This is an excellent book that all fans of Hamilton should read. Reading it gave me a fuller experience of the musical, it was fun to see behind the scenes stories, and Lin’s notes were always interesting. I cried while reading it (the same part I cry at while listening), and spent about a week listening to nothing but the soundtrack on a loop.
So why no five stars?
Like Aaron Burr, I want more. I’m never going to see the musical in person, or if I do, it’s going to be years from now with a new cast, probably on tour, and that’s just not the same. So if you’re going to give me this book, dammit, I want ALL YOU CAN GIVE ME. What was here was great. BUT I WANTED MORE. The essays were probably at just the right amount, and the pictures were beautiful, but I needed at least double the footnotes from LMM. If I can’t be in the room where it happens, I need you to tell me exactly what happened in that room in excruciating detail, or I will never be satisfied (noooooot even sorry).
(It is very disheartening to discover that you are more of a Burr than a Hamilton, by the way.)
Granted, I’m the sort of person who loves talking and reading about the process of creating art, and why certain words were chosen, and rhyme schemes, etcetera, so I’m always going to want as much of that as possible. There were lyrics and moments that I’m dying from curiosity to know how he came up with them, and why he wrote them a certain way, that nothing was said about.
I suppose that’s not fair of me. If I had it my way, at least every other line of the musical would have a footnote, if not a paragraph, accompanying it. But it is what it is.
But seriously, my griping aside, this is a beautiful book. The actual look and feel of it, the pictures of the cast (and the dancers), the staging. The thick paper. Worth it almost just for the pictures alone.