Such is the work of novelists, not historians who are bound by the rules of their discipline which require at least a modicum of evidence before arguments can be heard and evaluated. Stylistically, the text is marred by innumerable interjections and conversational asides such as "Let us now turn," "We now approach," "Let us reconsider," and "Before we go further, I'd like us to have a talk.
But the major problem is the formlessness of the argument. His chapters consist of numerous, digressive narratives with virtually no analysis, interpretation, or search for larger meaning or context. Short three or four page subheadings in the chapters jump randomly from point to point without advancing, developing, or supporting a thesis.
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His disjointed narrative also skips from, say back to the s then forward to , back to the s again and then to Random quotations, taken out of context or drawn from very different years and thus completely different contexts are spliced together and taken at face value. The book is unchronological and ahistorical. The various digressions, piled on top of one another, joined by some of his aforementioned interjections, in the end reveal little.
It is a pity because Kennedy himself has had a varied and interesting career. He has been, in no particular order, a lawyer in the Eisenhower Justice Department, a journalist for NBC, a banker, an assistant in the Labor Department, an administrator with the student loan program, the University of Minnesota, and the Ford Foundation, Director of both the National Park Service and the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History, and the author of nine books.
- Burr, Hamilton, and Jefferson : a study in character / Roger G. Kennedy | National Portrait Gallery.
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Such a career might have produced a fascinating memoir or a study of the inner-workings of governmental and institutional bureaucracy of some real merit. However, it is not immediately clear exactly how any of Kennedy's resume gives him special insight into the early republic.
View of Burr, Hamilton, and Jefferson: A Study in Character by Roger G. Kennedy
Kennedy does have one thing absolutely right. The three protagonists of his story are endlessly fascinating. He is also surely correct that questions about character are always interesting and relevant and can prove a useful framework for analysis. But to plumb the depths of the characters of Hamilton, Jefferson, and Burr requires that they be understood in the historical context of the time they lived in.
They must be grasped and understood fully as politicians, thinkers, and historical figures who lived at a particular point in time. Such an analysis, furthermore, must have a depth and consistency befitting to complex thought.
Burr, Hamilton, and Jefferson
And to understand those times -- or have any hope of comprehending these elusive figures -- requires disciplined and systematic research. It cannot be achieved by a superficial dabbling or whimsical speculation. Regardless of how entertaining one may find Kennedy's book, it ultimately is not history.
In fact, by willfully disregarding both context and chronology, this book obscures and blurs the very subjects it hopes to clarify. Readers who desire an accessible, entertaining book about the period would be far better served by turning to William Safire's novel, Scandalmonger , a well-researched and fascinating story which actually conveys a good feel for the period and the people of the early republic.
One is likely to pick up a much better sense of the times and the individuals in Safire's work of fiction than in Kennedy's work of fantasy. Copyright c by H-Net, all rights reserved. This work may be copied for non-profit educational use if proper credit is given to the author and the list. November 19, Retrieved November 19, from Encyclopedia. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list. Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.
Burr-Hamilton Duel Updated About encyclopedia. Burr-Hamilton Duel gale. Language English View all editions Prev Next edition 4 of 5. Author Kennedy, Roger G.
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Subjects Burr, Aaron, Hamilton, Alexander, Jefferson, Thomas, Vice-Presidents -- United States -- Biography. Character -- Political aspects -- United States -- Case studies. Reputation Law -- United States -- Case studies.
Statesmen -- United States -- Biography. Statesmen -- United States -- Conduct of life. United States -- Politics and government -- Contents Character and circumstance Character tested by slavery and secession In the wake of the hurricane The great valley The expedition. Notes Formerly CIP. Includes bibliographical references p. View online Borrow Buy Freely available Show 0 more links Set up My libraries How do I set up "My libraries"?
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