Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
I recently finished listening to Alexander Hamilton, by Ron Chernow. My copy, an audio book from audible.com, was a gift from Ryder. Because it was an unabridged copy, it took quite some time to listen to it--all 36 hours, 59 minutes of it. It was, without equivocation, the best biography I have ever read. I was left with the most profound appreciation for A.H., the self-made man to whom America owes so much. I was also astounded by what the book revealed of the characters of other founding fathers. Jefferson was portrayed as a consumate political opportunist, to put it lightly, who let others do his dirty work, while John Adams was limned as a paranoid, malicious man who was presumptuous of his place in the new republic and resentful of his compeers. These are substantially different portraits than those which I obtained from David McCullough's biography on John Adams. Although unflattering accounts can be expected of these two men in a biography of their formidable political opponent, Chernow's narrative is objective and his accounts are taken from volumnous sources, many of which, if not the majority, are the mens' own writings. Many a man has moments which are far from his best. Perhaps Jefferson and Adams' dealings with Hamilton brought out something other than their best.
Chernow has written the biography by which I will judge all others. It is eloquent, erudite, and accessessible despite it length. As for the audio portion of my audio book, it is expertly read by Scott Brick, an articulate narrator to whom one requires virtually no effort to listen. In short, I heartily recommend the book, for your edification, if not for the fact that it is simply a wonderful read--or in my case, listen.
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