Thursday, December 20, 2007

2007 New Years resolution accomplished

At last. After nearly a year, I finished reading Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow, thus fulfilling last year's New Year's resolution to read at least one book that I'd bought but hadn't yet read. And not a moment too soon. This book was a bestseller, but I bet fewer than half of the people who bought it actually read it. Alexander Hamilton was an extremely active person and prolific writer and his prose has a wordy and florid style that makes for difficult reading. Add to that complex political imbroglios and you have a biography that is a struggle to read.
Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson loathed each other. I was raised in New York, where history classes had lessons dedicated to him. Now we live in Jefferson's territory and my kids do not seem to be learning much about Hamilton in history. I distinctly remember my fourth grade teacher telling us that Burr and Hamilton dueled because Hamilton insulted Burr's daughter, an idea she must have gotten from Gore Vidal's novel Burr. In reality, no one knows what, precisely, Hamilton said about Burr to spark their dual other than that it was something “despicable.” Chernow loses his objectivity and insists, somewhat implausibly, that Burr was all but jumping with glee after the duel.
For 2008 I resolve to see the Falsies in concert, because everyone tells me how good they are, to see something--anything-- at the Gravity Lounge, because I've never been there, and try at least two new restaurants.

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