Friday 12 May 2023

Book Review: Hamilton: the Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter (Non-Fiction/Theatre)

Title: Hamilton: The Revolution
Author: Lin-Manuel Miranda & Jeremy McCarter
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 285
Format: Hardback
Genre: Non-Fiction/Theatre
Source: Bought Copy

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 theater, 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.

Hamilton: The Revolution gives readers an unprecedented view of both revolutions, from the only two writers able to provide it. Miranda and Jeremy McCarter, a cultural critic and theater artist who was involved in the project from its earliest stages--"since before this was even a show," according to Miranda--trace 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.

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 40 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.


Hamilton: The Revolution is a wonderful resource for any fan of the show. As well as included the full lyrics (included ones that were later cut), the book charts the development of the show from Lin-Manuel's initial idea to its Broadway debut. There are plenty of great photos (from both on and off the stage), fun anecdotes and wonderful insight into the creative process that led to the hit musical. A wonderful addition for any musical theatre-lovers collection. It gets 5 stars from me.

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