Non Fiction Book Club to discuss The Black Count by Tom Reiss - Thursday, November 7th @ 6:30PM
After a brief and amicable discussion of Ernest Hemingway’s heady nostalgic reminisce of his time in Paris the Pollard Non-Fiction Book Club sets its sights on the next monograph. We’ll be discussing The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reiss. You can request a copy online through our library catalog or by calling or visiting our 2nd Floor Reference Desk – 978-674-4121. Please have your library card ready when you call.
From the book jacket (I normally trim these descriptions down but this one sounds really good and there’s really a lot going on in this book so I’ve transcribed it in its entirety):
“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 trials inspired The Count of Monte Cristo—both books written by his son. Yet it is for one reason in particular that General Alex Dumas deserves to stand in history’s spotlight: alone among his race, he rose to command vast armies—in an audacious campaign across Europe and the Middle East—and in his triumph and ultimate betrayal we see how dangerous one individual can be on an entire way of life.
Born to a black slave mother and a fugitive white French nobleman in Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti), Alex Dumas was sold into bondage but made his way to Paris, where he was schooled as a sword-fighting member of the French aristocracy. When the Revolution broke out, he joined the army at the lowest rank—yet quickly rose, through a series of legendary feats, to command more than 50,000 men.
No matter how high he soared, Dumas continued to live by his blade and his boldness in the face of overwhelming odds. Yet, because of his unwavering principles, he ultimately became a threat to Napoleon himself. Dumas was on his way home from conquering Egypt when his ship nearly sank, and he was captured by a mysterious enemy, thrown into a dungeon, and subjected to slow poisoning. But the fate that awaited him when he escaped the dungeon would shock him even more.
The Black Count is simultaneously a riveting adventure story, a lushly textured journey through the late eighteenth century, and a window into the modern world’s first multiracial 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 repots, and Alex Dumas’s handwritten prison diary, The Black Count is a groundbreaking masterpiece of narrative nonfiction.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tom Reiss is the author of the celebrated international bestseller The Orientalist. His biographical pieces have appeared in The New Yorker, the New York Times, and other publications. He lives with his wife an daughters in New York City.