The Black Count


General Alex Dumas is a man almost unknown today, yet his story is strikingly familiarbecause his son, the novelist Alexandre Dumas, used his larger-than-life feats as inspiration for such classics as The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers.

But, hidden behind General Dumas's swashbuckling adventures was an even more incredible secret: he was the son of a black slavewho 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 made his way to Paris, where he rose to command armies at the height of the Revolutionuntil 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. TIME magazine called The Black Count "one of those quintessentially human stories of strength and courage that sheds light on the historical moment that made it possible." But it is also a heartbreaking story of the enduring bonds of love between a father and son.  

The Black Count - Tom Reiss Summary

The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo is a 2012 biography of General Thomas-Alexandre Dumas written by Tom Reiss. The book presents the life and career of Dumas as a soldier and officer during the French Revolution, as well as his military service in Italy during the French Revolutionary Wars and later in Egypt under Napoleon. Reiss offers insight into slavery and the life of a man of mixed race during the French Colonial Empire. He also reveals how Dumas's son – author Alexandre Dumas – viewed his father, who served as the inspiration for some of his novels, including The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers. The Black Count won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography and the PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography, among other awards and honors. As of 2014, the book is being adapted into a film...

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The Black Count - Tom Reiss Book Reviews (99)

Ann e v

The black count5 star

In general, a wonderfully readable account of post revolutionary France and its acceptance of racial equality, however temporary. Specifically, a richly detailed account of an honorable and proud man caught up in events that overturn his life with unethical beaurocracy. A carefully researched window into a time period most often romanticized. That his son survived and thrived, using the memories of his father to immortalize him, assuage the family honor, and in addition, make a great name for himself was a coup d'état. 55


The Black Count by Tom Reiss5 star

One of the best books I have ever read .Brilliantly written , the author weaves together history, biography, and culture and takes what we in the United States call "the civil rights movement " to the international level . Tom Reiss here exposes the white-wash of their own history by the very people who may be most responsible for the white-washing of African history as it relates to ancient Egypt . The colonial powers from outside of Africa to this day seem to cling to having a vested interest in suppressing what we are forced to call Black History . Finally this book the reveals the fire of freedom that that once lit ,can spread fiercely across national borders and racial lines and barriers , that can be co-opted and betrayed and yet still burn in men's hearts . Should be required reading by any historian. 55


Fantastic Read5 star

What a great book from Tom Reiss! The story of Gen. Alex Dumas is finally brought to life after being shuttered away for so long and forgotten. Reiss obviously did so much research not only into Dumas life and circumstances, but to the 18th century society in which Dumas thrived. A life and story such as this shouldn't be forgotten. Reiss' writing style is very conversational educating the reader as to the beliefs, norms and politics of the day so one has a clear understanding of how and why Dumas life is so enthralling. Dumas was an 18th century action hero, and a somewhat of an unconventional one. I can't see how this won't be made into a movie! It has everything; a strong leading man, love, betrayal and war. In fact it could be a story written by the General's son, the author Alexandre Dumas. 55

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