Form and Content
Milton Lomask’s Odd Destiny: A Life of Alexander Hamilton is written in a third-person narrative form. Periodically, the story pauses to introduce necessary historical background, to explain Hamilton’s political philosophy, and to analyze his character. The narrative is organized into ten chapters, each of which covers a clearly defined phase of its subject’s life. Chapter 1 introduces the reader to Hamilton’s historical era, his Caribbean birthplace, his parents, and his upbringing. Chapter 2 begins with his arrival in Colonial America in 1772, describes his formal education, and ends with his entry into the political arena in 1774 as a confirmed patriot. In chapter 3, the reader is introduced to Hamilton’s considerable talents as a pamphleteer and to his early political philosophy. The latter half of the chapter is devoted to his early service as an artillery officer in the revolutionary war, ending with appointment in early 1776 as an aide-de-camp to General George Washington. Chapter 4 details Hamilton’s major assignments in the latter capacity and concludes with the winter encampment at Morristown, New Jersey, in 17791780.
In chapter 5, the reader learns about Hamilton’s attitudes toward women and his marriage to Elizabeth Schuyler in 1780. Lomask explains his subject’s mature political philosophy and view of human nature, ideas shaped and hardened by his war experience and wide reading. The chapter concludes with...
(The entire section is 475 words.)