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Eliza Hamilton: The Extraordinary Life and Times of the Wife of Alexander Hamilton
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Eliza Hamilton: The Extraordinary Life and Times of the Wife of Alexander Hamilton

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  184 ratings  ·  54 reviews
From the New York Times bestselling author of Irena’s Children comes a comprehensive and riveting biography of the extraordinary life and times of Eliza Hamilton, the wife of founding father Alexander Hamilton, and a powerful, unsung hero in America’s early days.

Fans fell in love with Eliza Hamilton—Alexander Hamilton’s devoted wife—in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s phenomenal musi
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published September 18th 2018 by Gallery Books
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Collette Gee That should be a warning for how awful and historically inaccurate this book is! Eliza deserves so much better!

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Oct 03, 2018 rated it did not like it
Reading this was an absolute waste of time & I do not understand how the term "biography" can be attached to this. Biographical fiction? Yes. But this is not a biography.

The way the author wrote this was incredibly frustrating, starting with the first sentence on the first page: "Eliza blushed. It was a beautiful letter." After reading the first page, I actually checked to make sure this was a biography and not another fictional account of her life. The rest of the book continued this way,
Margaret Sankey
May 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Mazzeo explores the life and context of Eliza Hamilton--her family network of wealthy Dutch patroons, the American Revolution, her sketchy in-laws (Angelica and Cornelia picked creeps with whom to elope), the financial boom of the 1790s, Hamilton's status as an outsider favorite of the Washingtons and user of the Schuyler network, the yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia and the four decades of widowhood and philanthropy. This is well-researched, but popularly formatted with references in the b ...more
Kathi Johnson
Nov 03, 2018 rated it did not like it
I can't understand the high ratings this book has garnered or why it is classified as a biography. The research is sloppy and the fictionalized additions by the author don't add to the book's credibility. The book's publication soon after the Hamilton musical's amazing
success makes me question the timing and perhaps the author's motivation in writing the book.
Eliza Hamilton was an intriguing personality in history and deserves a proper biography.
May 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Hamilton fans, biography lovers
I loved this super readable biography of Eliza Hamilton. For anyone who can't get enough of the Hamilton craze, or just wants to learn more about a strong woman coming of age with America, this is a great read.

My one caveat is that it's told in such a wonderfully readable style (it's not dry at all), that I was a little uncomfortable with the author authoritatively saying what Eliza's reactions to events, etc were. I wish there was more source material from Eliza herself. However, there's just s
Jul 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was an intriguing glimpse into the lives of Eliza Hamilton and her Revolutionary peers. I’m glad that while this is a biography of Eliza there was a plethora of information about the people who influenced her life and times. I’ve seen plenty about Eliza’s relationship with her husband and sisters, but this book gave me a much more complete picture of her life. I was fascinated by the historic figures she interacted with as well as her unique part of establishing the United States of America ...more
Jan Priddy
Dec 05, 2018 rated it did not like it
"Aaron Burr was famously louche and horny." What can I say about a sentence combining a high school senior's vocabulary word with slang? Not to mention "a hot bullet tore through Hamilton's abdomen, shattering his rib cage." Nothing actually wrong with either one, except that I found sentence structures like this gave me pause on almost every page.

And then the lines such as: "Those words echoed for Hamilton, who lay very still until he heard the quiet breath of his child sleeping." There is no
Leslie Goddard
Oct 31, 2018 rated it did not like it
What a disappointment. I was so excited to think that at last there would be a biography of Eliza Hamilton. Nope. This is NOT a biography
Oct 15, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a hard one to rate, simply because I almost feel like it should be under historical fiction rather than Biography. I know there are not a lot of source materials from Eliza herself, but I did not like how the author would infer or state things about Eliza that she actually has no way of knowing. For example, saying that Eliza blushed. Really? How did she know that? I think the author took a lot of leeway. Also, the theory the author raises around the Maria Reynolds scandal is interesting ...more
The author used research which she then fleshed out into the story of Eliza Hamilton's life. The beginning of the book was about her childhood and then about a third of the way through the book, the scandals started. If you like books about the ways of the world in those days with the balls and the limited opportunities for women, you will enjoy this book. If you liked the musical, then you may be interested in this.

