Author Dianne Durante has made a valuable contribution to the literature on Alexander Hamilton.  Though the research is clearly based on an in-depth study of primary source documents, the writings are conversational and give the reader a truer understanding of this remarkable Founding Father by keeping his voice heard throughout the pages.  The AHA Society highly recommends this three-book series on Alexander Hamilton.

Alexander Hamilton: A Brief Biography
Alexander Hamilton: A Friend to America, Vols 1-2
By Dianne L. Durante

What were the important events of Hamilton’s life? What were the ideas that drove him? Alexander Hamilton: A Brief Biography includes substantial quotes from Hamilton’s writings, dozens of full-color images of Hamilton and his times, and a timeline setting Hamilton’s life in the context of events in Europe and the United States. If you’re a fan of Hamilton: An American Musical, this bio will give you more reasons to love the man and the musical. If you’re a history geek or a fan of Hamilton, it will serve as a gateway to Alexander Hamilton: A Friend to America, a two-volume set with extensive excerpts from writings by Hamilton and his contemporaries.

The two volumes of Alexander Hamilton: A Friend to America are unique in their emphasis on primary sources. Using writings by Hamilton, Washington, Burr, Eliza, Angelica, and others, they stitch together an image of Hamilton’s life, his times, and the ideas that drove him. These essays originally appeared as a series of weekly blog posts on intriguing topics such as:

  • Alexander’s “death wish”: what’s the evidence for it?
  • Alexander and Angelica: yes, no, maybe?
  • What made Hamilton’s first political essay so attention-grabbing?
  • Do we know the recipe for Alexander and Eliza’s wedding cake?
  • Was Hamilton a laissez-faire capitalist, a proponent of Big Government, or …? Where did he draw the line between economics and politics?
  • Maria Reynolds: What the hell was he thinking?
  • What’s the difference between history and art, and why do we need both? 

All three volumes are 6×9 inches and include illustrations in color and black and white – a total of more than 300 images.


As an independent researcher, freelance writer, lecturer, and tour guide, she indulges her curiosity and shares her delight in art and history. Recent projects include Central Park: The Early Years, three volumes on Alexander Hamilton, Innovators in Sculpture (5,000 years of art in two hours), and a videoguide app by Guides Who Know. Sam Roberts in the New York Times called her Outdoor Monuments of Manhattan, New York University Press, 2007, “a perfect walking-tour accompaniment to help New Yorkers and visitors find, identify and better appreciate statues famous and obscure.” For an up-to-date list of books and essays, see

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