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The Prairie by James Fenimore Cooper, Fiction, Classics, Historical, Action & Adventure

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The Prairie finds James Fenimore Cooper's heroic frontiersman, Natty Bumppo, near the end of his adventurous life. But even at "eighty seasons," Natty stands "a little remarkable," as Cooper describes him. Natty's sinewy build allows him to carry his heavy rifle with an ease that promises he still knows how to use it. And when someone needs to reason with the Indians, Natt The Prairie finds James Fenimore Cooper's heroic frontiersman, Natty Bumppo, near the end of his adventurous life. But even at "eighty seasons," Natty stands "a little remarkable," as Cooper describes him. Natty's sinewy build allows him to carry his heavy rifle with an ease that promises he still knows how to use it. And when someone needs to reason with the Indians, Natty -- "the trapper" -- is the man to trust. The perfect screen version of The Prairie would star Sean Connery. Published in 1827, the book is one of five in Cooper's "Leatherstocking Tales," a saga that takes Bumppo from the woods and hills of of New York, west into the hard plains. Cooper himself went the opposite direction: He wrote much of The Prairie in Paris. He scouted the mythology of the Old West -- the part that comes from the imagination, not from real life in a log cabin. And he showed why the West he imagined is better. For one thing, it allows such a "valiant, a just and a wise warrior" as Bumppo the noble end he deserves.


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The Prairie finds James Fenimore Cooper's heroic frontiersman, Natty Bumppo, near the end of his adventurous life. But even at "eighty seasons," Natty stands "a little remarkable," as Cooper describes him. Natty's sinewy build allows him to carry his heavy rifle with an ease that promises he still knows how to use it. And when someone needs to reason with the Indians, Natt The Prairie finds James Fenimore Cooper's heroic frontiersman, Natty Bumppo, near the end of his adventurous life. But even at "eighty seasons," Natty stands "a little remarkable," as Cooper describes him. Natty's sinewy build allows him to carry his heavy rifle with an ease that promises he still knows how to use it. And when someone needs to reason with the Indians, Natty -- "the trapper" -- is the man to trust. The perfect screen version of The Prairie would star Sean Connery. Published in 1827, the book is one of five in Cooper's "Leatherstocking Tales," a saga that takes Bumppo from the woods and hills of of New York, west into the hard plains. Cooper himself went the opposite direction: He wrote much of The Prairie in Paris. He scouted the mythology of the Old West -- the part that comes from the imagination, not from real life in a log cabin. And he showed why the West he imagined is better. For one thing, it allows such a "valiant, a just and a wise warrior" as Bumppo the noble end he deserves.

30 review for The Prairie by James Fenimore Cooper, Fiction, Classics, Historical, Action & Adventure

  1. 4 out of 5

    Werner

    Taking place in the then trackless expanses of the Louisiana Purchase territory, somewhere about 500 miles west of the Mississippi, in 1805, this novel is actually set in Cooper's own lifetime, as was The Pioneers. (In 1805, the author would have been in his teens.) I've classified it, somewhat loosely and inaccurately, as "historical fiction" in order to keep the series together on my shelves. At the opening of the book, series protagonist Natty Bumpo is now 87 years old, frailer and less keen Taking place in the then trackless expanses of the Louisiana Purchase territory, somewhere about 500 miles west of the Mississippi, in 1805, this novel is actually set in Cooper's own lifetime, as was The Pioneers. (In 1805, the author would have been in his teens.) I've classified it, somewhat loosely and inaccurately, as "historical fiction" in order to keep the series together on my shelves. At the opening of the book, series protagonist Natty Bumpo is now 87 years old, frailer and less keen eyed than he used to be, and reduced to trapping rather than hunting. He's still independent and self-reliant, though, and has come out onto the Great Plains, forsaking his beloved forests, to escape the inroads and depredations of dubiously-"civilized" settlement. But his tranquil solitude, which already has to be shared with not-necessarily-friendly Indians, is rudely disturbed at the outset by the arrival in his neighborhood of Ishmael Bush and his redneck clan, driven out of Kentucky for squatting on land to which they had no claim, and looking for more land where they can do the same. Other newcomers follow in their train, setting up a tale that involves kidnapping, murder, Indian warfare, and some chaste romance. Published in 1827, this novel has more affinity, stylistically and in terms of craftsmanship, with other early Cooper works, especially The Last of the Mohicans, than with the more mature works of the early 1840s, The Deerslayer and The Pathfinder. It's not as polished, and the tendency towards dialogue that's unrealistically ornate and wordy, which is so marked in The Last of the Mohicans, is really noticeable here too. (Though again, as in the latter book, the character with the most ridiculously pompous dialogue is intended as comic relief; would-be naturalist Obed Bat --okay, we'll humor him and say "Dr. Battius," though his doctorate is most likely self-awarded!-- functions here like his predecessor David Gamut.) Likewise, there are plotting problems: the motivation for one key plot contrivance is unclear, and maybe dubious; the logistics of Paul Hover's wild honey trade, in this situation, don't ring true; and Capt. Duncan Uncas Middleton (grandson of Duncan Heyward!) would probably not have been permitted by his superiors to have left his command and taken some men to chase off into the prairies, regardless of his personal incentive. Coincidence is used implausibly in a couple of places; and I felt that some of Ellen Wades' actions were out of character or contradictory. (It's true that many real-life people in this era, unlike today, actually took giving their word or swearing an oath seriously, even if it subsequently proved inconvenient; and there are other 19th-century novels that also extol this --correctly, IMO!-- as a virtue. But I don't think a commitment exacted forcibly has the same moral status, especially if it's against the interests of an innocent.) A few of the characterizations are not particularly sharp (though some of them are, not least Natty's). That said, though, I still liked the novel. Cooper's literary vision, here and in the other novels of the series, is very much of a piece. The storytelling is vivid, full of incident, and in many places genuinely suspenseful. (Exciting action is one of the author's strengths.) He deserves credit here for a portrayal of Native Americans which is realistic and balanced, not a racist hatchet job; their warlike attitudes and sometimes grisly accompanying behaviors, male chauvinism and use of duplicity as an (in their view) legitimate tactic of war are recognized, but so are the more laudable aspects of their culture, and individuals of the race display the full gamut of moral possibilities, from contemptible to very admirable. (We also have, in the person of Inez, a Roman Catholic character who's sympathetic rather than demonized; and while Cooper is himself clearly a Protestant, he doesn't treat Catholicism invidiously, in the way that many Protestants in the much less ecumenical 1820s undoubtedly would have.) For much of the novel, I was inclined to fault him for having some characters know something they apparently couldn't have; but this is actually not the case, as is explained to good effect near the end. Finally, there are some scenes here that are extremely moving, in one way or another, ranking in emotional power among the author's best.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Fabian

