Tony's Reviews > The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo

The Black Count by Tom Reiss
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Oct 05, 12

bookshelves: biography
Read in October, 2012

THE BLACK COUNT. (2012). Tom Reiss. ***.
The Black Count was one of the names given to the father of Alexander Dumas, the author of “The Three Musketeers” and other rip-roaring adventure novels written during the 19th century which have become classics over the years. It also turns out that his father was also the inspiration for the main character in his novel, “The Count of Monte Cristo.” Count Thomas Alexander Dumas Davy de la Pailleterie, to give him his full name, was born in what is today Haiti of a black slave mother and a fugitive white French nobleman. Alex eventually got to France and into the army. He became skilled at swordsmanship, horsemanship and other ships, and soon rose to command positions. He was also a skilled leader and popular with his men. His leadership roles ultimately led to his participation, under Napoleon, in a variety of campaigns where he distinguished himself. His son, Alexander, went on to become a famous writer, but really didn’t know his father other than through the stories told him by his relatives. He ws four-years old when his father died. The author’s reason for writing this biography was his recent access to new papers of Dumas that had been stored in a safe in the Dumas museum in France. I’m not sure how much new information was really in those new papers, but at least the new work makes this historic figure more familiar to today’s readers. Personally, I’d like to read Alexander Dumas’ (pere) “Memoirs,” which are quoted from extensively throughout this book. They seem to provide as much – if not more – information about his father than this work, though not necessarily as well documented.
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Amy C.C. Hsiao I was quite shocked when I first learned the facts about Dumas from this book. Have read his works but knew little about the author's life. This surely looks like a good read.


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