Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Duel with the Devil by Paul Collins
Paul Collins did a great job researching and writing this book of the true story of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr who teamed up to take on America's first sensational murder mystery. Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr are bitter political rivals who together defend Levi Weeks who is accused of murdering Elma Sands. The trial takes place in 1799 when America is still a young republic. Alexander Hamilton is a leader of the wealthy Federalists while Aaron Burr is a leader in the populist Republican party. They both had connections to Ezra Weeks, a well known builder and brother to the defendant, Levi Weeks, when they put aside their differences to defend him in the murder trial.
Elma Sands, a resident of the same boarding house as Levi Weeks, is found dead in the Manhattan Well. She had been missing for two weeks and Levi is arrested for her murder. A number of interesting facts come out about some of the other residents of the boarding house both during and after the trial which makes for an interesting read.
The book paints a portrait of the United States in its early years as a republic. Even though the book is non fiction, it reads like a legal thriller. The epilogue describes the events four years after the trial when Aaron Burr shoots Alexander Hamilton in a duel. The duel to me seems like a senseless tragedy which was the result of pride and arrogance on the part of both men. I recommend this book for anyone who enjoys reading about American history and legal trials. I will definitely look for more books by Paul Collins.
Blogging for Books provided me this book for free in exchange for an honest review.