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Alexander Hamilton: the Outsider

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Acclaimed biographer Jean Fritz writes the remarkable story of Alexander Hamilton, one of America's most influential and fascinating founding fathers, and his untimely death in a duel with Aaron Burr. Born in the British West Indies, Hamilton arrived in New York as an "outsider." He fought in the Revolution and became Washington's most valuable aidede- camp. He was there w Acclaimed biographer Jean Fritz writes the remarkable story of Alexander Hamilton, one of America's most influential and fascinating founding fathers, and his untimely death in a duel with Aaron Burr. Born in the British West Indies, Hamilton arrived in New York as an "outsider." He fought in the Revolution and became Washington's most valuable aidede- camp. He was there with Washington, Madison, and the others writing the Constitution. He was the first Secretary of the Treasury as the country struggled to become unified and independent. Fritz's talent for bringing historical figures to life is at its best as she shares her fascination with this man of action who was honorable, ambitious, and fiercely loyal to his adopted country.

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Acclaimed biographer Jean Fritz writes the remarkable story of Alexander Hamilton, one of America's most influential and fascinating founding fathers, and his untimely death in a duel with Aaron Burr. Born in the British West Indies, Hamilton arrived in New York as an "outsider." He fought in the Revolution and became Washington's most valuable aidede- camp. He was there w Acclaimed biographer Jean Fritz writes the remarkable story of Alexander Hamilton, one of America's most influential and fascinating founding fathers, and his untimely death in a duel with Aaron Burr. Born in the British West Indies, Hamilton arrived in New York as an "outsider." He fought in the Revolution and became Washington's most valuable aidede- camp. He was there with Washington, Madison, and the others writing the Constitution. He was the first Secretary of the Treasury as the country struggled to become unified and independent. Fritz's talent for bringing historical figures to life is at its best as she shares her fascination with this man of action who was honorable, ambitious, and fiercely loyal to his adopted country.

30 review for Alexander Hamilton: the Outsider

  1. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    NOOOOOOO...... it's over!!!!!!! It really was an amazing book. I learned a lot more about Alexander more this book than I did from the musical. I highly recommend this book regardless if you are a fan of the musical or not.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Shelley

    A much quicker to read biography of Alexander Hamilton than Chernov's. ;) I was curious, though, what was thought to be most important for kids to know and what details I could see that differed from the musical. Overall, it was very interesting--I haven't done much reading about the Revolutionary War in the last ten years or so, and it was interesting to see what came back to me. I do want to learn some more. Things of note: --His half brother was an ass, and I wonder if they ran into each other A much quicker to read biography of Alexander Hamilton than Chernov's. ;) I was curious, though, what was thought to be most important for kids to know and what details I could see that differed from the musical. Overall, it was very interesting--I haven't done much reading about the Revolutionary War in the last ten years or so, and it was interesting to see what came back to me. I do want to learn some more. Things of note: --His half brother was an ass, and I wonder if they ran into each other during the War at all? The brother was from South Carolina--and how did he end up there, or how did their mother end up in the West Indies? --He and Eliza met briefly during the war and didn't hit it off (The Schuyler Sisters song, perhaps?), but they did the second time they met. And that's when they got an engaged a month later. --"Alexander was inconsolable. He and John had shared the same ideas and ideals for America. Moreover, Alexander was able to show John every side of himself, to tell him all his thoughts and feelings, as he was not able to do with anyone else. As much as Alexander loved Eliza, she didn't quite take the close place that John Laurens had." Yep. --"Eliza's sister, Angelica, wrote to her from England, wondering why Alexander was stepping down [from Treasury Secretary]. She suspected that Eliza had advised him to do so and she half scolded her. She suggested that when she returned to America, she and Eliza would have to compensate Alexander by making sure he had fun." Double yep. --Hamilton used to stand on tables and sing the popular songs of the soldiers in the war. Lin-Manunel Miranda captured that well. I think I need to read the 800 page mammoth. But geez, who has time for that???

  3. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth☮

    Recommended by my seven year old who kept telling me, “This is so good. You have to read it.” And so I did. My girls are in love with the musical Hamilton and so love all things Hamilton. This means they know a great deal more about our founding fathers than I ever did. I’ve heard the music ad nauseam and so while reading, I could definitely find the narrative of the musical. Simple chapters and some illustrations thrown in for good measure. A good way to keep me on my toes when it comes to U.S. Recommended by my seven year old who kept telling me, “This is so good. You have to read it.” And so I did. My girls are in love with the musical Hamilton and so love all things Hamilton. This means they know a great deal more about our founding fathers than I ever did. I’ve heard the music ad nauseam and so while reading, I could definitely find the narrative of the musical. Simple chapters and some illustrations thrown in for good measure. A good way to keep me on my toes when it comes to U.S. History (which was so long ago for me).

  4. 5 out of 5

    Tiana Nguyen

    This book was really great. I liked the way the author, Jean Fritz, writes. It made the story interesting. I couldn't put the book down at some parts and was sad that I could not read the whole book in a day. I have never actually cared too much about Alexander Hamilton or biographies, but reading this make me want to read these kind of books more. Alexander Hamilton's life was pretty difficult. Very different than what I expected. In conclusion, this was a awesome book and I am excited to read This book was really great. I liked the way the author, Jean Fritz, writes. It made the story interesting. I couldn't put the book down at some parts and was sad that I could not read the whole book in a day. I have never actually cared too much about Alexander Hamilton or biographies, but reading this make me want to read these kind of books more. Alexander Hamilton's life was pretty difficult. Very different than what I expected. In conclusion, this was a awesome book and I am excited to read more of Jean Fritz's biographies.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    Great kid-friendly biography on the ever popular Alexander Hamilton. Most kids love Hamilton because of the awesome broadway play. I loved how this book touched on a number of the points it mentions in the songs (the author wrote this before the musical) so a lot of kids will easily relate. The book was easy to read and full of interesting, pertinent information.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mr. Gottshalk

