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Hamilton: The Revolution

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Lin-Manuel Miranda's groundbreaking musical Hamilton is as revolutionary as its subject, the poor kid from the Caribbean who fought the British, defended the Constitution, and helped to found the United States. Fusing hip-hop, pop, R&B, and the best traditions of theater, this once-in-a-generation show broadens the sound of Broadway, reveals the storytelling power of rap, and claims our country's origins for a diverse new generation.

Hamilton: The Revolution gives readers an unprecedented view of both revolutions, from the only two writers able to provide it. Miranda and Jeremy McCarter, a cultural critic and theater artist who was involved in the project from its earliest stages--"since before this was even a show," according to Miranda--trace its development from an improbable perfor­mance at the White House to its landmark opening night on Broadway six years later. In addition, Miranda has written more than 200 funny, revealing footnotes for his award-winning libretto, the full text of which is published here.

Their account features photos by the renowned Frank Ockenfels and veteran Broadway photographer Joan Marcus; exclusive looks at notebooks and emails; interviews with Questlove, Stephen Sond­heim, leading political commentators, and more than 40 people involved with the production; and multiple appearances by Presi­dent Obama himself. The book does more than tell the surprising story of how a Broadway musical became a national phenomenon: It demonstrates that America has always been renewed by the brash upstarts and brilliant outsiders, the men and women who don't throw away their shot.

285 pages, Hardcover

First published August 6, 2015

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About the author

Lin-Manuel Miranda

94 books3,749 followers
Lin-Manuel Miranda is a composer, lyricist, writer, rapper, and actor. He is an award-winning artist (including: Tony, Grammy, Pulitzer Prize, and MacArthur "Genius" Award) known for In the Heights (composer-lyricist, actor) and Hamilton (book, music and lyrics, in addition to playing the title role).

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 6,029 reviews
Profile Image for V.
16 reviews71 followers
January 8, 2021
I won't be in the room where it happens, but at least I'll still be satisfied.
Profile Image for bec..
142 reviews89 followers
July 10, 2016
Beautiful and awe inspiring. This shows the amount of hard work and determination and pure unadulterated stubbornness that went into this musical. Lin continues to inspire me daily and this book just gave me even more insight on his thought process. My love for this musical knows no bounds, but i didn't think that reading the lyrics and annotations of songs that I listen over 100 times would affect me but yes they still had me in tears. I love the numerous passages we get on the wonderful actors and the overall set up from something that was a thought in Lin's head to performing at Public theater and now at Richard Rodgers on Broadway. Forever in debt to Hamilton for reminding me of my love for history and how crucial words can be for changing a nation.
Profile Image for Maureen.
574 reviews4,184 followers
April 20, 2016
I'm really emotional don't toUCH ME.
This book is phenomenal and hearing more about how Hamilton came to be has made me love it even more. I NEEDED TO SEE IT BEFORE BUT I DEFINITELY NEED TO SEE IT NOW.
If you love Hamilton you should definitely read this, but even if you don't love Hamilton you will have a new appreciation for it after reading this book.
BUT WARNING THERE ARE A LOT OF EMOTIONS I CRIED A FEW TIMES okay maybe I mostly cried reading annotations on the songs that are sad because emotions but STILL.
Profile Image for Blaine.
781 reviews653 followers
December 11, 2021
Hamilton reminds us that the American Revolution was a writers’ revolution, that the founders created the nation one paragraph at a time. But words can also wreak havoc. They also tear down. The heart of Act Two is a sequence of four songs that illustrate the destructive potential of language, and the perplexing fact that Alexander Hamilton never used words more devastatingly than when he used them against himself.
I first read this book in 2016, the year when I was completely obsessed with Hamilton. I listened to the soundtrack Non-Stop for months. I read Alexander Hamilton, the Ron Chernow biography that inspired Lin-Manuel Miranda to write this musical. That November, I finally got My Shot at tickets to see the show in New York. The show did indeed Blow Us All Away and, after being Helpless for so many months, I was finally Satisfied.

Or so I thought. Fast forward to July 3, 2020, the first day Hamilton was on Disney+. My wife—truly the Best of Wives and Best of Women—and I woke up to watch it when it first dropped at 3:00 a.m. Take a Break, our daughter said afterwards. We said We Know we should, but watched it again later that morning. Wait For It, she asked after lunch, but we replied that What Comes Next was a third viewing that afternoon. Say No To This, she pleaded. We smiled and said You’ll Be Back for dinner and for us to watch the movie One Last Time that day. Four viewings? It turned out That Would Be Enough for the first day. The next two days, when she returned to The Room Where It Happens and asked What’d I Miss, we said that she was just in time to Meet Me Inside and that I would be her Right Hand Man for another viewing.

All of those viewings made me Burn to reread this book, which contains an in-depth history of how the musical was developed. First and foremost, the annotated lyrics give background on Lin-Manuel Miranda's inspiration for various lines and sources for some of the references made. The chapters surrounding those song lyrics explore the choices of and contributions of the other people who made this show what it is: the featured cast, the ensemble, producers, the Director, choreographers, costumers, musicians, and more.

