#Hamalong – Post One

I’m pretty sure Alice is the actual best for hosting this.

I’m going to start off my apologizing if I don’t get around to reading and commenting within the next few days – family is in town as you’re reading this because I’m becoming Mrs. Honeyman tomorrow and so yeah… stuff. Hopefully I’ll be able to do some blog hopping on my phone from our hotel over the weekend or something.

Alright, so HAMILTON! Major thanks to all of you tweeting about it over the past couple months until I finally decided to figure out what the hell was up with Alexander Hamilton all of the sudden. I’ve listened to nothing but the cast recording in weeks. And now we have the biography to further the obsession. As I’m reading, every time I get to a part where it introduces someone/something familiar (Lafayette, Burr) I end up writing corresponding lyrics in the margin, which is basically why I bought my copy of the bio instead of getting it from the library.


Rather than going through what happens in these 5 chapters, I’ll touch on a few points.

  • I don’t like how Chernow talks about Alexander’s mother, Rachel. He actually makes a “well in his defense” statement for her first husband’s completely shitty treatment of her.
  • Chernow makes a statement early on about how Hamilton would come to be notable for his fierce abolitionism. It’s not something I ever really heard before the musical, and from what I can find via some light Googling, it appears that this is a relatively recent opinion – the former being that he kinda sorta supported the abolition of slavery, but only when it didn’t conflict with some other goal of his and that it wasn’t something he actually made a priority. Is this a case of him just looking really good compared to others of his time? I’m really hoping that Chernow goes into this and gives some good evidence of his “fierce abolitionism” later in the book. I really want that to be true.
  • On pg. 24, we find out that young Hamilton had access to 34 books – that is a very specific number.
  • Hamilton was hella FLIRTY when he was young.
  • Did Hercules write a lot about Hamilton after he died or something? I felt like I saw a lot of quotations from him during these five chapters, almost like Chernow was interviewing him. Is Hercules Mulligan a time traveler?
  • Just listening to the cast recording, I had no idea Hamilton was this damn unhealthy all the time. People who’ve seen the play – is that touched on during a not-singing part?
  • Chapter 5 ends with Conway being shot in the mouth and living, which Lin-Manuel Miranda confirmed on Twitter is where the “John should’ve shot him in the mouth” line comes from in “Meet Me Inside”. Yay.

And I guess that’s all for right now. I’m looking forward to getting to more of the meatier stuff. I’m also realizing that I probably don’t read many biographies because I don’t love all of the conjecture and guesswork involved. There’s a lot of “this line in this letter could have meant this” that I find frustrating. Maybe I’ll get used to it.

Onto the next section! Which hopefully I will have time to read sometime during the honeymoon so I’m not late with my next post. Very much excited to possibly get to the Schuyler sisters and possibly more ” And Hercules Mulligan said…”.

too much excitement




  1. “getting married tomorrow” is a pretty good reason to not get around to readalong commenting. WELL DONE AND CONGRATS ON THAT!!

    I loooove that you’re writing the related lyrics in your copy. That is a great idea

    Pretty sure Hercules Mulligan (it really is a great name) is a time traveler or looooooooved Hamilton, cos damn, he wrote about him a LOT.


  2. I didn’t get the sense he was always sick from the music, either! I guess it’s not very compelling on the stage, is it??

    Congrats in advance on your big day tomorrow! I hope everything goes perfectly. 🙂


  3. First and most important here, congratulations to you and your husband, which he probably will be by the time you read this.

    I missed the 34 books comment, but that does seem very specific, you’re right.

    I like how you’re not taking everything Chernow writes as gold. I think I have a tendency to want to believe the biographer, but you bring up interesting points about Hamilton’s abolitionist view. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. 🙂


    1. Thanks!

      I think I usually stay away from biographies because I’m always just a little suspicious of the author – they’ll say something and I’m like “Yeah but how do you know that? How?” LOL.


  4. FIRST – congrats on your upcoming marriage! May you give homage to Hamilton’s hometown and partake in all the rum you can handle!

    I love that it was specifically 34 books, and when his possessions were seized, James Lytton purchased them back for him. I seriously felt like crying after reading that! :’)


  5. Congrats on your wedding! I hope your honeymoon is romantic and relaxing! I think some of Hamilton’s abolitionist views come through in the music but I was under the impressions he was friends with abolitionists more than he cared about it himself. I’m just starting the book – didn’t realize there was a readalong! Again, congrats!


    1. Yeah, the musical seems to allude to Hamilton being kind of a lazy abolitionist – like he was for it in theory. The biography seems to mention him being a “fierce abolitionist” but hasn’t really given any evidence of that yet – hopefully more to come in the later chapters. I’m thinking he was probably ambivalent about it – or just had other priorities that he considered more important.


  6. Happy marriage!!! Many many congrats!

    I love all the Hercules Mulligan quotes. I love how Hercules Mulligan just seems like the biggest Alexander Hamilton stan and wants to tell all the coolest stories about him. That’s adorable. And I also hope to hear more about his abolitionism. So far John Laurens has been the abolitioniest — he offers to take his inheritance from his father in the form of his father freeing a whole bunch of the family slaves. That rocks. John Laurens is a star.


  7. Hercules Mulligan: Time Traveling Tailor. SOMEONE WRITE THIS.

    I have also been wondering about the abolitionist issue – this is such a huge cultural/financial/political sticking point of the time, and I find it interesting that his early life was shaped by slavery (and that his early patrons were wealthy slaveowners) and that Chernow insists that he was pretty much an abolitionist from day one. I’m interested to see if we get more detail about how he came to that conclusion. Particularly since it seems like Laurens was the one who really pushing to free slaves (which seems like a pretty amazing stance for the son of a slave-owning plantation farmer).

    I was also pretty surprised by how sickly Hamilton is. But I guess when you think about how NON-STOP his lifestyle is, plus that he almost died as a child, plus that there’s no modern medicine…it makes sense that he’s like, on the verge of death all the time.


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