Review: Historians on Hamilton Anthology

America has gone Hamilton crazy. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony-winningCover of Historians on Hamilton Anthology musical has spawned sold-out performances, a triple platinum cast album, and a score so catchy that it is being used to teach U.S. history in classrooms across the country. But just how historically accurate is Hamilton? And how is the show itself making history? Historians on Hamilton brings together a collection of top scholars to explain the Hamilton phenomenon and explore what it might mean for our understanding of America’s history.

The contributors examine what the musical got right, what it got wrong, and why it matters. Does Hamilton’s hip-hop take on the Founding Fathers misrepresent our nation’s past, or does it offer a bold positive vision for our nation’s future? Can a musical so unabashedly contemporary and deliberately anachronistic still communicate historical truths about American culture and politics? And is Hamilton as revolutionary as its creators and many commentators claim?(via Goodreads)

I received an eARC of Historians on Hamilton from Edelweiss, courtesy of Rutgers University Press, in exchange for an honest review.

I love history, and I love Hamilton, so when I saw Historians on Hamilton up for request on Edelweiss, I knew I had to at least try to get it. You should check out my list of other books to read if you love Hamilton, or my review of Chernow’s biography.

As with all anthologies, Historians on Hamilton had several essays that I enjoyed, several essays that blew my mind and kept my wheels turning, and several that didn’t really work for me. Hamilton is, of course, not perfect, and that’s fine. I was interested to see what I could learn from these historians.

For me, the first half of Historians on Hamilton was narratively stronger than the latter. This was where I found all of the essays that blew my mind. I honestly felt that the last three essays drug on a little bit, and were not as well done.

One essay that didn’t resonate with me in Historians on Hamilton was “Reckoning with America’s Racial Past, Present and Future in Hamilton.” Even this essay had a lot of great points, and a lot for me to keep thinking on. One thing that author Patricia Herrera misses during her critical essay about the cultural erasure that comes with Hamilton is how smart today’s youth are. Today’s middle and high schoolers are working their asses off to change the world they see into a better one. They’re also usually a better judge of things that are harmful than the generation ahead of them. 

That being said, they will need some guidance. When your 10-year-old wants to dress up as Angelica Schuyler, and that isn’t okay, talk to her about it. Talk to her about the differences between the character and the historical figure. Together, you can find other historical figures that had she admires in the character. She’ll learn and also tell all her friends about what her cool mom taught her.


Overall, I enjoyed Historians on Hamilton. I think it’s a strong historical anthology that takes the present day into effect. I think it will be a hit with a lot of people. If you’re one of them, check it out on Amazon or Indiebound!

Disclaimer: All links to Indiebound and Amazon are affiliate links. If you buy through them, I will make money off of the sale.

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