    A terrific book about the popular Revolutionary War leader, politician, Founding Father, and statesman! I learned so much and devoured most of the book in one night of reading. I always wanted to know more about Hamilton, especially since the Broadway play is so hot right now, and author Jean Fritz really brought the events of the time period together so that I could understand his life better. My one beef is that the text is a high-level text: probably better for 6th-8th graders who have more b A terrific book about the popular Revolutionary War leader, politician, Founding Father, and statesman! I learned so much and devoured most of the book in one night of reading. I always wanted to know more about Hamilton, especially since the Broadway play is so hot right now, and author Jean Fritz really brought the events of the time period together so that I could understand his life better. My one beef is that the text is a high-level text: probably better for 6th-8th graders who have more background knowledge on the Revolution. Many of her sentences were "grown-up" and had difficult words and concepts - good thing I know a bit about the late 1700s. I feel like people who do not know a lot about how our country started should read this book!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Inhabiting Books

    When I saw this book sitting on the "New Children's Books" table at our library, I snatched it up for 3 reasons (well, 4 reasons, but the fourth reason was purely fluff): - It was written by Jean Fritz, one of my favorite historical writers. - It is about a man who definitely deserves to not be forgotten, but is not much mentioned beyond a line or two in primary and middle school history books. Alexander Hamilton was an honest, passionate man who played an integral role in how the economic system When I saw this book sitting on the "New Children's Books" table at our library, I snatched it up for 3 reasons (well, 4 reasons, but the fourth reason was purely fluff): - It was written by Jean Fritz, one of my favorite historical writers. - It is about a man who definitely deserves to not be forgotten, but is not much mentioned beyond a line or two in primary and middle school history books. Alexander Hamilton was an honest, passionate man who played an integral role in how the economic system of the United States government was set up. It's amazing to think that a man who came from such humble and illegitimate beginnings would later rise to become a powerful, influential figure in a newly emerging America, a country he adopted and for which he fought passionately. - I knew that Hamilton, our nation's first Secretary of the Treasury, formed the Revenue Cutter Service, the forerunner of our modern US Coast Guard. (A Coastie can get into real trouble for not knowing that!) And yes, there is a Coast Guard Cutter (a 378 footer) named after him. - I loved the cover. (Told you it was a fluff reason.) I feel strongly that children need to read biographies of real people who had a hand in shaping various aspects of society and the world as we know it. They need real life examples of real people, living and dead, good and bad, to learn from. But children reading about adults can sometimes be problematic, given the duality of human nature. Even the best among us can have feet of clay, or moments of clay. Such is the case of Alexander Hamilton. The man is an example of honesty, hard work, determination and patriotism. But he made his mistakes. I appreciated the way Jean Fritz managed to honor Hamilton's achievements and life, while still including his weaknesses and failures. She doesn't dwell on his weaknesses, but she certainly doesn't dismiss them. She gets the information** across without overdoing the details. Obviously then, I think the book requires a certain level of maturity, as it deals frankly and matter-of-factly, but tastefully, with some mature themes. (While I don't think it would "scar" her to read it, I wouldn't want my 7 year-old daughter reading it, even though she is capable of reading it. I don't think it would appeal to younger-but-capable readers, anyway. There's is too much that they wouldn't understand, due to insufficient life experience. But obviously each parent needs to make that call.) Lest you get the wrong impression from what I've written, let me unequivocally state that I really liked reading this excellent book about one of my country's Founding Fathers, and I learned a lot. **(SPOILER ALERT) For example, his illegitimacy and later his affair with a woman outside his marriage. The reason this information is included is because the repercussions of both had far-reaching consequences to him politically and morally.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Renata

    OK so this is hard to rate because obviously I'm mentally comparing it to Chernow's Alexander Hamilton, and that is an 800-page biography for adults, and this is a 1oo-page biography for children. BUT, I still feel like it's fair for me to say that this is leaving out some of the most interesting parts. Like, obviously this isn't going to go into the kind of detail about dueling and the code duello that Chernow did, but I feel like it's pretty important to understand how dueling works, and also OK so this is hard to rate because obviously I'm mentally comparing it to Chernow's Alexander Hamilton, and that is an 800-page biography for adults, and this is a 1oo-page biography for children. BUT, I still feel like it's fair for me to say that this is leaving out some of the most interesting parts. Like, obviously this isn't going to go into the kind of detail about dueling and the code duello that Chernow did, but I feel like it's pretty important to understand how dueling works, and also pretty cool and interesting? It seems like a no-brainer to talk about dueling in your children's biography of Alexander Hamilton. (To be fair: it does, but not enough.) It also seems like it did not define a lot of terms that I don't think children would understand? Like "aide-de-camp" for example. On the other hand I thought it did a decent job addressing the Reynolds Pamphlet without going into too much detail, although kids might be confused why it was such a big problem for Hamilton to "see" Maria Reynolds. WHATEVER, it's fine. If a kid needs to write a report about Hamilton this would do it. If a kid is obsessed with a Broadway musical about Hamilton and wants the full story they are going to have to rise up to the challenge and read the Chernow.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    In her usual fashion with engaging text based on research, Jean Fritz brings to life another wonderful man from the colonial period--Alexander Hamilton. Having endured several losses as a child, Hamilton joins George Washington in the nation-to-be's fight against the British. Fritz relies on some of Hamilton's actual words to make readers feel as though they are right by his side, and she has a clever way of making great men seem more human as she describes the foibles of Washington, Hamilton, a In her usual fashion with engaging text based on research, Jean Fritz brings to life another wonderful man from the colonial period--Alexander Hamilton. Having endured several losses as a child, Hamilton joins George Washington in the nation-to-be's fight against the British. Fritz relies on some of Hamilton's actual words to make readers feel as though they are right by his side, and she has a clever way of making great men seem more human as she describes the foibles of Washington, Hamilton, and Aaron Burr. He may have been an outsider since he came from the British West Indies, but he clearly had access to the insiders of his day and his ideas about customs, currency, and taxes would be influential. The sections on dueling are also intriguing, and readers will wonder why any civilized men ever thought that dueling would be a good way to settle an argument. So much depends on honor, and many duelists were not honorable. Fritz makes readers wonder what other goals Hamilton might have reached had he not died after that duel.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jamey

