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

The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte CristoThe Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reiss

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Location 1139:

“Man is born free but is everywhere in chains,” wrote Jean-Jacques Rousseau in The Social Contract in 1762.

Location 1160:

Slavery was one thing for the empire, however, and another thing entirely within France itself.

Location 1236:

Everything is free in a Kingdom where liberty is seated at the foot of the throne, where the least subject finds in the heart of his king the feelings of a father.… No one is [a] slave in France.”

Location 1240:

The problem was not slaves in France. The problem was blacks in France.

Location 1362:

In late-eighteenth-century France, the term “American” was usually used synonymously with “man of color.”

Location 1372:

Louis XVI’s government supported the Americans to get back at England for France’s humiliating defeat in the Seven Years’ War— for the loss of French North America and humiliation in French India.

Location 1860:

The Estates-General got its name from the traditional division of France into three “estates”: clergy, nobility, and commoners.

Location 1897:

Yet on July 14, instead of doing their job and defending the Bastille, the French Guards joined the rioters, and would soon declare themselves the National Guard.

Location 1924:

It is said that when the mayor first presented the cockade to the king, it was only red and blue. Then Lafayette stepped in to propose adding the Bourbon color white to acknowledge the king’s gesture of accepting the Revolution.

Location 2010:

These words were written by Lafayette, with the help of Thomas Jefferson, then serving as American ambassador in Paris, and formed the preamble to the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, approved by the National Assembly in that tumultuous month.

Location 2040:

The hall’s strange, narrow design, with tiered seating on both sides, caused the deputies to divide themselves according to their political opinions: radicals to the left of the Assembly’s president, conservatives to his right, the origin of the political terms “left” and “right.”

Location 2101:

For the first time Louis used his new title, “King of the French”— not “King of France”— thus symbolizing his duty to the people.

Location 2395:

The government had already begun experimenting with a new system for recruiting fighting men based on an archaic French model dating back hundreds of years: the “free legions,” units independent of the regular army that could be called up in war and disbanded during times of peace.

Location 3730:

He was disturbed by the generals’ growing idealization of General Bonaparte.

Location 3781:

The man the Austrians called the Black Devil continued to rout them out of the Adige River Valley.

Location 3831:

Napoleon also gave Dumas a new nom de guerre, hailing him as “the Horatius Cocles of the Tyrol”— high praise indeed in that era.

Location 4081:

He (Napoleon) was a dictator, a destroyer, and a harbinger of totalitarian leaders to come; he was also a liberator from a tyranny that had stalked Europe for a thousand years.

Location 5147:

France had a new government, with Napoleon appointed first consul at the head of a ruling body of three consuls.

Location 5151:

The decade of French republicanism and democracy— the age of seemingly infinite emancipation, with all its expansive horrors and hopes— was over.

Location 5460:

Citizens! The Revolution is made fast to the principles which began it; it is finished.”*

Location 5779:

And of course Napoleon is ultimately the man behind Edmond Dantès’s suffering and imprisonment;


This is a splendid historical research work performed by Tom Reiss revealing the military career of Dumas’ father – the Black Count.


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