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2016-19 Activities & Challenges > Alexander Hamilton Read-a-Along

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Sara (mootastic1) | 770 comments Note to admins: I didn't know which folder to put this in, so please put it in whichever folder is most appropriate.

Several of us expressed in Flo's review of Alexander Hamilton that we were either stalled in this book or in need of inspiration to get started, that it was decided to start a discussion and accountability thread. If you want to participate in this RAL (read-a-long), please pop in and let us know where you are in the book, or if you haven't even started. I figure we can also discuss any topics or interesting stories here as well.

I am just beginning chapter 8 (page 225) which picks up with Hamilton just after his marriage when he has left General Washington's service in hopes of getting to do something more in the war than compose letters.

I didn't realize he had done this. Historically he is usually just described as Washington's wartime aide-de-camp, so it was interesting to learn it was more than that. I have to admit though, I am glad to be out of the courtship of Eliza Schulyer. I get that this marriage very important to his development as a person, but too be honest it seemed never-ending. I guess I am not mucb of a romantic.


Anita Pomerantz | 6299 comments Where I am in the book?

It's on my Kindle, lol! Does that count? I'd love to try this, but realistically, I'm not sure I can. But I'm going to follow along!


message 3: by Charlie (last edited Jan 22, 2017 06:41AM) (new) - added it

Charlie  Ravioli (charlie_ravioli) | 393 comments I decided to start over from the beginning and I'm currently at the start of Chapter 3 (page 41). Glad to have others along for the ride to keep me on track...hopefully. 6% down, yahoooooooo!


message 4: by Flo (new) - rated it 4 stars

Flo (matthewmurdock) | 145 comments jsyk, I'm going to stalk this thread lol. good luck with finishing it! <3


message 5: by Charlie (new) - added it

Charlie  Ravioli (charlie_ravioli) | 393 comments Hahahahahahaha!


Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7717 comments Okay, I do want to read this but I need to finish Anna Karenina first! I can only handle one tome at a time. Good news: I am 60% done with Karenina! Bad news: I still have 15 hours of listening left. By the end of the month.

BUT, them I am diving into this one. Ordering it on Amazon now.


Jgrace | 2762 comments I own this one, having bought it for my father before he died. I'm ready to dust it off as soon as I finish A True Novel, my 825 page translation of a Japanese Wuthering Heights. I need to get at it if I'm going to finish it this month.


Anita Pomerantz | 6299 comments I'm going to give this a shot . . .I need to weave some other compulsory reads in, but what the heck.


Anita Pomerantz | 6299 comments Finished chapter 1. So far, so good!


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annapi | 4916 comments I pretty much just started it...


message 11: by Booknblues (new)

Booknblues | 5518 comments Nicole R wrote: "Okay, I do want to read this but I need to finish Anna Karenina first! I can only handle one tome at a time. Good news: I am 60% done with Karenina! Bad news: I still have 15 hours of listening lef..."

I'm doing two Russian tomes and as Anna Karenina is a dead tree book it has stalled, but I hope to get back to it before the end of the month.


Diane Zwang | 485 comments Anita, the chapters of him as a young boy in St.Croix are very good. I hope you enjoy them.

I am on chapter 15 (30%). I have just finished the inauguration of President Washington. I don't think I could have timed it better if I tried.


message 13: by Sara (new) - added it

Sara (mootastic1) | 770 comments Hey, look at how much interest we have! Glad to see so many others joining in.

Diane, that is amazing timing.

I haven't done any more reading since I started this thread. Been "enjoying" a really nasty head cold and there's no way I could retain anything I read.


message 14: by Tracy (new)

Tracy (tstan) | 1182 comments I'm still on the first chapter. I WILL finish this. Probably while listening to the musical soundtrack.
Too bad Lin-Manuel isn't the audio reader.


Diane Zwang | 485 comments Tracy wrote: "I'm still on the first chapter. I WILL finish this. Probably while listening to the musical soundtrack.
Too bad Lin-Manuel isn't the audio reader."



I think Lin-Manuel reading the audio would help me. I have just hit 40% and I feel accomplished. Some of the chapters can be a bit dry. The one on how the banking industry got started had a few too many details for me.