    This was a quick, but boring read for me. I love Hamilton; an American musical, but life with a book is very boring, I think that people who like history should read this book. I am so glad that Lin Manuel Miranda made the musical so that more people will be more interested with history by using entertainment. Overall I like Hamilton, but not this book.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Shawna (BacchusVines)

    My name is Alexander Hamilton.... I really love kid biographies because...they're just awesome. And learning more about Hamilton is always fun. Hamilton was a real, innovating character. I'm so mad that he barely gets the recognition he deserves. This book, for kids, was really, really good.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Isabelle Simons

    loved this book I started loving Hamilton and wanted to see how much of it is true. Definitely, recommend because Jean Fritz also just has a way with words.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    I can't wait to get this book into the hands of my students!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    It was sad how he died. The bullet traveled from his hip. He really didn't want to fight.

  15. 4 out of 5

    ღ Carol jinx~☆~☔

    Informative in a way a 7 to 12 year old would enjoy.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Josiah

    So, how much do you know about Alexander Hamilton? I have to say that he really wasn't someone we learned a whole lot about in grade school. Of course, many of America's founding fathers aren't taught about in school as much as others. Most everyone learns about the life and times of George Washington from an early age, and the legend of Benjamin Franklin is expounded upon in the classroom nearly as soon, but some heroes of the American Revolution just aren't really talked about in school. Jame So, how much do you know about Alexander Hamilton? I have to say that he really wasn't someone we learned a whole lot about in grade school. Of course, many of America's founding fathers aren't taught about in school as much as others. Most everyone learns about the life and times of George Washington from an early age, and the legend of Benjamin Franklin is expounded upon in the classroom nearly as soon, but some heroes of the American Revolution just aren't really talked about in school. James Madison, James Monroe, Rufus King, John Adams and Alexander Hamilton are a few of the key figures from America's infancy whose names won't be immediately recognized by all kids. Though their contributions may be great, for some reason they don't always grab our attention the way the wartime courage of George Washington does, or the savvy intelligence and invaluable philanthropy of Thomas Jefferson. Every Alexander Hamilton out there needs a Jean Fritz to interpret his life story in a way that gives it meaning to the public, illuminating the importance of what he was to our country in its early days and how his accomplishments on behalf of the United States continue to serve and preserve us today. After a lifetime of distinguished contributions to the field of biography and nonfiction for young readers, including a 1983 Newbery Honor for her book Homesick: My Own Story, Jean Fritz has affectionately taken on the task of giving Alexander Hamilton his due to a generation of students who may never have even heard his name. Even if they have heard it, that may be only because of his picture on the ten-dollar bill, and Jean Fritz aims to change that. For the first time, kids across our nation just may come to find that our first Secretary of the Treasury was a whole lot more important to the formation of the U.S. than they knew; and finally, centuries after the end of his life, maybe he will be thought of as more than an outsider. Like many of our founding fathers, Alexander Hamilton wasn't born into wealth or political clout. So much of what he would make of himself was attributable to the matchless synergy of the American Revolution, when an unparalleled team of political and sociological innovators came together at the same point in history to help birth a new nation like none that had come before it. The riptide of that political movement would ride most of its founders to lasting renown, as well as a level of political credibility that would remain to their dying day. When he was born in Scotland, though, Alexander Hamilton had little to his family name. Opportunity in his native land wasn't exactly knocking down his door, so Hamilton traveled to the British colony in the Americas as a youth, and soon established himself there as a promising academic. More than the formal education that he received, however, it was his direct experience working with money that helped Hamilton earn the financial knowledge and acumen that would make him so vital to the United States' early existence as an independent nation. As the rumblings of war between the U.S. and its mother country grew louder, and it became increasingly apparent that a bloody conflict could not be avoided, Alexander Hamilton thought long and hard about what he believed was the right direction for the land in which he was living. It was no flippant decision on Hamilton's part to throw his support to the Patriots, and stand with his friend George Washington as the ragamuffin American army braced itself for war. Curiously, we get relatively little about Alexander Hamilton in this part of the book. That George Washington's troops and the fledgling American government had his full support is clear, but the story at this juncture seems to belong to the great general himself, and Alexander Hamilton plays more of a bystander's role. Writing these chapters must not have been easy for Jean Fritz, as one generally prefers for the subject of a biography to be the chief focus in the book's pages, but she manages well enough. As the tide turns at last and George Washington finds victory over the dominant forces of the British army, Alexander Hamilton begins to come into the foreground of the picture once again. As both a commanding officer and leading financial mind during the war, Hamilton had performed admirably; but now, as the dust settled and the new independent government began to take definite shape, was the time when Hamilton's most lasting contributions to America's future would be made. Few had greater intelligence for the structure and working of governmental high finance than Alexander Hamilton, so after the job of Secretary of the Treasury was first offered to (and turned down by) Robert Morris, it was Hamilton whom newly inaugurated President George Washington appointed to the position. Hamilton and Washington had forged a friendship in the refining fire that was the uncertain days of the Revolutionary War, and now Washington had little doubt that Hamilton could handle being the Treasurer, even if it at first came as a surprise to him that Alexander Hamilton had such a favorable reputation in matters of money. For years, Hamilton would argue for a strong central government and a federal bank, engaging in the routine give and take of politics that continues to this day. An