Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Eliza Hamilton: The Extraordinary Life and Times of the Wife of Alexander Hamilton” as Want to Read:
Eliza Hamilton: The Extraordinary Life and Times of the Wife of Alexander Hamilton
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Eliza Hamilton: The Extraordinary Life and Times of the Wife of Alexander Hamilton

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  1,391 ratings  ·  305 reviews
From the New York Times bestselling author of Irena’s Children comes a comprehensive and riveting biography of the extraordinary life and times of Eliza Hamilton, the wife of founding father Alexander Hamilton, and a powerful, unsung hero in America’s early days.

Fans fell in love with Eliza Hamilton—Alexander Hamilton’s devoted wife—in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s phenomenal musi
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published September 18th 2018 by Gallery Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Eliza Hamilton, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Collette Gee That should be a warning for how awful and historically inaccurate this book is! Eliza deserves so much better!

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,391 ratings  ·  305 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Eliza Hamilton: The Extraordinary Life and Times of the Wife of Alexander Hamilton
Oct 03, 2018 rated it did not like it
Reading this was an absolute waste of time & I do not understand how the term "biography" can be attached to this. Biographical fiction? Yes. But this is not a biography.

The way the author wrote this was incredibly frustrating, starting with the first sentence on the first page: "Eliza blushed. It was a beautiful letter." After reading the first page, I actually checked to make sure this was a biography and not another fictional account of her life. The rest of the book continued this way, with
Jan Priddy
Dec 05, 2018 rated it did not like it
"Aaron Burr was famously louche and horny." What can I say about a sentence combining a high school senior's vocabulary word with slang? Not to mention "a hot bullet tore through Hamilton's abdomen, shattering his rib cage." Nothing actually wrong with either one, except that I found sentence structures like this gave me pause on almost every page.

And then the lines such as: "Those words echoed for Hamilton, who lay very still until he heard the quiet breath of his child sleeping." There is no
Kathi Johnson
Nov 03, 2018 rated it did not like it
I can't understand the high ratings this book has garnered or why it is classified as a biography. The research is sloppy and the fictionalized additions by the author don't add to the book's credibility. The book's publication soon after the Hamilton musical's amazing
success makes me question the timing and perhaps the author's motivation in writing the book.
Eliza Hamilton was an intriguing personality in history and deserves a proper biography.
Christopher Saunders
Jul 04, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2020-reads
Add Tilar J. Mazzeo's Eliza Hamilton to the list of books that wouldn't exist without a certain musical's success. Whereas most authors writing about Alexander Hamilton's wife choose the format of fiction, Mazzeo attempts to write a biography, and the reader is left wondering whether it's worth the effort. Certainly Mazzeo's book is written with a variety of novelistic flourishes (frequently inserting herself into characters' private thoughts, for instance) that detract from the claim of nonfict ...more
Mar 16, 2019 rated it did not like it
The author states that she is not a historian; this is the truest thing she's written in the entire book.

I've spent the last year or so doing an in-depth survey of Alexander Hamilton's life, times, and legacy, and along the way, I've also learned quite a bit about Eliza and the Schuyler family (even visiting their homes in Albany & Saratoga). I don't expect every book I read to be a doctorate-level dissertation, but this... this was some really BAD history.

For one thing, the author couldn't seem
I requested this book as soon as I saw it pop up on NetGalley. Eliza Hamilton has an amazing story that hasn't been comprehensively explored. She is often in the background of her husband's story, despite living over twice as long as he did. I have not read a book, fiction or nonfiction, that gives a satisfactory and complete account of Eliza's post-Alexander years. This book promised to be the one I was looking for.

But it's not. Not by a long shot.

As many other reviewers have pointed out, the a
Margaret Sankey
May 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Mazzeo explores the life and context of Eliza Hamilton--her family network of wealthy Dutch patroons, the American Revolution, her sketchy in-laws (Angelica and Cornelia picked creeps with whom to elope), the financial boom of the 1790s, Hamilton's status as an outsider favorite of the Washingtons and user of the Schuyler network, the yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia and the four decades of widowhood and philanthropy. This is well-researched, but popularly formatted with references in the b ...more
Kathryn Bashaar
Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
My husband and I recently saw the musical Hamilton, and like many people who have that pleasure, I was curious to know more about Alexander Hamilton and his wife Eliza.
This was a good biography, and I understand it is the ONLY complete biography of Eliza Hamilton. It gave me the information I wanted and was written in a very readable, novelistic form. In several places, Mazzeo assumes that she knows what someone was thinking, which is a little jarring in a serious biography, but in almost every
Mar 23, 2019 rated it did not like it
The blurb on the cover states: “Tilar Mazzeo brings Eliza Hamilton to and reads like a novel.”

