The French novelist Alexandre Dumas had some African blood, for which he was sometimes vilified; despite his immense popularity in the mid-nineteenth century, hostile critics could publish, “Scratch Monsieur Dumas’s hide and you will find the savage … a Negro!” In “The Black Count,” Tom Reiss traces the novelist’s African origins through the story of his father, aspiring to make this biography as riveting as Dumas’s most successful works, like “The Three Musketeers” and “The Count of Monte Christo.”
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