undeterred patriot who developed his love for his adopted homeland as he fought for it and watched the blood of other loyal soldiers spilled in defense of its soil, Hamilton nonetheless always had to push back against a faint criticism that he was an outsider in the effort to build this new country, that he was a Scottish transplant and would therefore always be, first and foremost, a foreigner. But Alexander Hamilton wouldn't give in to the rhetoric that others employed in an attempt to jostle loose his resolve. He was one of the original men who had stood up for his new country when it was in critical condition, coaxing and encouraging it through the pains of birth like a father with his newborn child, with never a thought of giving up just because the going was getting rough. How could a father ever give up on his child, be it adopted or biological? So Alexander Hamilton pushed for what he thought was right and looked after the young United States with a fiercely protective resolve, up until that fateful day when his life was taken all too soon by a senseless act of prideful bandying that could never have provided a solution to anything, only the tragedy of a young death. Alexander Hamilton's duel gone wrong with the notorious Aaron Burr was a strange, unfitting end to a political life that accomplished so much, yet also left such unfulfilled potential. Though punctuated with marvelous successes and marked by friendships with some of the most revered men in American history, Alexander Hamilton's life wasn't all positive. As intelligent a problem solver as he was, Hamilton went through periods of intense discouragement just like any of us, particularly during the morbid days of combat that characterized the Revolutionary War. One can empathize with the startling angst that Hamilton expressed in a letter during that time: "I hate Congress―I hate the army―I hate the world―I hate myself." Even a person who would ultimately rise to the heights of success enjoyed by Alexander Hamilton is bound to have dark days when everything feels wrong, when life doesn't seem worth living and it appears that nothing will ever really work out the way that one has so carefully planned. Hamilton's triumphs, though, would be equally as memorable as his laments from the pit of despair. Who knew that Alexander Hamilton would score such a resounding win with the tradesmen of the state of New York when he adroitly defended the federalist position and convinced their state to ratify the U.S. Constitution, that a movement would be started to rename New York "Hamiltonia". Granted, that of course never happened, but think of how popular Alexander Hamilton must have been at the time for it to have even been considered. In some of the sad later days of Hamilton's life, when the political spotlight had faded and tragedy made its mark on him more than once, the first-ever Secretary of the U.S. Treasury retired to a home that he built for his family, relaxing his involvement in politics even if he never would give it up entirely. Even after his son died in a tragic dueling incident that would foreshadow the events surrounding Hamilton's own death years later, the former Treasurer continued writing persuasive pieces for print on a variety of government issues, most pertaining to financial affairs and advocating a strong central banking system to give the U.S. a solid foundation on which to deal in money matters on the international stage. There was a lot less stress on Hamilton now than when he had been Secretary of the Treasury, however, and he used his time at the Grange, his new home, to recuperate from years of being beaten and battered by the political machine. "A disappointed politician is very apt to take refuge in a garden," he once said of this time in his life. When the pain of loss and letdown finally catches up with the euphoria of life in the public eye, retreat is sometimes the only move left that feels like it makes any sense. Sometimes one just feels tired from having things go against oneself so much of the time, and a rest from all the stress can be exactly what is needed. However, the call of one's first love always eventually seems to sound anew, which is why it isn't surprising that Hamilton retained his connection to politics even after his days of public service had officially ended. The bad comes along with the good and sometimes the presence of the two feels unbalanced, as if one is winning out over the other by a large margin, but both halves take their turn, and all one can do is roll with the punches and try to take advantage when the days of good are in bloom. Even someone as special and important as Alexander Hamilton. After reading about the major events of his forty-nine years of life, tracing the path he took from birth all the way to the duel with Aaron Burr that he accepted so regretfully and which robbed him of his life, it's hard to believe that anyone ultimately considered Alexander Hamilton an outsider. It's true that he was born a Scotsman, and some of the financial philosophies that he advocated for were too similar to the systems of the British monarchy for the taste of dissenting Americans, but there can be no doubt that Alexander Hamilton was absolutely committed to the cause of his adopted homeland, and gave the best years of his life in service to it. Even upon his deathbed, Alexander Hamilton's concerns were for the country that he had helped bring into this world. "If they break this Union, they will break my heart", he said, not knowing the severe testing that the Union would undergo first in 1861 and then again in subsequent years, but understanding that the strength of the United States would always be its unity out of diversity, one nation formed by the labors of many. Who better to symbolize that than a transplanted British citizen like Hamilton who became one of the very first legal Americans, giving quarter to none who ever attempted to undermine this new country of which he was so proud. In the words of Jean Fritz as she brings this book to a close, "How could anyone have thought that Alexander Hamilton was an outsider?" While not a typical biography, especially considering the surprising amount of time spent away from Alexander Hamilton in the chapters about the Revolutionary War, Alexander Hamilton: The Outsider is nonetheless a good, informative nonfiction book, with just enough of an emotional touch to the ending, and at some points throughout the narrative, to really bring it home for readers who are more familiar with fiction. I don't know whether or not this book will actually make Alexander Hamilton better known among the general population of American kids, but at least Jean Fritz has given his memory a fighting chance, and I believe that kids who find their way to this particular biography will discover a story and central character compelling enough to hold their attention. Perhaps Alexander Hamilton actually will finally receive the credit due his name, and Jean Fritz will have had something to do with that. I would at least consider giving two and a half stars to this book.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Nicole Blicht

