genuine talent was able to ascend to the highest heights of influence and power in American politics.
Violence & Scariness
Some description of battle scenes in the American Revolutionary War, as well as the archaic practice of dueling with pistols, including the fatal incident in which Hamilton is slain by bitter rival Aaron Burr.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Alexander Hamilton: The Making of America is a sweeping, informative, yet digestible introduction to the life and times of one of the most influential figures in the story of the early United States. The biography serves as an excellent supplement for middle schoolers learning about American history and government or for anyone who fell in love with Hamilton on Broadway (or just the cast album) and wants a more straightforward presentation of the material. Nicely illustrated with black-and-white images of etchings, portraits, paintings, and historical documents.
Is It Any Good?
Informative and exciting, this dynamic story flies by in a flash, much like the titular hero. The writing in Alexander Hamilton: The Making of America is uniformly strong, peppered with solid sections of historical context, suitable introductions to basic political theories, and bits and pieces of quotes from primary sources. While the biography seems well-researched and provides citations in the endnotes, it would be nice if writers of history for younger readers weren't so shy about showing the work that went into reconstructing the record. Seeing the origins and details of where historical conclusions are drawn from is what makes the evidence reliable and relatable. That being said, the book dovetails nicely with the way American history is taught in elementary and middle school, and Alexander Hamilton is one of the most important actors in that drama.
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Our Editors Recommend
Books About the American Revolution
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