HAMILTON: THE MUSICAL, HISTORICALLY ACCURATE OR NOT
Steven Z. Freiberger, Ph.D
603 580 5145
The course is designed to explore America’s early history through the eyes of Alexander Hamilton. The class will be provided a series of lectures/discussion geared toward; background to the American Revolution; Hamilton’s life story; a study of how the musical “Hamilton” was created: and a class analysis of whether the story and lyrics are historically accurate.
All students will be expected to purchase the “Hamilton: An American Musical” by Lin-Manuel Miranda that includes the 2 CDs and a pamphlet with lyrics. This is a necessity if students are to engage each other in discussion concerning the historical validity of the musical.
April 24, 2017 Life in Colonial America
May 1, 2017 Alexander Hamilton: A Life
May 8, 2017 Hamilton: An American Musical
May 15, 2017 Class discussion on the historical validity of the musical
Bibliography of some of the major players:
Appleby, Joyce THOMAS JEFFERSON
Beeman, Richard PLAIN, HONEST MEN: THE MAKING OF THE AMERICAN
Brookhiser, Richard ALEXANDER HAMILTON: AMERICAN
Burns, James MacGregor; Susan Dunn GEORGE WASHINGTON
Bustein, Andrew; Nancy Isenberg MADISON AND JEFERSON
Cheney, Lynne JAMES MADISON: A LIFE RECONSIDERED
Chernow, Ron ALEXANDER HAMILTON
Chernow, Ron GEORGE WASHINGTON: A LIFE
Diggins, John Patrick JOHN ADAMS
Ellis, Joseph FOUNDING BROTHERS
Ellis, Joseph THE QUARTET
Ellis, Joseph HIS EXCELLENCY: GEORGE WASHINGTON
Ellis, Joseph AMERICAN SPHINX: THE CHARACTER OF THOMAS JEFFERSON
Ferling, John JEFFERSON AND HAMILTON: THE RIVALRY THAT FORGED A NATION
Ferling, John JOHN ADAMS: A LIFE
Ferling, John ADAMS VERSUS JEFFERSON: THE TUMULTUOUS ELECTION OF
Ferling, John THE ASCENT OF GEORGE WASHINGTON
Flexner, James GEORGE WASHINGTON 4 VOLUMES
Hart, Gary JAMES MONROE
Hayes, Kevin THE ROAD TO MONTICELLO
Isenberg, Nancy FALLEN FOUNDER: THE LIFE OF AARON BURR
Ketchum, Ralph JAMES MADISON
Lomansk, Milton AARON BURR 2 VOLUMES
Maier, Pauline RATIFICATION: THE PEOPLE DEBATE THE CONSTITUTION 1787-
Malone, Dumas THOMAS JEFFERSON 4 VOLUMES
McDonald, Forrest ALEXANDER HAMILTON: A BIOGRAPHY
McCullough, David JOHN ADAMS
McCullough, David 1776
Meacham, Jon THOMAS JEFFERSON: THE ART OF POWER
Miller, John C. ALEXANDER HAMILTON
Miranda, Lin-Manuel; McCarter, Jeremy
Stewart, David O. JAMES MADISON
Stewart, David O. THE SUMMER OF 1787: THE MEN WHO INVENTED THE
Wills, Gary JAMES MADISON
Unger, Harlow Giles THE LAST FOUNDING FATHER
Vidal, Gore BURR
(Paris’s Pere Lachaise Cemetery)
Paris, a late summer evening when two unsuspecting tourists in search of Jim Morrison’s grave site in the Pere Lachaise cemetery are murdered. So begins Mark Pryor’s second installment of his Hugo Marston series, THE CRYPT THIEF. Marston, a former FBI profiler and chief of security at the American embassy in Paris is called into the ambassador’s office and told that one of the murder victims is Maxwell Holmes, the son of a US senator who was about to begin an internship at the embassy; the other is an Egyptian woman named Hanna Elserdi. Later the action shifts to another cemetery, nine hours from Paris in the small town of Castet where the night watchman, named Duguay is murdered. It seems that all three murders were committed by the same man.
It turns out that the Egyptian girl is Pakistani, from Karachi and her real name is Abida Kiam. She had traveled to Paris with Mohammad Al-Zakiri, the son of a prominent mullah in Pakistan whose views were pro-al-Qaeda and Taliban. His alias was Pierre Labor, an Egyptian-Frenchman. Marston argues that the murders might all be a coincidence and not acts of terrorism, something that Senator Norris Holmes cannot accept.
The author does a nice job reintegrating characters from his first novel, THE BOOKSELLER. We become reacquainted with Tom Green, Marston’ wisecracking and unpredictable former CIA operative who still consults for the American intelligence agency. Capitale Raul Garcia of the Paris Police Department returns to renew his relationship with Marston when they worked on solving the murder of Max, a poor bookseller who sold books from his kiosk along the Siene River. Marston’s former lover/girlfriend, Claudia, a newspaper reporter reenters his life as she covers the cemetery murders. Soon, Marston will learn that in addition to the murders, a crypt has been robbed of the skeletal remains of the famous dancer, Jane Avril who had been buried over seventy years ago.
Early in the novel a number of questions confront Marston. First, what is the relationship between the murdered American and the woman who accompanied him and the crypt robber? Second, what role does international terrorism play in his investigation, if any. Further, when a number of crypts are broken into to steal the bones of dead can-can girls, is it related to the overall investigation or is it something even more bizarre occurring, particularly when the killer is leaving an Egyptian scarab beetle at each murder scene. It becomes a race to the next cemetery to prevent what seems to be a serial killer from taking more lives, and “bones.”
