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The Washington PostThe biography is bookended by meditations on remembering and record-keeping. In the novels of Alexandre Dumas, the worst crime is to forget; Reiss details the criminal forgetting of Alex Dumas, which results in Reiss's having to hire a safecracker to access the general's private papers. Since a statue to Dumas was melted down by the Nazis, a new monument recently appeared in Paris: an enormous pair of slave shackles, which honor him as a symbol, not as a man. This remarkable book stands instead as his monument.