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THE DUEL by Judith St. George


The Parallel Lives of Alexander Hamilton & Aaron Burr

by Judith St. George

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: June 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-670-01124-7
Publisher: Viking

This briskly paced, concise dual biography of Burr and Hamilton highlights the remarkable parallels the men shared: Both were orphaned at a young age; both attended the same New Jersey academy; both were brilliant students, attending college and earning law degrees; both were heroes in the American Revolution; both served on George Washington’s staff; both would play prominent roles in the fledgling United States government. St. George effectively demonstrates how similar Burr and Hamilton were in personality—deeply driven, ambitious, arrogant men who proved to be thin-skinned when it came to the nastiness endemic to political and professional competition. Their lives were intertwined for 25 years in war, in legal practice, in business dealings and as bitter political rivals. The parallel narratives alternate smoothly, with a silhouette of the subject clearly indicating transitions. The author’s ability to lucidly explain the political intricacies of the time is impressive, revealing to readers that politics were as ugly, if not uglier, in the nation’s earliest days as they are now. (Biography. 12 & up)