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Original Essays | August 18, 2014

Ian Leslie: IMG Empathic Curiosity



Today, we wonder anxiously if digital media is changing our brains. But if there's any time in history when our mental operations changed... Continue »
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The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reiss
The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo

kpknuuti, January 30, 2013

This is a terrific account of the father of Alexandre Dumas (Dumas pere). Dumas was the author of The Count of Monte Cristo, a novel he apparently based on his father's experience as a prisoner in Italy during the Napoleonic wars. The story is fast-paced, dramatic, and gripping. Tom Reiss does a great job of bringing Revolutionary France and its surprisingly multi-cultural society to life. After reading this book, you will likely scratch your head and wonder why you had not already known the story of Alex Dumas.

Really, this is one of those novels that leaves you thinking, if it's not true, it ought to be. The young Dumas, whose father was an aristocratic white plantation owner and whose mother was a slave, was educated in France, joined the Revolutionary Army, rose to the rank of general, and earned the jealousy of Napoleon for his brilliant successes. He survived two years in a foul Italian prison before finally returning to France thanks in large part to a campaign by his wife to locate and rescue her husband. Dumas died of cancer shortly after that, but not before fathering three children, the youngest of whom grew up to be the famous novelist.
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