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

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

Paperback Vintage Books

By (author) Tom Reiss

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  • Publisher: VINTAGE
  • Format: Paperback | 432 pages
  • Dimensions: 128mm x 196mm x 38mm | 400g
  • Publication date: 2 May 2013
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0099575132
  • ISBN 13: 9780099575139
  • Illustrations note: maps
  • Sales rank: 67,827

Product description

"Completely absorbing". (Amanda Foreman). "Enthralling". (Guardian). "The Three Musketeers! The Count of Monte Cristo! The stories of course are fiction. But here a prize-winning author shows us that the inspiration for the swashbuckling stories was, in fact, Dumas' own father, Alex - the son of a marquis and a black slave...He achieved a giddy ascent from private in the Dragoons to the rank of general; an outsider who had grown up among slaves, he was all for Liberty and Equality. Alex Dumas was the stuff of legend". (Daily Mail). So how did such this extraordinary man get erased by history? Why are there no statues of 'Monsieur Humanity' as his troops called him? The Black Count uncovers what happened and the role Napoleon played in Dumas' downfall. By walking the same ground as Dumas - from Haiti to the Pyramids, Paris to the prison cell at Taranto - Reiss, like the novelist before him, triumphantly resurrects this forgotten hero. "Entrances from first to last. Dumas the novelist would be proud". (Independent). "Brilliant". (Glasgow Herald).

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Author information

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. The Black Count is the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Biography 2013.

Review quote

"Richly detailed, highly researched and completely absorbing... A triumph" -- Amanda Foreman "Totally thrilling... Brings to life one of history's great forgotten characters" -- Simon Sebag Montefiore "We believe we know the glories of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. We believe we understand the horror of slavery and the oppression of Africans. But what is the relationship between the grand goal of liberation and the deep tragedy of racism? As Reiss shows us, answers can be found in the extraordinary life of a forgotten French hero of the great revolutionary campaigns - a hero who was black" -- Timothy Snyder "Tom Reiss can do it all: gather startling research and write inspired prose; find life's great stories and then tell them with real brilliance. In The Black Count the master journalist-storyteller opens the door to the truth behind one of literature's most exciting stories, and opens it wide enough to show the delicate beauty of the lives within" -- Strauss, National Book Critics Circle Award winning author of Half a Life and Chang and Eng "A terrific story...(Reiss) is to be congratulated for retrieving such a splendid character from the dustbin of history" -- Dominic Sandbrook Sunday Times "A terrific story, every bit as good as one of Dumas's novels, and Reiss tells it with suitable gusto and swagger" -- John Preston Mail on Sunday "A rarefied, intimate literary study delineating a roiling revolutionary era" Bookseller "Brilliant... Reiss directs a full scale production that jangles with drawn sabres, trembles with dashing deeds and resonates with the love of a son for a remarkable father" -- Hugh MacDonald Glasgow Herald "Fascinating" Robin's Reviews "Enthralling...a swashbuckling tale" -- Nigel Jones Guardian "Richly imaginative... In 1802, Marie-Louise gave birth to their third child, Alexandre, Dumas pere. That Alexandre was a figure of vast appetite and incredible energy, but thanks to Reiss we now know that Dumas grandpere was even more interesting. A statue in his honour once stood in the Place Malesherbes in Paris, but it was destroyed by the Nazis since it celebrated a man of mixed race. There still isn't a monument to him, but there should be" -- Leo Damrosch Scotsman "A cross between military biography and literary detective story...the author's eye for colourful detail and palpable enthusiasm for his subject make for a highly entertaining read" -- Andrew Lynch Sunday Business Post "Heartfelt...highly readable...relentlessly, lovingly researched, indexed, cross-referenced and anecdotal. It is sustained by the author's admiration for a singular individual, the brilliant father of a novelist whose subject was heroism and justice, the concepts by which his beloved sire had lived" -- Eileen Battersby Irish Times "A fascinating tale even more incredible than those penned by his famous son... Reiss writes his history with a suitably swashbuckling edge and brings to life a man who deserves to be remembered in his own right" Hampshire Chronicle (syndicated review) "This brilliantly researched book...deserves a film treatment all of its own" -- Christopher Hudson Daily Mail

Editorial reviews

A terrific story…(Reiss) is to be congratulated for retrieving such a splendid character from the dustbin of history