Friday, March 30, 2018

My Dear Hamilton: A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton

The third book in my Hamilton obsession is My Dear Hamilton: A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie. The book begins in 1825 with Eliza Hamilton hostilely receiving James Monroe in her home. There is implied anger but why wouldn't there be. Jefferson, Madison and Monroe sought to discredit Hamilton through his life and even after his death.

The book then goes back in time to 1777 and the early days of the Revolution. Eliza meets George Washington, Marquis de Lafayette, Benedict Arnold, Aaron Burr, James Monroe and many other luminaries from the American Revolution. It was not until Eliza journeys with her father to General Washington's camp in Morristown, New Jersey, that she meets and falls in love with Alexander Hamilton.

My Dear Hamilton gives an eye-opening account of the life of the soldiers during the Revolutionary War. From their ragged clothes and no shoes to their lack of food, it's an astonishing feat to think that this ragtag army beat the greatest Super Power of the time. 

As to Hamilton, he is a brilliant statesman, an exceptional writer, witty, charming and in constant motion, but there is a darker side to Hamilton that pushes him to never be satisfied. Despite her hopes for the future Eliza and the Hamilton children will never be enough for Alexander. The unfortunate circumstances of his illegitimate birth, the subsequent desertion of his father and the death of his mother influenced his entire life and made him a driven person.

His accomplishments were many: he developed the structure of the strong central government, established the financial systems of the country including the first bank, initiated the Coast Guard, built the Customs & Tariffs concept, encouraged American manufacturing and much more.

After Hamilton's death in 1804, Eliza struggled to support her eight children, but she never wavered in her support of Hamilton's memory. He always referred to her as "the best of woman, the best of wives. " She lived to be 95 and was instrumental in raising funds for the Washington Monument and establishing the first orphanage in New York.

History is rarely told from the eyes of the wife of a famous person, My Dear Hamilton: A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton gives the reader an interesting point of view from Eliza.

1 comment:

Denise Kainrath said...

Can't wait to get my turn to read this, as well as the Ron Chernow book. It's a shame I work full-time and can't spend all my time reading as I would like :D