Saturday, January 26, 2019

read: Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow (4 stars)

Alexander HamiltonAlexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked up this book based on Lin-Manuel Miranda's enthusiasm for it and the subsequent popularity of his Broadway hit, Hamilton. It's a daunting tome, at almost 800 pages. It took me 5 months to get through it, mostly due to only reading it part-time and finishing several other books during that period. But it is well worth the persistence.

I found it easy to read and quite compelling. No matter how many facts and quotes the author managed to cram into it (and I'm certain he left out far more), almost every word is fascinating. The story of Hamilton's rise from obscurity to successful lawyer would be story enough. Add in his Revolutionary War exploits and contributions to the Constitution and early government and his life is quite astounding. This book doesn't overlook his foibles and failures, either. It all paints a quite different picture of that period of American history than I had ever heard before.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

read: Street Player: My Chicago Story by Danny Seraphine (4 stars)

Street Player: My Chicago StoryStreet Player: My Chicago Story by Danny Seraphine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is for fans of the rock band Chicago. You've all heard some of the stories. But Danny gives us the insider's look we've always wanted, along with his personal journey from literal 'street' player to founder of one of the most successful rock bands of the 70's and 80's. Chicago, the band, was his way out of Chicago, the city.

It's a fast read, full of sex and drugs and rock-and-roll (obviously). It's also filled with street brawls, mob connections and shady record executives. Danny doesn't hold anything back. He freely admits he hasn't always been the nicest person or easy to get along with. Based on his recollections, it's a wonder that anyone in the band is still alive. But he is. And they are. And life goes on.

View all my reviews on Goodreads