Hamilton is so richly detailed—from song lyrics and music to choreography and staging—that it truly rewards multiple viewings. It turns out that my obsession had only gone into hibernation, but did Stay Alive and return with the force of a Hurricane. This book is a must read for anyone who is looking for a deeper appreciation of this incredible piece of art.

Your Obedient Servant,
B. Brown
Profile Image for Whitney Atkinson.
940 reviews13.9k followers
September 5, 2016
oh me oh my this was a journey. i definitely choked up reading about who lives who dies who tells your story. it's just really touching to see the extent of how much of lin's heart and soul went into hamilton, and this book made me so much more thankful for it. i loved the lyric annotations, both the nerdy historical ones and the more lighthearted asides. but that's where the issue lies: i almost entirely only cared about the lyric annotations. the short inserted essays (stories? interviews?) between the lyrics got very boring very quickly, but I know if I had skipped them in order to read through lyric annotations, I would never have backtracked and read them. I liked a few that offered backstories on the actors or Lin's writing process, but for the most part, I felt like they told obscure stories about unimportant things, and it created a very choppy barrier in between songs. I felt the layout could have been better, because I found myself always itching to put the book down or skip the lengthy explanations of inconsequential details that occurred in between the pages I actually wanted to read. I give this a hefty four star rating, though, because this book helped me solve so many of the puzzles I had been turning over in my mind ever since hearing Hamilton. Particularly, the meaning of Wait For It became alarmingly clear, and I actually had to put the book down in order to sit down and contemplate the absolute brilliance of burr's "wait for it" in contrast to hamilton's writing like he runs out of time.
Profile Image for Iris P.
171 reviews206 followers
February 10, 2017
Hamilton: The Revolution

 photo 150209_r26101-320-240-28175947_zpsjusgdxqh.jpg
Lin-Manuel Miranda- composer/lyricist/rapper & creator of Hamilton: The Revolution

“Every other founding father gets old, every other gets to grow old.
But when you’re gone, who remembers your name? Who keeps your flame?
Who tells your story”.

From the song "Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story"

Important note: My review covers both the audiobook and hardcover versions of this title.

In which a family of non-theater goers gets swept off their feet by the cultural phenomenon that is Hamilton

So my whole family has fallen in love with all things Hamilton these days: Cesar my oldest (20), is deeply engaged reading Ron Chernow's Alexander Hamilton, the acclaimed biography that inspired the musical; Christian, the youngest (13) has the musical soundtrack in a permanent loop on his smartphone, this year we put up our Christmas tree while listening to the newly released "Hamilton: The Mixtape". I think you get my drift, considering that the probability of going to see the actual play anytime soon is very low, we have decided to enjoy the next best thing.

Hamilton: The Revolution is a collaboration between Lin-Manuel Miranda and theater critic Jeremy McCarter, it chronicles the distinctive creative journey that brought the story of the founding father from history lesson to theater musical.

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The Cast of Hamilton receives one of several awards at the Tony's this year

A lot has been written about how Miranda conceived the idea for the show when he read Chernow's biography while vacationing in Mexico. But according to McCarter, a few days before his trip, Miranda had already started discussing the notion of at Hip-Hop album, based on the life of the founding father on our ten dollar bill. Predictably his groundbreaking concept was met with a mix of skepticism and mild amusement.

Then on November 2009, a newly minted President Obama and First Lady Michele Obama welcomed Miranda and his collaborator Alex Lacamoire to the White House's "Evening of Poetry, Music, and the Spoken Word". At the last minute Miranda decided to sing the first song from the Hamilton Mixtape, his performance that night is already on the history books. You can watch the video here.
The reaction from the people on the audience that night should have given us a hint of what was to come.

The hardcover is an aesthetically stunning book, full of gorgeous pictures and copies of historical documents. It's beautifully written and well organized.

The book is at once an expanded playbill, an annotated libretto and a journalistic account that documents how each of the collaborators (actors, choreographer, director, producer, etc.) contributed to the musical and how it has impacted their personal and professional lives.

The audiobook provides a similar content with chapters alternating between bios, essays and the song selection process.

 photo Hamilton pic 1_zpspb6wl6ck.jpeg
A sample page from the gorgeous hardcover

So reflecting in all these, I am left to wonder, why Hamilton and why now?

There's a chapter on the book that explores the impact the play is already having on kids, many of whom before seeing Hamilton had not interest in learning American history and are now, like my own kids, thoroughly engaged and fascinated by it.

I think is difficult to overstate the importance of having a second generation Puerto Rican drawing attention to the story of Hamilton, himself an immigrant from the Caribbean.

That the cast of Hamilton consist of a racially diverse group of men and women, playing the roles of America's founding fathers no less, is truly remarkable.To quote one of show's songs "how lucky we are to be alive right now"!

Perhaps Miranda's greatest achievement might be helping a new generation to see the history of America as part of an overarching narrative and these historical figures as fallible human beings that did something extraordinary.

It is expected that in a few years, the musical will be licensed so high schools all over the country will be able produce the show. I believe that will be the lasting legacy of this play and Lin-Manuel Miranda.

As a few Goodread reviewers have stated, sometimes the right person tells the right story at the right moment.

