I’m enjoying reading a book I got for Christmas, The Black Count by Tom Reiss. It’s a biography about Alexander Dumas Sr., the father of Alexander Dumas author of The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers. Apparently, Dumas Sr. achieved just as much fame as his son for his military exploits during the French Revolution and subsequent Napoleonic Wars, and infamy for the fact that he was, get this…black. His father was a French aristocrat, his mother a black slave from Haiti. Reiss explains, for a brief period in history, between the French Revolution and 1815, slaves and black people were given unprecedented rights for the time. For example, slaves could take their masters to court and win lawsuits against them, they could marry white partners, and they could rise to the position of General in the army. This period of open mindedness actually ended after Napoleon was defeated, so that Alexander Dumas Jr. was the victim of more overt racism (for being one quarter Haitian) than his father. Pretty extraordinary, isn’t it?
Luke and I so enjoyed reading The Count of Monte Cristo earlier this year (fainting women and all), that I was over the moon when I saw this book on the shelf of my local indie.
What are you reading this weekend? I’d love to hear your recommendations!
Have a great day!