Not Gonna Miss My Shot to Learn More about Hamilton

Posted on April 3, 2017 «
Categories: book review «
Join in on the Conversation «
Is this a book review? Jump to the Quick Review

book review hamilton chernow

Book Review
Alexander Hamilton
by Ron Chernow

I’ll admit that I’ve always found the founding of the United States to be a bit dry and boring. And I’ll freely admit that Ron Chernow and narrator Grover Gardner did nothing to change my mind on that matter.

So why did I listen to Alexander Hamilton?


  1. I knew there was no way I would make it through 818 pages of American history on my own.
  2. I’m slightly obsessed with the musical so I had to give the source material “my best shot.”

Mr. Gardner’s voice was pleasant enough to listen to and it was pretty cool to hear lines from the book reflected in the lyrics that pretty much run non-stop through my head every day. I’m thankful, that without realizing it, my library only had the abridged version. It clocks in at 11 hours and 34 minutes. The unabridged version is closer to 36 hours. I am almost certain I would not have survived the unabridged version.

I did learn that, of course, the musical takes some liberties with Hamilton’s story to make it exciting. It was interesting to learn how much of Hamilton’s life paralleled Aaron Burr’s and how determined Hamilton was to prove himself to everyone he met and worked with. I can understand why Hamilton’s struggle to be seen as someone who mattered and as someone would could make a difference resonates with so many in the 21st century.

So would I recommend reading Alexander Hamilton? It depends on how you much you like history. It would also depend how devoted you are to reading the source material for the musical. If the American Revolution is your cup of tea. Definitely give it a shot. If you get a kick out reading source materials for adaptations. Definitely give it shot. Just be warned that politics and wars are a bloody business and not all that exciting when played out shot for shot.


The Quick Book Review

Not Gonna Miss My Shot to Learn More about Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton

Author: Ron Chernow
Published on: March 29, 2005
Pages: 731
Length: 11.5 hours
Genres: nonfiction, adult
Goodreads • Amazon Affiliate Link
My Rating: Thumbs Up

About Ron Chernow

Ron Chernow was born in 1949 in Brooklyn, New York. After graduating with honors from Yale College and Cambridge University with degrees in English Literature, he began a prolific career as a freelance journalist. Between 1973 and 1982, Chernow published over sixty articles in national publications, including numerous cover stories. In the mid-80s Chernow went to work at the Twentieth Century Fund, a prestigious New York think tank, where he served as director of financial policy studies and received what he described as “a crash course in economics and financial history.”

Chernow’s journalistic talents combined with his experience studying financial policy culminated in the writing of his extraordinary first book, The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance (1990). Winner of the 1990 National Book Award for Nonfiction, The House of Morgan traces the amazing history of four generations of the J.P. Morgan empire. The New York Times Book Review wrote, “As a portrait of finance, politics and the world of avarice and ambition on Wall Street, the book has the movement and tension of an epic novel. It is, quite simply, a tour de force.” Chernow continued his exploration of famous financial dynasties with his second book, The Warburgs (1994), the story of a remarkable Jewish family. The book traces Hamburg’s most influential banking family of the 18th century from their successful beginnings to when Hitler’s Third Reich forced them to give up their business, and ultimately to their regained prosperity in America on Wall Street.

Described by Time as “one of the great American biographies,” Chernow’s Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. (1998) brilliantly reveals the complexities of America’s first billionaire. Rockefeller was known as a Robber Baron, whose Standard Oil Company monopolized an entire industry before it was broken up by the famous Supreme Court anti-trust decision in 1911. At the same time, Rockefeller was one of the century’s greatest philanthropists donating enormous sums to universities and medical institutions. Chernow is the Secretary of PEN American Center, the country’s most prominent writers’ organization, and is currently at work on a biography of Alexander Hamilton. He lives in Brooklyn Heights, New York.

In addition to writing biographies, Chernow is a book reviewer, essayist, and radio commentator. His book reviews and op-ed articles appear frequently in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. He comments regularly on business and finance for National Public Radio and for many shows on CNBC, CNN, and the Fox News Channel. In addition, he served as the principal expert on the A&E biography of J.P. Morgan and will be featured as the key Rockefeller expert on an upcoming CNBC documentary.

(from GoodReads)



One response to “Not Gonna Miss My Shot to Learn More about Hamilton

  1. As you know, there is quite a bit of Hamilton obsession in my house, Terri. In fact, my younger daughter (the musical lover) and I are going to see Hamilton in Chicago in August. I’ve been curious about and seriously considering snatching up the audio version of Hamilton so I was thrilled to see your review. 🙂 My daughter and I are going to be road-tripping a lot over the summer and I may pick up this to listen to while we drive…but then, I may not. Don’t want to fall asleep at the wheel. 😉 I’m glad you slugged through though. It seems as though you might have a bit of a deeper appreciation of Hamilton even if the material was less than exciting.