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4 Local Warehouse France- 18th Century and Revolutionary

The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo

by

The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo Cover

ISBN13: 9780307382467
ISBN10: 030738246x
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

 

Awards

2013 Pulitzer Prize for Biography

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

By the author of the internationally bestselling biography The Orientalist, The Black Count brings to life one of history’s great forgotten heroes: a man almost unknown today yet with a personal story that is strikingly familiar.  His swashbuckling exploits appear in The Three Musketeers, and his triumphs and ultimate tragic fate inspired The Count of Monte Cristo.  His name is Alex Dumas.  Father of the novelist Alexandre Dumas, Alex has become, through his son's books, the model for a captivating modern protagonist: the wronged man in search of justice.

Born to a black slave mother and a fugitive white French nobleman in Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti), Alex Dumas was briefly sold into bondage but then made his way to Paris where he was schooled as a sword-fighting member of the French aristocracy.

He was only 32 when he was given command of 53,000 men, the reward for series of triumphs that many regarded as impossible, and then topped his previous feats by leading a raid up a frozen cliff face that secured the Alps for France.  It was after his subsequent heroic service as Napoleon’s cavalry commander that Dumas was captured and cast into a dungeon — and a harrowing ordeal commenced that inspired one of the world’s classic works of fiction.

The Black Count is simultaneously a riveting adventure story, a lushly textured evocation of 18th-century France, and a window into the modern world’s first multi-racial society. But it is also a heartbreaking story of the enduring bonds of love between a father and son.  Drawing on hitherto unknown documents, letters, battlefield reports and Dumas' handwritten prison diary, The Black Count is a groundbreaking masterpiece of narrative nonfiction.

Review:

"Alex Dumas, an extraordinary man whose sensational life had been largely lost to history solely because of his race, takes the spotlight in this dynamic tale. Thanks to Reiss's excellent research, combined with the passionate memorial his son, Alexandre Dumas, consistently built in his own novels and memoir, Dumas's life has been brought back to light. Father to the well-known novelist and clear inspiration for The Count of Monte Cristo, as well as the adventurous spirit of The Three Musketeers and other stories, Dumas (1762 – 1806) rose through the ranks of the French army from a lowly private in the dragoons to become a respected general who marched into Egypt at Napoleon's side. (The rivalry and juxtaposition between these two leaders proves fascinating.) Born in what is now Haiti to a French nobleman father and a slave mother, the biracial Dumas chanced to come of age during the French Revolution, a brief period of equality in the French empire; he was thus granted numerous opportunities that the son of a slave 20 years before him (or even 20 years later) would not have enjoyed. Reiss capitalizes on his subject's charged personality as well as the revolutionary times in which he lived to create an exciting narrative. Agent: Tina Bennett, Janklow & Nesbit. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review:

"Tom Reiss's The Black Count is totally thrilling — a fascinating, beautifully-written and deeply-researched biography that brings to life one of history's great forgotten characters: the swashbuckling, flamboyant, and romantic mulatto count whose true life belongs in a Hollywood movie or Alexander Dumas story. No wonder the Black Count helped inspire his son's masterpieces The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers." Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of Jerusalem: The Biography and Young Stalin

Review:

"The Black Count is an important and necessary book about one of the great forgotten heroes of the eighteenth century. Before there was Alexandre Dumas, author of The Three Musketeers, there was his father, General Dumas, whose extraordinary life and achievements were the inspiration behind many of his more famous son's novels. Tom Reiss has written a masterful biography; richly detailed, highly researched and completely absorbing. The Black Count is a triumph." Amanda Foreman, New York Times bestselling author of A World on Fire and Georgiana

Review:

"Rousing and thought provoking, The Black Count is an adventure like no other. I marveled at every twist and turn of this remarkable true story. It’s a brilliant choice of subject, brought to life with the charm and personal touch that have become the trademark of Tom Reiss." Laurence Bergreen, New York Times bestselling author of Columbus: The Four Voyages and Louis Armstrong: An Extravagant Life

Review:

"Colorful and utterly captivating, The Black Count proves that truth is not just stranger than fiction, but in this case is the root of such classics as The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers. Tom Reiss uses the incredible adventures of mulatto French general Alexander Dumas, father of the famed novelist, to inform his lucid exploration of Caribbean slavery and revolt, the French Revolution, and the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte. This is history that is vibrant, gripping, and tragic." William Dietrich, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author of Napoleon’s Pyramids and The Emerald Storm

Synopsis:

Here is the remarkable true story of the real Count of Monte Cristo — a stunning feat of historical sleuthing that brings to life the forgotten hero who inspired such classics as The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers.

