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1 Beaverton World History- France

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


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

ISBN13: 9780307382467
ISBN10: 030738246x
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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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.
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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!
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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)
RBHolb, January 2, 2013 (view all comments by RBHolb)
Every bit as good as The Orientalist.
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sj, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by sj)
Riviting true life story of Alexandre Dumas, the father of the author of The count of Monte Cristo and who served as the novel's inspiration.
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Product Details

Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo
Reiss, Tom
Crown Publishing Group (NY)
Europe - Western
World History-European History General
Series Volume:
Glory, Revolution, B
Publication Date:
9.52 x 6.64 x 1.38 in 1.68 lb

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Biography » Historical
Biography » Military
Featured Titles » Biography
History and Social Science » Europe » France » 18th Century and Revolutionary
History and Social Science » World History » European History General
History and Social Science » World History » France » General

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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