The Black Count

The Black Count

Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo

Downloadable Audiobook - 2012-09-18
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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,...
Publisher: New York: Books on Tape, 2012-09-18.
ISBN: 9780449012703
Branch Call Number: eAudiobook Overdrive

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IndyPL_SteveB Jan 15, 2019

A tremendously fascinating biography of Thomas-Alexandre Dumas, the first black general of a major European country. Just about everyone has read or at least seen a film of *The Three Musketeers* or *The Count of Monte Cristo* by Alexandre Dumas. But not many people realize that both D’Artagnan in *The Three Musketeers* and Edmond Dantes in *The Count of Monte Cristo* were partly based on the exploits of his military-hero father,

The elder Dumas, known as “Alex Dumas,” was born in Haiti to a black slave mother and a white French nobleman. After his father returned to France, he sent for his son, who was trained in the best military academy in Paris. He was renowned for his size (6’1”), immense strength, superb swordsmanship, leadership, and understanding of military strategy. In the early days of the Revolution (before the leaders started guillotining the nobles, their enemies, and eventually each other), the French government became the first government in the world to ban slavery and to fully integrate its government and armed forces. As a soldier, Dumas achieved legendary status for his daring horse raids and clever attacks, winning several skirmishes against the Austrian army.

But things began to go sour when Napoleon Bonaparte got promoted to be his commander. After Napoleon’s disastrous invasion of Egypt, Dumas’s ship was damaged and forced to land in the Kingdom of Naples. He was held in prison for three years and was finally released to return home, a physically and emotionally broken man. I am sure this book will be a revelation to anyone interested in French history.

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IV27HUjg
Jan 31, 2017

Interesting family history. I have been so far off the pronunciation of this name for years, as are many. Certainly have loved Man in the Iron Mask.

ArapahoeLesley Nov 17, 2016

Who knew that Dumas' Daddio was a super general and was a great influence on his son's writings? This is a well written and well read look into the French Revolution and aftermath from the particular viewpoint of race politics. Napoleon just ruined everything but Dumas got some awesome fodder for his books from the trials of his father.

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bgreen_07
Jun 23, 2015

I would highly recommend this book. Tom Reiss went to a lot of trouble to find the information on Alexandre Dumas and the history gleaned from this is fascinating!! This is a book that I could re-read over and over.

Johna A Large Jun 21, 2014

This is the captivating true story of the grandfather of writer Alexandre Dumas, aka The Black Count. Born in San Domingue to a white father and a black woman. We discover that many of the extreme adventures the Black Count lived, writer Dumas recycles into his own fictional works. Fascinating history of slavery, racial mores, and the era of the French Revolution.

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hmcgivney
Mar 22, 2013

General Alex Dumas was a man with great timing, and then terrible timing. An extraordinary man who managed to live through the time (French Revolution) where his mixed race didn't keep him from advancing, and then the Napoleonic era when it suddenly did matter again. His son, the novelist, seemed to think he could do no wrong, and used many of the events in Dumas Sr.'s life as inspiration for his novels. Much of the book was very interesting, though there were some parts that lagged a bit. I especially appreciated the insights into the French Revolution, the disarray of the post-revolution bureaucracy and its views about spreading the revolution to other countries.

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