I have to confess I was a bit nervous. I hadn't read anything by Chernow before, and a part of me thought that maybe Lin-Manuel had created a musical diamond from a coal sort of book. But I didn't need to worry. Even if I wasn't Hamilton obsessed, this is the kind of nonfiction I love.
Ron Chernow has done his research. It's really interesting to see the ways that the book and the musical diverge. For example, in the show, Hamilton meets his bffs Laurens, Mulligan, and Lafayette all at once. In real life, those meetings were quite spaced out. Even the best biographers can't uncover everything. There is a fair amount of "Hamilton and Laurens might have been in love" or "Hamilton either lied about his age or we are wrong about his birth year." Either way, I am learning new things on every page and doing that obnoxious thing where I read passages aloud to my husband.
This is evident in the musical too, but Chernow really delves into the ways Hamilton was a man made by both circumstance and personality. He happened to meet a lot of people who helped him out, but he kept impressing them by being so stinking smart and determined.
Also, a million kudos to Chernow for starting the book with Eliza. It is inspired for AHam and Eliza to have almost equal footing in the musical, but Chernow gets original credit for knowing how awesome she is.
Favorite line so far? "He had all the magnetic power of a mysterious foreigner and soon made his first friend: a fashionable tailor with the splendid name of Hercules Mulligan." Why, yes it is.
Thank you, Miss Alice, for this most excellent readalong. On to the next chapters!