I'm not a fan of reading most historical tales, whether fiction or non or of rea
Michael Denton
Oct 09, 2018 rated it liked it
It’s a quick read but you quickly tell that the author makes up for the lack of source material on Eliza by filling in the blanks herself. While it’s nice to have the perspective of Eliza and what was going on at home for Alexander there are many times where the read has to ask “how would this author know that?” This would be fine except for her main theory on the Reynolds Pamphlet. This argument is poorly made and relies solely on interpreting Eliza’s behavior instead of attempting to make an a ...more
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Unputdownable! I had so much fun reading this biography. The author is one of those writers who makes everything so fascinating you're constantly going to back and forth to Google to learn even more about some cool thing you just read in the book. I have to look up what else Tilar Mazzeo has written.
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I've been so curious about Eliza's story and this is an amazing biography of her.
Devon Black
Dec 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Written like a novel. Not much discussion of her sources or how she comes to her conclusions, which is important when writing about someone who famously is missing documents.
Sep 06, 2018 rated it liked it
I have stayed somewhat clear of the mania around Alexander Hamilton these last few years, but I received this book in a Goodreads giveaway, and I just happen to be in possession of tickets for "Hamilton" in Chicago for next month, so it was time...

I recognize that the book I read is an advanced reader's copy, but it seems to me a fair amount of editing still needs to be done. I found countless mistakes, errors in the genealogical chart at the front of the book, and got a sense that the last chap
Amanda Z
Nov 19, 2018 rated it liked it
I won a copy of the finished book in a Goodreads Giveaway!

I'm a fan of the Hamilton play and I slogged through Ron Chernow's biography a while back. It was interesting to see the story from the perspective of Eliza, and learn more about her life after Hamilton.

There were two fascinating parts of the book:

There's actually competing theories about what happened with the whole Maria Reynolds affair, one being the story that fans of the Hamilton play know, the other one being that Hamilton actually
Jenna Bookish
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"Best of wives and best of women."

This was an immensely readable biography. Mazzeo's writing style creates the immersive reading experience of a good novel. While this at times requires her to take certain liberties and to speculate (the book opens, for example, with Eliza blushing in response to a letter she received from Alexander Hamilton), she does seem to draw from what is known as much as possible. Eliza's thoughts and feelings, while not always documented, can often be inferred from lett
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was an enjoyable glimpse into the life of Eliza Hamilton. If you are a fan of the musical Hamilton and want to know more about the life of the woman who married Alexander Hamilton then you will be interested in reading this book. This book is a straight-forward and well-written biography of the woman who finally gets her story told. Even though the book goes through her entire life, the majority of this biography is written about her time being married to Alexander Hamilton.

Eliza was born
...more Biography & Memoir
This lively biography by the bestselling author of THE WIDOW CLICQUOT and IRENA’S CHILDREN follows Eliza through her early years as the daughter of a prominent landowner, through her life with Alexander and for 50 years after his death, as she worked to ensure his legacy while looking after her large family and founding New York’s first private orphanage.

In her youth, Eliza was one of the famous New York Schuyler sisters who, along with Peggy and Angelica, were feted for their charm, beauty and
Nov 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
What to do about the story of Eliza Hamilton.

"Eliza Hamilton" by Tilar J. Mazzeo from Gallery Books.

Not much is known about the wife of Alexander Hamilton and on purpose. Eliza destroyed almost all of her correspondence and later, some of her husband's as well. What's left behind is a carefully crafted story that Eliza took decades to bring forward as a biography for her husband. Meanwhile, she tried hard to leave little behind of her own story.

