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The Outsider

by Jean Fritz & illustrated by Ian Schoenherr

Age Range: 9 - 12

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-399-25546-5
Publisher: Putnam

His enemies may have called him an outsider, but Alexander Hamilton was loyal to his adopted country. In a swift and lively narrative, Fritz traces Hamilton’s life from his childhood in the West Indies to schooling in America and on to his involvement in just about every phase of the nation’s birthing. A soldier in Washington’s army, he was later asked to be on Washington’s staff as an aide-de-camp, thus beginning a close relationship with the future president. Later, Hamilton was asked to be the first secretary of the treasury for the new nation, the perfect position for a Federalist, who believed in a strong central government, a national bank and a monetary standard. The narrative features abundant detail without ever losing sight of Hamilton the person, no small feat for a work about a complicated man in complex times, and Schoenherr’s black-and-white illustrations are a perfect complement to the text. The volume comes to an unfortunately perfunctory conclusion with Hamilton’s death in his duel with Aaron Burr, though source notes add interesting additional reading. (Biography. 9-12)