For almost two centuries, historians have had difficulty explaining the extraordinary duel in July 1804 that killed Alexander Hamilton, the nation's first Secretary of the Treasury, and ended Vice President Aaron Burr's political career. It was well known that Hamilton disliked Burr -- perhaps out of a protective fear of losing his own power and influence, or perhaps, according to another theory, because of jealousy over the attentions of one or more women. When Burr finally threw down his challenge, it followed more than a dozen years of difficult relations and political strife, culminating a few months earlier with Burr's defeat in the race for the governorship of New York, a defeat he attributed to Hamilton's machinations. But why a duel? In A Fatal Friendship, the distinguished political scientist and writer Arnold Rogow demonstrates for the first time that the roots of the fatal encounter lay not in Burr's (admittedly flawed) political or private conduct, but rather in Hamilton's conflicted history and character. With his detailed archival research, his close (and unprecedented) examination of the friendship between the two heroic figures, and his bold, imaginative writing, Rogow has written a brilliant new book that will change forever our understanding of honor, politics, and friendship in the early American republic.