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The Black Count Audiobook

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

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Publisher's Summary

Pulitzer Prize, Biography/Autobiography, 2013

By the author of the internationally best-selling biography The Orientalist, The Black Count brings to life one of history’s great forgotten heroes: a man almost unknown today yet with a personal story that is strikingly familiar. His swashbuckling exploits appear in The Three Musketeers, and his triumphs and ultimate tragic fate inspired The Count of Monte Cristo. His name is Alex Dumas. Father of the novelist Alexandre Dumas, Alex has become, through his son's books, the model for a captivating modern protagonist: The wronged man in search of justice.

Born to a black slave mother and a fugitive white French nobleman in Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti), Alex Dumas was briefly sold into bondage but then made his way to Paris where he was schooled as a sword-fighting member of the French aristocracy.

He was only 32 when he was given command of 53,000 men, the reward for series of triumphs that many regarded as impossible, and then topped his previous feats by leading a raid up a frozen cliff face that secured the Alps for France. It was after his subsequent heroic service as Napoleon’s cavalry commander that Dumas was captured and cast into a dungeon - and a harrowing ordeal commenced that inspired one of the world’s classic works of fiction.

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. Drawing on hitherto unknown documents, letters, battlefield reports and Dumas' handwritten prison diary, The Black Count is a groundbreaking masterpiece of narrative nonfiction.

©2012 Tom Reiss (P)2012 Random House Audio

What the Critics Say

"From pike-wielding mobs to prisoners locked in a fortress tower, The Black Count, a fascinating, detailed account of the life of Alexandre Dumas' father, is as action packed as The Count of Monte Cristo. Unlike Dumas' famous adventure novel, however, Reiss' incredible tale is true." (Candice Millard, New York Times best-selling author of The River of Doubt and Destiny of the Republic)

"The Black Count is a dazzling achievement, a feat of ingenious scholarly research that shows a novelist's flair both for sketching character and recreating the smells and tastes, and colors and textures, of 18th century slavery and colonialism in Haiti, and aristocratic life in the metropole back in Paris. It's also the fullest biographical study of the complexity and fluidity of race relations in the colonial period that I've ever read.... I learned something new virtually on every page.... No one who reads this magnificent biography will be able to read The Count of Monte Cristo or any history of slavery in the New World in the same way again." (Henry Louis Gates Jr., Director of the W. E .B. Du Bois Institute, Harvard University)

"Tom Reiss's The Black Count is the riveting, beautifully written and well-researched story of the seemingly impossible: In 18th-century France, Alex Dumas, a man of color - the son of an enslaved woman and French nobleman - became one of his country's most celebrated generals and the father of a famed novelist who used his father's gallant and, ultimately, tragic life to create characters that are known the world over.... It could never have happened in the United States, and with great skill, Reiss shows how the moment that produced Alex Dumas was lost with the rise of 19th century racism." (Annette Gordon Reed, author of Andrew Johnson and winner of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award for The Hemingses of Monticello)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (653 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Eveno North Plainfield, NJ, United States 09-19-12
    Eveno North Plainfield, NJ, United States 09-19-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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    "Informative"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes...It is a historical treasure


    What did you like best about this story?

    It connects the dots to another book that I appreciate, the Count of Monte Cristo.


    Have you listened to any of Paul Michael’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


    5 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jerry K Lee Wayzata, MN, US 08-20-16
    Jerry K Lee Wayzata, MN, US 08-20-16 Member Since 2011
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    4
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    "The French Black General Excluded From History"

    A striking and reveting account of the birth of the French republic, the death and rebirth of race laws and the Black French general who lived, fought and died for his country. A tremendous story showing human nature and how soon nations forget their heros

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amanda Quarles 08-15-16
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    4
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    "Enjoyable story and I was learning history :)"
    What made the experience of listening to The Black Count the most enjoyable?

    The descriptions of events are wonderful and well acted in the audiobook, even if he is just reading a memoir.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Virgil 08-06-16
    Virgil 08-06-16 Member Since 2015
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    6
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    "Remarkable"

    This is simply an absolutely incredible story. Thank you for bringing thîs fascinating story of the achievements to life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bald Bass Man 07-20-16 Member Since 2015
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    4
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    "Fabulous story of a real life hero."

    An exciting telling of the life of General Alex Dumas, father of author Alexandre Dumas. Heroism, honor betrayed, battlefield genius, and true love: it's all here. Add to that a man who excels in so many ways in spite of racial injustice. Read it. You'll be glad you did.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steve Mastny DOWNERS GROVE, IL, United States 07-11-16
    Steve Mastny DOWNERS GROVE, IL, United States 07-11-16 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent - brings Revolutionary France to life"

    An compelling listen that pairs extremely well with the Revolutions Podcast segments on the French and Haitian Revolutions.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Terry Yancey 06-28-16 Member Since 2015
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    4
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    "Enlightening!"

    Having previously only been vaguely aware of details regarding the French Revolution, The Black Count provided a helpful primer about the vast and deeply dark period in France. The author did well, however, to elevate the(few) good accomplishments of the Revolution.
    General Dumas lived before my minds eye and I felt outrage as the epilogue revealed the last and ongoing betrayal perpetrated against the heroic and dedicated republican of France.

    Anyone that enjoys a well woven tail, especially historically intriguing, will revel in the tale of General Dumas.
    TLY, Kansas

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Desi 06-08-16
    Desi 06-08-16 Member Since 2015
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    5
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    "Rich with history!"

    Love the real accounts of what happened in 18th century France and the French colonies. It's a story that needs to be told. Excellent narration!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott 04-30-16
    Scott 04-30-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Incredible Story, Marvelous Reading Performance"

    Through this outstanding story I learned about the French colony (modern day Haiti), the French Revolution, the Terror, invasion of Egypt, and the incredible injustice to the courageous, loyal General Dumas. Thank you. I completely enjoyed it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    415man 04-22-16
    415man 04-22-16 Member Since 2015

    415man

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    "A bit academic"

    A long history about the Republic of France interspersed with a bit of a personal story about one man and his family.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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