Parenti argues that Alexander Hamilton would support a “green reindustrialization” today on the basis of his discovery that Hamilton was an economic interventionist with “profoundly statist economic views” (237 [emphasis in the original], 2). All three claims are demonstrably false. A novel, nuanced, and empirically defensible view would hold that Hamilton sought to nudge the economy, not to manage it.

Serious Hamilton scholars like Michael Newton understand that four types of Hamilton biographies exist. Two of them laud Hamilton, one because he augmented state power and one because he bolstered economic liberty; the two others deprecate Hamilton on the same grounds. Parenti’s book falls squarely into the pro-Hamilton, pro-statist camp made infamous by Clinton Rossiter in Alexander Hamilton and the Constitution (New York, 1964).

This is Parenti’s fifth book; his earlier work concerns only contemporary carceral, environmental, and peace studies. Factual errors abound, including a reference to financier...

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