Since graduating from Yale Jack Casey has followed his love of American history to write historical novels with strong political themes.
For two centuries historians have theorized that Hamilton was either suicidal or hypersensitive about honor when he accepted Aaron Burr’s challenge, but Casey believes that neither theory squares with Hamilton’s character. Not only had he never fought a duel, but Burr was held in such low esteem by 1804 that Hamilton could easily have ignored him. Why, then, did he go?
The novel opens in 1801 after Hamilton has completed his herculean work as a soldier, Treasury Secretary and Federalist leader. Thomas Jefferson and the Democratic-Republicans are in power. Hamilton’s 19-year-old son Philip is mortally wounded in a duel, and he dies in his parents’ arms, causing his sister a permanent psychotic break. Hamilton retires from politics to focus on his family.
Two years later, Jefferson buys the Louisiana Territory. Irate New England Federalists plot to secede from the union and secretly pledge to support Burr for governor if he will bring New York into their Northern Confederacy. Hamilton believes he alone can save the union, so he ignores his wife’s warnings, helps defeat Burr and re-emerges as the Federalist leader and possible presidential candidate in 1808.
Thoroughly discredited, outraged and broke, Burr thinks a duel will restore his political stature, so he challenges Hamilton on the flimsiest of pretexts. With nothing to gain and everything to lose, Hamilton accepts. On the surface, his decision makes no sense, but author Jack Casey believes a deep emotional wound compelled Hamilton to attend the duel, and he wrote Hamilton’s Choice to show how it’s possible.
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