The memoirs of Alexandre Dumas consist of six volumes totalling more than three thousand pages. A good deal of this material is second hand: excerpts from history books, newspapers, often mere hearsay. Some of it still holds interest, but much is tedious and no longer pertinent. Running through all these discursive and diffuse subjects is the exciting and intriguing autobiography of the author during his first thirty years. In making this condensation the emphasis has been upon this latter portion of the book. I have attempted to follow a direct story line, using for the greater part the events in which Dumas was directly involved, and introducing only enough of the other material to supply background and understanding of the narrative. - Foreword.