    Reading Log #5-3-5 Biography Title Alexander Hamilton: The Outsider Author: Jean Fritz Genre: Biography, History, and Non-fiction Theme(s): Being on the outside, Not giving up, Always trying your best Opening line/sentence Alexander Hamilton should have been born in his grandfather’s fogbound castle on the west coast of Scotland, the same castle where his father, James, had been born, along with James’s three older brothers. Brief Book Summary This story is a biography on the very famous President Al Reading Log #5-3-5 Biography Title Alexander Hamilton: The Outsider Author: Jean Fritz Genre: Biography, History, and Non-fiction Theme(s): Being on the outside, Not giving up, Always trying your best Opening line/sentence Alexander Hamilton should have been born in his grandfather’s fogbound castle on the west coast of Scotland, the same castle where his father, James, had been born, along with James’s three older brothers. Brief Book Summary This story is a biography on the very famous President Alexander Hamilton. This non-fiction story talks about his beginning life until his death. Hamilton was born in the British West Indies and then arrived in New York, and felt completely alone. He fought in the American Revolution and became a very successful figure. He then became the first Secretary of the Treasury as the country where America struggled to become unified and independent. Then it ends with his death in a duel with Aaron Burr. Professional Recommendation/Review #1 Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews, December 1, 2010 (Vol. 78, No. 23)) His enemies may have called him an outsider, but Alexander Hamilton was loyal to his adopted country. In a swift and lively narrative, Fritz traces Hamilton's life from his childhood in the West Indies to schooling in America and on to his involvement in just about every phase of the nation's birthing. A soldier in Washington's army, he was later asked to be on Washington's staff as an aide-de-camp, thus beginning a close relationship with the future president. Later, Hamilton was asked to be the first secretary of the treasury for the new nation, the perfect position for a Federalist, who believed in a strong central government, a national bank and a monetary standard. The narrative features abundant detail without ever losing sight of Hamilton the person, no small feat for a work about a complicated man in complex times, and Schoenherr's black-and-white illustrations are a perfect complement to the text. The volume comes to an unfortunately perfunctory conclusion with Hamilton's death in his duel with Aaron Burr, though source notes add interesting additional reading. Professional Recommendation/Review #2 REVIEWER: Carolyn Phelan (SOURCE: Booklist, Jan. 1, 2011 (Vol. 107, No. 9)) Starred Review* Fritz, a notable biographer of the Revolutionary War period for young people, provides a brisk, well-written account introducing Founding Father Alexander Hamilton as an outsider to America. Raised in the West Indies, Hamilton traveled to New York for his education in 1773 and became immersed in the political turmoil that led to the Revolutionary War. Joining the army as an artillery captain, he became an aide-de-camp to General Washington and led an attack at Yorktown. After the war, he served in Congress, at the Constitutional Convention, and as the first secretary of the treasury before sustaining a mortal wound in a duel with his longtime rival, Aaron Burr. Fast moving and engaging, this straightforward biography acknowledges Hamilton s flaws while portraying him as an intelligent, energetic man who rose to the challenge of his times. In addition to the black-and-white reproductions of period paintings and prints that illustrate the text, Schoenherr s striking, engraving-like images of Hamilton as scholar, soldier, aide-de-camp, statesman, and duelist introduce each section. The appended section of notes deals with historical background information, rather than sources for facts or quotes, but a source bibliography is included. This lively biography sheds light on Hamilton s character and his place at the nation s beginnings. Response to Two Professional Reviews These reviews were both very descriptive and if I read them before reading the book it would definitely spark my interest. This is because for the first review it gives a brief synopsis of the order of Hamilton’s life chronologically. In addition, it talks about how this is a beneficial narrative to young students who should learn about a very famous president and their contributions to America. In addition, the book has some pictures, but not too many and they are in black and white which corresponds well to the informational words throughout the story. I like how this review said it was a perfect amount of information about Hamilton where students that don’t know much about him will learn the important aspects to his life as president. I like how the second review talks about how the author Fritz is a notable biographer, therefore parents, children and teachers that read the reviews will know that her books clearly are worth reading and she makes very good points through her biographies. Also, it talks about the key elements that make Hamilton the great man he is known for today. Evaluation of Literary Elements Alexander Hamilton: The Outsider is a great biography for students in third to fifth grade. It is essentially a narrative about Hamilton’s life and has all of his interesting contributions. It is complicated enough for third to fifth graders since the pictures are in black and white and there are more words to a page. The biography also talks about more complicated elements such as war and death that third to fifth graders will be able to comprehend. The biography talks about plot and conflict when Hamilton is fighting in the American Revolution. However, overall since this book is non-fiction it is important to stress to students that everything that happened in this book is completely factual. Consideration of Instructional Application This biography about Alexander Hamilton should be implemented in a third to fifth grade classroom. Like I said for the lesson about the biography Abe Lincoln remembers, this is a great book to read aloud for Presidents Day. However, I think third to fifth grade students are capable of reading this book before Presidents Day. I think this should be a read aloud in the beginning of the year where children learn about this really fluential President. After the read aloud there will be a film on Alexander Hamilton and they will compare and contrast the book and film. The point is that most of the things are similar since all of these events that happened in Hamilton’s life is valid.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Stacy Ford

