February 23, 2013

The Black Count: When France led the West in race equality

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: 5 of 5 stars


Fascinating bio of whom the book says ... the man who spent part of his life, early on, near Monte Cristo ... in today's Haiti!

And, the man who was indeed the inspiration for Alexandre Dumas' famous protagonist because ... he was Dumas' father!

Alex Dumas, son of an impoverished French scion who joined his younger brother in Haiti and eventually ran off with the slave woman who became Alex' mother, rose to the rank of general in the army of revolutionary France, only to be shunted aside when a reactionary racist worked his way higher and higher up the French ranks.

You know this reactionary racist as Napoleon Bonaparte, the man who attempted to reconquer Saint Domingue (Haiti) and re-install slavery there; the man who gutted the egalitarianism, including that of race, the original Republic had proclaimed and which, pre-Great Britain, actually had its foundation in the ancien regime.

I'd read Dumas' book long ago, but knew nothing about his personage and history, let alone his family tree, including the multiracial fatehr.



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