Anita Pomerantz | 6299 comments I did enjoy those initial chapters, Diane! I am reading other books in between so only about 10% in . . .about to embark on ch 5. I like the writing, but beed to concentrate. I am at the beach and wouldn't characterize it as a beach read lol!


message 17: by Charlie (new) - added it

Charlie  Ravioli (charlie_ravioli) | 393 comments I'm up to 12% now and here are some thoughts...

1. Is being a pamphleteer back in Hamilton's time the equivalent to blogging today?

2. G. Washington sounds like a fun boss (# funasaheartattack).

3. Amazing how much responsibility and authority it seems that Hamilton was granted given his age and life experience (or lack there of)...feels a little like a modern day Jared Kushner, kind of.

4. LOL when Hamilton's horse ride to Albany was described as being "at a furious pace, covering sixty miles a day..."

5. Interesting that J. Adams feared the "idolatry of Washington might end in military rule..." (#Trumanvs.MacArthur)

6. Fascinating that Hamilton's "pay book" at age 22 foreshadowed his destiny to become "a first-rate constitutional scholar, an unsurpassed treasury secretary, and the protagonist of the first great sex scandal in American political history."


Anita Pomerantz | 6299 comments Great post, Charlie! Lol on #2 especially. I do find it amusing that for such a great leader how little Washington accommodates Hamilton's career ambitions.

I am only a little ways ahead of you, but also find it interesting how he manages to woo one woman while creating an incredible connection with her older, married sister. Also wondering about his relationship with John Laurens which the author seems to imply was possibly romantic. All in all, he sounds like an extraordinarily charismatic man that everyone wanted to work with, be around, wtc.


Diane Zwang | 485 comments Good insights Charlie. I wish I had taken notes along the way. I have made it to the halfway mark and feel accomplished.

Anita, I think the relationship parts of the book are the most interesting. I was amazed at how much Hamilton did for Washington, he was really behind the scenes.

As for what I have read this week, I am reminded of the saying "the more things change, the more things stay the same." The Federalist and the Republicans are fighting it out. Sounds a lot like our current political system.


Diane Zwang | 485 comments Regarding Adam's victory as President "He regarded his thin victory as also a blow to his pride, however, and blamed it on the followers of Hamilton and Jefferson." Ha, ha sounds familiar.


Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7717 comments Oh yeah, I said I was going to try and read this......HAHAHAHAHAHA!


Anita Pomerantz | 6299 comments Diane wrote: "Good insights Charlie. I wish I had taken notes along the way. I have made it to the halfway mark and feel accomplished.

Anita, I think the relationship parts of the book are the most interesting..."


It is amazing how many parallels to current times there actually are. I always feel like our times are unique, but then you read history, and it is quite amazing how many things are similar.

But I do love to read about the relationships and how Hamilton was so clearly had natural charisma that propelled him to the forefront over and over.


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Joi (missjoious) | 3782 comments Just picked up my copy of this. Hopefully I get started soon, it seems I'm already behind!


Anita Pomerantz | 6299 comments Where is everyone so far? I am about to start chapter 14.

Chapter 13 was the first one that seemed a little less interesting to me, but I learned a lot so there's that.

One thing I will say is my goodness, the fighting! I don't know why we think we are always at a unique moment in time because honestly, this whole Hamilton period seems incredibly contentious with all these anonymous diatribes printed in the press under pen names, and then people really vociferously arguing about the Constitution in NY. I had no idea that NY was the hold out state when it came to really binding the states together.

It is reassuring to see how much debate went into the formulation of our Constitution. Hamilton didn't want a Bill of Rights! I am trying to think of someone in current times that he reminds me of, but no one politician comes to mind. Who is a very good, but extremely wordy, debater?


Regina Lindsey | 1005 comments Anita wrote: "Diane wrote: "Good insights Charlie. I wish I had taken notes along the way. I have made it to the halfway mark and feel accomplished.

Anita, I think the relationship parts of the book are the mo..."


