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The True Story of How ALEXANDER HAMILTON & AARON BURR Teamed Up to Take on America’s First Sensational Murder Mystery
Format: Trade Paperback
Pub. Date: 6/4/2013
Publisher: Crown Publishers
Type: Non-Fiction, True Crime ~ ARC
Rating: Really liked it ♥♡♥
Something happened while I was reading this book that has never happened before. I was so engrossed in reading that I missed my stop. Seriously I have never done that before. That is how fascinating and interesting I found this book to be. This crime happened in 1799 in what is now known as SoHo. The site of the murder was a well known as the Manhattan Well. A young Quaker woman was murdered and a young man, referred to as one of her suitors, who lived in the same boardinghouse as she did was accused of the crime. There were many accusations but not much proof, he needed a dream team and the two top lawyers in Manhattan were hired. Those two men were Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr.
Paul Collins shows his skill as a historian in the information he conveys about how life was in Manhattan in 1799. He tells of the diseases that ran rampant and how clean water was vital to the city but not available, how Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton came to be such bitter rivals and how Ezra Weeks was able to hire these two men to defend his brother. He brings the turn of the century to life in an informative and interesting way.
He also describes in vivid detail the jail the accused was confined to and how trails were conducted at that time. This was a time of swift justice, citizens would riot if the outcome of a trial was not as they desired and men fought duels. Also included is how the trial transcripts was handled at that time.
The book also covers the aftermath of the trial, what happened to the girl’s family and the accused. The lawyers involved, he includes an account of the famous duel between Hamilton and Burr. He also recounts some information that was discovered long after the crime that points to a much more likely suspect, someone who was suspected at the time of the crime, but not enough evidence was available to accuse this person.
He also gives the street address of where the Manhattan Well was and still is, although it is in the basement of a restaurant and not able to be seen by the general public. He tells how he got this information and that the site is reported to be haunted. I have made of note of this spot and someday I plan on going there and asking them, “Is there a ghost in your basement?”