I found this behind the scenes story utterly inspiring, if nothing else, it is the most delightful and entertaining history lesson ever!


Music is a big part of my life, so I can't finish this review without recommending the wonderful original Hamilton soundtrack.
You can listen to it for free with a subscription to Spotify here

 photo Hamilton Tape JPEG_zpsccpaiw4z.jpg
Profile Image for Jessica J..
1,027 reviews2,045 followers
October 20, 2016
I fell in love with Lin-Manuel Miranda in the summer of 2008.

I’ve never been a huuuuge musical theater nerd, but I do follow it somewhat casually and that summer, I listened to practically nothing but the cast album for Lin’s Tony-winning first musical, In the Heights. It was unlike anything I’d ever heard before, but it was magical.

I don't know anyone else who's really even familiar with the show, but it’s what I was listening to while I was making the move from my small town in Ohio to the suburbs of Philadelphia for grad school. It was an incredibly huge step for me, and I was filled with a lot of conflicting emotions: excitement, fear, uncertainty. I remember driving across I-68 when the finale came on, this song all about how the protagonist comes to realize that, though he’s long dreamt of running away, the place where he is is his home. Even though I am a white girl from Appalachian Ohio, I felt so connected to the themes this Latino guy in New York City was talking about, and I just started bawling. The show—and Lin—have had a special place in my heart ever since. I still get a little sad about the fact that I was never able to see it, especially with its original cast (Chris Jackson's always going to be Benny to me).

And so in the early months of 2015, I heard that Lin-Manuel Miranda had a new show and, knowing nothing about it other than the title and the fact that it was getting good reviews, I knew it was something to pay attention to. It was still off-Broadway at that point, but its move over was planned for the summer and I made a mental note to remember to look for the cast album when it eventually released. I didn't talk about it with anyone because I assumed, like Heights, that no one else would care.

And, honestly, I didn’t think much about it until September when I saw that NPR was streaming the album. I immediately grabbed my earbuds and hopped into the bathtub to listen to it, and that was really the first time I actually started to pay attention to the show’s content: researching the cast; trying to understand the historical context for the song’s lyrics; trying to find interviews with anyone who was involved in it. My appreciation grew, and I began to realize just how buzzy and sensational it was for everyone else, too.

Fast forward to March of this year.

(pardon how awful my hair looks, it was super windy in NYC that day)

I got to go see the show! I'd chattered pretty constantly to my husband for a few months about how badly I wanted to see it and he graciously agreed that it was okay to spend some money on something I was this excited about. Shortly after Christmas, we sat down one evening and flipped through ticket broker sites until we found something on a Saturday night that wasn’t too egregiously overpriced (balcony, of course). I’m so grateful that he was willing to go along with the splurge because, seriously, it was one of the best theater-going experiences I’ve ever had. You think the cast album is great? It’s a million times more impressive when you see how they’ve staged it.

So, yeah, all that’s to say that it shouldn’t be any surprise that I loved this companion book. It combines background on the development of the show and how the cast and crew came to be involved with gorgeous set photos and Lin’s annotations on the lyrics. You can read a lot of notes on the show over at Genius, but there’s new information to be learned here! There’s historical facts and comments on liberties that Lin took with the chronology, funny backstage anecdotes, and commentary on how various hip-hop legends inspired the lyrics (Gah! so many more intricate rhyme schemes in here than I realized.) I really had to restrain myself from marking up the fascinating and thought-provoking parts of this book. This one's too pretty to mark up, so I took a lot of pictures of pages. Some of my favorite tidbits:
1. In reference to the line How do you write like you're running out of time, Lin comments, "This sentence sums up how I think most of us feel in the face as of Hamilton's remarkable output. Same as Shakespeare or the Beatles: How on Earth did you do that with the same 24 hours a day that everyone else gets?" Also, how I feel about Lin-Manuel Miranda.

2. There's a note about how someone threw a shoe in fake disgust during the recording because Leslie Odom Jr. was so damn good while singing "Wait for It," then when the rest of the cast was supposed to go add in their harmonies, Okieriete Onaodowan responded, "I'm not singing shit right now."

3. Then there's a note about Lin's homage to Ja Rule in the song "Helpless" that describes Ja's voice as "a bear roaring at the bottom of a well, approximately." Which is the best description of Ja Rule I think ever.

4. And in the passage about Hamilton biographer Ron Chernow, we learn that when Chernow's wife passed away in 2006, he chose for her headstone the line "Best of wives and best of women" from Hamilton's actual goodbye letter to Eliza. Sobs.

5. Oskar Eustis, artistic director of the Public Theater, where the show held its workshop run, lost his 16-year-old son in late 2014. Lost for what he should say, Lin sent Eustis and his wife a demo of the song "It's Quiet Uptown" in the hopes that it might offer comfort, and they listened to it every day. More sobs.
I mean, really. How could you expect this to be anything but wonderful? Everything this man does is smart, thoughtful, and complex. Watch any interview out there with him (may I recommend the Charlie Rose piece that got chopped up for 60 Minutes), and you immediately realize that he is one of the most passionately enthusiastic people ever. His mind never stops going. He pours everything he has into everything he does. This book is no different. If you're a fan, this is a must. I inhaled this thing in a single sitting. No kidding.

