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Rivals Unto Death: Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr

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From the bestselling author of The Greatest Stories Never Told series, the epic history of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr's illustrious and eccentric political careers and their fateful rivalry. The famous duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr was the culmination of a story three decades in the making. Rivals unto Death vividly traces their rivalry back to the From the bestselling author of The Greatest Stories Never Told series, the epic history of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr's illustrious and eccentric political careers and their fateful rivalry. The famous duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr was the culmination of a story three decades in the making. Rivals unto Death vividly traces their rivalry back to the earliest days of the American Revolution, when Hamilton and Burr--both brilliant, restless, and barely twenty years old--elbowed their way onto the staff of General George Washington. The fast-moving account traces their intricate tug-of war, uncovering surprising details that led to their deadly encounter through battlefields, courtrooms, bedrooms, and the wildest presidential election in history, counting down the years to their fateful rendezvous on the dueling ground. This is politics made personal: shrill accusations, bruising collisions, and a parade of flesh and blood founders struggling--and often failing--to keep their tempers and jealousies in check. Smoldering in the background was a fundamental political divide that threatened to tear the new nation in two, and still persists to this day. The Burr and Hamilton that leap out of these pages are passionate, engaging, and utterly human characters inextricably linked together as Rivals unto Death.

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From the bestselling author of The Greatest Stories Never Told series, the epic history of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr's illustrious and eccentric political careers and their fateful rivalry. The famous duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr was the culmination of a story three decades in the making. Rivals unto Death vividly traces their rivalry back to the From the bestselling author of The Greatest Stories Never Told series, the epic history of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr's illustrious and eccentric political careers and their fateful rivalry. The famous duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr was the culmination of a story three decades in the making. Rivals unto Death vividly traces their rivalry back to the earliest days of the American Revolution, when Hamilton and Burr--both brilliant, restless, and barely twenty years old--elbowed their way onto the staff of General George Washington. The fast-moving account traces their intricate tug-of war, uncovering surprising details that led to their deadly encounter through battlefields, courtrooms, bedrooms, and the wildest presidential election in history, counting down the years to their fateful rendezvous on the dueling ground. This is politics made personal: shrill accusations, bruising collisions, and a parade of flesh and blood founders struggling--and often failing--to keep their tempers and jealousies in check. Smoldering in the background was a fundamental political divide that threatened to tear the new nation in two, and still persists to this day. The Burr and Hamilton that leap out of these pages are passionate, engaging, and utterly human characters inextricably linked together as Rivals unto Death.

30 review for Rivals Unto Death: Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr

  1. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    A great book. What makes this interesting as well as great was when I first read it, The chapters were backwards. It has 10 chapters and started with Chapter 10. When I first saw this, I thought it was an error. But I believe the author did this on purpose as a sequence of events that led to the duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, which to me is brilliant!!!! This book tells the background of both men and had very different backgrounds. Aaron Burr grew up in a wealthy family and beca A great book. What makes this interesting as well as great was when I first read it, The chapters were backwards. It has 10 chapters and started with Chapter 10. When I first saw this, I thought it was an error. But I believe the author did this on purpose as a sequence of events that led to the duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, which to me is brilliant!!!! This book tells the background of both men and had very different backgrounds. Aaron Burr grew up in a wealthy family and became Vice-President of the United States. Alexander Hamilton grew up having a tough childhood on a Caribbean island before moving to the United States and served in George Washington's Continental Army as an artillery officer during the American Revolution. He later served as secretary of the Treasury. Hamilton and Burr became bitter enemies so much that Burr challenged Hamilton to a duel where Hamilton was shot and mortally wounded and died the next day. This also tells of the aftermath of the duel and what happened to Aaron Burr.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Conor

    At first I thought "This book is entirely redundant with Chernow's Alexander Hamilton," but I think it may be the other way around. Trenchant as that tome is, this book marshaled the same sum and substance with considerably more economy. Still a bit biased toward Hammy, but go figure.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Gretchen

