Hamilton: The Revolution: Hamilton: The RevolutionHamilton, the smash-hit Broadway hip-hop musical about Founding Father and America’s first Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton (yes, you read that right), has taken the world by storm. Performances are sold out through the end of this year, and celebrities from Busta Rhymes to Madonna all the way up to Dick Cheney and the Obama family have raved about the show.
If you’ve been listening to the Broadway cast soundtrack non-stop since it came out, you probably already know all about Hamiltome, the nickname for the newest book about the musical. Many Broadway shows publish libretti with music, lyrics, and notes about the show, but Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and collaborator Jeremy McCarter have put together something more like a scrapbook. In addition to the traditional libretto, Hamilton: The Revolution features large color photos of the cast, set, and show; plus historical background information, interviews, and footnotes from Miranda and the cast. It was published this week, and you can place a hold on it from AADL!
If you just can’t wait for it, and need to dive deeper into Hamilton and his contemporaries, try one of these:
Ron Chernow’s biography, Alexander Hamilton tops the list of further Hamilton reading, and is in fact the inspiration for the musical. Lin-Manuel Miranda took this 800-page tome on vacation as some nice beach reading, connected with the plight and struggle of a man writing himself out of hard times, and started composing the musical when he got back from vacation. This is the definitive Hamilton biography, a vivid and detailed portrait of a multi-dimensional man who came to a new country and made himself a new man.
Hamilton wrote prolifically, and there’s no better way to understand that than by picking up the 1108-page collection of his writings, which includes letters, speeches, the infamous Reynolds Pamphlet, and all 51 of the Federalist Papers he authored. Flip through, and you might even notice some lines from his actual writing that became lyrics in the show. Be certain to read some of the affectionate letters he wrote to his wife Eliza and the series of letters with Aaron Burr that led to their fateful duel.
After the duel, Aaron Burr would often casually refer to Alexander Hamilton as “my friend Alexander Hamilton, whom I shot.” They were, at the very least, colleagues, and even worked together as attorneys for the defense in America’s first sensational and fully transcribed murder trial. Duel with the Devil, by Paul Collins, shares the scandal of the Manhattan Well Mystery and the trial of suspect Levi Weeks, plus some of the political backstory of the two legendary rivals.
Don’t throw away your shot to learn more about this Founding Father’s fascinating life and career. Placing a hold on one of these books is easy, waiting for it is harder.