Lin Manuel Miranda’s musical inspired a surge of historical fiction novels about Alexander Hamilton over the past decade. I have read several of those novels, and many were quite good, but President Hamilton might be my favorite. This is an alternate history romp where Hamilton survives his duel with Burr and dedicates his life to ending slavery to prevent the American Civil War. Smith recasts all the major figures within America’s first and second generations into new roles, including Madison, Clay, and John Quincy Adams. History buffs will delight at every beat and try to anticipate what he’ll come up with next.
Hamilton’s quest to end slavery transforms the book into a political drama. Smith articulates intelligent political and military arguments for every side of the issue and the book reminded me of Spielberg’s Lincoln film several times. This book was very creative, well researched, and had excellent prose. Highly recommended.