hamilton books

Four Books to Read if You Can’t Get Enough Hamilton

hamilton books

Like I mentioned in my last two monthly wrap-up posts, I’ve been listening to the Hamilton cast recording pretty much non-stop (zing!) since it was released. It’s all the glorious nerdy history you could want wrapped up in a perfect musical package. But what if you want more, even beyond Ron Chernow’s Hamilton and the endless joys of Hamilton’s Genius page? Here are four books that can take you a step further in your journey.

 

founding brothersFounding Brothers by Joseph J. Ellis

They emerge with a compromise, having opened doors that were
Previously closed

Bros

Founding Brothers is the Pulitzer Prize winning deep dive into the founding of the United States, including several key moments from Hamilton. Joseph J. Ellis walks through the debate over the capital, Washington’s Farewell address, Adams’ administration, and Hamilton and Burr’s duel, among others.

 

remarkable riseThe Remarkable Rise of Eliza Jumel by Margaret A. Oppenheimer

He may have been the first one to die
But I’m the one who paid for it
I survived, but I paid for it

Eliza Jumel‘s life story starts similar to Hamilton’s and ends with a late-life marriage to the disgraced Aaron Burr. Where Eliza Schuyler Hamilton is believed to have destroyed most of her correspondence, Eliza Jumel left behind an incredible cache of letters and documents outlining the details of her life.

 

my theodosiaMy Theodosia by Anya Seton

You will come of age with our young nation
We’ll bleed and fight for you, we’ll make it right for you

Originally published in 1941, My Theodosia was just reprinted at the end of last month, presumably due to Hamilton‘s success. Though fiction, it’s based on the life of Aaron Burr’s daughter, Theodosia, as she struggles to choose between the man her father wants her to marry and the man she loves.

 

 

master mountainMaster of the Mountain by Henry Wiencek

A civics lesson from a slaver. Hey neighbor
Your debts are paid cuz you don’t pay for labor
‘We plant seeds in the South. We create.’
Yeah, keep ranting
We know who’s really doing the planting

I’m a firm believer in giving Thomas Jefferson the historical side-eye and I love that Lin-Manuel Miranda wasn’t afraid to go there. Henry Wiencek’s Master of the Mountain is an A++ look at Thomas Jefferson’s contradictions through the economy of Monticello.

 

The history teacher in me is also going to throw in an extra nod for The Federalist Papers (“Hamilton wrote the OTHER FIFTY-ONE!”). If you haven’t read them since high school (or ever), it’s worth taking a peek.

hamilton

 

  • I was lucky enough to see “Hamilton” this summer, and we’ll be going again in a few months. It’s an immersive, astonishing experience onstage–if you love the music, you’ve really got to experience the show visually as well. My favorite Broadway show ever, hands-down. Treat yourself to some tickets! Truly worth the expense & the wait.

    • I’ve been stalking tickets (into next August!) and trying to figure out the cheapest way to work a day trip to NY so I can see it. I’m desperate.

      • Yes, book them that far in advance. Seems crazy, but it will be worth the wait! Side orchestra or front mezz are good views without the high cost of center orch premium seats. I sat in the front row of the mezzanine & the view was fantastic.

  • Sadly, I knew nothing of Hamilton until this post – GAH! I feel so uncultured (probably because I am)! I did read Founding Brothers, though, which I loved! Hope you have a great weekend, Shannon!

    • Not uncultured, I bet you’re just productive and don’t have time to listen to a 46 track cast recording all day long ;)

  • Ahahahaha, I love that line about Hamilton writing the other fifty-one. They’re so excited about it! The Federalist Papers!

    Did you see FSG just signed a biography of Elizabeth and Angelica Schuyler? It’s not supposed to publish until like 2020, but I’m excited to read it five years from now. (In 2020 Hershey will have made all their chocolate fair trade, so if that pans out (I’m not holding my breath), I’ll be able to read this excellent bio while eating Reese’s Cups. Nom nom nom.)

  • That last GIF is just the best. I love that little portion of the song. Thanks for the recommendations — definitely going to look for these!

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  • Julia Cook

    Sick post, Dad loved Founding Brothers so maybe I’ll get that one for the plane ride to NYC ;)