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 are a number of others, as well, but not worth mentioning

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  1. Devildog says:

    What are your thoughts on the Hamilton phenomena stimulating the interest of the youth of this country to study and understand the birth of this great experiment in democracy? My daughter was surprised at the scandalous nature of our early history.

    1. I’m very happy that the Hamilton musical is stimulating that interest, and a bit sad that the youth seem to need “pop” entertainment to open their eyes to the fascination of history.

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