The Right Coast

June 26, 2004
Dick Cheney and Aaron Burr
By Gail Heriot

I was sick in bed yesterday when the Washington Post ran the story of Vice President Cheney's unfortunate public use of the f-word. (And I do mean unfortunate. Vice Presidents should not regard themselves as having that liberty. That is one among many reasons that I will never be Vice President of the United States.) But at the time, I was reading Ron Chernow's biography of Alexander Hamilton, in which, of course, Vice President Aaron Burr shoots former Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton dead. It provided interesting perspective on the Cheney story. Those were the good old days when Vice Presidents understood the need for decorum. Or something.

The Chernow book is highly readable "treasury" of information on one of America's greatest men (and a personal favorite of mine). I can't recommend it enough. I also loved Richard Brookhiser's Alexander Hamilton: American, which while, less ambitious than the Chernow book, has the virtue of being short enough to read on a transcontinental flight. (Don't you just love books that can be read in exactly 5 hours?)