Ron Chernow

  • Bestselling writer of 'Alexander Hamilton,' Inspiration for Smash Broadway Play
  • Winner, National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize in Biography
  • Bestselling Biographer, The House of Morgan, Titan, Alexander Hamilton and George Washington

Called “one of the most gifted biographers of this generation” by The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Ron Chernow brings American history to life with funny and revealing portraits of the Founding Fathers and the businessmen who changed the landscape of the U.S.  His bestselling book Hamilton is the basis for the smash Broadway musical.  

 
  

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Rave Reviews About Ron Chernow
We've had some of the most articulate historians/biographers speak here at the VHS: David McCullough, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Michael Beschloss, Shelby Foote. Well, Ron Chernow was better than any of them. I knew he was a beautiful writer; I didn't know what a splendid, eloquent speaker he was. Our audience was thrilled and enlightened. Thank you so much.

A Sample of the Groups That Have Hosted Ron Chernow
  • Stanford in Washington
  • Virginia Magazine of History and Biography
Ron Chernow Washington Prize Acceptance Speech - Get Sharable Link
Ron Chernow Washington Prize Acceptance Speech
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Ron Chernow Recognized as "Great Historian" by President Barack Obama
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Ron Chernow on Charlie Rose
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Alexander Hamilton: The Man and the Musical

Ron Chernow's  New York Times bestselling biography Alexander Hamilton tells the riveting story of a man who overcame all odds to shape, inspire, and scandalize the newborn America. In a lively and entertaining speech, Chernow relates how the dramatic story of Hamilton's greatness is worthy of the B ...

Ron Chernow's  New York Times bestselling biography Alexander Hamilton tells the riveting story of a man who overcame all odds to shape, inspire, and scandalize the newborn America. In a lively and entertaining speech, Chernow relates how the dramatic story of Hamilton's greatness is worthy of the Broadway stage and how it is re-engaging America in our collective discussion about the character and future of our democracy.  “To repudiate his legacy,” Chernow writes, “is, in many ways, to repudiate the modern world.”

Ever since 2009, Mr. Chernow has worked with Lin-Manuel Miranda as the historical consultant on the sensational Broadway musical “Hamilton,” which was inspired by his biography of Alexander Hamilton. In May 2015, as a member of the show’s creative team, he was a recipient of the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical—the first time he had ever received a theater award. In November 2015, Mr. Chernow and Lin-Manuel Miranda received the History Makers Award of the New-York Historical Society for their acclaimed work on the show. That same month, his biography of Alexander Hamilton returned to The New York Times paperback bestseller list, eleven years after its first publication, making its debut at number two and eventually reaching number one on the list.

George Washington: The Man and the Monument

Based on his Pulitzer Prize-winning biography, Washington: A Life, Ron Chernow presents a panoramic view of the eventful life of America's Founding Father. In a lively and entertaining speech, he takes the audience on an exciting journey through Washington's troubled boyhood in Virginia, his precoci ...

Based on his Pulitzer Prize-winning biography, Washington: A Life, Ron Chernow presents a panoramic view of the eventful life of America's Founding Father. In a lively and entertaining speech, he takes the audience on an exciting journey through Washington's troubled boyhood in Virginia, his precocious feats in the French and Indian War, his creation of Mount Vernon, his productive marriage to Martha, his heroic exploits in the Revolutionary War, his presiding over the Constitutional Convention, and his magnificent performance as America's first president. Although Washington has often seemed like a cold and remote presence, Chernow both humanizes and dramatizes him so that he comes to vivid life as a dashing, passionate figure full of fiery opinions and many moods. In so doing, he also shows that Washington's life is richly sprinkled with leadership lessons that are still relevant in politics and society today

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<p><strong>Ron Chernow to release his new presidential biography of Ulysses Grant this Fall</strong></p>

Ron Chernow to release his new presidential biography of Ulysses Grant this Fall

Award-winning biographer Ron Chernow, renowned for his bestselling biography of Alexander Hamilton (not to mention George Washington, J.P. Morgan and John D.Rockefeller), is completing a new work on Ulysses S. Grant.  Chernow remains attracted to leaders who have been significantly misunderstood in the eyes of history, hoping to shed a fresh light on their narrative. This fall, he aims to redeem President Grant, recasting him as the“single most important president safeguarding African-American Rights between Andrew Johnson and Lyndon Baines Johnson.” Staying true to his distinctive, investigative writing style, Chernow relies on primary sources, which he says are the“custodians of truth and archives of the past,” to engage with history. This much-anticipated book will be released in the Fall of 2017.

What's Ron Chernow reading? >>
<p>'Hamilton' Nabs Record 16 Nominations</p>

'Hamilton' Nabs Record 16 Nominations

The smash Broadway hit Hamilton, based on Ron Chernow's bestselling biography of Alexander Hamilton, continues with amazing momentum, now with 16 nominations for this year's Tony Awards.

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<p>Ron Chernow Recognized by President Obama as a ">

Ron Chernow Recognized by President Obama as a "great historian."

Ron Chernow, Pulitzer Prize winning biographer and bestselling author of Hamilton, was recognized by President Barack Obama as the "great historian" who inspired the award winning Broadway play as he welcomed the cast of Hamilton to at a special White House performance.

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<p>'Hamilton' Biographer Is Making History on Broadway</p>

'Hamilton' Biographer Is Making History on Broadway

Ron Chernow shares the surprising manifestations of "a biographer's wish-fulfillment fantasy" in this Wall Street Journal interview as the Broadway play Hamilton becomes a sensation and the biography it was based on, Alexander Hamilton, stays on the New York Times bestseller list.

