Jerry White is Visiting Professor in History at Birkbeck, University of London.
Author's home: UK
London in the nineteenth century was the greatest city mankind had ever seen. Its growth was stupendous. Its wealth was dazzling. Its horrors shocked the world. This was the London of Blake, Thackeray and Mayhew, of Nash, Faraday and Disraeli. Most of all it was the London of Dickens. As William Blake put it, London was 'a Human awful wonder of God'.
In Jerry White's dazzling history we witness the city's unparalleled metamorphosis over the course of the century through the daily lives of its inhabitants. We see how Londoners worked, played, and adapted to the demands of the metropolis during this century of dizzying change. The result is a panorama teeming with life.
General Alex Dumas is a man almost unknown today, yet his story is strikingly familiar—because his son, the novelist Alexandre Dumas, used his larger-than-life feats as inspiration for such classics as The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers.
But, hidden behind General Dumas's swashbuckling adventures was an even more incredible secret: he was the son of a black slave—who rose higher in the white world than any man of his race would before our own time. Born in Saint-Domingue (now Haiti), Alex Dumas made his way to Paris, where he rose to command armies at the height of the Revolution—until he met an implacable enemy he could not defeat.
The Black Count is simultaneously a riveting adventure story, a lushly textured evocation of 18th-century France, and a window into the modern world’s first multi-racial society. TIME magazine called The Black Count "one of those quintessentially human stories of strength and courage that sheds light on the historical moment that made it possible." But it is also a heartbreaking story of the enduring bonds of love between a father and son.
In 1901 no other city matched London in size, wealth and grandeur. Yet it was also a city where poverty and disease were rife. For its inhabitants, such contradictions and diversity were the defining experience of the next century of dazzling change.
In the worlds of work and popular culture, politics and crime, through war, immigration and sexual revolution, Jerry White’s richly detailed and captivating history shows how the city shaped their lives and how it in turn was shaped by them.
White outlines a specific five-step program for turning tragedy into triumph. In their own words, his survivor friends share their stories. It's a group that includes the well known, like Lance Armstrong, Nelson Mandela, and the late Princess Diana, and also everyday survivors of death, loss, injury and heartbreak. Through their stories and the author's words, this book takes readers step by step through the process of not only surviving tragedy and victimhood, but going on to thrive.