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

Random House
432 pages
Hardback ISBN: 978-0-307-38246-7

Tom Reiss

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. 

Table of Contents

  • prologue, part 1 • February 26, 1806
  • prologue, part 2 • January 25, 2007
  • book one
    • chapter 1 • The Sugar Factory
    • chapter 2 • The Black Code
    • chapter 3 • Norman Conquest
    • chapter 4 • “No One Is a Slave in France”
    • chapter 5 • Americans in Paris
    • chapter 6 • Black Count in the City of Light
    • chapter 7 • A Queen’s Dragoon
  • book two
    • chapter 8 • Summers of Revolution
    • chapter 9 • “Regeneration by Blood”
    • chapter 10 • “The Black Heart Also Beats for Liberty”
    • chapter 11 • “Mr. Humanity”
    • chapter 12 • The Battle for the Top of the World
    • chapter 13 • The Bottom of the Revolution
    • chapter 14 • The Siege
    • chapter 15 • The Black Devil
  • book three
    • chapter 16 • Leader of the Expedition
    • chapter 17 • “The Delirium of His Republicanism”
    • chapter 18 • Dreams on Fire
    • chapter 19 • Prisoner of the Holy Faith Army
    • chapter 20 • “Citizeness Dumas… Is Worried About the Fate of Her Husband”
    • chapter 21 • The Dungeon
    • chapter 22 • Wait and Hope
  • epilogue • The Forgotten Statue
  • Acknowledgments
  • Author’s Note on Names
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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