And with his delightful pop culture references, I come away from this thing more convinced than ever that Lin-Manuel Miranda and I could be BFFs.

Profile Image for Brina.
933 reviews4 followers
November 17, 2019
The last six weeks of the year are here. Time to check off the boxes of challenges and to plan for next year. For the second year in a row, I didn’t participate in any challenges or games except for the nonfiction book club’s group reading challenge, freeing me to read books of personal interest. Yet, determined to rack up group points as quickly as possible, one area of my reading has fallen by the wayside: Pulitzer winners. Each year I make it a point to read twenty Pulitzer winners across the spectrum, and up until this point I have read (drumroll): three, yes three. With next year’s planning in mind, I am determined to change that. To get me in the right mindset, I decided to read a minimum of two winners a month for the rest of the year, but I decided to ease into things with a drama winner. This book needs no introduction and is a musical beloved by all touched by it. Joining a handful of musicals to win both the Tony Award and the Pulitzer Prize for drama is Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton.

I am history nerd. I am one of those people who saves pencils that say “history is happening” and encourage my kids to read nonfiction. If the kids read one nonfiction book or watch one documentary a year, I consider it a small victory. Not I, studying to become a second language and history teacher before they were born. Pouring through methodology text books in hopes of finding lessons that would connect to 21st century students who are plugged in 24/7/365. When I tell kids today that as a history major I had no google and had to search for sources in books, they feel sorry for me. I don’t at all and actually miss the thrill of searching for sources for a twenty page paper. Yet, with four kids at home and a busy schedule, I don’t always have time to read an 800 page book. Last summer, however, a player on my favorite baseball team, noted that it may have taken him eighteen months, but he completed Ron Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton, not an easy task. Inspired by the ballplayer’s instagram posts, I set out to read Chernow’s tome and was so enthralled by both the writing and the story that I finished in less than a week. Who would not be captivated by the first rags to riches story in American history?

Tony Award winning playwright, song writer, and actor Lin-Manuel Miranda was just as blown away by Alexander Hamilton’s story as I was, the story of the first immigrant in American history who rose to be a cabinet member and Washington’s confidante, playing a key role in shaping the early years of the United States. Miranda had a break from production of his award winning In the Heights and lugged Chernow’s book on a vacation to Mexico. Sitting poolside with this historical tome, it hit Miranda that Hamilton’s story would make a perfect rap/hip hop/ r&b concept album story, and the seven year journey toward Hamilton on Broadway was born, Chernow along for the ride as a historical consultant. Miranda comes from Inwood, an outer borough community and enjoyed a slight rags to riches story of his own, a Nuyorican who attended an arts high school, being identified as a historical genius, shaping rhymes effortlessly due to his propensity to quote forty years of rap artists, and translating these rhyming schemes into rock operas. Perhaps, in the teen years of the 21st century, Broadway was ready for a hiphop musical.

Along with New Yorker arts critic Jeremy McCarter, Miranda takes readers on the journey that transformed Hamilton from a mix tape to an award winning production. McCarter provides the background information of all the creative minds involved with the production, and Miranda gives insights in over two hundred production notes, allowing readers to know the thought process behind his ideas. America is a country of inventors and innovators. Geniuses like Thomas Edison were told they were stupid whereas ideas were churning in their heads. Dr Seuss and Charles Schulz nearly failed school due to their propensity to doodle in the margins of their notebooks. And the idea for Microsoft was found in a garage. Miranda, who close friends say is a genius, letting people into his thought process is as much of a treat for me as listening to the Hamilton album while reading the lyrics. It took an innovative team of thinkers to bring this musical to fruition and to reinvent the roles on a nightly basis, constantly showing their audience what has made this country great for the past 244 years.

Pulitzer Prize winners embody the American spirit, and Hamilton’s main character is about an 18th century genius. The 21st century cast is played by majority African American and Hispanic actors and actresses, many of whom have rags to riches stories of their own. For many of these actors in their twenties and thirties, Hamilton was their first time in Broadway. One actor noted that if in history class, the teacher would have had an African American student play the role of George Washington, his perceptions of our country would have changed. And that is what makes this history lesson so poignant for 21st century students who listen to music 24/7 and do not look like the founding fathers. But with the United States heading toward a plurality of cultures and ethnic groups in the next few years, 21st century high school students do look like the cast of Hamilton, which in turn assists them and their teachers in bringing history to life.

With Thanksgiving approaching and Americans noting what they are grateful for, one should take a step back and appreciate the patchwork of people who have made this country what it is today. Like Hamilton’s cast comprised of a multitude of ethnic groups, my family has at times added our favorite Chinese, Indian, Mexican, and my husband’s native Salvadoran food to the feast. If Chanukah falls out on the same weekend, suffice it to say, there are potato latkes on the table alongside the stuffing and green beans. Alexander Hamilton embodied the 18th century American Dream, and Ron Chernow’s words and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s words have brought him to life in 21st century America. This was a timely way to jumpstart my Pulitzer challenge for next year, and I am excited to be along for the ride.

5 stars

My personal favorite Hamilton clip, could not resist:

Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,010 reviews586 followers
February 4, 2017
New news: This production is coming to San Francisco... Paul is going to get us tickets!!!!

