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Books  >>  Biography

Tom Reiss

Black Count, The

Tom Reiss Black Count The Glory Revolution Betrayal And The Real Count O
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Here is the remarkable true story of the real Count of Monte Cristo – a stunning feat of historical sleuthing that brings to life the forgotten hero who inspired such classics as The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers.

The real-life protagonist of The Black Count, General Alex Dumas, is a man almost unknown today yet with a story that is strikingly familiar, because his son, the novelist Alexandre Dumas, used it to create some of the best loved heroes of literature.

Yet, hidden behind these swashbuckling adventures was an even more incredible secret: the real hero 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 was briefly sold into bondage but made his way to Paris where he was schooled as a sword-fighting member of the French aristocracy. Enlisting as a private, he rose to command armies at the height of the Revolution, in an audacious campaign across Europe and the Middle East – 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. 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 Citizen
 
“Triumphant…Reiss directs a full-scale production that jangles with drawn sabers, trembles with dashing deeds and resonates with the love of a son for a remarkable father.”
--The Herald (U.K.)
 
“Fascinating….Reiss argues that Dumas is an important, criminally neglected figure [and] it’s difficult to argue with him…A truly amazing story.”
--NPR.org
 
“A story that has everything…
The Black Count has its own moving narrative thread, made compelling by Reiss’s impassioned absorption with the general’s fate.”
--The Literary Review
 
“A thoroughly researched, lively piece of nonfiction that will be savored by fans of Alexandre Dumas.
  But The Black Count needs no partner: It is fascinating enough to stand on its own.”
--Bookpage
 
“A compelling new work by literary detective Reiss, author of The Orientalist, tracks the wildly improbable career of [Count of Monte Cristo author] Alexandre Dumas’ mixed-race father…Reiss eloquently argues the General’s case.”
--Kirkus Reviews
 
“Alex Dumas, an extraordinary man whose sensational life had been largely lost to history solely because of his race, takes the spotlight in this dynamic tale…Reiss capitalizes on his subject’s charged personality as well as the revolutionary times in which he lived to create an exciting narrative.”
--Publishers Weekly
 
“Thrilling…Reiss makes clear that Alex lived a life as full of adventure, triumph, and tragic loss as any of his son’s literary creations…This absorbing biography should redeem its subject from obscurity.”
--Booklist

From pike-wielding mobs to prisoners locked in a fortress tower, The Black Count is as action-packed as The Count of Monte Cristo. Unlike Dumas’s famous adventure novel, however, Reiss’s incredible tale is true.”
  – Candice Millard, New York Times bestselling author of The River of Doubt and Destiny of the Republic
 
Tom Reiss has literally drilled into locked safes to create this masterpiece…. His portrait of a man who was arguably our modern age’s greatest unknown soldier is remarkable.”
  – James Bradley, New York Times bestselling author of Flags of Our Fathers and Flyboys
 
“A masterful biography, richly detailed, highly researched, and completely absorbing. The Black Count is a triumph.”
  – Amanda Foreman, New York Times bestselling author of A World on Fire and Georgiana
 
“It’s hard to imagine a more colorful or engaging subject than the man who inspired The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers. In the wonderful hands of Tom Reiss, Alex Dumas comes to vivid life, illuminating far-flung corners of history and culture.


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