Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Duel! Burr and Hamilton’s Deadly War of Words

Duel! Burr and Hamilton’s Deadly War of Words

Dennis Brindell Fradin
Illustrator:  Larry Day 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 7 to 11
Walker, 2008   ISBN: 0802795838

On July11th, 1804, Alexander Hamilton, one of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, and Aaron Burr, the vice president of the United States, had a duel in New Jersey. Even though they knew that they were risking their lives, and possible arrest, the two men would not back down.

Surprisingly, Hamilton and Burr – who would become such mortal enemies one day – were very similar in many ways. They both had hard childhoods, both fought for their country with valor during the Revolutionary War, and both served General George Washington as aids. Though Hamilton was foreign born, and though he was not always easy to get along with, the general liked Hamilton and “named him his chief aid.” Washington found Burr so troublesome that he fired him. This was just the beginning of what would become an increasingly angry conflict between Hamilton and Burr.

After the war was over the two men clashed in courtrooms (both became lawyers) and then they quarreled in the political arena. From his elevated position in the government Hamilton verbally attacked Burr, and his words had a very detrimental affect on Burr’s political aspirations.

This story of “the most famous duel in American history” presents readers with a clear and concise picture of how the duel came about. Both sides of the story are presented, and readers will see how both men made many mistakes in anger. The story has been carefully written, and the accompanying illustrations perfectly capture the atmosphere surrounding these two prominent American personalities.