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Say what you will about Jean Fritz, she can write a mighty biography. I have only read her biopic on Benedict Arnold before reading this one on Alexander Hamilton. Recalling my time reading Arnold's biopic I remember learning so much more about the man. This time as I read "Alexander Hamilton: The Outsider," is much the same. Fritz does a thorough job of splitting Hamilton's life into sections so we learn about his life. His boyhood in St. Croix where he was orphaned, yet eventually benefactors Say what you will about Jean Fritz, she can write a mighty biography. I have only read her biopic on Benedict Arnold before reading this one on Alexander Hamilton. Recalling my time reading Arnold's biopic I remember learning so much more about the man. This time as I read "Alexander Hamilton: The Outsider," is much the same. Fritz does a thorough job of splitting Hamilton's life into sections so we learn about his life. His boyhood in St. Croix where he was orphaned, yet eventually benefactors supported his continuing education in the United States. We see his origins as a patriot. His rise through the ranks of the Continental Army as Washington's Aide-de-Camp. Fritz weaves in bits of his personal life: the romance of his wife Eliza, the birth of his eldest son, an affair, the death of his eldest son in a duel and his eventual death resulting from a duel with Aaron Burr. Obviously, Hamilton's role as a politician are front and center. We see how his views shaped the financial foundation of the country as the first Secretary of the Treasury and his particpation in the Constitutional Convention on behalf of New York. This book is well researched and includes end notes, index and bibliography. Timelessness: The tense and the fact that Hamilton has been dead over 200 years demonstrate that the subject matter is timeless. Fritz's engaging narrative will engage readers for years to come. Literary Quality: The worth of this book is measured in its accuracy and straight forwardness. Fritz does not preach, but presents Hamilton as he was. Yes, he is shown in a positive light, but his faults are also shown. The writing in this book makes it easy to follow and readable by its intended audience. It reads like a story. Originality: This text throughly introduces Alexander Hamilton, I have seen no other book that does that as well. Clarity/Style of Language: Straight forward, concise. Children will be able to comprehend. Illustration: Illustrations in the text enhance the features, but are not a focal point of the work. Design/Format: The work is splits up Hamilton's life so that it is easy to follow and understand. Subject Matter Interest/Value to Children: While the subject matter will not be the most interesting to students it is valuable in that it introduces a founding father of our nation in a narrative format. The text is easy to read and understand. Acceptance: This book will not be well read by all students. It will be great for history lovers and those who like biographies. It could also be used with other works of Fritz in literature circles.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Teresa Scherping Moulton

    Founding Father Alexander Hamilton was much more than just the face on our $10 bill. Born in the West Indies to a Scottish father and French mother, Alexander always felt like he didn't quite belong. After years of working hard and reading every history book he could get his hands on, Alexander achieved his dream of traveling to America to study. As a teenage student at King's College, Alexander became involved with the patriots who wanted freedom from Britain. When the Revolutionary War broke o Founding Father Alexander Hamilton was much more than just the face on our $10 bill. Born in the West Indies to a Scottish father and French mother, Alexander always felt like he didn't quite belong. After years of working hard and reading every history book he could get his hands on, Alexander achieved his dream of traveling to America to study. As a teenage student at King's College, Alexander became involved with the patriots who wanted freedom from Britain. When the Revolutionary War broke out, Alexander was commissioned as a captain and witnessed many key events in the War for Independence, especially when he became an aide-de-camp to General Washington. When the war was over, Alexander helped found the new nation called the United States of America by representing the state of New York at the writing of the Constitution and later by becoming the country's first Secretary of the Treasury and establishing the Bank of the United States and the U.S. Mint. When he died tragically as a result of a duel with Aaron Burr, Alexander Hamilton's funeral was the largest and most respectful that New York had ever seen. He had finally found a place where he belonged. This is a very well-written book that taught me a lot about a historical figure that I didn't know much about. The writing is clear, the information is well-sourced, and the story is engaging. Alexander Hamilton lived a truly interesting life, and this biography highlights the ways in which he shaped the future of our country with his gift for persuasive writing and speaking, his hard work and courage, and his steadfast loyalty to his adopted country. I'm sure young readers will enjoy hearing about his wartime adventures and his final duel, but I think they will also be impressed with what he accomplished in between. I would recommend this book to readers in grades 4-8, especially fans of biographies and American history. This would be a great choice for a school report, and it's not even a very long read. I imagine that Jean Fritz's other related nonfiction books would make great readalikes, such as Traitor: the Case of Benedict Arnold or What's the Big Idea, Ben Franklin?.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sydney

    In the being you meet Alexander Hamilton's family. His mother a native from the West Indies and his father is a man from Scotland. Hamilton grew up in the West Indies. When Hamilton was 18 He moved to New York. He graduated collage and became a soilder in the reveoltionary war. Washington made Hamitlon his right hand man. Hamilton marries Eliza Shcuaryer. They win the war in 1776. Hamilton becomes a lawyer. Washington is starting the new government and askes Hamilton to become secretary of tres In the being you meet Alexander Hamilton's family. His mother a native from the West Indies and his father is a man from Scotland. Hamilton grew up in the West Indies. When Hamilton was 18 He moved to New York. He graduated collage and became a soilder in the reveoltionary war. Washington made Hamitlon his right hand man. Hamilton marries Eliza Shcuaryer. They win the war in 1776. Hamilton becomes a lawyer. Washington is starting the new government and askes Hamilton to become secretary of treshery and Hamilton says yes. Hamilton meets Thomas Jefferson. They don't like each other. Hamilton cheats on his wife and gets blackmailed. Years later Hamilton puplishes the Renyolds pamhlet saying that he cheated on his wife. Hamilton's son phillip (who was 19 at the time) challenged a man to a duel because he said some rude things about Alexander Hamilton. Phillip dies in the duel. It's the election of 1800! Aaron Burr vs. Thomas Jefferson the result is a tie and it is up to Hamilton to choose who is presedent. Hamilton chooses Thomas because he does not trust Burr. Aaron Burr mad at Hamilton because Hamilton has messed with Burr on multipe accations and challenges Hamilton to a duel. Hamilton accepts and dies in the duel. I think the Charchter who changed in the book was well, Hamilton. An example of this is that when Hamilton came to New York he had only heared of the war and didn't know what said was right but he became a patriot later on. One of the things I love about this book was The man Alexander himself. He has done so many things for our Country. One thing I did not like was how they glossed over a very sad part that i wanted to learn more about, the death of Phillip Hamilton.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dawn

