Burr Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Burr

Aaron Burr lived a remarkable life. He was an aide to General Washington during the Revolutionary War. He was Senator from New York and one of the founders of Tammany Hall. He was elected Vice President in 1800 when electors voted both for President and Veep. He stepped aside for Thomas Jefferson to be President but Jefferson never trusts.
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Burr has a double tracked narration. One strand is Burr's memoirs, the other is set in the 1830's and told by Charles Schuyler, a young lawyer, writer and Burr protege.

Burr's story accelerates with his duel with another founding father, Alexander Hamilton. The book maintains that Hamilton accused Burr of incest with his own daughter. Whatever happened, Burr shot to kill. A dark cloud hung over him for the rest of his life. He was tried for treason, accused of trying to rebel against President Jefferson. He was acquitted and maintained that his goal was to be Emperor of Mexico, not President.

Schuyler tells his own story as Burr's assistant and editor of his memoirs. He falls in love with a prostitute, lives with her and she comes to a tragic end. Through his relationship with Burr he meets other famous Americans from Washington Irving to Andrew Jackson to Martin Van Buren with whom Charles shares a secret.

In the end, Burr dies and Schuyler is appointed to a consular job in Italy and he stays in Europe until returning in "1876" with the second volume in Vidal's American Chronicles.
Best part of story, including ending: Fascinating alternate history.

Best scene in story: All the scenes involving Burr and Thomas Jefferson. They detested one another.

Opinion about the main character: His wit and intelligence even though one is never sure if he's telling the truth.

The review of this Book prepared by Peter Athas a Level 3 Eurasian Jay scholar

Chapter Analysis of Burr

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   thoughtful Time/era of story    -   1600-1899 Life of a profession:    -   politician Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Job/Profession/Status story    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   politician/elected ruler Age:    -   40's-50's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White (American) Unusual characteristics:    -   Extremely cynical or arrogant


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   9 () United States    -   Yes

Writing Style

Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Gore Vidal Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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