A hip hop twist.....
......musical theater with a rap! "To and for each other.....How lucky we are to be alive"!
Inspiring creations.....
The show is about the builders, carpenters, the story behind the music and lyrics, the crew, actors, singers, dancers, the scenic designers, the choreographer, the director, the history, .....the musical performance.

I haven't seen this show -listened to the music - but the hardcover is breathtaking....I don't own it ... nor have I read every detail of it...but it's really gorgeous.

I listened to the audiobook- a $1.99 special. It was interesting, engaging, educational and funny at times, but I wanted the physical book in front of me. ( which I didn't have). The Audiobook alone isn't enough. It's good...I just wanted more. Tickets to the show would nice!!! :)

I drifted at times while listening to the audiobook....but not a lot. Having a theater background experience through watching our daughter grow up in equity theatre.. added to my appreciation.

If I wasn't so cheap... I'd say the physical book would be the better investment - more than the audiobook--( or both to compliment each other).
Profile Image for ambsreads.
656 reviews1,393 followers
February 7, 2017
This is honestly a work of art. It is on the same level as the musical itself. Reading Lin's thoughts and footnotes throughout the songs was a gift in itself. The whole book is a piece of art — literally, it's beautiful. I highly recommend this for any Hamilton fans because wow.
Profile Image for Darwin8u.
1,599 reviews8,732 followers
May 23, 2016
"Sometimes the right person tells the right story at the right moment, and though a combination of luck and design, a creative expression gains new force. Spark, tinder, breeze."
― Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy MCarter


I remember watching Lin-Manuel Miranda perform at the White House Poetry Jam back in 2009 on YouTube. I know it sounds cliched and probably a bit overplayed to say I knew from 2009 that something great was going to be made from this magical moment. There was an energy in this son of Puerto Rican-born parents singing a rap/hymn/ode to Alexander Hamilton that was both new and old.

Anyway, fast forward a couple years. I read the Chernow book, and loved it. Fast forward a couple more years and the musical came out. I got my daughter and wife into the musical. Bought my daughter the Chernow book, the CDs. She wants a Twitter account just so she can follow #ham4ham and @lin_miranda. Finally, I couldn't handle it all, so I figured the best way to extinguish a fire is sometimes to just set another. I bought our family tickets to go see the Musical in NY in July.

It is now less than 2 months until we see Hamilton. It will be about 1 year after they moved into the Rogers Theatre and most likely right after Hamilton cleans up at the Tony Awards. I bought this book which, btw, is beautifully made and organized and a sort of cheat-sheet, uber playbill for the musical. It is organized into 32 chapters and two acts. It roughly follows the Musical and history of the musical. It tells the story of the production. Each chapter contains a detail about the musical, written like a review or online article. One chapter discusses the choreography, another discusses the album, another discusses Daveed Diggs, another Ron Chernow. Each of these chapters gives a little bit more insight into the development of the Musical from one song played at the White House, to a Mix Tape of songs, to the Public Theatre, to the Richard Rogers Theatre. This is a book definitely for fans.

Each chapter also contains a libretto from one of the musical's songs AND Lin-Maneul Miranda's notes on the song/lyrics/music.

Anyway, the book is both a tribute to the musical and a tribute to the fact that Miranda seriously has more energy than anyone I can think of. His finger is in so many pies he must have stolen a couple extra hands. So, here is my recommendation. If you are a fan (and fans know who they are) you should probably buy this book. If not, do the following in something like this order:

1. Google/watch Miranda perform at the White House in 2009
2. Buy/Borrow/Download - Hamilton the Musical and listen to it. Then listen again.
3. Buy Chernow's book and read it cover to cover.
4. Buy This book.
5. Mortgage you home and go to NYC to see the musical.

I did deduct one star just because there were several points in this book where Jeremy MCarter's writing jumps deep into the pool of hagiography and propaganda. I expected with each new rough-cut page to discover that secretly Miranda and Hamilton the Musical had solved world hunger, AIDs, and America's race problems. It is clearly meant to be another piece for super-fans, but sometimes it just seemed to go a couple steps too far.
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,478 reviews7,772 followers
April 4, 2019
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

I have officially been revolutionalized and lemme tell you this Kool Aid is DELICIOUS! To be honest, since I have a theater/choir kid in my house I have been living The Hamilton Experience for quite some time now – I just never felt the need to become fully indoctrinated until I knew the traveling show would be coming to town. Unfortunately, I wasn’t aware that when the show finally was approaching the ticket prices would be so astronomical that my poor ass would still not be able to attend. So we’ve been settling for the best we can get. Playing the soundtrack on a never-ending loop and driving the non-theater lovers in the family crazy. Win win!

For those of you who live in caves, Hamilton: The Revolution is the story behind the musical. Specifically, how it went from a crazy idea for a concept album to a once-in-a-generation smash hit. It takes you inside not only Lin-Manuel’s head, but also Thomas Kail and Alex Lacamoire who completed the trifecta which brought Hamilton to life. As nearly everyone who has ever bothered listening to all FORTY-SIX songs in this nearly 100% sung production says . . . .

