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The Black Count Audiobook
The Black Count
Written by: 
Tom Reiss
Narrated by: 
Paul Michael
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 (644 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Carol 01-15-16
    Carol 01-15-16 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "An amazing story of an amazing life"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I have always loved the Count of Monte Cristo and other stories of Alexander Dumas which is what attracted me to this book. This a fabulous book about his father's unbelievable life and his place in French history...a story that has not been told. Reading about his father's life, you can see the inspiration for Dumas' stories. I highly recommend it!


    What other book might you compare The Black Count to and why?

    Books about other great heroes of the Revolutionary period such as George Washington. Also, great men who have faced tremendous opposition and yet thrived in their leadership such as Abraham Lincoln or Martin Luther King.


    What does Paul Michael bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The depth of his research in phenomenal. As I listened to the places he visited I tried to make note of them so that I can visit myself. I will buy the hard copy just for this purpose


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I don't want to be a spoiler, but I was very very saddened by the lack of recognition this hero of the French Revolution even today


    Any additional comments?

    You don't have to be an Alexander Dumas fan to appreciate this book. The novel stands on its own as a great piece of history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Timothy P. 09-16-15
    Timothy P. 09-16-15
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    "Amazing"

    I couldn't stop listening. This book was an eye opening view of the Revolution and how it both freed people and destroyed them.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Justin 07-25-15
    Justin 07-25-15 Member Since 2015
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    "This story needs to be put into a TV series"

    The life of General Alex Dumas is by far the most interesting true life story I have ever come across. Written very well and voiced perfectly. I'm actually going to listen from the beginning again after this review.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Terry Vasquez ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA, US 05-11-15
    Terry Vasquez ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA, US 05-11-15 Member Since 2012
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    "Shines a Light"

    Reiss shines a light on the life of a man who should not have been forgotten. General Alexandre Dumas, the father of the famous author, was born into slavery yet rose to one of the highest ranks in the French army only to fall to the depths of obscurity when the egalitarian values of the Republic were overturned by Napoleon. It should be required reading.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    richard 03-30-15
    richard 03-30-15

    saildoc

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    "Fascinating little known story"

    Very interesting portrait of a little known hero of france during a critical time of european history. The biography and the setting of his life were both fascinating to any student of history.
    Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michele 03-18-15
    Michele 03-18-15 Member Since 2010
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    "Exciting"

    Loved this audio book. If you like the time period this is the book fit you because it is filled with historical delights!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    03-12-15
    03-12-15

    billsmith1234

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    "a must read"

    a fascinating part of history most of us never knew about. makes you want to learn more!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R.L. Silver Spring, MD 03-09-15
    R.L. Silver Spring, MD 03-09-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Very Enjoyable!"

    Great history told with skill to keep you interested. Not drawn out endlessly as many historians tend to do. Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Darrell 03-07-15
    Darrell 03-07-15 Member Since 2012
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    "Race, a history"

    Very enlightening! If you thought you knew about race relations and slavery, you now know you were wrong. Prepare to be shocked!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bert Turner Akron, Ohio 02-28-15
    Bert Turner Akron, Ohio 02-28-15 Member Since 2012

    Bert

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    "Great prose, greater history"

    Tom Reiss does a masterful job telling the marvelous story of a black man in a pivotal time in the history of France and equal rights. General Alexandre Dumas was born a slave yet rose to the highest ranks of the French army. Reiss does a masterful job of weaving his prodigious research on the man, Dumas, into the bigger backdrop of revolutionary France. Reiss takes time to explain the political and social landscape of the various seasons of Dumas' life in a way that heightens interest, builds significance, yet doesn't bore or distract. Prior to reading this book I read "Bearing the Cross," a biography of Martin Luther King. Both books added to my understanding of the fight for racial freedom, but in comparison the book on King was a two dimensional reciting of events, while Reiss' Black Count provides a multi-dimensional interpretation of an extraordinary man in an extraordinary era.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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