    Rivals Unto Death tells the backstory of the Hamilton/Burr duel. Rick Beyer does extensive research to tell the story of the friendship and rivalry of two of the very influential movers and shakers in the foundation of these United States. Mr. Beyer gives them life and explains the motivations of their actions through the writings left after their deaths. Mr. Hamilton although the fatal victim of the duel has a wife who preserves his papers and fights for his good name. Mr. Burr requested that h Rivals Unto Death tells the backstory of the Hamilton/Burr duel. Rick Beyer does extensive research to tell the story of the friendship and rivalry of two of the very influential movers and shakers in the foundation of these United States. Mr. Beyer gives them life and explains the motivations of their actions through the writings left after their deaths. Mr. Hamilton although the fatal victim of the duel has a wife who preserves his papers and fights for his good name. Mr. Burr requested that his papers be destroyed and left no family to rehabilitate his memory. I enjoyed reading this foray into our founding. One thing that seems apparent is that the vision of Alexander Hamilton was a self-sufficient nation and economy, not a global one being pushed today. I received this book through goodreads.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    Alexander Hamilton. First Treasurer of the Secretary. Killed by Aaron Burr in a duel. Immortalized on the $10 bill and in a hit Broadway musical. Aaron Burr. One of the first Vice Presidents of the United States. Shot and killed Hamilton in a duel. Charged and tried as a traitor. Vilified in history books to this day. In “Rivals Unto Death: Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr”, author Rick Beyer takes a brief look at the lives of the two men involved in the most famous duel in American history. It s Alexander Hamilton. First Treasurer of the Secretary. Killed by Aaron Burr in a duel. Immortalized on the $10 bill and in a hit Broadway musical. Aaron Burr. One of the first Vice Presidents of the United States. Shot and killed Hamilton in a duel. Charged and tried as a traitor. Vilified in history books to this day. In “Rivals Unto Death: Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr”, author Rick Beyer takes a brief look at the lives of the two men involved in the most famous duel in American history. It shows the similarities and differences in their lives, where they ran parallel and where they had tangential encounters. More importantly, the book shows the direct and indirect actions between the two men, and how Burr did not simply wake up one day and say “I think I'll try to shoot Hamilton.” More importantly, it shows that one of the most lionized figures in American history also had his faults – too numerous to list in a short review – and was actually in a political crevasse when he faced Burr. Conversely, it shows that Burr had some significant accomplishments and aspirations in addition to the actions and decisions which have demonized him in history. Further, it shows how far the favor of The Father Of Our Country, George Washington, influenced even minor aspects of early American history. It would not be much of a spoiler to reveal which man grew to be a trusted advisor, and which managed to consistently p-ss him off. “Rivals Unto Death: Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr” is a quick read, and I would highly recommend it to those with a casual interest in American History. (Those with an in-depth thirst for knowledge on the subject will probably be disappointed in its brevity.) RATING: 5 stars DISCLOSURE: I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book in a random draw. No obligations were requested nor bestowed, although a reasonably prompt HONEST review was hinted at.

  5. 5 out of 5

    BARRY GELSTON

    Without getting into spoilers.... I love Rick Beyer's writing. He brings history to me in a very real way where I feel connected to the story. I really loved it. It is interesting, reads like an adventure, and fun.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kristi Richardson

    “Now, Burr not only seemed to have found a home with the opposition camp, he had helped humiliate Hamilton’s father-in-law and replace him as senator from New York.” Great book about the back-story to the duel that ended two men’s hopes and dreams in one gun shot. The book starts out on Chapter 10 and counts down to the final duel by going backwards in the count. This book is one of the most unbiased books I have ever read about the duel and it gives Burr the benefit of the doubt on that final sh “Now, Burr not only seemed to have found a home with the opposition camp, he had helped humiliate Hamilton’s father-in-law and replace him as senator from New York.” Great book about the back-story to the duel that ended two men’s hopes and dreams in one gun shot. The book starts out on Chapter 10 and counts down to the final duel by going backwards in the count. This book is one of the most unbiased books I have ever read about the duel and it gives Burr the benefit of the doubt on that final shot. Both men were hotheads and the many things that Hamilton repeatedly accused Burr of doing; it has been proven that Hamilton also did them. Infidelities, back room politics and behind the back name-calling were standard fare in the early days of our republic. I wonder how our country would have been changed if both men had remained alive and active in politics? I believe we would see many Burr Universities and Hamilton Avenues around the country. They had a very similar background, born poor and proved themselves early with their wealthy friends. Burr stood out on the battlefield while Hamilton was Washington’s secretary and aide to camp. Two remarkable men came together in a series of quarrels until one day they could no longer put off the final countdown to one of the rivals physical death and the other’s political death. This is a remarkable story about our country’s beginnings and two men who helped found it. I highly recommend this book that I was given by a Goodreads Giveaway.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Emily Ross

