I’m a huge fan of all things Hamilton and pre-ordered this book the second I found out about it. I’ve listened to the soundtrack approximately 18,500 times, watched every #Ham4Ham I can find on YouTube (and every other tangentially related video on there), and am still harboring a little resentment toward Genevieve Burgess for not writing about the Hamilton bootleg until it had been taken down. There’s not much for me to say about this book, other than I loved it.
Originally I ordered it because I was eager to see the photos from performances. You can listen to Hamilton a million times and read all the annotations on Genius, but I wanted to know if the way I pictured it in my head looks anything at all like the real thing. In addition to some great photos and the lyrics for every song (annotated by Lin-Manuel Miranda), the book also tells the story of how Hamilton was created, and eventually made its way to Broadway. This was surprisingly interesting, to read about the many workshops and half-finished performances, and all the background work that goes into creating a stage production. They also highlight each of the actors who play a starring role, and talk about the way Miranda shaped the style of songs to fit the actor (very cool, but makes me worry that when I finally do get to see Hamilton, it’ll suck because it won’t have Daveed Diggs or Renee Elise Goldsberry playing the roles he customized for them). There’s some good trivia in here too: for example, when Eliza sings at the end about speaking out against slavery after Hamilton’s death, George Washington, who is also onstage, hangs his head in shame.
There’s also quite a bit of history in here, of course. It addresses some of the historical inaccuracies that Miranda took for poetic license, which I thought was kind of a nice touch. Miranda also talks about his hip-hop and musical theater inspirations. Overall I loved this book, and I’m pretty sure any Hamilton fan would feel the same.