I opted for the audio on this one in an attempt to turn my frown upside down on my daily commute. I went in blind thinking Lin-Manuel himself would be doing all of the reading, but sadly he only did the footnotes (which, trust me, were well worth the price of admission). Mariska Hargitay wound up being the voice and while I realize she’s become some sort of pop culture icon I have to say . . . .

I still have no idea what television show she’s famous for or why she’s become such a go-to when it comes to “it girl” types of jokes by the cool kids crowd. All I do know is she read slow as shit and I had to speed her ass up to double time in order to not want to murder everyone around me. The content was still killer, though.

And let’s talk about content. Are you a Hamiltonian? What’s your fave? While Quiet Uptown makes water leak out my face errrrrrry dang time I hear it, I can’t ever get enough of King George . . . . .

An antilove song with a kicky beat? Oh yes please.
Profile Image for l..
491 reviews2,134 followers
January 11, 2022
How am I supposed to write a review for Hamilton: The Revolution, if all I want to do is hug it to my chest and never let go? (rtc)

“Can I be real a second?
For just a millisecond?
Let down my guard and tell the people how I feel a second?”
Profile Image for Diane.
1,081 reviews2,717 followers
July 30, 2019
I've become a huge fan of the show Hamilton, and this book was the perfect thing to read if you want to learn more about how the musical was created, and to also get Lin's delightful annotations on the lyrics. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Glenn Sumi.
404 reviews1,585 followers
July 10, 2020
I read this book before seeing and reviewing Hamilton a few weeks ago. It really helped stoke my interest and gave me some background into the genesis and evolution of the game-changing musical about one of America's founding fathers.

I'd heard a few tracks before, but this book – which includes the complete script, with informative annotations by composer/lyricist Lin-Manuel Miranda, and lots of esssays – helped me appreciate each number, and the show as a whole, more. Some of the entries are a little breathless and gushing, but so what? Hamilton revolutionized the musical theatre genre, and this is much weightier than most theatre souvenir books.

The book is also handsome and beautifully designed, with many stunning production photos. We even get to peek into Miranda's notebooks.

An essential book for musical theatre lovers, and those curious about American history or the artistic process.
Profile Image for Petra.
119 reviews392 followers
May 20, 2018
I'm not a musical type of person, I've never seen one in my life. I've been hearing about Hamilton everywhere, how great it was how no one could get tickets. I thought that if I lived in New York I would probably go see it. Then a few months later I was on Youtube and I came across James Corden's carpool karaoke with LMM.

And thought the song was pretty catchy so I checked out the soundtrack and I suddenly I’m

There are moments that the words don’t reach , and this is one of them, to say I loved it is an understatement.

This book is just as phenomenal, I cried multiple times reading it.
Do yourself a favor and get on the Hamilton bandwagon.
Profile Image for K..
3,796 reviews1,021 followers
August 7, 2016
I hereby award this book ten million stars and a book hangover.

Seriously, if I could give it every damned star in the cosmos, I would. This is honestly the most beautiful book I've ever seen in my life. The way they've tried to make it look like an eighteenth century book is A+. The texture and quality of the paper is wonderful. The photographs are astonishingly gorgeous and give you a real sense of how the show is staged and choreographed.

It took me days to read this, despite it being less than 300 pages. Part of that is that I was reading it for the Booktubeathon "read a book after dark" challenge, but a big part of it is that I basically ended up reading the songs in real time, as I sang them in my head.

I adored Lin's comments and insights on the songs, but I think I actually ended up enjoying Jeremy McCarter's essays more than Lin's notes. Because the songs are the stuff we know, the story of Hamilton. But McCarter's essays are the story of the people who MADE Hamilton happen, from Ron Chernow to Alex Lacamoire to Oskar Eustis, as well as the cast and Lin himself. It helps you see just how much time the show took to produce, how many man hours were dedicated to making it perfect, how much the show changed between its early days at The Public Theatre and its opening at the Richard Rogers Theatre.

I cried through basically the last 40 pages of the book, pretty much from the reprise of Stay Alive onwards. And I'm fairly certain this is the first time EVER that I've had to just sit quietly and savour the moment for a good 30 minutes or so before I was able to pick up another book. And I NEVER get book hangovers.

This book is inspiring and astonishing and glorious. And I'm so glad I have a copy.
Profile Image for Marina.
923 reviews167 followers
June 16, 2016
I'm so greedy.

Even before I finished reading the book, I just kept going "more, more, more, I need more." Not because there wasn't enough information, pictures, or details, but because every single page just made me want more.

And Hamilton: The Revolution does provide everything you may want to know about the conception, creation, birth, and production of Hamilton the Musical. It's an in-depth look at the behind scenes for just about every aspect of the show: how Lin-Manuel came up with the idea, the background on Lin himself, how he began looking for producers, the writing process, setting words to music, and then casting with little asides for all the main actors, the creation of the stage and the setting, the costumes, how the play evolved and grew and got better over time. It was just an amazing amount of information: and yes, it left me wanting even more. I think that if Jeremy McCarter decided to describe how they painted each board of the set, I'd eat that up too.