    Now I want to see the play! After I finished reading this, I spent time listening to the songs on YouTube from the musical. This was a good short version of Alexander Hamilton's life. It was a quick read. The subtitle, 'The Outside' was a good one. He was an outsider because his parents never married, because his step brother took what he loved, was poor but found a way to get a good education and was a great leader in the early years of the US government. The musical starts off with: How does a b Now I want to see the play! After I finished reading this, I spent time listening to the songs on YouTube from the musical. This was a good short version of Alexander Hamilton's life. It was a quick read. The subtitle, 'The Outside' was a good one. He was an outsider because his parents never married, because his step brother took what he loved, was poor but found a way to get a good education and was a great leader in the early years of the US government. The musical starts off with: How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a Scotsman, dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot in the Caribbean by providence impoverished, in squalor grow up to be a hero and a scholar? I loved reading about how he loved to learn and how aggressive he was about it. He would get up early and read and then go walking and work on memorizing the information he had read by reciting it. People thought he was a little crazy when they saw him walking and talking to himself. I enjoyed reading about how banks started. Many people thought they were akin to gambling and would rather be seen in a brothel than a bank....perhaps still a legit concern. :) In the end, he died in a duel, just a few years after his son died the same way. I thought it was bizarrely dumb way for such a smart guy to die. When I read books like this, I wish someone had written some similarly great stories about people in Canadian history!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    I have always been a nerd for history, especially American history. Growing up I loved reading historical fiction, biographies, and nonfiction with a focus on American history. Jean Fritz was and still is one of my favorite authors to turn to for great biography or history books. I grew up reading her books and when I saw this new one at the library I knew I had to pick it up and read it! Most people think of Alexander Hamilton as the guy on the ten dollar bill and maybe even know that he died in I have always been a nerd for history, especially American history. Growing up I loved reading historical fiction, biographies, and nonfiction with a focus on American history. Jean Fritz was and still is one of my favorite authors to turn to for great biography or history books. I grew up reading her books and when I saw this new one at the library I knew I had to pick it up and read it! Most people think of Alexander Hamilton as the guy on the ten dollar bill and maybe even know that he died in a duel with Aaron Burr, but he did so much for our country that I didn't know. I read this book on a car trip with my husband and often would have to stop reading and share a new fact that I learned with him. For example, did you know that Hamilton negotiated the location of the nation's capital? Read the book to find out how! The book was a very quick and easy read. Jean Fritz provides wonderful details that keep the reader engaged and wanting to learn more. I really enjoyed this book and walked away with a better understanding of Alexander Hamilton and all of his accomplishments. A wonderful read for anyone who loves a good biography! http://mrsbreads.blogspot.com/2012/06...

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kristen Jorgensen

    Alexander Hamilton was always one of my favorites in American history. I was delighted to see Alexander Hamilton: The Outsider in the mock Newbery lists. It was a wonderful read and I think children will enjoy it. Jean Fritz with one Newbery honor under her belt has written Hamilton’s life accurately and brings his attributes to our country forward. Her ability to show how Hamilton’s ideas and policies are either the forerunner to rules and departments we have today, or are basically still in us Alexander Hamilton was always one of my favorites in American history. I was delighted to see Alexander Hamilton: The Outsider in the mock Newbery lists. It was a wonderful read and I think children will enjoy it. Jean Fritz with one Newbery honor under her belt has written Hamilton’s life accurately and brings his attributes to our country forward. Her ability to show how Hamilton’s ideas and policies are either the forerunner to rules and departments we have today, or are basically still in use, was informative and fun. I also enjoyed Hamilton’s inspiring personal rags-to-riches story. This New Yorker has rightfully earned his place on the ten dollar bill and in history. Fritz’s ending could not have been more poetic- “On his deathbed, among his last words, he spoke of his beloved America, ‘If they break this Union, they will break my heart.’ How could anyone have thought that Alexander Hamilton was an outsider?” I think the Newbery 2012 committee will consider Fritz's latest work for a possible medal. If they don’t, I would be very disappointed.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Izzy Anders

    "Alexander Hamilton: the Outsider," written by Jean Fritz, is a biography on Alexander Hamilton's life. The book is directed towards intermediate readers due to the mature vocabulary, minimal pictures, and abundant information. This book covers a wide range of Hamilton's life, explaining the many different aspects of history he played an influential role on. One of his more well-known contributions was the writing of The Federalist Papers, along with James Madison and John Jay. Hamilton wrote ar "Alexander Hamilton: the Outsider," written by Jean Fritz, is a biography on Alexander Hamilton's life. The book is directed towards intermediate readers due to the mature vocabulary, minimal pictures, and abundant information. This book covers a wide range of Hamilton's life, explaining the many different aspects of history he played an influential role on. One of his more well-known contributions was the writing of The Federalist Papers, along with James Madison and John Jay. Hamilton wrote articles into newspapers to voice his opinion on prominent matters he felt strongly on. The twin text I paired this biography with is "The Landry News" by Andrew Clements. This was one of my most favorite chapter books growing up. In this story, a new girl, Cara Landry, voices her opinions on the happenings of her elementary school through a newspaper she designs called The Landry News. Similar to the eminent issues and plans set forth in the writings which later became The Federalist Papers, this young girl creates a stir within her school. I contend the overall message is positive, showing children how to stand up for what they believe in, doing so in an appropriate manner. Both Alexander Hamilton and Cara Landry have their voice heard through their personal writings in a newspaper.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Beth G.

    Noted autor Jean Fritz turns her keen eye for historical detail to the life of Alexander Hamilton. From his early years in the West Indies to that fateful day in Weehawken, NJ, Fritz puts Hamilton's story center stage while also setting it in the context of the birth of the United States. The tone of the narrative is conversational and should appeal to middle grade readers. Historical images are reproduced throughout the book; while lovely and certainly helpful in setting the mood and tone in ce Noted autor Jean Fritz turns her keen eye for historical detail to the life of Alexander Hamilton. From his early years in the West Indies to that fateful day in Weehawken, NJ, Fritz puts Hamilton's story center stage while also setting it in the context of the birth of the United States. The tone of the narrative is conversational and should appeal to middle grade readers. Historical images are reproduced throughout the book; while lovely and certainly helpful in setting the mood and tone in certain passages, the lack of captions may leave some readers a bit puzzled. The image credits are squeezed into a text-dense single page in the back matter. The back matter also includes several notes on particular points, but there is no indication in the text itself that the notes exist. (This is entirely reasonable, since children's books do not generally use footnotes, but it is a little odd to reach the end and discover the notes.) The included bibliography indicates her research sources and points to further reading. An impeccably researched, fresh look at a figure who frequently fades into the background for kids studying American history.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Heather Shembarger