And why does it read like a novel? Because that’s what it IS!

Just how, pray tell, does Mazzeo know how Hamilton thought, acted, or felt? How does Mazzeo constantly know Hamilton’s emotional state, or what she did down to the last minute of every waking day? Short answer: She doesn’t — she can’t. She can only imagine and infer, which, my friends, is FICTION when put in writing.

Eliza Ham
May 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Hamilton fans, biography lovers
I loved this super readable biography of Eliza Hamilton. For anyone who can't get enough of the Hamilton craze, or just wants to learn more about a strong woman coming of age with America, this is a great read.

My one caveat is that it's told in such a wonderfully readable style (it's not dry at all), that I was a little uncomfortable with the author authoritatively saying what Eliza's reactions to events, etc were. I wish there was more source material from Eliza herself. However, there's just s
Mellie Antoinette
Aug 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Sitting between a so-so and an I don’t know. I had 3 strong disconnects with this:
1. The text assumes you are either buddy reading this w/ Chernow’s Hamilton or that you’re very familiar with Hamilton’s resume.
2. She takes a decisive stance on the Reynolds’ Pamphlet. I feel like biographies should educate, not persuade.
3. In the words of Chernow 😉, “Because Eliza tried to erase herself from her husband’s story, she has languished in virtually complete historical obscurity.” Why? Too little co
Oct 15, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a hard one to rate, simply because I almost feel like it should be under historical fiction rather than Biography. I know there are not a lot of source materials from Eliza herself, but I did not like how the author would infer or state things about Eliza that she actually has no way of knowing. For example, saying that Eliza blushed. Really? How did she know that? I think the author took a lot of leeway. Also, the theory the author raises around the Maria Reynolds scandal is interesting ...more
Donna Sosa
Mar 28, 2019 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was an intriguing glimpse into the lives of Eliza Hamilton and her Revolutionary peers. I’m glad that while this is a biography of Eliza there was a plethora of information about the people who influenced her life and times. I’ve seen plenty about Eliza’s relationship with her husband and sisters, but this book gave me a much more complete picture of her life. I was fascinated by the historic figures she interacted with as well as her unique part of establishing the United States of America ...more
Shoddy research, questionable sources, fictionalized passages, and numerous claims without proof/sources. I can’t finish this book because the author clearly isn’t trustworthy. This is highly disappointing. Eliza deserves better. I hope somewhere there is a scholar writing a better biography of her remarkable life, because I eagerly await being able to read it.
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018
This book gets two stars because of the subject matter - I’d never rate anything involving Eliza Hamilton lower. If you want to read this biography please understand, though, that it is NOT a biography. This is a work of historical fiction couched as a biography by an author riding on the coattails of Miranda and Chernow. The front cover praise indicates that it “reads like a novel” and it does, because it is. I don’t see how a proper historian writes a biography that focuses almost entirely on ...more
Bea Lynch
Jan 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: college, books-i-own
I am so disappointedly underwhelmed by this book. As an American Revolution scholar, and Hamilton fan, I was thrilled to see that Eliza finally had her own biography. However, Mazzeo's citations are limited, and she admits in the notes that she is not writing a "dissertation." Regardless, the creative liberties the author takes bring to question "what is fact?" Mazzeo imagines the unseen interactions between Eliza and her family in ways that can never be proven, and while this brings these histo ...more
Leslie Goddard
Oct 31, 2018 rated it did not like it
What a disappointment. I was so excited to think that at last there would be a biography of Eliza Hamilton. Nope. This is NOT a biography
When a book starts off with the birth and the death dates wrong of some of the most important people in Eliza's life, you know you're not reading quality literature
Feb 03, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
This is fiction - not a biography. The author even wrote the birth years incorrectly on the family tree for Eliza and Anjelica. Do not read. Stick with Chernow.
Jul 31, 2019 rated it liked it
Like many fans of the musical, I was curious about Eliza Hamilton and was excited when I found this biography. I was worried when I saw reviewers, upset over one of the conclusions the author drew, slamming this book as poorly researched. I did go through the citations, which some dismissed as referring to online sources. Those online sources are university databases (Harvard among them) and legitimate academic journals that have been posted online, which do qualify as valid sources and if you g ...more
Karly Hanna
Oct 24, 2019 rated it did not like it
This was a book written in 2018, hot on the tail of the Hamilton craze, written by a professor of English. So while I agree with a majority of the reviews, it is to be expected.

