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"H. W. Brands brings to life Burr’s forgotten contributions as a Revolutionary War hero and politician, as well as the shame that shadowed him for the rest of his life after Hamilton’s death."
—The New York Times
"Intense. . . . Short, accessible . . . tightly focused work. . . . In The Heartbreak of Aaron Burr, Mr. Brands goes beyond what is commonly known about Burr to show his more admirable side, which lay in his developing the mind and character of the treasure of his life, his daughter Theodosia."
—The Washington Times
“Tightly crafted. . . . Aaron Burr is our Founding Father in the shadows. So often the gifted American who gut-shot Alexander Hamilton on a sheltered rocky ledge in Weehawken, N.J., is remembered as a nasty piece of work. . . . The flawed, fascinating pol has been the subject of many biographies. But in H.W. Brands' beguiling 192-pager, The Heartbreak of Aaron Burr, the grandson of Calvinist preacher Jonathan Edwards steps off the page with customary aplomb—not as a cartoonish villain but as a cultured, considerate and caring father who was a Princeton graduate at 16, a hero of the Revolution at 20, New York state attorney general at 30 and U.S. senator at 35. . . . Like Herman Melville, who swept us back to 19th-century New Bedford's Spouter-Inn in Moby-Dick, Brands transports us to a room on Stone Street in New York ‘on this eighth day of June, anno domini 1812.’ . . . And it's [Burr and Theo’s] highly literate, lively correspondence that leavens this revealing book and makes its subjects spring to life.”
“Although Burr is the subject of numerous biographies, Brands’ use of the letters between Burr and Theo, named after her mother, allows a somewhat different perspective. As the title may suggest, this sketch seems to look more at Burr the man than the other categories in which he could be placed—politician, duelist, accused traitor. While Brand concisely covers the breadth of Burr's life, it is clear that the father-daughter relationship was an extraordinary one.”
“Compelling. . . . A softer perspective of one of American history’s most controversial figures. It’s true Burr gets a bad rap. . . . The letters give us an authentic glimpse of his personality while nicely mirroring the dramatic political landscape (duels, deals and treason) of the time.”
“Brands reveals another side of Burr in this examination of his extensive correspondence with his beloved daughter, Theodosia. . . . The letters deal with more than personal relations, as Burr discourses upon subjects as varied as sexual equality and political rivalry. . . . This useful, often emotionally stirring work offers a surprising view of an enigmatic personality.”
“The second in the author’s series entitled American Portraits, this is one of the increasingly popular “small stories” that give so much insight into the men, women and events of history. A short but thrilling page-turner. Brands burrows into Burr’s psyche and exposes his failings as he details the outstanding talents that were so sadly wasted.”
Praise for H. W. Brands:
"Few historians can tell a tale better."
—The Dallas Morning News
"A wonderfully skilled narrative historian."
—Los Angeles Times
"Brands is masterly."
"Brands will change the way you see history."
—The Austin American-Statesman
H. W. Brands is the Dickson Allen Anderson Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin. He was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in biography for The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin, and for Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.See all Editorial Reviews
The Heartbreak of Aaron Burr by H.W. Brands, published by Anchor Books in 2012. Aaron Burr is one of my favorite founding fathers. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Mimi Coffey
Aaron Burr is considered a traitor and consummate politician. He murdered Alexander Hamilton in a duel. He conspired to bring war to build an empire with parts of Mexico. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Kevin M Quigg
They say truth is stranger than fiction. There is so much in our nation's history of which we know so little! This book tells an amazing story that makes up part of our history. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Nola T
As a politics and history buff, I had hoped for some of Brands' insight on the politics of Burr and his relationship with other political figures of the era. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Henry A. Suter
As observed by another reviewer, this is really an editing of Burr's own letters and the responses of his daughter and a few friends. Read morePublished on May 18, 2013 by Jim in Greenville
H. W. Brands's "book" on Aaron Burr is thin, unpersuasive, and careless. Brands ignores the most recent significant scholarship on the Burr-Hamilton due (perhaps the single most... Read morePublished on April 11, 2013 by R. B. Bernstein
Excellent biography of a misunderstood man in the early days of the USA. A good read! ontains good information about Burr's contemporarues as well as details on his life.Published on March 20, 2013 by J. Bell
The book was in excellent condition and received in expected time. The inclusion of the legal battles over the charge of treason was most interesting. Read morePublished on March 4, 2013 by savvy
Very interesting. Easy read. You find out about some of the history that you will not find in your history book.Published on January 30, 2013 by old cook