Duel With the Devil

Duel With the Devil

The True Story of How Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr Teamed up to Take on America's First Sensational Murder Mystery

Book - 2013 | 1st ed.
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Duel with the Devil is acclaimed historian Paul Collins' remarkable true account of a  stunning turn-of-the-19th century murder and the trial that ensued - a showdown in which iconic political rivals Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr joined forces to make sure justice was done. Still our nation's longest running "cold case," the mystery of Elma Sands finally comes to a close with this book, which delivers the first substantial break in the case in over 200 years.
            In the closing days of 1799, the United States was still a young republic.  Waging a fierce battle for its uncertain future were two political parties: the well-moneyed Federalists, led by Alexander Hamilton, and the populist Republicans, led by Aaron Burr. The two finest lawyers in New York, Burr and Hamilton were bitter rivals both in and out of the courtroom, and as the next election approached--with Manhattan likely to be the swing district on which the presidency would hinge--their  animosity reached a crescendo. Central to their dispute was the Manhattan water supply, which Burr saw not just as an opportunity to help a city devastated by epidemics but as a chance to heal his battered finances.
             But everything changed when Elma Sands, a beautiful young Quaker woman, was found dead in Burr's newly constructed Manhattan Well. The horrific crime quickly gripped the nation, and before long accusations settled on one of Elma's suitors, handsome young carpenter Levi Weeks. As the enraged city demanded a noose be draped around the accused murderer's neck, the only question seemed to be whether Levi would make it to trial or be lynched first.
             The young man's only hope was to hire a legal dream team.  And thus it was that New York's most bitter political rivals and greatest attorneys did the unthinkable--they teamed up.
            At once an absorbing legal thriller and an expertly crafted portrait of the United States in the time of the Founding Fathers, Duel with the Devil is a masterpiece of narrative nonfiction.

Publisher: New York : Crown Publishers, [2013]
Edition: 1st ed.
Copyright Date: ©2013
ISBN: 9780307956453
Branch Call Number: 364.152309747109033 Col
Characteristics: viii, 289 pages : map ; 24 cm

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CMLibrary_gjd_0 Jan 07, 2016

When the body of Elma Sands, a young, vibrant Quaker, is found in
the Manhattan Well, New Yorkers cry for blood. Levi Weeks, who boarded at
the same house as Elma, is immediately arrested after gossip says
he's the last person to see her alive. So, how did two of the young
Country's bitterest rivals end up defending Mr. Weeks? Politics and
money, of course; turns out both men owed Week's brother money for
building their homes. Paul Collins offers a fascinating look at this;
America's longest running cold case, including new
(credible) evidence into the murder. This book proves the old adage; the
more things change, the more they stay the same. A very fast paced and
engaging tale perfect for summer reading.

h
heinrij
Nov 17, 2015

I found his writing a little murky especially the political parts but the trial was well written. I would rate it PG-13. Some violence and sexual references

k
kennethbhill
Jul 31, 2014

This was another "Staff Pick" that I randomly checked out and read, and I'm glad that I did. This Portland State University author did an amazing job of sharing a historical crime story that can be best described as a "Law & Order" TV episode.

bookfanatic1979 Dec 23, 2013

After reading the book’s full title: “Duel with the Devil: the true story of how Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr teamed up to take on America’s first sensational murder mystery,” I was expecting a detective-type approach based on hunting for evidence, not a courtroom trial. It was still a good story—luckily there wasn’t much on the politics of the time—but I wouldn’t have chosen it if I knew what it was. Those interesting in judicial history or the political climate of a young America may enjoy this more.

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