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Alexander Hamilton and the Persistence of Myth (American Political Thought) Paperback – February 15, 2002
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"An important book." -- Claremont Review of Books
"Knott does a marvelous job of gathering all the different views of Hamilton and weaving them into an interesting narrative." -- David Brooks in The Weekly Standard
"Makes a compelling case for Hamilton's importance." -- History: Reviews of New Books
From the Back Cover
"Knott has done for Alexander Hamilton what Merrill Peterson did for Thomas Jefferson, and in the process he has made clear, as never before, the contours of American political history. No one interested in our national trajectory or in the current prospect can afford to ignore this fine book."--Paul A. Rahe, author of Republics Ancient and Modern
"Tracks the ups and downs of Hamilton on the stock market of historical reputation. Its appearance now is a welcome sign that a low-selling blue chip is recovering its true value."--Richard Brookhiser, author of Alexander Hamilton, American
"Fascinating and illuminating."--John Steele Gordon, author of Hamilton's Blessing
"An exceptional book--sweeping in scope, engagingly written, and highly informative."--Richard K. Matthews, author of If Men Were Angels
Top Customer Reviews
Mr. Knott provides research on historians, authors, and politicians of the last 200 years who have provided favorable and/or critical analysis of Hamilton's influence on American government and policy. What Knott was successful in proving was the point that Hamilton has had an effect, for better or for worse, on nearly every presidential administration. He also demonstrated how these administrations tended to attribute their policies to either Hamilton or Thomas Jefferson. The rivalry that began while both worked in George Washington's administration has continued to this day.
While unique and informative, this particular book on Hamilton does have one major drawback. Knott eventually shows his admiration for Hamilton. However, although he wisely references the negative material against Hamilton made by politicians and historians over the years, he tends to dwell on one particular comment that has not even been completely proven: the supposed quote that was used to show Hamilton's preference for a monarchy when he called the general public 'the beast'. Knott concludes his book by saying that most of the negative comments made towards Hamilton are not warranted, especially that particular quote. He does not help his own position with his constant referral to that quote throughout his book.Read more ›
Construction on the myth began years before Alexander Hamilton died on July 12, 1804. It surely got its nurturing from the National Gazette started in 1791 by Philip Freneau, Madison's Princeton roommate, and Thomas Jefferson. And it surely had its fires flaming during the fallout from Hamilton's Reynolds Affair which tainted his career from then on. From the get go, Hamilton's image was tarnished. He didn't fall for anything however. The day he died is the same day as the battle of the Boyne where the catholic, Stuart King James II and his Jacobites were defeated by the protestant William III, of Orange. Another Hamilton had died in a duel on November 15, 1712 in Hyde Park in London. Although his birth was deemed illegit, Alexander Hamilton was of noble lineage; his father's family was derived from the Scottish, ducal line of Hamilton.
Stephen F. Knott's book is not a biography; it's more of a thoughtful, unbiased tracing of pundits' and politicians' interpretation/opinion of his work in American government through the years up to the present. It is a must read for anyone who attempts to judge Hamilton's person because the historical record is replete with misrepresentations of his life's work. Knott's analysis is thorough; you'll understand the bias behind any biographer who studies him. I believe one best understands Hamilton from his own writings and those scholars who studied them as Knott did. Knott shows that Hamilton has been labelled a fascist, a monarchist, a Napoleon, a dictator, a Caesar by mostly Jeffersonians who were content with superficial studies of his life.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book a great analysis of a man's legacy throughout history. As a previous reviewer noted this is not a biography of Alexander Hamilton, the author expects you to know things... Read morePublished on September 10, 2013 by Phillip Marshall
Stephen Knott knows his subject matter! In a time when understanding our Founding Fathers (what they meant, what they stood for, and why they knew it to be right for mankind for... Read morePublished on January 17, 2013 by V. Benedetto