THE HAMILTON APPRECIATION POST aka Hamilton: The Revolution – book review

hamilton-the-revolution

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s groundbreaking musical Hamilton is as revolutionary as its subject, the poor kid from the Caribbean who fought the British, defended the Constitution, and helped to found the United States. Fusing hip-hop, pop, R&B, and the best traditions of theatre, this once-in-a-generation show broadens the sound of Broadway, reveals the storytelling power of rap, and claims our country’s origins for a diverse new generation.

tumblr_nsndndhq4v1s27ctto6_r1_500

HAMILTON: THE REVOLUTION gives readers an unprecedented view of both revolutions, from the only two writers able to provide it. Miranda, along with Jeremy McCarter, a cultural critic and theatre artist who was involved in the project from its earliest stages–“since before this was even a show,” according to Miranda–traces its development from an improbable performance at the White House to its landmark opening night on Broadway six years later. In addition, Miranda has written more than 200 funny, revealing footnotes for his award-winning libretto, the full text of which is published here.

635998491080282889-1422097127_tumblr_nsndndhq4v1s27ctto3_500

Their account features photos by the renowned Frank Ockenfels and veteran Broadway photographer, Joan Marcus; exclusive looks at notebooks and emails; interviews with Questlove, Stephen Sond­heim, leading political commentators, and more than 50 people involved with the production; and multiple appearances by President Obama himself. The book does more than tell the surprising story of how a Broadway musical became a national phenomenon: It demonstrates that America has always been renewed by the brash upstarts and brilliant outsiders, the men and women who don’t throw away their shot.

tumblr_nsndndhq4v1s27ctto5_500

“America, you great unfinished symphony, you sent for me. You let me make a difference. A place where even orphan immigrants can leave their fingerprints and rise up.” – Hamilton, “The World Was Wide Enough”

“Look around, look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now…” – The Schuyler Sisters, “The Schuyler Sisters”

As someone who holds conversations purely in Hamilton gifs, can rap ‘Guns and Ships’ somewhat convincingly, listens to the music non-stop and can seamlessly work Hamilton references into everyday life, owning this gorgeous book was a necessity. Similar to everyone who’s living outside of the U.S. and hasn’t had the chance to see the musical yet (or would have to sell their soul in order to buy a $1,700 ticket to see it live), I’ve been desperate for everything Hamilton-related in an attempt to quench my thirst for this musical about a Founding Father which has swept across the globe. Hamilton isn’t just a musical about a Founding Father of America: it’s about love and loss, fighting for what you believe in and never giving up, and making a life for yourself when the world around you is crumbling. Hamilton isn’t just a musical I like. It’s become entrenched in my life and I feel like I’m a better person because of the things it’s taught me. Like inspiring me to write 51 English essays when I’d much rather be reading.

tumblr_nkrposf3gd1unigu6o1_500

So as I’m yet to be in the room where it happens, this beautiful book is the closest thing I’ve got. And let me tell you this: it’s phenomenal. Complete with short essays from Lin and other members of the cast or people of importance, annotations of the lyrics for each song and stunning photographs, this book is really something you have to get your hands on. My favourite thing about it is definitely the annotations of the lyrics as I got to understand Lin-Manuel Miranda’s word choice and how it ties into history or how it references another event, and I really got to know Hamilton on a deeper level because of these little additions. Now when I listen to Hamilton I fully understand these lyrical choices and hear all the nuances and the illusions to other parts of history rather than just enjoying the music on somewhat of a superficial level.

tumblr_nsn0mmvnjy1rky7jeo3_r2_500

The essays were also incredibly insightful and gave us a deeper understanding of the immense amount of work that when into creating Hamilton and what led up to this musical becoming possibly the most talked-about show of this year (and undoubtably one that will be talked about and enjoyed for many years to come). I didn’t know anything about the main creator of this musical, Lin-Manuel Miranda, before reading Hamilton: The Revolution but now it’s safe to say that I’m as much a fan of him as a person as I am of his musical. It was fascinating to read about his own childhood and the events that shaped his writing of this musical and how some lines were particularly autobiographical for him. After all, so many aspects of Hamilton apply to our own lives and everyone can connect with a part of Hamilton himself, whether that be his determination, his refusal to stay silent, or even the recognition of his mistakes. We have a piece of Hamilton within us all.

