The Black Count

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

Reiss, Tom

Book - 2012
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Black Count
Explores the life and career of Thomas Alexandre Dumas, a man almost unknown today, but whose swashbuckling exploits appear in The three musketeers and whose trials and triumphs inspired The count of Monte Cristo.

Publisher: New York : Crown, 2012
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780307382467
Branch Call Number: B-D8868r 2012
Characteristics: ix, 414 p. :,maps ;,25 cm


From Library Staff

Join the discussion on Nov. 10, 2014. 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 Thr... Read More »

A compelling story of a forgotten swashbuckling hero of mixed race whose bold exploits were captured by his son, Alexander Dumas, in famous 19th century novels. (Pulitzer Prize citation).

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Jun 24, 2013
  • PennPal rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Wonderful read
Words, pages, thoughts flowed past
Filled in aspects of French history, social history and art that somehow I had missed, forgotten or never really understood.
Great story at the same time

Jun 20, 2013
  • Dejascribe rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A wonderfully written look at the little known history behind the Count of Monte Cristo author and his larger than life father/hero.

Dec 17, 2012
  • BeccaBB rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

It turns out that Alexandre Dumas used his own father as inspiration for his stories. And it also turns out that his father was a very interesting person. This very carefully researched book actually starts out with the novelist’s grandfather, who happened to be a French count. So you get to see the entire life of Alex Dumas from being sold by his own father, to becoming a renowned solider fighting with Napoleon, to dropping into obscurity. He lived through a very interesting time in French history and had many adventures along the way so his life truly reads like one of his son’s novels without needing any embellishment. Because of his mixed heritage, race relations in France are an important part of the book and they take an interesting course though time. I didn’t know anything about Alex Dumas before I read this book so I obviously learned a lot about him but I also learned things about French history in general that I didn’t know before. Quite apart from the role he played in history you would think that his story would be better known simply because it is such a good story, with action, courage, duels, romance and so much more. This is a good book for you if you are interested in French history or if you are just interested in Dumas’ novels, because you can truly see his father in his works.

Nov 30, 2012
  • adagarcon rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

"So often when one has discusses Dumas "pere" & "fils", the conversation seldom segues into the realm of their progenitor. That's why Reiss' "Black Count" is a nice respite from the normal conversational ebbs and flows. Make no mistake, this is book does not rehash of the Count of Monte Cristo. However, it is a detailed biographical account of the life and times of Alexandre Davy Dumas. Romantics, will delight in the series of intimate letters exchanged between the Dumas and his wife. After finising the book, the exchanges still managed to stand out in my mind and quite possibly hint where Davy Dumas' future bloodline recieved their litteral footnotes. Also, History Buffs take hold.

Nov 27, 2012

"If you've ever wondered where the 19th-century French novelist Alexandre Dumas learned to swashbuckle, biographer Tom Reiss has the answer in The Black Count. The novelist's father, known as Alex, was born in 1762 on the island of Santo Domingo to a black slave and a French aristocrat, who later brought his son to France. Alex rose through the ranks in the French Army and eventually served in Napoleon's Egyptian campaign. However, he was captured by enemies, languished in prison, and died before his son was four. Alexandre idolized his father and used parts of his life's story in his novels, including The Count of Monte Cristo." Biography and Memoir Newsletter November 2012

Oct 12, 2012
  • BertBailey rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This review ( gives it a 5-star rating, fwtw.

Oct 05, 2012
  • dontbugmeimreading rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

I love the Count of Monte Cristo so I thought that this would be a good read. I was disappointed. This book was so dry I couldn't make it past chapter 2. I think I got a condensed version of the book from the 2 prologues.


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