In the tradition of Joseph J. Ellis' The Quartet, a dual biography of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr exploring their illustrious and eccentric political careers and their fateful rivalry.
The day was hot and sticky. The man in the rowboat was an impetuous hothead. His row across the choppy Hudson that morning led to a confrontation that has burned bright in the American mind for more than two hundred years.
When the most notorious duel in American history took place, Alexander Hamilton was 49, a former Treasury Secretary whose meteoric political rise had flamed out in the wake of a humiliating sex scandal. Vice President Aaron Burr, was just a year younger than Hamilton, at the top of a meteoric rise of his own in the nation's fledgling government.
Though the duel is famous, the fascinating three-decade dance that led to it is far less known. RIVALS UNTO DEATH will explore that dance, vividly sketching the key episodes that led to its violent end. It will start with the preliminaries of that fateful morning in 1804, then retrace the rivalry back to the earliest days of the American Revolution, when both men, brilliant, restless, and barely twenty years old, elbowed their way onto the staff of General George Washington. It will follow them as they launch their competitive legal practices in New York City, the new country's bustling commercial center of thirty thousand people, through the insanity of the election of 1800, when Hamilton threw his support behind Thomas Jefferson in an effort to knock Burr out of the running for president, and through