It was just amazing to learn how many people were involved in the creation of the musical. I was also intensely happy that it contained more in depth information than what we usually hear in the interviews - as these kind of books often just end up repeating and summing up everything you hear in the interviews.

Also, while it says that there's only 280 pages, this book is massive, plus while you're looking over the lyrics you may actually want to turn on the music as well and listen while you read, as Lin often comments on the musical choices as well, and why there are certain melodies and instruments and sounds involved.

Hamilton really is a Revolution, maybe musical, maybe cultural as well. Considering I don't usually like musicals and I'm really finicky about the music I listen to (so rarely do I listen to rap, hip-hop, or R&B), the fact that Hamilton managed to reach the demographic I belong to - and so many different ones, is just... genius. But considering how many brilliant minds came together to create this show, this piece of history, it's really not that surprising that their hard work payed off so well. They deserve all the praise they get and more.
Profile Image for Polly Florence.
94 reviews686 followers
December 18, 2019
"Inevitable in retrospect but unprecedented and all but impossible to imagine at the time."

Profile Image for Brian Eshleman.
839 reviews105 followers
April 16, 2022
It shouldn't have worked. Transmuting a polemic and technocrat into a musical? Who would do that?

Boy was I wrong. I pooh-poohed the idea for years. Now I've had the lyrics in my head every day for the last several months. Might as well get Goodreads credit and finish 2019 with the flourish I will remember it for.

SECOND LISTEN-THROUGH (at least): Still holds up. Even a year from the time I last listened to it, I still craved the music, the powerful lyrics, and the overall character development. Hours spent with these people feel like years, in the best sense.
Profile Image for ˗ˏˋ lia ˎˊ˗.
306 reviews388 followers
November 4, 2019
“you have no control. who lives, who dies, who tells your story.”

confession: i bought this when it came out, hell, i even preordered it. but that was in fucking 2016 and i still hadn’t picked it up. until now. this musical literally means the world to me, so i was really excited to learn a bit more about its creation and some behind the scenes stuff. and, wow. this reading experience is easily one of the most extraordinary things in my life. i bawled, i laughed, it was just an emotional rollercoaster.

the little stories about the cast, the production or some songs in between were super interesting to read about. lin’s annotations absolutely gave me life, and i loved how they could be categorized into the historical nerdy stuff and the funny stuff. and i can’t write this review without mentioning it’s quiet uptown, obviously. pre-read, it was just a really nice song for me to which i had no further connection, but after reading the pages about grief (which were all in black, so i knew shit’s going down) and how this song affected the cast and crew in their own personal lives and with what they had to go through, it has a whole new meaning for me and the song is now so close to my heart. when i listened to it after reading those previous passages, i literally could not stop crying my eyes out for the next at least 15 minutes. sending much love to those families and everyone involved.

→ 5 stars
Profile Image for Heatherblakely.
1,171 reviews7 followers
July 19, 2016

Oh man.

I had friends telling me to listen to the Hamilton soundtrack for months before I finally did, and I was completely blown away once I acquiesced. The music was incredible, and the fact that most parts were played by people of color made me so incredibly happy. When the show was extended, I bought a ticket (three more months!) and I hope to see it when it's here in LA as well. The musical has been a game-changer, not only because of the music and casting, but because of its implications. There have been discussions about the need for more POC within theatre, the unattainability for a lot of POC to see theatre because of the expenses, the place POC have had within our culture and our history, and the place rap/hip hop have had within music and culture.

This book does a fantastic job of exploring all of these themes, bringing in notes and interviews and discussions along with the history of the musical. Being able to read Lin's thought process was fascinating, and because I don't know a lot about rap/hip hop/r&b, reading about how much music influenced Lin's process was SO interesting. I love learning, and I love reading about subtle things artists do within their craft (e.g. the choreographer having Burr walk in straight lines while Hamilton walks in arches, because it represents how the two men thought and acted) of which audiences may not be cognizant, but are still able to register.

I was already a huge Hamilton fan before reading this book, but I appreciate the show even more now. There were songs I didn't really like, and while they're still not my favorites, I understand and like them so much more now. I also got really emotional during the Renee Elise Goldsberry/Satisfied chapter, and almost cried on the bus while reading everything surrounding It's Quiet Uptown.

If you're a fan of Hamilton, of anyone in the show, or of theatre, definitely read this book.
Profile Image for Stacee.
2,736 reviews711 followers
May 17, 2016
This is perfection. I loved getting behind the scenes things, staged photos, and most of all Lin's annotations and photos of his journals.
August 22, 2017
Edit:*This play is so relevant to our world right now. This country has been a place where "A place where even orphan immigrants can leave their fingerprints and rise up" since the day we've been founded. Why should that ever change? The fact that people are calling for a boycott of this play is complete idiocy. The only people who are calling for one are those who support the hate and the racism in the first place. How about we try our best to not let them EVER win?*

From the moment that my sister first had me listen to "Alexander Hamilton," the opening number of this play--I was hooked. That was months ago and it's rare if a day goes by that I don't listen to at least one song from the soundtrack. I can proudly say that I can spit off every single line of Angelica Schuyler's "Satisfied" and many, many more.