The more you read about our country's history it is startling to see how little things have actually changed. You find the same thing with media covering politics. Very little has changed.


message 26: by Regina Lindsey (last edited Feb 13, 2017 03:51AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Regina Lindsey | 1005 comments Anita wrote: "Where is everyone so far? I am about to start chapter 14.

Chapter 13 was the first one that seemed a little less interesting to me, but I learned a lot so there's that.

One thing I will say is my..."


It seems anathema today that someone oppose the Bill of Rights, but he actually thought it was dangerous. I think that highlights just how unusual the concept of our government was for this time. It seems that exactly the right people were in place at the time to think through thoughtfully things from a range of perspectives and, thankfully, were willing to compromise.


Anita Pomerantz | 6299 comments Regina wrote: "..The more you read about our country's history it is startling to see how little things have actually changed. You find the same thing with media covering politics. Very little has changed. "

It is truly astounding to me how similar it sounds . . .in a way, I find that quite reassuring.

As to the Bill of Rights, they haven't really gone into why he opposed it yet. I assume more discussion of it will be forthcoming.


Regina Lindsey | 1005 comments Anita wrote: "Regina wrote: "..The more you read about our country's history it is startling to see how little things have actually changed. You find the same thing with media covering politics. Very little has ..."

I'm sure it does. It has just been so long since I've read it. He had several arguments. The strongest in my opinion was an extension of his perspective on the two arguments: does the government have the authority to only do what is enumerated in the Constitution or can it do anything not expressly prohibited. In his mind, if the government is prohibited from doing certain things but isn’t prohibited from doing everything it isn’t expressly told it can do, then the danger is in its implications. The government can do anything it’s not expressly forbidden to do.


Diane Zwang | 485 comments I am 62℅ in. I think I am on chapter 35. Birth location and legitimacy seem to be an issue. Again the similarities to current times.


message 30: by Sara (last edited Feb 17, 2017 09:46AM) (new) - added it

Sara (mootastic1) | 770 comments So I have been very absent from goodreads all month. Work and my kids' sports have kept me so busy that I have had very little time for anything, let alone reading. I just found out my parents sold their business, through my husband who found out on facebook. Yup, no time to breath let alone read something as weighty as Alexander Hamilton.

I am really enjoying all these discussions though.

Charlie, I think your comparison of pamphleteers to bloggers is a very interesting, and apt one. I never thought of it in that light before, but it makes perfect sense to me.


Diane Zwang | 485 comments Sara wrote: "So I have been very absent from goodreads all month. Work and my kids' sports have kept me so busy that I have had very little time for anything, let alone reading. I just found out my parents sold..."

Sara I hope life slows down for you soon.


Diane Zwang | 485 comments I have completed the book. I feel very accomplished. For me on my kindle the book ended at 74%, a nice surprise. Now the challenging part of writing a review.


Anita Pomerantz | 6299 comments Diane wrote: "I have completed the book. I feel very accomplished. For me on my kindle the book ended at 74%, a nice surprise. Now the challenging part of writing a review."

Oh, that's really good to know about the 74%, lol. I am on 40% so that means more than halfway. Very reassuring.

You should feel accomplished! It's a big read. I should have known what I was getting into because I read Washington: A Life, but I apparently blocked that out. Fortunately, I was an economics major so at least the banking sections aren't completely a snore to me as I imagine they might be to some. But Chernow does a good job of interweaving the finance chapters with the more salacious, personal ones.


Megan | 4 comments I'm 4 months late to the party but I'm on page 548.


Jgrace | 2762 comments It. Is. Done!

I'm very, very late to the party, and I've been working my way through this since May. May! (I made more progress when I realized that I can't stay awake reading a DTB anymore. I caved and got a kindle copy)

So now that I'm done, I'm sure there's a prize for completion. Where do I go to pick up my free Hamilton tickets?


Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7717 comments I STILL have not finished this book. In fact, I really haven't made much progress at all. lol. I just struggle reading something so serious in my limited reading time even if I am enjoying the book.

But, IF Hamilton tickets would have been the prize, bet your back side I would have finished this book long ago! Ha!

Congrats on finishing :)


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