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9780060195496 In the first full, one-volume biography of Alexander Hamilton in more than two decades, award-winning historian Willard Sterne Randall takes a fresh look at one of the most brilliant, conflicted, and elusive of our nation's founders. Orphaned at thirteen and apprenticed in a counting house, the precocious Hamilton learned principles of business that helped him, as the first U.S. secretary of the treasury, to create the American banking system and invent the modern corporation. But first the staunch, intrepid Hamilton served in the American Revolution, primarily as aide-de-camp to General Washington, acting as Washington's spymaster. Forging a successful legal career, Hamilton coauthored The Federalist Papers and plunged into politics. Irresistibly attractive to women, he was a man of many gifts, but he could be arrogant and was at times a poor judge of character. In this meticulously researched, illuminating, and lively account, Willard Sterne Randall mines the latest scholarship to provide a new perspective on Alexander Hamilton, his illegitimate birth, little-known military activities, political and diplomatic intrigues, and sometimes scandalous private life. From his less than auspicious start in 1755 on the Caribbean island of Nevis to his untimely death in a duel with his old enemy Aaron Burr in 1804, Alexander Hamilton, despite his short and tragic life, left a huge legacy.