This review originally ran in the Friday, September 21, 2012 issue of Shelf Awareness for Readers. If you don't already subscribe, sign up here to receive a bi-weekly dose of readerly goodness in your inbox.
The Black Count recounts the life--and legacy--of this great man in extensive detail. Tom Reiss (The Orientalist) draws on over six years of primary research to tell Dumas's story. But the book is much more than a biography of a great French general. It's also a history of civil rights in France, an account of the French Revolution and a tale of Napoleon's rise to power. Woven throughout all of this historical detail is an ongoing analysis of Dumas's influence on his son's famous novels, particularly The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo. Though General Dumas is not commemorated with any statue in France today, he remains an important figure in French history and in literature; The Black Count merges the myth of the man contained in his son's novels with the facts of his life, resulting in an impeccable history that reads like a novel but packs the facts of a textbook.
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The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
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The Black Count | Tom Reiss | Crown | Hardcover | 432 pages | Buy from an independent near you