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<p>Ron Chernow: What Would Have Happened If Alexander Hamilton Lived</p>

Ron Chernow: What Would Have Happened If Alexander Hamilton Lived

In this Q&A with Time magazine, Ron Chernow has an opportunity to offer further insights from his commanding knowledge of the period and the subject of his New York Times bestselling work, Alexander Hamilton.

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<p>Ron Chernow's book <em>Alexander Hamilton </em>is the inspiration for the smash Broadway musical <em>Hamilton</em></p>

Ron Chernow's book Alexander Hamilton is the inspiration for the smash Broadway musical Hamilton

Ron Chernow's expertly drawn portrait of Hamilton and the drama that surrounded him has re-engaged a generation in the discourse of America and character, and inspired a musical smash hit.  Mr. Chernow served as a historical consultant to the musical and won several theater awards for his work creating the Broadway phenomenon based on his #1 NYT Bestseller.

<p>Ron Chernow's portrait of Alexander Hamilton is #1 NYT Bestseller's List </p>

Ron Chernow's portrait of Alexander Hamilton is #1 NYT Bestseller's List 

Ron Chernow's masterful storytelling makes this complete, non-fiction portrait a compelling must-read.  He tells the riveting story of a man who overcame all odds to shape, inspire, and scandalize the newborn America, and deftly illustrates that the political and economic greatness of today’s America is the result of Hamilton’s ideas that were often wildly disputed during his time. “To repudiate his legacy,” Chernow writes, “is, in many ways, to repudiate the modern world.” Chernow recounts Hamilton’s turbulent life: an illegitimate, largely self-taught orphan from the Caribbean, he came out of nowhere to take America by storm, rising to become George Washington’s aide-de-camp in the Continental Army, coauthoring The Federalist Papers, founding the Bank of New York, leading the Federalist Party, and becoming the first Treasury Secretary of the United States. 

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Biography

An honors graduate of Yale and Cambridge, Ron Chernow is one of the most distinguished commentators on history, politics, business, and finance in America today. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has hailed him as “one of the pre-eminent biographers of his generation.” His first book, The House of Morgan, won the National Book Award as the best nonfiction book of 1990 and is considered a modern classic. The Modern Library Board voted it one of the 100 best nonfiction books published in the twentieth century. His second book, The Warburgs, won the prestigious George S. Eccles Prize for the best business book of 1993 and was cited by the American Library Association as one of the year’s ten best works. In reviewing his 1997 collection of essays, The Death of the Banker, The New York Times called Mr. Chernow “as elegant an architect of monumental histories as we’ve seen in decades.” His 1998 biography of John D. Rockefeller, entitled Titan, was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award for biography and remained on The New York Times bestseller list for sixteen weeks. Both the Times and Time magazine voted it one of the ten best books of the year, while The Times of London praised it as “one of the great American biographies.”

            Mr. Chernow’s much anticipated biography of Alexander Hamilton was published in April 2004 to extraordinary acclaim. The New York Times praised it as “moving and masterly...by far the best biography ever written about the man,” while USA Today hailed it as “a must-read. Ron Chernow’s masterpiece.” The New York Review of Books called it a “great biography.” Excerpted by Business Week and chosen as the main selection of The Book-of-the-Month Club and the History Book Club, the book spent three months on the New York Times bestseller list and was the first recipient of the George Washington Book Prize for the year’s best book about the founding era. It was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award in biography.

            In October 2010, Mr. Chernow’s long-awaited biography of George Washington, Washington: A Life, appeared to outstanding reviews. It was the main selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club as well as the History and Military Book Clubs. Writing in The New York Review of Books, Gordon Wood praised it as “the best, most comprehensive, and most balanced single-volume biography of Washington ever written.” Excerpted by the Smithsonian magazine, the book spent five weeks on The New York Times bestseller list. The Wall Street Journal named it one of the year’s ten best and it was nominated for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in History. In March 2011, the New-York Historical Society gave the book the coveted American History Book Prize for the best book about American history published in 2010, endowing Mr. Chernow with the honorary title of American Historian Laureate. In May of that year, Washington: A Life was honored with the Pulitzer Prize in Biography, the highest honor reserved for a writer in the field.

            A frequent contributor to The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, Mr. Chernow is a familiar figure on national radio and television shows and has appeared in numerous documentaries. He has served as president of PEN American Center, the country’s preeminent organization of book authors. He has also sat on the board of the Society of American Historians and is a fellow of the New York Academy of History. He currently sits on the board of Humanity in Action, a global human rights organization. In recent years, he has received six honorary doctors: from Marymount Manhattan College, Hamilton College, Long Island University, Washington College, Skidmore College, and Muhlenberg College.

            Ever since 2009, Mr. Chernow has worked with Lin-Manuel Miranda as the historical consultant on the sensational Broadway musical “Hamilton,” which was inspired by his biography of Alexander Hamilton. In May 2015, as a member of the show’s creative team, he was a recipient of the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical—the first time he had ever received a theater award. In November 2015, Mr. Chernow and Lin-Manuel Miranda received the History Makers Award of the New-York Historical Society for their acclaimed work on the show. That same month, his biography of Alexander Hamilton returned to The New York Times paperback bestseller list, eleven years after its first publication, making its debut at number two and eventually reaching number one after nineteen consecutive weeks on the list.

            Mr. Chernow resides in Brooklyn, New York.