One of the most intriguing books I’ve read recently is Alexander Hamilton, the Ron Chernow biography on which the musical Hamilton is reputedly based. Combined with David McCullough’s John Adams, and Jon Meacham’s Thomas Jefferson, The Art of Power, I now have a very much altered view of Thomas Jefferson, as not only talented and unrealistically idealistic, but as an extraordinarily self-centered and often petty man who could seldom directly confront others, but who was exceptionally skilled in using words, especially anonymously, to attack others. Hamilton by comparison, was not as adept at self-promotion, and his comparative probity in public affairs and his weakness for women left him at a great disadvantage, particularly after George Washington effectively retired from public life.

In the F&SF field, I’ve recently read Archangel by Marguerite Reed; The Devourers, by Indra Das, a very unsettling book highly praised by others, but which I found far too violent for my tastes despite the skill of the writing; Down and Out in Purgatory by Tim Powers; Prospero’s Children by Jan Siegel; and Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente. There area number of others, as well, but not worth mentioning

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