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

By Tom Reiss

WINNER OF THE 2013 PULITZER PRIZE FOR BIOGRAPHY

General Alex Dumas, is a guy nearly unknown at the present time, yet his tale is strikingly familiarbecause his son, the novelist Alexandre Dumas, used his larger-than-life feats as suggestion for such classics as The count number of Monte Cristo and The 3 Musketeers.
     yet, hidden behind General Dumas's swashbuckling adventures used to be a good extra remarkable secret: he was once the son of a black slavewho rose greater within the white global than any guy of his race may ahead of our personal time. 
     Born in Saint-Domingue (now Haiti), Alex Dumas made his option to Paris, the place he rose to command armies on the top of the Revolutionuntil he met an implacable enemy he couldn't defeat.
     TIME journal known as The Black Count "one of these quintessentially human tales of energy and braveness that sheds mild at the historic second that made it possible." it's also a heartbreaking tale of the iconic bonds of affection among a father and son.  

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Every thing he [does] is within the worst attainable flavor. M. le Marquis turns out made up our minds to marry the woman and won't permit an individual comic story approximately it ([Another guy] joked a bit approximately that lady the opposite day—[the Marquis] de l. a. Pailleterie didn’t utter a word). … it truly is stated that younger Thomas has reached Le Havre, new inhabitant for Bielleville … (I write all this down for you simply since you requested me to, yet i am hoping you'll only use it if the get together calls for it simply because I heard that he's mad at me. ) Please burn this letter. Having redeemed Thomas-Alexandre, Antoine determined to pawn the kin property. He refused to honor many of the commitments he had made to the Mauldes, and now the widow of Louis de l. a. Pailleterie took all of the events to courtroom to achieve her piece of the pie prior to Antoine may devour it. Antoine’s nephew-in-law and niece stumbled on themselves in the middle of a fierce felony conflict with the former new release. Antoine, for his half, had come again from the jungle in a litigious temper. He looked as if it would savour each conflict opposed to some of the participants of his kinfolk. He received definitely the right to name himself the Marquis de l. a. Pailleterie, plus the ideal to the château and its land—while cleverly protecting many of the estate’s accounts at arm’s size. In February 1777, Antoine flipped the most residence of the property, in a classy deal, for a 10,000-livre annual annuity, to be paid to him by means of his now livid nephew-in-law, and he forked over the rest—lands, fief, seigneurie, farms, and château—to a Monsieur Bailleul, a neighboring landowner, for a funky 67,000 livres. (The younger count number de Maulde lamented his plight to each person, complaining in a single letter, “Never has fortune persecuted an individual as cruelly as me. ”) in the meantime, Antoine acquired himself and his son new clothes of silk, satin, and brocade and went residence searching. He additionally took Thomas-Alexandre to a baptism, the place the younger guy signed the witness book—the first latest pattern of his handwriting—as “Thomas Retoré, the normal son of Monsieur le Marquis de l. a. Pailleterie who have been dwelling in Saint-Domingue. ” it can were an indication of his disorientation that he used the identify “Retoré,” which used to be might be picked up from a neighbor in Jérémie (where the identify are available on respectable documents of the period). within the fall of 1778, profit hand, Antoine and his son moved to Saint-Germain-en-Laye, a small urban at the western aspect of Paris. In many ways like a sublime suburb, Saint-Germain-en-Laye have been an aristocratic enclave throughout the time of the solar King, no longer in contrast to a satellite tv for pc Versailles, with its personal royal palace. yet within the mid-1700s, it had remodeled into considered one of France’s richest and fastest-growing small towns, because of an inflow of industrious retailers and knowledgeable execs, in addition to employees and artisans to serve them. There may well not often were a extra friendly position to dwell, with clean kingdom air, a cheap trainer journey to Paris, and sumptuous walking alongside the tiered steps of cliffside royal gardens. along with his son, Antoine introduced alongside another individual from Normandy to his new lifetime of luxury—the housekeeper, Mademoiselle Retou.

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