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Even though Alexander Hamilton was among the most important Founding Fathers, less is known about his early life than that of any other major Founder. Relatively few records have been found regarding Hamilton's birth, childhood, and origins in the West Indies. Alexander Hamilton "rarely . . . dwelt upon his personal history" and never recorded his life's story. Most of Hamilton's correspondence prior to 1777 was lost during the American Revolution. This has resulted in many gaps in Alexander Hamilton's biography, which has given rise to much conjecture regarding the details of his life. Relying on new research and extensive analysis of the existing literature, Michael E. Newton presents a more comprehensive and accurate account of Alexander Hamilton's formative years.
Despite being orphaned as a young boy and having his birth be "the subject of the most humiliating criticism," Alexander Hamilton used his intelligence, determination, and charisma to overcome his questionable origins and desperate situation. Hamilton worked for a mercantile company on St. Croix, moved to the mainland, penned political pamphlets, enlisted in the militia, commanded an artillery company, served as General Washington's "principal and most confidential aid" for four years, was given command of a battalion of light troops, and led the assault on Redoubt Ten at Yorktown. Thus, by the age of just twenty-five, Alexander Hamilton had proven himself to be one of the most intelligent, brave, hard-working, and patriotic Americans.
Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years tells the dramatic story of how this poor immigrant emerged from obscurity and transformed himself into the most remarkable Founding Father. In riveting detail, Michael E. Newton delivers a fresh and fascinating account of Alexander Hamilton's origins, youth, and indispensable services during the American Revolution.
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In 1800, the topic of Alexander Hamilton's birth was the subject of criticism to which Hamilton remarked "there is much mistake." He implored his friends to help set the record straight. Most biographers in the succeeding 215 years did little to correct this mistake or the many others regarding Hamilton's life. Michael E. Newton's quest to separate fact from fiction fulfills Hamilton's plea and provides to those who defend his legacy a comprehensive and thoroughly researched tool to promote the true early life of Alexander Hamilton. These corrections to the record combined with new discoveries make this work a most exciting historiography of Alexander Hamilton. - DOUGLAS HAMILTON, Alexander Hamilton's fifth great grandson
Michael E. Newton's Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years offers the most detailed examination of Hamilton's early life that I have ever read. Every question and controversy related to this remarkable founding father is presented in a painstakingly thorough and evenhanded manner. I'm somewhat in awe of the task Michael E. Newton has undertaken--he has certainly done his due diligence regarding Alexander Hamilton. This is an invaluable resource, a must have, for serious scholars and students who are interested in the life of Alexander Hamilton. - STEPHEN KNOTT, author of Alexander Hamilton and the Persistence of Myth
Michael E. Newton's Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years represents a significant scholarly contribution to the literature regarding the first half of Alexander Hamilton's remarkable life story and to our understanding of the American Revolution. This extensively researched, incredibly well-documented, theme-based biography reveals new discoveries, debunks previously held myths, and objectively analyzes disputed or unknowable facts. The narrative of Hamilton's critical role during the American Revolution and his relationships with other key Founding Fathers, most notably George Washington, is enlightening and inspiring. Readers get a fuller sense of Hamilton's accomplishments and impact during the War for Independence and more accurate insight into the formative years of the man who subsequently shaped America's foundations. Not only will this book serve as an invaluable reference for decades to come, it is a most engaging read, which any consumer of history books will enjoy. Mr. Newton's scholarly findings regarding Hamilton's origins, youth, and service in the American Revolution surpass every book that has preceded it. - RAND SCHOLET, President & Founder of the Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society
Covering Hamilton's background, birth, and youth in the West Indies and his first decade in the United States, Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years details Hamilton's emergence as a revolutionary pamphleteer, military leader, General Washington's principal, ablest, and most trusted aide-de-camp, and hero of the decisive Yorktown campaign. With encyclopedic knowledge of Hamilton's life and career and all that has been written about it, including the many contradictions, Michael E. Newton judiciously sorts out what we know and don't know based on the historical evidence. Where historical actors and later scholars disagree, the author weighs the evidence and presents us with what is most likely based on the extant record. He thereby corrects many false statements and impressions given in the Hamilton literature. Along the way, Mr. Newton also presents a number of new and interesting discoveries. It is a pleasure to read such a deep, informed, and scrupulously documented volume, yet one that is so engaging and well written as to be something of a page-turner. - RICHARD SYLLA, Financial Historian and Professor of Economics at New York University
We now live in the America that Alexander Hamilton launched. Just as Hamilton's star continues to rise, Michael E. Newton has moved forward with a painstakingly researched and carefully documented biography of the most remarkable of our Founding Fathers. Hamilton's life story is complex, richly layered, and deserving of the meticulous attention to detail that Michael E. Newton's work will provide for generations of Americans. - LEONARD ZAX, President of the Hamilton Partnership for Paterson
Michael E. Newton graduated summa cum laude with honors and multiple degrees from Arizona State University. He is the author of The Path To Tyranny, Angry Mobs and Founding Fathers, and Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years.
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