Mazzeo (Irena’s Children) centers love and devotion in this satisfying cradle-to-grave biography, the first written about the wife of the first U.S. secretary of the treasury. Drawing from an impressive breadth of sources, Mazzeo shows what made Eliza, in the words of her husband, Alexander, the “best of wives, best of women.” Born into a prominent New York family in 1757, Eliza Schuyler’s young life was dominated by war, especially the American Revolution. That war netted her a husband, the hardworking, ambitious Colonel Hamilton, who later served as President Washington’s secretary of the treasury. Mazzeo convincingly argues that Eliza’s determination to emulate the sacrifice and loyalty of classical Roman wives is key to understanding their marriage and the truth about Alexander’s infamous affair with Maria Reynolds, later revealed to be a coverup for financial misconduct that if revealed could have harmed not only the family but the Washington administration. After Alexander’s death in the 1804 duel, Eliza still had half her life ahead of her. Mazzeo gives less attention to the years during which Eliza exercised her widow’s independence, which is disappointing. Nevertheless, this is an expertly told story that’s certain to captivate Hamilton fans and intrigue anyone interested in early U.S. history. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/16/2018 Release date: 09/18/2018 Genre: Nonfiction
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