In the summer of 1804, two of America's most eminent statesmen squared off, pistols raised, on a bluff along the Hudson River. That two such men would risk not only their lives but the stability of the young country they helped forge is almost beyond comprehension. Yet we know that it happened. The question is why.
In his new book, War of Two: Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, and the Duel that Stunned the Nation, journalist and biographer John Sedgwick explores the long-standing conflict between Founding Father Alexander Hamilton and Vice President Aaron Burr. A study in contrasts from birth, they had been compatriots, colleagues, and even friends.
But above all they were rivals. Matching each other's ambition and skills as lawyers in New York, they later battled for power along political fault lines that would not only decide the future of the United States, but define it.