As one reads on one gets the sense of Pryor’s views of terrorist threats and how they germinate. The treatment of Al-Zakiri by CIA operatives, who act first, then investigate thoroughly is important as it provides evidence as to why the United States is seen so negatively in the Islamic world. Marston’s measured approach is one that the author believes the US should take when dealing with a possible terrorist threat. Pryor also raises the issue of a free press during an investigation that could lead to a terrorist attack. What role should journalists play, particularly when their actions could endanger people? It is a tough call, but common sense should prevail, but at times that is not the case.
Pryor provides a well-crafted story, though his character development is weaker than his first Marston novel. But the intrigue created by the grave robber/murderer will keep the reader’s attention. The story is complex and eerie at times and should not be read right before you go to sleep, however despite what seems to be a predictable ending, the book is worth the read.
(Paris’ Pere Lachaise Cemetery)
This morning when I checked the weather forecast it called for another 18-24 inches on top of the 12 plus we got on Friday. For me it calls for snuggling up with the New York Times and New York Post (let no one think I am one of those liberals) and reading the book review and sports sections. In the NYT BOOK REVIEW I came across a wonderful article by James Atlas entitled, “Headed for the Graveyard of Books.” In it I found one of the best answers to a question I have thought about for decades. Three years ago my wife Ronni and I moved from the Hanover, NH area down to the seacoast. I faced a major crisis, how do I move a personal library of over 8000 books. After careful consideration and much prodding by the love of my life I gave 2000 away. Today I am left with the remaining items, a blend of historical monographs, historical fiction, biography, literature, mysteries, and sports. When people visit or hear about my collection the question always comes up, “have you read them all?” Of course the answer is no, as there are only 24 hours in a day, and you must sleep for a significant block of that time. The next question that arises is “why not go the library and/or why do you have so many?”
In Atlas’ article he quotes Anatole France, who is “asked if he has read all of the books in his library, [he] is said to have replied: “not one-tenth of them. I don’t suppose you use your Sevres china every day?”* This is the answer I have been searching for. Friends will show off their Kindles or Nooks and say why not them? Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately I cannot adjust to the backlighting on these consumer items, and as a wanna be Luddite I will not use them. I realize that my addiction to books whether it is their texture, the snap of their spines, or the type of print presented it is something I cannot or will not try and cure myself of. I realize that when I travel or go to a doctor’s office or any number of places I carry extra pounds, but I do not question the wisdom of carrying a laptop, I pad, smart phone, large purses, attaché cases, and backpacks, so why should people question me? Choosing a book from your own “stacks” or sharing them with friends, neighbors, and students is a behavior that never gets old. So the next time someone asks the question, “have you read them all?” I will smile inwardly and contemplate my next journey that presents itself on the written page, because people continue to write wonderful books!
Last night I had the pleasure of going to the Music Hall in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and being entertained by the “Capitol Steps,” a satirical group of entertainers and political commentators. They were funny, talented and iconoclastic. I went with friends who do not always agree politically, but it was an enjoyable evening. All spectrums of of the political world were lampooned, left, right, and middle. Imitations of Hillary, Bernie, Obama, Schumer, McConnell, “W,” and the Donald were all presented. After almost two hours of laughing, it dawned on me that this is not just comedy, but serious, especially when they did their skit on “The Supremes,” reflecting the upcoming debate in the Senate. What is scary is that this is where we are as a nation, where the “truth does not set us free.” We need to grow up as a people, especially those who supposedly represent us in government. If all we want is to pass our agendas and make points against our opposition then we are in trouble. Damn it America, grow up, from the President, Congress, down to the general public. Because unless we do we will become the laughing stock of the world, if we haven’t done so already. If we continue on our path the “art of the deal” will become “the art of the steal” as America’s reputation is demeaned and stolen, and rides off into insignificance, with everything that possible contemplation will bring.
“In the art of war, the best thing of all is to take the enemy’s country whole and in tact; to shatter and destroy is not good.” Sun Tzu, THE ART OF WAR
I guess Donald Rumsfeld and the rest of the neo-conservatives didn’t read much during their corporate careers. Therefore it is not surprising that Iraq remains a quagmire. Even Robert McNamara apologized for his mistakes in Vietnam. Rumsfeld and former Vice President Cheney continue to maintain they were correct….UGH!
In this political season when a candidate praises Vladimir Putin, a man who probably is well aware of Sun Tzu’s teaching, it might be important for certain people to become a bit more educated when it comes to our national security.
P.S. “When one receives a confidential national security briefing, the operative word is confidential.” Could be attributed to Thomas Paine, COMMON SENSE!!!!!
I have been trying to hold my tongue when thinking about the coming election. However, last night the egoist from Manhattan just went too far. Having studied the Middle East for over 40 years I am fully aware of the errors that President Obama has made in dealing with Iraq and Syria, but too blame him for being the “founder” of ISIS reflects the total lack of historical knowledge that the egoist is guilty of. Perhaps the narcissist should read a book or consult documents dealing with the Middle East. Perhaps he might learn that ISIS morphed from al-Qaeda in Iraq. Perhaps he would learn that Abu Musa al-Zarqawi began the process as early as 2005. Perhaps he would learn that the Bush administration destabilized Iraq to the point of creating the vacuum that Iran and ISIS have filled. Perhaps he would learn that Paul Bremer was incompetent. Perhaps he would learn that “Debathization” was one of the worst decisions the Bush administration ever made. Perhaps he would learn that many of ISIS’ officer corps and leaders rose from the Iraqi Sunni military population. I could go on, but I know “perhaps” doesn’t apply to Mr. Trump, as well as historical fact. I apologize in advance if this rant bothers some, but I do not “tweet” so this is my vehicle for political therapy.