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

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Harvill Secker, 2012 - France - 414 pages
2 Reviews
Who was the real Count of Monte Cristo? In this biography, Tom Reiss traces the almost unbelievable life of the man who inspired not only Monte Cristo, but all three of the Musketeers: the novelist's own father. Born in St Dominigue in 1762, the son of a French nobleman and a sugar plantation slave, General Alexandre Dumas did not have an auspicious start in life. Things got worse when his father sold him into slavery to pay his passage back to Normandy. But six months later, Dumas' fortunes changed. His father bought him out of slavery and raised him in France, where Dumas went to the nation's finest schools and fencing academies, and having enrolled in the army became known as France's most handsome and strongest soldier. By the time Napoleon invaded Egypt, Dumas was his top cavalry commander. But Napoleon was threatened by the physical prowess and popularity of this black nobleman. He engineered his disgrace and imprisonment, and to please the sugar growers reintroduced slavery

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Very interesting for good research

User Review  - southdown -

Gave me a good understanding of the times and the role of blacks. One negative is that I no longer feel I want to delve more into Napoleon for his role in betrayal. This is also good in context of what is happening here. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - elric17 - LibraryThing

A mite slow and tries to cover way too many events, besides the Dumas's rise and fall. However when contrasted with the son's later works, the influences from the father are evident. Interesting to see a European viewpoint on racism ans slavery. Read full review

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About the author (2012)

Born in 1964, Tom Reiss is an American author and journalist who lives in New York. He is the author of The Orientalist, an acclaimed biography of Lev Nussimbaum (aka Kurban Said) which was shortlisted for the 2006 Samuel Johnson Prize.

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