By now, we all know the characters in Hamilton were voracious readers. But what would Alexander Hamilton and company be reading if they were still alive today? We came up with a few recommendations.
Alexander Hamilton – A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn
There’s no doubt about it – Hamilton would be a Zinn fanatic. Before his death in 2010, Howard Zinn was a historian, playwright, and social activist. His seminal work records the history of the United States from the perspective of those who were exploited in the name of progress. A People’s History of the United States was a finalist for the 1980 National Book Award and has been updated several times since its initial publication, with the most recent edition covering events through 2005. That ought to be enough to get Hamilton caught up.
Angelica Schuyler - My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem
Gloria Steinem’s new memoir would be at the top of Angelica Schuyler’s TBR. We can picture Angelica eagerly devouring Steinem’s reflections on her life as a nationally recognized leader and spokesperson for the feminist movement of the 1960s and 70s. A couple hundred years ahead of Steinem, Angelica claims that she’s going to compel Thomas Jefferson to “include women in the sequel” to The Declaration of Independence. It’s an ongoing journey toward true equality, but Angelica would love to read about even a small piece of feminist history.
Eliza Schuyler – Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
No one understands the feeling of watching something burn quite like the characters in Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies. No spoilers, but let’s just say that Eliza and Mathilde would definitely have something to talk about over drinks. And that’s what this book would feel like to her – like a best friend and a glass of whiskey. Simultaneously scalding and understanding.
Aaron Burr – Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell
Here’s the risk with this recommendation: Vowell’s irreverent humor might be lost on Burr. (“Talk less, smile more” anyone?) But one thing’s certain: Burr would love this history-travelogue hybrid because it would allow him to travel across the United States without ever leaving New York. Well, that and he’d get to take solice in the fact that he’s not the only “damn fool that shot him.”
Marquis de Lafayette – Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Adichie's epic novel uses the first meeting, separation, and homecoming of Nigerian-born Obinze and Ifemelu as a skeleton to tell the story of these two immigrants—one living in America and the other in England. Ifemelu's story is captivating—taking the reader from those first days of college and the (sometimes terrifying, always degrading) undocumented odd jobs she had to work in order to pay tuition and rent to the beginnings of her blog ("Raceteenth or Various Observations About American Blacks (Those Formerly Known as Negroes) by a Non-American Black") to her eventual return to Nigeria to start a new life there. We know that Lafayette would be on the edge of his seat the whole time thinking “Immigrants: we get the job done.”