    I really loved this book. I particularly liked how it’s set backwards, starting at chapter ten and counting down. I loved the writing style, and the way that this book is not as bias as some other joint biographies you can find. It truly felt like the author was trying to sit on a fence. It was simple, clear and straight forward. A very good joint biography.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Alison

    Recommended to me by my cute book-loving daughter. It was fascinating to learn about Hamilton and Burr's lives and rivalry because I didn't know the history before. It never ceases to amaze me how antagonistic American politics have always been! It's also fascinating to me to learn about the details of the lives of people you've heard about your whole life. Hamilton and Burr were flawed people, as we all are. It's remarkable to think about Hamilton's humble beginnings as an orphan in the Caribbe Recommended to me by my cute book-loving daughter. It was fascinating to learn about Hamilton and Burr's lives and rivalry because I didn't know the history before. It never ceases to amaze me how antagonistic American politics have always been! It's also fascinating to me to learn about the details of the lives of people you've heard about your whole life. Hamilton and Burr were flawed people, as we all are. It's remarkable to think about Hamilton's humble beginnings as an orphan in the Caribbean, and then his ambitions to make something of himself, his love for our new country, his efforts to establish our federal government and national banks, and then read of his arrogance, nastiness, and pride. Burr was probably a lot more likable than he is ever given credit for. I didn't know he'd been one of our vice presidents. I also enjoyed how the author pointed out a handful of moments in their lives where things could have gone in a completely different direction. I'd recommend this if you are an American history buff in the slightest. Really enlightening and educational.

  9. 4 out of 5

    David Dunlap

    One of the best books I've read on the subject -- simple, straight-forward, and clear. I especially appreciated the way the author was able to highlight those moments in both men's careers (and there were, surprisingly, quite a few) when Hamilton and Burr were 'in synch,' cooperating and assisting each other. A number of tantalizing 'What if?s' occur throughout. I also found the author's speculation as to what may very well have happened at Weehawken on that fateful day both men died (for all in One of the best books I've read on the subject -- simple, straight-forward, and clear. I especially appreciated the way the author was able to highlight those moments in both men's careers (and there were, surprisingly, quite a few) when Hamilton and Burr were 'in synch,' cooperating and assisting each other. A number of tantalizing 'What if?s' occur throughout. I also found the author's speculation as to what may very well have happened at Weehawken on that fateful day both men died (for all intents and purposes) quite plausible. (He suggests that the hair-trigger on Hamilton's pistol misfired, Burr waited for the smoke to clear, then took his shot...) Very well-balanced, with much of the mud that has adhered to Burr's name carefully removed. -- The only thing preventing me from giving this the full five-star treatment is Mr. Beyer's insistence that James Madison was present at the Battle of Trenton during the American Revolution. Tsk, tsk!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lynn Pribus

    Ah, my history is very weak. Although I live about 2 miles from Monticello (by crow, quite a bit longer by vehicle), I didn't even know Aaron Burr was TJ's VP. I knew there was a duel, but I didn't even remember the outcome. This slim book corrected all that, really digging into the friend/enemy/ally/foe/on/off relationship of Burr and Hamilton. Hamilton, the bastard immigrant from Nevis, and Burr, son of a well-respected family are allies during the Revolutionary War, but become ardent foes with Ah, my history is very weak. Although I live about 2 miles from Monticello (by crow, quite a bit longer by vehicle), I didn't even know Aaron Burr was TJ's VP. I knew there was a duel, but I didn't even remember the outcome. This slim book corrected all that, really digging into the friend/enemy/ally/foe/on/off relationship of Burr and Hamilton. Hamilton, the bastard immigrant from Nevis, and Burr, son of a well-respected family are allies during the Revolutionary War, but become ardent foes with differing political views. Elections then were even worse than now, it seemed. It took 34 ballots to get TJ elected by the House of Delegates when there was a tie among the voters. A lot of material in a short book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Terrell

