A Fatal Friendship: Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr
In A Fatal Friendship, Arnold Rogow offers a readable account of the conflicted and ultimately fatal relationship between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, a dramatic story with a bang-up ending. The book circles in on that final deadly encounter, discussing the two men's youth, Revolutionary War service, and families and friends, then progressing through the 1780s and 1790s, taking us ever nearer to July 11, 1804. Final chapters detail the duel and its aftereffects, and an epilogue glances at the two men's treatment at the hands of history. As this rapid stride through two lifetimes might suggest, the book is more a character study than a chronological history, focused on the development and emotional evolution of its two protagonists in relation to their final encounter. As Rogow himself explains it, his book suggests that "the deeper causes of the duel are to be found in the dark recesses of their relationship and in the personal histories that shaped both their characters and that relationship" (p. xi). In the final outcome, Hamilton garners much of the responsibility for his duel with Burr. In Rogow's words, Hamilton's "character structure was more impaired than Burr's, and that as a consequence he was more at fault in bringing their relationship to a violent end" (p. xiv)--From a book review by the historian Joanne B. Freeman on H-Net.
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