Friday, December 21, 2018

Alexander Hamilton: The Making of America by Teri Kanefield

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 arch-rivals 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.
(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
 For those of you that know me, you know that I am obsessed with the Broadway musical Hamilton. I know all of the songs by heart, and have listened to them more times than I can count. My love for the musical has led me to want to learn all that I can about Alexander Hamilton. Recently I picked up Teri Kanefield's biography of Alexander Hamilton. I thought it was an interesting portrayal.

Teri Kanefield's Alexander Hamilton is intended for a middle grade audience. Truth be told, it reminded me a lot of Ron Chernow's Alexander Hamilton, only simplified in a way that older children and preteens can understand it a lot better. I think this would be a great way to get a child who loves the musical educated on a more accurate description of what happened in Hamilton's life.

I only wish that the book would have gone into a little bit more detail on Hamilton's relationships with his friends as well. They were just briefly mentioned, and for some of them, it wasn't mentioned how he originally met them at all. Because I had already read Ron Chernow's Alexander Hamilton, I already knew a lot of the facts that were in this book. However, I did enjoy the excerpts of Hamilton's writing in the back of this book, several of which I had never read before.

I think Teri Kanefield's Alexander Hamilton is a great way for older children and preteens to learn about Alexander Hamilton's life, especially if they enjoy the musical. While I love the musical dearly, some parts of it are not an accurate representation of his life. This book works to correct those parts, and to accurately educate people about him. I will have to see if this author has written about any other historical figures I might be interested in learning more about, or teaching my nieces and nephews about.

I give Alexander Hamilton: The Making of America: 4/5.

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I received this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

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