Announcement - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

'The Jewish World of Alexander Hamilton' by Ernest May Fellow Andrew Porwancher Named 2021 Book of the Year by the Journal of the American Revolution

| Feb. 07, 2022

An international award honoring nonfiction books specifically on the American Revolutionary and Founding eras

Front Cover Image of The Jewish World of Alexander Hamilton

The Jewish World of Alexander Hamilton  (Princeton University Press), Ernest May Fellow Andrew Porwancher's latest book, has been selected by the Journal of the American Revolution as its 2021 Book of the Year.

Since 2014, this award has been given annually to the work that has delivered engaging, creative, and intelligent content that makes American Revolution and Founding history accessible to a broad audience. Minimum selection criteria for the  book is that it be adult nonfiction; published during the previous two years of the award year; on a subject related to the American Revolution; and has utilized primary sources for content, footnotes, or endnotes.

In The Jewish World of Alexander Hamilton, Porwancher debunks a string of myths about Hamilton's origins to arrive at a startling conclusion: Hamilton, in all likelihood, had been born and raised Jewish. For more than two centuries, his youth in the Caribbean has remained shrouded in mystery, and most biographers have simply assumed he had a Christian upbringing. Porwancher upends that assumption and transforms current understanding of a Founding Father.

This radical reassessment of Hamilton's religious background provides a fresh perspective on both his adulthood and the new republic that he had helped forge. While Hamilton did not identify as a Jew in America, he cultivated a relationship with the Jewish community which distinguished him among the Founding Fathers. 

By viewing Hamilton through the lens of his Jewish world for the first time, this engaging book challenges the reader to rethink the life and legend of America's most enigmatic Founding Father.

Andrew Porwancher is an Ernest May Fellow in History & Policy and the Wick Cary Associate Professor at the University of Oklahoma, where he teaches legal history. During his Ernest May Fellowship in History & Policy, he will be completing his fourth book, Theodore Roosevelt and the Jews (under contract with Princeton University Press). His other books include The Devil Himself: A Tale of Honor, Insanity, and the Birth of Modern America (Oxford University Press, 2016), which is currently being adapted for the stage in Dublin, Ireland. 

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Lynch, Susan.“'The Jewish World of Alexander Hamilton' by Ernest May Fellow Andrew Porwancher Named 2021 Book of the Year by the Journal of the American Revolution.” Announcement, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School, February 7, 2022.

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