Duel with the Devil
By Paul Collins
In the final days of 1799, just as another yellow fever outbreak is loosening its grip on Manhattan Island, a young woman is found dead in a water well. Murder is immediately supposed, and a young man from her boarding house is the prime suspect. Before the young man can even stand trial, the public seems determined to hang Levi Weeks for his crime. Among the legal representation available, are two rising politicians of fiercely opposing parties – Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. Duel with the Devil is the intriguing account of how these two nemeses teamed up to prove Levi Weeks innocent, and solve “America’s first sensational murder mystery.”
With a great amount of fascinating early American history, Duel with the Devil is a wonderful book on the early justice system and politics. When you think that the events of this book occur just 23 years after the US declared independence from Britain, it is amazing how much political controversy already existed. Burr and Hamilton had many reasons to be fierce opponents, but that they both were determined to work together to free a young man they believed to be innocent was a great conquest for the men. I really enjoyed how much material was included in the book – as much as the murder trial was showcased, the culture was explained as well. Overall, I’m giving this book an A – good historical read for adults (some of the material in the book is too mature for young audiences ).
I received a free copy of this book from Broadway Books in exchange for my honest review.