ALEXANDER HAMILTON Man of Action by Johan Smertenko


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I am afraid this biography of Hamilton will be above the heads of most junior readers. Hamilton, vital as he was in a crucial period of our history, was a character that appeals more to the intellectual than to the adventure loving reader. The sub-title, ""man of action"", seems justified in the skeleton of facts, but hardly in the way Smertenko has handled them. He tells us of Hamilton doing thus and so, but he tells it in terms of quotations from letters, from contemporary records, from authentic source material, rather than in narrative form. The result -- an almost inevitable slowing up of the pace, long passages of straight exposition, and so on. I think the book might have had a better chance as an adult biography, somewhat less weighty than his book written for adults and intended for people who want the story in easier form. Then it could be recommended for serious-minded high school students. As it is, it may fail between two fires. And yet the story is there -- the character and incidents should in possibilities for a more dramatic tale than this one. Its chief distribution will be through college and high school libraries, as supplementary reading for history students, as it serves as a history of certain facets of the Revolution, the intimate picture of Washington and his official family, and of the problems of the young country.

Publisher: Messner