Hamilton: The Revolution (2016) by Jeremy McCarter and Lin-Manuel Miranda

There’s really two books here. One is an annotated script of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s masterpiece musical “Hamilton”, the other is a tie-in behind-the-scenes biographical look at the development of the musical.

That first book, the annotated script, is great, with loads of fascinating insight in the annotations. The second book, the behind-the-scenes coverage, is inconsistent. There’s a lot of interesting information, but also a lot of formless background that doesn’t feel very relevant. If it was aiming to be extraordinarily comprehensive I’d forgive it a lot of the more dull sections, but it skips over some interesting parts of the development of the musical, so I’m not sure what the drive exactly was. It never settles on any specific focus, as it flits between parallelling the politics of the time period of the musical with the development of the musical itself, parallelling the politics of the time period with current American politics, being a biography of all the major players, a technical breakdown of the show itself, or just gushing about the genius of the musical.

I think the musical is an absolute complete and utter masterpiece, but I struggled to maintain interest in reading sentimental gushing over American pride and whatnot – the book praises the timelessness and applicability of the musical, but continually regresses to speak so much of modern American politics. The more specific sections, like those on what the musical meant to schoolchildren, worked really well, but the more vague nationalistic chapters felt aimless and pandering.

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The book is a great read when covering both the musical itself and the behind-the-scenes development and reaction to it, but it loses its way when reaching higher than that. I give it three Schuyler sisters, and a farmer refuted.

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