The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reis. PART 1 of 2.

Jun 15, 2017, 12:00 AM

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The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reis. PART 1 of 2.

WINNER OF THE 2013 PULITZER PRIZE FOR BIOGRAPHY

General Alex Dumas is a man almost unknown today, yet his story is strikingly familiar—because 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 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 made his way to Paris, where he rose to command armies at the height of the Revolution—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. 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.

Winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Biography!

“Tom Reiss wrings plenty of drama and swashbuckling action out of Dumas’ strange and nearly forgotten life, and more: The Black Count is one of those quintessentially human stories of strength and courage that also sheds light on the flukey historical moment that made it possible.” —Time

“A remarkable and almost compulsively researched account…The author spent a decade on the case, and it shows.” —Christian Science Monitor

“Fascinating…a richly imaginative biography.” —New York Times Book Review

"It would take an incredibly fertile mind to invent a character as compelling, exciting and unlikely as Gen. Alexandre (Alex) Dumas [hence] you might forget, while reading, that The Black Count is a work of nonfiction; author Tom Reiss writes with such narrative urgency and vivid description, you'd think you were reading a novel…The Black Count reminds us of how essential stories, whether true or invented, can be.” —National Public Radio

“Vibrant…Sometimes the best stories are true. This is one of them.” —Ebony

“Reiss details the criminal forgetting of Alex Dumas…This remarkable book stands as his monument.” —Washington Post

“Superb... as improbable and exciting as [Dumas’s] best books… but there is much more to this book than that.”
—Newsweek/The Daily Beast

“Lush prose and insightful details make The Black Count one of the best biographies of 2012…a tale that is as easily engrossing as one of Dumas’ page-turning and timeless works.” —Essence

“Impressively thorough…Reiss moves the story on at an entertaining pace…fascinating.” —Wall Street Journal

“To tell this tale, Reiss must cover the French Revolution, the Haitian Revolution, and the rise of Napoleon toward Empire; he does all that with remarkable verve.” —Boston Globe

“Fascinating [and] swashbuckling...meticulously evokes the spirit of Revolutionary and Napoleonic France...Dumas comes across as something of a superhero...a monument to the lives of both Dumas and his adoring [novelist] son.” —The Seattle Times

“A piece of detective work by a prize-winning author...brilliantly researched.” —The Daily Mail (U.K.)

“Sometimes real life does, indeed, trump even the wildest of fiction…With a narrative that is engaging and entertaining, Reiss sets the literary table for one of the most satisfying adventure stories of the autumn. Richly detailed, meticulously researched and beautifully written, this is the unlikely true story of the man behind one of the greatest books in literature.” —Tucson Cit...