Tag Archives: Hamilton: An American Musical

Book Review- Chernow’s Grant

Chernow, Ron, Grant, Penguin Press; 1st edition (October 10, 2017)

     A hefty, yet easily digestible biography  continues the author’s attempts at reimagining supposedly misunderstood figures.  The actual result is consensus history masquerading as newly discovered insight. 

 

The success of his biography of Alexander Hamilton… and the subsequent musical it inspired, brought about unprecedented anticipation for his latest work.  Chernow has tapped into the millennial generation’s need for easily digestible, episodic history.  His style is to illustrate personal relationships, conflicts, and controversies and explain how the collective memory has misunderstood the stories.  This is best illustrated as he discusses Grant’s well documented drinking problem- never really that drunk, always alert, and kept in line by his dutiful wife, Julia.  Chernow’s gift is his effortless storytelling blended with an authoritative tone.  Trouble is, this analysis is not revelatory, and has been well covered in the work of previous historians.

 

Chernow combs through and pieces together observations from previous Grant scholarship… and artfully weaves it into his own narrative.  His assertion that Grant’s reputation as a poor general is undeserved  was well covered in Bruce Catton’s three volume study from 1960.  Brooks D. Simpson’s 1991 evaluation of the Grant presidency put to rest the many accusations of incompetence and corruption and established Grant’s indispensable role in Reconstruction; points that Chernow meticulously recounts in the final one third of his 1,074 page study.

 

Reviewers have already deemed this biography as “definitive”… despite the fact that Chernow breaks little, if any new ground.  Chernow wants you to believe that Grant has been widely misunderstood and underappreciated.  The casual history reader, unfamiliar with previous Grant scholarship, is best served by Chernow’s efforts.` The popularity of his previous work all but guarantees his place on the bestseller list.

 

 

 

 

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History Wishes for the New Year

Every generation feels an impact on the historic…

  • We stop destroying history and refocus our energy on studying it
  • Americans start listening to true Civil War historians like James McPherson, Noah Trudeau, Wayne Motts, and Stephen Sears
  • That historical hacks like Don Lemon, Jamelle Bouie, Ilya Somin, Yoni Applebaum, and everyone at MSNBC stop talking about historical revisionism
  • Seeing rational minds put an end to the scourge of American iconoclasm
  • American society rediscovers the indispensable examples set by George Washington
  • Americans accept the fact that if Jefferson is right, America is right
  • Real efforts are made to protect historical homes, sites, and monuments
  • No  “Grant!”  the musical
  • “Hamilton!” fans actually read a few of the Federalist Papers
  • Donald Trump donates all of his paychecks to battlefield preservation (the first one was greatly appreciated)
  • The Confederate flag remains legal
  • Ne0-Nazis and white supremacists fade to obscurity
  • Living history continues to educate the public
  • The Eisenhower Memorial is finished on the National Mall
  • Steven Spielberg makes an authentic Civil War film as a companion to “Lincoln”
  • PBS brings back “Mercy Street”
  • The History Channel schedules more programs about history
  • Customers of Ancestry.com realize that they are actually Americans first…
  • We all stop learning history through memes

Just like ISIS

It already was, Donnie

 

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On Tariffs

Globalism and free trade have been US policy since the Reagan administration… Donald Trump attempts to turn back the clock on trade policies- his critics are quick to attack any position he takes.  America has a long tradition of protective trade policies, but Trump’s critics are unwilling to acknowledge the historical context.

Listen to this rap

Before rapping about his life on Broadway… Alexander Hamilton was one of the earliest advocates for protectionist trade policies.  Hamilton considered tariffs an essential part of government investment in economic growth.  He did not want the United States to remain a tiny agricultural nation beholden to the European grain markets.  Protecting our young industry was an important first step.  Hamilton argued:

“Taxes are never welcome to a community, [but] an increase of duties shall tend to second and aid this spirit [of manufacturing], they will serve to promote essentially the industry, the wealth, the strength, the independence, and the substantial prosperity of the country.”  1791

Strangest bedfellows

Alexander Hamilton and Donald Trump sharing tariff policies?….  I’m not sure the crowds at Hamilton!  the musical will approve this political alliance.

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Historians and Hamilton: Founders Chic and the Cult of Personality

Ken Owen takes a critical look at “Hamilton” and historians’ reactions to it.

http://earlyamericanists.com/2016/04/21/historians-and-hamilton-founders-chic-and-the-cult-of-personality/

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