    This was an enjoyable read which allows one to see Hamilton in many different lights. Hamilton's great love for America and his willingness to sacrifice for its good is made evident throughout the book over and over. It also is clear that because he was not native born, influential people used it to question his loyalty to the United States. Hamilton's pain from this accusation was also evident. Fritz allows us to see that Hamilton ran into conflict with many other influential historical figures This was an enjoyable read which allows one to see Hamilton in many different lights. Hamilton's great love for America and his willingness to sacrifice for its good is made evident throughout the book over and over. It also is clear that because he was not native born, influential people used it to question his loyalty to the United States. Hamilton's pain from this accusation was also evident. Fritz allows us to see that Hamilton ran into conflict with many other influential historical figures and that his life was not always easy or pleasant because of this. Hamilton's shortcomings as a man in relation to his wife is also disclosed, but along with it, is his willingness to take ownership of his regrettable actions with great remorse and transparency in order to make things right. His untimely death also shows his great integrity as he refuses to shoot at Burr, but instead, fires upward costing himself his own life. Included in the book are two heart wrenching letters he left for his wife to be read in case he did not make it out alive. Pick up this 132 page book for a great inside look on the life of Alexander Hamilton.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ronna

    I purchased this book for my 9 year old son, who like his mother, enjoys history. It was longer than I had anticipated when I purchased it, so I read it first. I did enjoy it, however, I thought it included a bit too much detail for its intended school age audience, and I fear many of that age would not read it cover to cover. In particular, the chapters covering Hamilton's time serving in the army during the American Revolution, while I'm certain are historically accurate and done quite compreh I purchased this book for my 9 year old son, who like his mother, enjoys history. It was longer than I had anticipated when I purchased it, so I read it first. I did enjoy it, however, I thought it included a bit too much detail for its intended school age audience, and I fear many of that age would not read it cover to cover. In particular, the chapters covering Hamilton's time serving in the army during the American Revolution, while I'm certain are historically accurate and done quite comprehensively, and clearly painted him as a brave, committed leader of the Patriot cause with a keen military acumen, seemed a bit longer than necessary. To me, his greatest contributions came after the war, as our new government and infrastructure were being developed. Perhaps inclusion of portions of some of his many referenced published articles would have given us a greater insight into the man. Nonetheless, I do think that anyone who enjoys American History would appreciate this book, and learning the many contributions that this man made. I will try to convince my son to read it through, but recommend it for middle schoolers and up.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Teresa

    After seeing scenes from "Hamilton", this seemed kind of tame. However, taken just on the merits of the story, I think kids will be surprised at how much excitement there was in the early days of our country. Hamilton certainly had a sad and difficult early life, but his determination and passion for learning helped him scramble to a position of power and influence. The descriptions of the challenges and frustrations of the war for Hamilton and his commander in chief, GW, may be quite eye-openin After seeing scenes from "Hamilton", this seemed kind of tame. However, taken just on the merits of the story, I think kids will be surprised at how much excitement there was in the early days of our country. Hamilton certainly had a sad and difficult early life, but his determination and passion for learning helped him scramble to a position of power and influence. The descriptions of the challenges and frustrations of the war for Hamilton and his commander in chief, GW, may be quite eye-opening for readers. And the need to SET UP a country--how does one do that? And keep everyone happy? Hamilton's passion and intelligence are clearly portrayed here, making his untimely death all the more tragic. In just over 130 pp, the story of one of the founding fathers of our young country is told with verve and great attention to detail. A great resource for kids who want to know more about this fascinating man.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I can easily see this becoming the "go to" biography on Hamilton for younger readers - the narrative flow will help them get through some of the more confusing parts (Hamilton's ideas about a federal bank, for example, or his activities during the Revolutionary War). Occasionally the jumps make the chronology a little confusing, or information is left out (eg, was Hamilton accepted to the College of New Jersey?) but that's a rare occurrence. There were times when I wished for more detail, for ex I can easily see this becoming the "go to" biography on Hamilton for younger readers - the narrative flow will help them get through some of the more confusing parts (Hamilton's ideas about a federal bank, for example, or his activities during the Revolutionary War). Occasionally the jumps make the chronology a little confusing, or information is left out (eg, was Hamilton accepted to the College of New Jersey?) but that's a rare occurrence. There were times when I wished for more detail, for example what happened to Aaron Burr after the duel, but for the most part this introduction to Hamilton's life is filled with the depth of information that will satisfy readers and encourage some of them to go further. The notes at the end were very welcome, as was the bibliography. ARC provided by publisher.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Carrie

    3.5 Published in 2011 before all the Hamilton hoopla, though very handy for understanding it! Written for elementary/middle school. Clear and concise and age-appropriate considering some of Hamilton's scandals. Gets a little mired in details, especially of the War for Independence, but that reflects the thoroughness of research and integrating it. Creates a valiant portrait of Hamilton himself -- both intellectually and militarily. Great traits to have in a hero. Overall, gives a sense of the di 3.5 Published in 2011 before all the Hamilton hoopla, though very handy for understanding it! Written for elementary/middle school. Clear and concise and age-appropriate considering some of Hamilton's scandals. Gets a little mired in details, especially of the War for Independence, but that reflects the thoroughness of research and integrating it. Creates a valiant portrait of Hamilton himself -- both intellectually and militarily. Great traits to have in a hero. Overall, gives a sense of the difficulty of building a government from scratch, not to mention the challenges of extracting an entire people from another's country's rule. Her preface has a noble intent: "If I could have one wish for the present generation, it would be that they are motivated by the same sense of justice and equally insistent on defending it."

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