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A fresh and fascinating account of Alexander Hamilton’s origins, youth, and indispensable services during the American Revolution.
A fresh and fascinating account of Alexander Hamilton’s origins, youth, and indispensable services during the American Revolution.
80 backers pledged $10,012 to help bring this project to life.
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Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years

$10,012

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Focusing on Alexander Hamilton’s origins, youth, and indispensable services during the American Revolution, 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. This book presents a more comprehensive and accurate account of Alexander Hamilton’s formative years.

Unfortunately, the Founding Fathers have recently been subject to much deprecation by revisionist historians. Alexander Hamilton, as one of the most active and controversial Founders, has been especially subject to attack. With your help, we can restore Hamilton's rightful place in American history.

How you can help!

After four years of extensive research, analysis, writing, and editing, Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years is already written, edited, laid out, and ready for publication. After successfully publishing my first two works as print-on-demand (POD) books, that would have been the logical course to pursue with this book. However, to POD a 774-page hardcover would be quite costly ($18 per book) and that high cost would have to be passed along to the consumer. To lower the retail price of Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years from the $40 cover price to the $30 being charged here, a large quantity will have to be printed (print costs drop significantly at 500 units, which costs about $9,000, and then again at 2,000 units). All you have to do to support this project is pre-order your copy of Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years. You need not "donate" anything; just pre-order a copy of this critically acclaimed book (see reviews below) about the most remarkable Founding Father. 

Book Synopsis

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 regarding Hamilton’s birth, childhood, and origins in the West Indies have been found. 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. As a mere child, Hamilton went to work for a West Indian mercantile company. Within a few short years, Hamilton was managing the firm’s St. Croix operations. Gaining the attention of the island’s leading men, Hamilton was sent to mainland North America for an education, where he immediately fell in with the country’s leading patriots. After using his pen to defend the civil liberties of the Americans against British infringements, Hamilton took up arms in the defense of those rights. Earning distinction in the campaign of 1776–77 at the head of an artillery company, Hamilton attracted the attention of General George Washington, who made him his aide-de-camp. Alexander Hamilton was soon writing some of Washington’s most important correspondence, advising the commander-in-chief on crucial military and political matters, carrying out urgent missions, conferring with French allies, negotiating with the British, and helping Washington manage his spy network. As Washington later attested, Hamilton had become his “principal and most confidential aid.” After serving the commander-in-chief for four years, Hamilton was given a field command and led the assault on Redoubt Ten at Yorktown, the critical engagement in the decisive battle of the War for Independence. 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.

Book details

  • Cover price: $40  
  • Hardcover with dust jacket
  • 6.14" x 9.21"
  • 774 pages
  • 505 pages of the main text
  • 218 pages of extensive citations and endnotes
  • bibliography of nearly 500 works used in researching this book
  • a helpful index

About the Author

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: A History of Free Society's Descent into Tyranny and Angry Mobs and Founding Fathers: The Fight for Control of the American Revolution.

Book Reviews

“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 F. Knott is a Professor of National Security Affairs at the United States Naval War College and the author of Alexander Hamilton and the Persistence of Myth.

“Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years by Michael E. Newton provides a comprehensive account of Hamilton’s life from 1757 to 1782, including his birth, childhood, education, participation in pre-Revolution politics in New York, and service in the Revolutionary War, both as Washington’s aide-de-camp and as a military leader. The book takes the reader on a detailed journey through the first half of Hamilton’s life. While many historians have lifted some accepted details of Hamilton’s life from past biographers, Newton has taken 4 years to exhaustively research both primary sources and the existing historical record and thus has the perspective to compare contradictions in the record and uncover new information. Newton’s extensive research efforts enable the reader to understand the historiography behind each of the well-known Hamilton legends he covers, and on some occasions, debunks. During the course of his research, Newton has made several new discoveries, some of which are outlined on his website, including information about Hamilton’s arrival in New York, studies at King’s College, and militia service. Newton’s painstaking devotion to the details of Hamilton’s life is apparent in the extensively footnoted text, and the reader is able to come away with a fresh understanding of Hamilton’s early life. Newton takes the time to explain his research and discovery process to the reader, making it clear where sources disagree with each other so that the reader can form her own opinion. Hamilton’s early life was complex, filled with nuances and conflicting motivations that contributed to his later political and personal decisions. AHTFY lays out these events in a way that provides illumination to the reader on the development of Hamilton’s character.” ~ It’s Hamiltime! (blog written by Pooja Nair, associate and litigation lawyer in the Los Angeles office of Foley & Lardner LLP)

"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 (Click here for an interview with Rand Scholet about his review of Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years)

"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, Henry Kaufman Professor of the History of Financial Institutions and Markets at New York University Stern School of Business

“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 A. Zax, President of the Hamilton Partnership for Paterson

More reviews coming...

Risks and challenges

Although not anticipated, unexpected delays in the printing process may push the publication past June 2015. If so, the delay should not be long and rewards will be shipped as soon as the books are available.

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