giphy-1

The physical book itself was incredibly beautiful. It’s around the size of a coffee-table book and has a thick hard cover which I may have caressed repeatedly upon receiving it, but the pages themselves are the best part of this book and is just something that can’t be given justice to in photographs. The pages are made of incredibly high-quality textured subtle cream paper which make the reading experience even more enjoyable. Not only does the textured paper make the photographs look absolutely exquisite, the pages are also deckled, slightly ripped and aged to contribute to the overall historical aesthetic of the book. In combination with the delightful little essays, the annotations of lyrics from each song and an unprecedented insight into Lin-Manuel Miranda’s life, Hamilton: The Revolution is truly a remarkable book that is a must-have for every Hamilton fan.

“When you’re gone who remembers your name? Who keeps your flame? Who tells your story?” – Burr, “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story”

Let's Talk

Are you a fan of Hamilton? Have you had the chance to get this gorgeous book yet? What’s your favourite song from Hamilton? Have you learnt much about American history? Do you want to, or have you already, seen the actual musical? Let’s fangirl over Hamilton together!

Thanks to Hachette Australia for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review!

You might like

hamilton-book-tag-banner

The Hamilton Book Tag

Header art by Secretly Dana Scully and Shark in a Bottle.

Signature

9 thoughts on “THE HAMILTON APPRECIATION POST aka Hamilton: The Revolution – book review

  1. Can I just… can I just clap you on the back. I had NO idea what Hamilton was until a few weeks ago, when I was at my friend’s house and her sister started playing it. I knew You’ll Be Back and Burn, but I didn’t really understand the actual musical. THEN I LISTENED TO SATISFIED. Oh my god. I remember the endless dancing in front of my mirror and lip-syncing to that song. IT WAS GLORIOUS. Then I started listening to more of them, and I think I can sing the first half of them solidly well (but I’m sure my friends at lunch disagree… I’m very loud). Aaron Burr is my favorite, I just can’t get ENOUGH of Leslie Odom Jr, he’s such a cupcake. Anyways, I didn’t mean for this to be such a long comment, but I saw this book at Newbury Comics and I’m hoping to get it for Christmas, so I really appreciated your review.

    …oh? And how could I forget Laurens? EH YA YO YO YAH YO WHAT TIME IS IT? SHOWTIME! *dies of cuteness*

    • Haha thank you! I’m so pleased you’ve come to love HAMILTON recently! I actually didn’t realise you were meant to listen to the songs in order to understand the plot until I’d been listening for a month 🙈😂 It made a lot more sense! And SATISFIED is brilliant, isn’t it?! Such a great song to lip-sync to – but then again, so are all the songs!

      And I completely agree. I’ve talked in love with all the characters and I’m so looking forward to seeing the musical eventually! I’m not sure how long it’ll be before it starts playing in Australia, but I have my fingers crossed that it’s soon!

      I hope you get this book for Christmas too! It’s so beautiful and it’ll make you fall in love with HAMILTON even more. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts! We are now HAMILTON BUDDIES ✨💕

  2. Not familiar with the show except through others…I’m a fan of anything patriotic or that shows an affinity for this great nation, though. So props to you for your new book! One day, when the hype ebbs away, you’ll be able to see the show for much cheaper than $1700. It’s a shame you won’t be able to see it with the guy who left, but you’ll still be able to enjoy it! (He did leave, didn’t he? I could’ve sworn I heard he was leaving Hamilton…the guy who wrote it and starred in it, and I am guessing that it’s the same person that did both?)

    • It’s brilliant! I didn’t know much about American history before HAMILTON, but now I really enjoy learning more about the founding of American and everything that came after. And I think the show is coming to Australia in a couple of years or so, which will be great! Yes, I would’ve liked to have seen it with the original cast, but I think Lin said he has going to make a recording of it – fingers crossed for that!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s