The real-life protagonist of The Black Count, General Alex Dumas, is a man almost unknown today yet with a story that is strikingly familiar, because his son, the novelist Alexandre Dumas, used it to create some of the best loved heroes of literature.

Yet, hidden behind these swashbuckling adventures was an even more incredible secret: the real hero was the son of a black slave — who rose higher in the white world than any man of his race would before our own time. 

Born in Saint-Domingue (now Haiti), Alex Dumas was briefly sold into bondage but made his way to Paris where he was schooled as a sword-fighting member of the French aristocracy. Enlisting as a private, he rose to command armies at the height of the Revolution, in an audacious campaign across Europe and the Middle East — until he met an implacable enemy he could not defeat.

The Black Count is simultaneously a riveting adventure story, a lushly textured evocation of 18th-century France, and a window into the modern world’s first multi-racial society. But it is also a heartbreaking story of the enduring bonds of love between a father and son.

About the Author

Tom Reiss is the author of the celebrated international bestseller The Orientalist. His biographical pieces have appeared The New Yorker, The New York Times and other publications. He makes his home in New York City.

Table of Contents

prologue, part 1 • February 26, 1806  

prologue, part 2 • January 25, 2007  

 

book one

chapter 1 • The Sugar Factory  

chapter 2 • The Black Code  

chapter 3 • Norman Conquest  

chapter 4 • “No One Is a Slave in France” 

chapter 5 • Americans in Paris  

chapter 6 • Black Count in the City of Light  

chapter 7 • A Queen’s Dragoon  

 

book two

chapter 8 • Summers of Revolution   

chapter 9 • “Regeneration by Blood”   

chapter 10 • “The Black Heart Also Beats for Liberty”   

chapter 11 • “Mr. Humanity”   

chapter 12 • The Battle for the Top of the World   

chapter 13 • The Bottom of the Revolution   

chapter 14 • The Siege   

chapter 15 • The Black Devil   

 

book three

chapter 16 • Leader of the Expedition   

chapter 17 •  “ The Delirium of His

    Republicanism”   

chapter 18 • Dreams on Fire   

chapter 19 • Prisoner of the Holy Faith Army   

chapter 20 • “ Citizeness Dumas . . . Is Worried

    About the Fate of Her Husband”   

chapter 21 • The Dungeon   

chapter 22 • Wait and Hope   

epilogue • The Forgotten Statue   

Acknowledgments   

Author’s Note on Names   

Notes   

Bibliography   

Index    

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 7 comments:

kpknuuti, January 30, 2013 (view all comments by kpknuuti)
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.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Kathleen Isaac, January 27, 2013 (view all comments by Kathleen Isaac)
THE BLACK COUNT is one of the best books I have read. There are plenty of maps; the book does not assume you know the geography of Europe more than 150 years ago. There's lots of American history about which I had no idea. The fact that France was fighting with England all over the globe at the same time as the American Revolution prevented England from concentrating on winning here. France supplied many French military commanders who helped organize the winning; it wasn't only Layayette. Citizens of color were accepted in France, while they were not in most of Europe. And, of course, in the Americas they were slaves.