The first full length biography of Eliza is, sadly, a piece of historical fiction. It is imaginative and speculative to a great fault, so much so that I have a hard time trusting anything this author says. Her main argument of the book is that the Reynolds pamphlet was a cover for Alexander's inside trading during the Was
Jan 07, 2019 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book, but it read as much like a fictionalized account of someone's life as an actual biography, maybe more so. There were many scenes in which Eliza's (and Alexander's) inner thoughts or physical reactions, like blushing or calmly sighing, were stated as fact-- though they couldn't have been known.

The author used a lot of mixed language when talking about enslaved people, some of which does justice to the lives those people were living against their will, but much of which conti
Michael Denton
Oct 09, 2018 rated it liked it
It’s a quick read but you quickly tell that the author makes up for the lack of source material on Eliza by filling in the blanks herself. While it’s nice to have the perspective of Eliza and what was going on at home for Alexander there are many times where the read has to ask “how would this author know that?” This would be fine except for her main theory on the Reynolds Pamphlet. This argument is poorly made and relies solely on interpreting Eliza’s behavior instead of attempting to make an a ...more
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2019
I take a lot of issues with this book. The biggest issue I have with this book is that the author couldn't seem to decide if it's a biography or historical fiction. A lot of the assumptions about Eliza's feelings didn't seem to be founded on anything. She also didn't seem to do any research because some information I could dispute with a quick google search and everything that she cited were all letters and nothing else.

The author can write, I'll give her that but it shouldn't be classified as
So interesting! A great look into her life.
Nov 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What an amazing woman and what an amazing story!

Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-book
ELIZA HAMILTON – Who Tells the Story?
After the death of Alexander Hamilton, Eliza came into her own.

I had recently read another book on my own (I think); a more fictionalized account of Eliza Hamilton but was interested in this biography — a non-fictionalized accounting of her life. There are instances where I wondered if if there is some supposition about feelings and activity – like Eliza’s heart pounding, rushing to dress when Iroquois warriors where m
Jun 26, 2019 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
The subject of this book, Eliza Hamilton, is always worthy of five stars. Unfortunately, before I read this book, I read 'My Dear Hamilton', which presented the same facts, in a more fiction aspect. So, I felt like I was reading a less thrilling version of that. It's not to say that it's not good, and that I'm not grateful. It's a good read for anyone who wants to learn the facts of Eliza's life- without the pretense of fiction distorting fact from filler.
The qualm I have with this read is that
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Heartbreak of Aaron Burr
  • Cleopatra's Shadows (Fall of Egypt #1)
  • I, Eliza Hamilton
  • All For One (Alex & Eliza #3)
  • Hamilton and Peggy!: A Revolutionary Friendship
  • The Real Truth
  • Hamilton: The Revolution
  • Alexander Hamilton
  • The First Lady and the Rebel
  • Knit One, Die Two (A Knit & Nibble Mystery #3)
  • Feminist Praxis: Research, Theory and Epistemology in Feminist Sociology
  • Love & War (Alex & Eliza, #2)
  • My Dear Hamilton: A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton
  • Daughters of Chivalry: The Forgotten Children of Edward I
  • The First Time
  • The Lazy Genius Way: Embrace What Matters, Ditch What Doesn't, and Get Stuff Done
  • The Less People Know About Us: A Mystery of Betrayal, Family Secrets, and Stolen Identity
  • Yuletide Wishes
See similar books…
Tilar J. Mazzeo is a cultural historian, biographer, and passionate student of wine and food culture. She divides her time among the California wine country, New York City, and Maine, where she is a professor of English at Colby College.

(from the author's website)

Related Articles

If you haven't heard of record-smashing singer and songwriter Mariah Carey, is there any hope for you? Who else has sold more than 200 million...
47 likes · 20 comments
“Had they been living in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Angelica would have been Jane Bennet and Eliza, Eliza.” 0 likes
More quotes…