Since tickets for this are so damn expensive, (I still will make it to a show eventually) when I found out that this book was a thing, I jumped at the chance to get it for my library. Listening to the soundtrack and scrolling through YouTube for videos is one thing--reading Lin's thoughts and notes about different lyrics and stage directions is another. As if I don't love this entire musical enough, reading how he came to make certain decisions or how "It's Quiet Uptown" really affected the entire cast made me feel so much more.

I have always loved history. Always. And while Rap isn't my #1 genre, something about the mastery of lyrics that some rappers have will never cease to amaze me. When I first heard about this play--that it took one of our founding fathers (one that had had such a HUGE impact on our young nation but that no one spoke much about) and turned the events of his life into a rap musical I just KNEW that this was going to be something that I was going to love. I'd say it has been at least three months since I have really started getting into the play and I seriously sing applicable lyrics or talk about these historical figures throughout each and every day (ask my boyfriend and sister). Alexander Hamilton was just such an intricate man that I think the best way to show our nation what he was really all about was in the form of rap lyrics. It truly encapsulates his life. From his lowly beginnings to his gradual and then meteoric rise to the top--we are able to FEEL every experience. I get goosebumps every. single. time. listening to "Yorktown (1776)" when Hamilton sings "Tens of thousands of people flood the streets." after the battle of Yorktown is fought and won. (I mean just picture the EXCITEMENT of this huge mass of newly free people. I can practically hear the roar of their voices as they flooded the streets). I tear up every. single. time. listening to "It's Quiet Uptown" and "Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story." I just think this play is SO ENTIRELY IMPORTANT because it shows the rise of our nation, but it also shows how we struggled in the beginning. Just as we are struggling now.

Seriously I think the line that Washington repeatedly sings: "History has it's eyes on you." is so relevant to life right now. Before this election. Every single choice that we make today impacts our future. Our children's futures. History has it's eyes on all of us and we can't ever forget that.
Profile Image for Taryn.
1,209 reviews189 followers
February 8, 2017
UPDATE 1/22/17: Sooo because this world is crazy and sometimes dreams do come true, I saw Hamilton on Broadway last week. :O You can read about our trip here, if you're into that. (We stayed in a hotel that used to be a library!)

Hamilton: The Revolution, which tells the story of the musical from its inception through its current Broadway run, has just the kind of fun, conversational tone I was hoping for. It makes you feel like an insider, which is exactly what fans like me who aren't going to get within a thousand miles of New York City are clamoring for. You want to feel like Hamilton is your musical, too, even though you're limited to blasting the cast album and binging on #Ham4Ham videos on YouTube.

I also loved learning the inspiration behind each song. Listening to them after reading the book was like a brand-new experience. I had no idea the show was so full of Easter eggs for both hip-hop and musical theater fans. LMM is clearly a man of diverse tastes and talents, and he brought it all to the table when he wrote Hamilton. Everything is relevant, everything fits in. It's magic.

You can see my complete "Fangirling Over Hamilton" post here.
Profile Image for Catherine⁷.
345 reviews704 followers
January 15, 2022
I've had a copy of this book for years and always flipped through the wonderful pictures and footnotes. Now in 2021 I finally buckled down to read it cover to cover. It was quite the nostalgic read for me. I was brought back to my sophomore year of high school in 2016 when the Hamilton craze was at its peak. Being a theater kid during that time was so fun, and I was NEVER really a "true" theater kid the way it is stereotypically expressed (haha). Nor did I know much about musicals the way others did. Hamilton was the closest I ever came to being THAT theater kid. But I was that kid who found a recording of the whole play on YouTube years before...that is all.
Profile Image for Ashley.
2,765 reviews1,766 followers
August 14, 2016
This is an excellent book that all fans of Hamilton should read. Reading it gave me a fuller experience of the musical, it was fun to see behind the scenes stories, and Lin's notes were always interesting. I cried while reading it (the same part I cry at while listening), and spent about a week listening to nothing but the soundtrack on a loop.

So why no five stars?

Like Aaron Burr, I want more. I'm never going to see the musical in person, or if I do, it's going to be years from now with a new cast, probably on tour, and that's just not the same. So if you're going to give me this book, dammit, I want ALL YOU CAN GIVE ME. What was here was great. BUT I WANTED MORE. The essays were probably at just the right amount, and the pictures were beautiful, but I needed at least double the footnotes from LMM. If I can't be in the room where it happens, I need you to tell me exactly what happened in that room in excruciating detail, or I will never be satisfied (noooooot even sorry).

(It is very disheartening to discover that you are more of a Burr than a Hamilton, by the way.)

Granted, I'm the sort of person who loves talking and reading about the process of creating art, and why certain words were chosen, and rhyme schemes, etcetera, so I'm always going to want as much of that as possible. There were lyrics and moments that I'm dying from curiosity to know how he came up with them, and why he wrote them a certain way, that nothing was said about.

I suppose that's not fair of me. If I had it my way, at least every other line of the musical would have a footnote, if not a paragraph, accompanying it. But it is what it is.

But seriously, my griping aside, this is a beautiful book. The actual look and feel of it, the pictures of the cast (and the dancers), the staging. The thick paper. Worth it almost just for the pictures alone.
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