While the facts of the biography are well researched and well presented, Tom Reiss added comments in footnotes as to what happened subsequently or what was there now, etc. that were just as interesting as the history. He also presented Bonaparte warts and all!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
good reader, January 2, 2013 (view all comments by good reader)
What a great military story. The fact that his was dark skinned just fades away as you read.
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(0 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 7 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780307382467
Subtitle:
Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo
Author:
Reiss, Tom
Publisher:
Crown Publishing Group (NY)
Subject:
Europe - Western
Subject:
World History-European History General
Subject:
Biography-Historical
Series Volume:
Glory, Revolution, B
Publication Date:
20120931
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
6 MAPS AND 1 INSET MAP
Pages:
432
Dimensions:
9.52 x 6.64 x 1.38 in 1.68 lb

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Related Subjects


Biography » General
Biography » Historical
Biography » Military
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History and Social Science » Europe » France » 18th Century and Revolutionary
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The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo Used Hardcover
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Product details 432 pages Crown Publishing Group (NY) - English 9780307382467 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Alex Dumas, an extraordinary man whose sensational life had been largely lost to history solely because of his race, takes the spotlight in this dynamic tale. Thanks to Reiss's excellent research, combined with the passionate memorial his son, Alexandre Dumas, consistently built in his own novels and memoir, Dumas's life has been brought back to light. Father to the well-known novelist and clear inspiration for The Count of Monte Cristo, as well as the adventurous spirit of The Three Musketeers and other stories, Dumas (1762 – 1806) rose through the ranks of the French army from a lowly private in the dragoons to become a respected general who marched into Egypt at Napoleon's side. (The rivalry and juxtaposition between these two leaders proves fascinating.) Born in what is now Haiti to a French nobleman father and a slave mother, the biracial Dumas chanced to come of age during the French Revolution, a brief period of equality in the French empire; he was thus granted numerous opportunities that the son of a slave 20 years before him (or even 20 years later) would not have enjoyed. Reiss capitalizes on his subject's charged personality as well as the revolutionary times in which he lived to create an exciting narrative. Agent: Tina Bennett, Janklow & Nesbit. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "Tom Reiss's The Black Count is totally thrilling — a fascinating, beautifully-written and deeply-researched biography that brings to life one of history's great forgotten characters: the swashbuckling, flamboyant, and romantic mulatto count whose true life belongs in a Hollywood movie or Alexander Dumas story. No wonder the Black Count helped inspire his son's masterpieces The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers."
"Review" by , "The Black Count is an important and necessary book about one of the great forgotten heroes of the eighteenth century. Before there was Alexandre Dumas, author of The Three Musketeers, there was his father, General Dumas, whose extraordinary life and achievements were the inspiration behind many of his more famous son's novels. Tom Reiss has written a masterful biography; richly detailed, highly researched and completely absorbing. The Black Count is a triumph."
"Review" by , "Rousing and thought provoking, The Black Count is an adventure like no other. I marveled at every twist and turn of this remarkable true story. It’s a brilliant choice of subject, brought to life with the charm and personal touch that have become the trademark of Tom Reiss." Laurence Bergreen, New York Times bestselling author of Columbus: The Four Voyages and Louis Armstrong: An Extravagant Life
"Review" by , "Colorful and utterly captivating, The Black Count proves that truth is not just stranger than fiction, but in this case is the root of such classics as The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers. Tom Reiss uses the incredible adventures of mulatto French general Alexander Dumas, father of the famed novelist, to inform his lucid exploration of Caribbean slavery and revolt, the French Revolution, and the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte. This is history that is vibrant, gripping, and tragic." William Dietrich, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author of Napoleon’s Pyramids and The Emerald Storm
"Synopsis" by , Here is the remarkable true story of the real Count of Monte Cristo — a stunning feat of historical sleuthing that brings to life the forgotten hero who inspired such classics as The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers.

The real-life protagonist of The Black Count, General Alex Dumas, is a man almost unknown today yet with a story that is strikingly familiar, because his son, the novelist Alexandre Dumas, used it to create some of the best loved heroes of literature.

Yet, hidden behind these swashbuckling adventures was an even more incredible secret: the real hero was the son of a black slave — who rose higher in the white world than any man of his race would before our own time. 

Born in Saint-Domingue (now Haiti), Alex Dumas was briefly sold into bondage but made his way to Paris where he was schooled as a sword-fighting member of the French aristocracy. Enlisting as a private, he rose to command armies at the height of the Revolution, in an audacious campaign across Europe and the Middle East — until he met an implacable enemy he could not defeat.

The Black Count is simultaneously a riveting adventure story, a lushly textured evocation of 18th-century France, and a window into the modern world’s first multi-racial society. But it is also a heartbreaking story of the enduring bonds of love between a father and son.

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