Book Review: Hamilton’s Choice by Jack Casey

Honor did NOT require Hamilton to accept Burr’s challenge to his fatal duel.

He’d come close to dueling seven times before—twice with Aaron Burr—but always talked his way out. So why, with his political future never more promising, a new home just built and a loving family of eight to support would Alexander Hamilton choose to face Burr’s pistol at ten paces?

In 1804 New England Federalists planned to secede from the union, and they supported Burr in his race for governor so he’d bring New York into their “Northern Confederacy.” Hamilton had retired from politics after his son Philip died in a duel two years before, but he feared this threat to split the union. Against the wishes of his wife, Hamilton worked covertly to defeat Burr, and Burr lost so badly he could never run for public office again. Burr wanted revenge, and believed a duel would restore his stature.

For 215 years historians theorized that Hamilton accepted Burr’s challenge to preserve his honor. But history provides a far deeper motive. Read Hamilton’s Choice to find out why the life of America’s most brilliant founding father ended so tragically.

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Historical fiction based on facts is one of my favorite genres. When I saw Hamilton’s Choice, it intrigued me, and I had to read it! I was not disappointed.

Everyone knows that Alexander Hamilton was killed by Aaron Burr in a duel, but there’s so much more to the story. Hamilton’s son, Philip, was killed in a duel just two years before that by a Burr supporter. The incident that caused Philip’s duel is where Hamilton’s Choice begins.

When I hear the word “duel,” I think of two men facing off and one possibly being killed. Jack Casey brings that to life, though, with the thoughts of both men during the duel, and then the heartbreaking aftermath. In fact, I had to stop reading several times after the duel between Hamilton and Burr because I was crying.

The sections between the two duels are about Hamilton’s family life, Burr’s antics and his many failures, and politics. Politics usually bore me but I was fascinated how different some things were, yet how similar politicians were to today. I didn’t know that only real estate owners could vote for New York governor.

I liked the descriptions in this book. They were done so that I could visualize, but they weren’t so long that I tired of them.

The characters are brought back to life in Hamilton’s Choice. They’re well-defined and their struggles are related well. Hamilton’s turmoil while waiting for the duel, trying to figure a way out of it while still keeping his honor, was recounted effectively. He and his son were both so stubborn!

I definitely recommend Hamilton’s Choice. I’m going to have to check out more of Jack Casey’s books.

About the Author

JACK CASEY has handled civil, criminal and constitutional cases in his solo law practice for the last thirty years. He also counseled New York State legislators, and watched as ambitious politicians rose and fell. Casey now brings his insider’s perspective to the rivalry between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. In “Hamilton’s Choice,” his fifth historical novel, Casey dramatizes the last three years of Hamilton’s life, and advances a new motive for Hamilton to accept Burr’s challenge and attend the fatal duel.

Casey graduated with honors from Yale University and Albany Law School, and has studied literature at Edinburgh and Cambridge Universities.