brilliantly traced how the grandson ofnfamed preacher Jonathan Edwards andnthe son of the second president of thenCollege of New Jersey (later Princeton)nwas orphaned early, excelled in hisnshidies, became a precocious ofl&cer innthe War of Independence, made a successfulnmarriage, became a successfiilnlawyer, successfally competed againstnAlexander Hamilton, and soared politicallynto become Vice President of thenUnited States. In attaining this high postnwithin a decade after his initial entrynthey met, both men drew up their wills.nHamilton and Burr fired nearly simultaneously:nHamilton’s shot went wild;nBurr’s went home. Hamilton was mortallynwounded. Later it was discoverednthat Hamilton had written, in his papers,nthat he would withhold his fire. Toldnabout this, Burr shru^ed. “Contemptiblendisclosure, if true,” he said. He regardednit, in other words, as an insurance-policyninsult, designed to wound retroactively,nif Hamilton lost the decision. If so, it brilliantlynsucceeded. His death elevatedn””llic tact remains that, of virtue’ . Burr possessed scarcely an ounce.”n—New York Times Book Reviewninto electoral politics. Burr frightenednThomas Jefferson probably more seriouslynthan any other individual in thenland, by attaining as many initial votes innthe balloting for President as did the redhairednVirginian. Jefferson was certainnthat Burr planned this stru^e and nevernforgave the short (5’6″) Northerner forncoming so close to destroying aU of hisnplans.nAlexander Hamilton, who, typically,nworked with and against Burr, reachednsimilar conclusions from a different perspective.nIt was Hamilton’s machinationsnagainst President John Adams that, accordingnto Lomask, effectively tore apartnthe Federalist Party. But Hamilton feltnthat it was Burr who was the marplot.nAfter Adams was defeated for a secondnterm. Burr became the object of Hamilton’snvicious slanders. Hamilton’s tempernwas nearly ungovernable. Burr, byncontrast, was an easygoing man, not angrudge-bearer, usually calm under criticism.nWhen Hamilton went too far, andnwhen his description of Burr as “contemptible”nreached the press, Burr issuednhis challenge—rafter several requestsnfor a retraction were turned aside.nBoth men, like many of that day, werenexperienced in duels. Legally forbidden,nduels were socially sanctioned. Burr hadnfought a previous duel and emerged unscathed.nHamilton had served as a secondnand had lost a son in a duel. Beforen32inChronicles of CulturenHamilton to the ranks of martyrs—^andnruined Burr as thoroughly as if he hadncommitted a sacrilege against a demigod.nLiomask’s first volume ended notnlong after that tremendous climax. Thensecond volume is mostiy devoted to thendetails of the notorious Burr “conspiracy,”nhis trial for treason, and his long declinenfi-om the top levels of American society.nAs such, it is a tremendous human documentnvery coolly—^and therefore effectively—^told.nLomask’s task is a difficultnone; he is to be congratulated for his restraintnand taste. The facts of Burr’s lifenare, of course, inextricably entwinednwitli those of Hamilton’s and Jefferson’s.nThere was something about Burr thatnbrought out the worst in both of theseneminent contemporaries—and in manynothers.nBurr himsetf could never quite explainnthis. At least on the surface he was a mannof great social gifts, pleasant in conversation,nwitty, well-dressed, and goodnatured.nHe was not profound, accordingnto Lomask; he was not a man pronento mrn his ideas into abstract principles.nAbove all, he never preached. It wasnBurr’s misfortane to live past the periodnwhen his aristocratic attitudes were thenreigning fashion and into the mrbulentndemocracy of an America growingnsteadily more plebeian, more moneyconscious,nless educated, and infinitelynnnless tolerant. His “conspiracy,” accordingnto Lomask, was aimed largely atnSpanish possessions. These had also attractednAndrew Jackson and others,nwho sided with Burr. Even Jefferson wasntemporarily sympathetic. But whennGeneral Wilkinson, an agent of ImperialnSpain, succeeded in drawing Burr intonthis venture for the purpose of betrayingnhim, it was Jefferson who sought to havenBurr hanged for treason.nBurr was not convicted in the courtnbecause there was no suitable evidence.nBut the trial was a difficult one. Chief JusticenJohn Marshall (whom Jefferson alsonhated) effectively prevented Burr fi-omnbeing railroaded, and in the process narrowednthe American definition of treasonnto specific acts.nLomask makes it clear that Burr’s trialneffectively ruined Burr’s attempts to recovernfrom the duel with Hamilton andnhis defeat in politics. Mobs rose againstnhim; he became a target of the press,nmuch as Nixon was later. Burr had tonflee the country. (If Nixon was not annex-President, there seems little doubtnhe would have had to do the same.) InnEngland, Sweden, Germany, and FrancenBurr was received in top circles, but hisncircumstances were penurious and allnthe governments gave him a great dealnof trouble. In Europe for four years henwas persistently hounded by the Spanishnforeign ministry and the American StatenDepartment. After these difficulties, henremmed to New York to resume thenpractice of law. He was getting on hisnfeet when his grandson died and hisndaughter Theodosia was lost at sea. Theynhad been the center of the widowednBurr’s emotional life; he spent the rest ofnhis years still dapper, stiff cheerful, stillnsurrounded by women and even namralnchildren, but in a state of emotionalndetachment.nThrough all these long years Burr wasnhounded by creditors but somehownmanaged to escape imprisonment. At 77nhe married a woman 58 years old namednEliza Bowen Jumel, a widow and thenrichest woman in the United States. Shendivorced him a year later for squander-n