    In the acknowledgments, Beyer states that he was asked to write about the rivalry, squeezing the whole story into a compact and accessible volume. Simply enough, that is what he has done here. It was enjoyable to read in a way that it's less like a history book and more like a good story. There is plenty of historical fact and figures. It gives a concise look at the rivalry between the much popularized Hamilton and Burr. Is all of this likely covered in Chernow's book? Yes. Have I made it all th In the acknowledgments, Beyer states that he was asked to write about the rivalry, squeezing the whole story into a compact and accessible volume. Simply enough, that is what he has done here. It was enjoyable to read in a way that it's less like a history book and more like a good story. There is plenty of historical fact and figures. It gives a concise look at the rivalry between the much popularized Hamilton and Burr. Is all of this likely covered in Chernow's book? Yes. Have I made it all the way through Chernow's book? No, not even close.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    I passed this book on to a friend who is obsessed with Alexander Hamilton. It's a fun, informative book, and is clearly following the lead of the musical, Hamilton. I admit, growing up I didn't know much about Hamilton, and I'm not sure what I was taught about him in schools. This is a fun, interesting book that added a ton of context to a period of history that I don't know a ton about. This book offers a ton of background on these characters, and their narratives and stories are told in such a I passed this book on to a friend who is obsessed with Alexander Hamilton. It's a fun, informative book, and is clearly following the lead of the musical, Hamilton. I admit, growing up I didn't know much about Hamilton, and I'm not sure what I was taught about him in schools. This is a fun, interesting book that added a ton of context to a period of history that I don't know a ton about. This book offers a ton of background on these characters, and their narratives and stories are told in such an interesting way.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Emma Stewart

    I have been fascinated about Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, what really made the fateful duel happen, and how the dispute got that far. This book was very well done, answering all my questions, even for how short it is. Not only that, but the formatting of the book was genius! I enjoyed how it started one week before the duel, jumped way back and then finally caught back up. The chapters even count down, which I thought added a nice touch. I might be picking up some more of Beyer's books in I have been fascinated about Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, what really made the fateful duel happen, and how the dispute got that far. This book was very well done, answering all my questions, even for how short it is. Not only that, but the formatting of the book was genius! I enjoyed how it started one week before the duel, jumped way back and then finally caught back up. The chapters even count down, which I thought added a nice touch. I might be picking up some more of Beyer's books in the near future! :)

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sam Motes

    I good read to fuel the Hamilton craze. You could argue nothing really new here not covered in Chernow's work but the countdown format building the tension to the inevitable demise was an engaging format that pulled me into the drama. The thought that hunts me the most is that Hamilton deliberately choose the instrument to take his life that had been the very same guns that had taken his sons life three years prior.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Aishuu

    This is a pretty obvious attempt to cash in on Hamiltonmania. It's decent writing, but it's intended for an audience that's seen the play... plenty of turns of phrase and the structure really bring this out. It really keeps close to topics in the musical, so much so that I found little new information here since it's such a short read. Probably ideal for someone who wants to understand where Miranda took creative liberties, but not a good history for those looking for something more in-depth.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Bill

    This is a very readable history of the two men, and how their lives were intertwined. There are so many little stories in history that have been overlooked --- I learned a lot in this fairly short book. Highly recommended for those who have seen Hamilton....you will have a different perspective after reading this book!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Interesting summary of the story of Hamilton and Burr.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    Very interesting history of the beginning of our country.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    http://maybesbooks.blogspot.com/2017/...

  20. 4 out of 5

    Dawn

    I received a copy of this book as a Goodreads giveaway. A very readable account of the Hamilton-Burr conflict, the ultimate frenemies. This book is perfect for readers who are interested in the subject (such as fans of the Broadway musical, Hamilton), but don't have sufficient interest or time to commit to a mammoth biography ala Alexander Hamilton. For me, this book was just the right balance of historical information, context, and engagement as I fall into the category of someone who is intere I received a copy of this book as a Goodreads giveaway. A very readable account of the Hamilton-Burr conflict, the ultimate frenemies. This book is perfect for readers who are interested in the subject (such as fans of the Broadway musical, Hamilton), but don't have sufficient interest or time to commit to a mammoth biography ala Alexander Hamilton. For me, this book was just the right balance of historical information, context, and engagement as I fall into the category of someone who is interested, but not THAT interested in the feud. The writing was very good and excellent for the general reader. Highly recommend!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Denise

    Great book. Well sourced. The chapter arrangement was original and interesting.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ross

  23. 4 out of 5

    David

  24. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jarrett

  26. 4 out of 5

    Scott Leiser

  27. 4 out of 5

    George Moriarty

  28. 4 out of 5

    Chenel Morrison

  29. 4 out of 5

    Brooke

  30. 5 out of 5

    John

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