To get the full story, biographer Mazzeo had to rel
Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Let me start by saying that biographies are not my go to genre. I happen to win this ARC in a giveaway and was curious about the wife of A. Hamilton. We always hear and read about the men, but the wives of these men rarely share the spotlight. I was so pleasantly surprised by this book, I can't say enough good things about it. The written style is fluid, it was a pleasure to read. The author (Tilar Mazzeo) is able to capture the gist of everyday life for Eliza without burdening the reader with m ...more
Ryan Macnair
Sep 11, 2018 rated it liked it
This is an easy to digest, well written biography that bring to light the story of someone whom most people who saw the musical Hamilton instantly liked. That being said, some of the sourcing is a bit dodgy as many conclusions had to be made based on only one side of the conversation as Eliza most likely did not write letters often (of those she did write, she burned many) and did not keep a diary. That doesn't mean its necessarily incorrect, but the author makes some choices to portray events a ...more
Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways
I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway. Overall a really good book. The writing is easy and the pace is good. This book is clearly written to follow the success of the musical. Not that this is bad, but Eliza did a lot and yet, most of the book focuses on her time with Hamilton. She lived 55 years after he died, yet that’s less than a third of the book. I felt sometimes events were rushed or toned down to give space to other events. Additionally I felt that historical events didn’t always get m ...more
Aug 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful book, well written and has been really researched!
I appreciate the fact that Mazzeo also includes her footnotes at the end of the book! I will be interested to look through her research and learn more about the Hamilton's as well as others living during this time.

I love to read about history but at times it can be a bit dry and hard to get through. Mazzeo keeps the reader engrossed in the book with not only Eliza's life challenges but also those in her inner circle. I'm sure
Oct 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am excited to have read this biography, it is the "first full-length biography of Eliza Hamilton," and though details of her story will remain subject to speculation, the incredible drama of her story is undeniable. I now understand why perhaps the musical Hamilton has been so successful, I am reminded that our current economic and social outrage over the 1%'rs directing government and the economy is not new and women's struggles, slavery, family strife and survival and the molding of the stor ...more
Nov 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
The book contained a lot of information about Eliza Hamilton that I never would have gotten if not for reading this book, but there were many unnecessarily detailed parts of the book. The author would make the book seem more like a narrative than a memoir, describing Eliza's movements across the floor, describing every little action, and for this reason, I felt like I couldn't read this as it was. It was a somewhat cringe-worthy element to the story, since the author could not possibly know thes ...more
Stu Wilson
Sep 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a very well put together book, easy to read, with great information about the family of Eliza and of course her life with Alexander Hamilton. I enjoyed the back story of the Scuyler family as much as the Hamilton connection because this was new information for me and painted a picture of colonial life and times for another leading family of America that gets little attention. I would definitely recommend the book.
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a well-researched and well-written biography of a fascinating woman. I highly recommend this to anyone interested in strong women, U.S. history, &/or just having a really good read in their hands.

The only reason it took me so long to finish is that in the interim I’d received a double stack of library books (including two written by Ms Mazzeo) that I needed to finish before their due dates.

I received a free copy of this book for review purposes.
Sep 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm not a big history buff but this book peaked my interest when I entered the contest to win a copy of this book.
I found the book well researched and the story flowed from the first page. The one thing I didn't like was that two thirds of the book was devoted to Eliza and Alexander. The other third of the was about the approximately 55 years she lived after his death.
This book would be a good read for those who love history or even those who are into the "Hamilton" craze.
Sep 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing

I am not a fan of biographies, but this was incredible. It read like a novel. I learned so much about our founding fathers, but in a fun interesting way! The author was descriptive without boring the reader. The writing was easy and flowed quickly. All the characters were true to their own diaries, documents, and biographies.

I recommend this to anyone interested in history!
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Tilar J. Mazzeo is a cultural historian, biographer, and passionate student of wine and food culture. She divides her time among the California wine country, New York City, and Maine, where she is a professor of English at Colby College.

(from the author's website)