    Analyze the shit outta any of these classics & you're bound to discover the golden nugget that someone somewhere sometime once found and classified as such. Not the case with this, the last of the Leatherstocking tales. It's not for modern readers. At all. Campfire philosophy is perhaps the least interesting aspect of this tale (the opposite case of, say, the superlative "Lonesome Dove") which is about 200 years old… & by setting all players on leveled, even ground (Shakespeare’s plays are often Analyze the shit outta any of these classics & you're bound to discover the golden nugget that someone somewhere sometime once found and classified as such. Not the case with this, the last of the Leatherstocking tales. It's not for modern readers. At all. Campfire philosophy is perhaps the least interesting aspect of this tale (the opposite case of, say, the superlative "Lonesome Dove") which is about 200 years old… & by setting all players on leveled, even ground (Shakespeare’s plays are often quoted), insipid insights are often found in the form of stagnant, pedantic, unrealistic dialogue. While the actions of all the characters seem to occur in slow motion, dialogue is also the device used to slow down the pace of the narrative. The emigrants meet up with the over-the-hill character (Natty Bumppo, alias “the trapper”) from The Last of the Mohicans and they unite to stand against the Tetons. Natty Bumppo then becomes part of the human drama he has so evidently avoided in the past, paralleling his distaste for the sound of ax chopping wood. Does Fenimore Cooper say that woods-people, deer slayers, trappers, hunters, all easily assimilate to newly forming societies? Is it really that easy to speak to your own skin-type, when there’s absolutely nobody else around? There is a pervasive type of hesitation throughout the tale, in the manner the characters expose themselves, in the way the narrative is overabundant with words and extraneously extended descriptions. I loathed having to read it for class, spending time with it was as futile as, gasp, having to spend time with anything by the likes of Ayn Rand. Inviting headaches, it's an infuriating experience. Droll & dull.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Neil

    I have now read the entire Leatherstocking Tales and regret to say that I rank The Prairie next to last on the good book scale for that series. ( The Pathfinder scored lowest for me, but I will give it another chance and read it again because I really didn’t pay much attention to it the first time. ) My disappointment with The Prairie lay in the plot itself, not the message. Cooper unabashedly criticized western expansion at a time when the nation believed it had a divine right to displace the o I have now read the entire Leatherstocking Tales and regret to say that I rank The Prairie next to last on the good book scale for that series. ( The Pathfinder scored lowest for me, but I will give it another chance and read it again because I really didn’t pay much attention to it the first time. ) My disappointment with The Prairie lay in the plot itself, not the message. Cooper unabashedly criticized western expansion at a time when the nation believed it had a divine right to displace the original inhabitants of this land to fulfill its own destiny. Unfortuately, the story is weak and the characters are for the most part uninspiring. Although The Prairie moves slowly the dialogue can be very lively, particularly in Chapter Nine. For example, when Dr. Battius, the cataloger of all things botanical and zoological is reacquainted with Paul Hover the Bee Hunter, he says, ”Aye, I remember you well, young man. You are of the class Mammalia, order Primates, genus Homo, species Kentucky.” Natty is his usual sage and eloquent self but none of the other characters in The Prairie are too exciting. Paul Hover and Ellen Wade are likeable. Dr. Battius is entertaining. However Captain Middleton pales in the shadow of his grandfather Duncan (from The Last of the Mohicans), and his wife Inez is little more than an early 19th century caricature of a Roman Catholic. The squatter Ishamel Bush and his family are, in my opinion, Cooper’s most execrable villains. Bush was bound by no laws but his own, which he imposed on everyone else. The Prairie would have been a far more interesting and logical story if the plot had only been the conflict between the Sioux and Pawnee chiefs Mahtoree and Hard Heart. Too often Cooper creates a natural or man- made structure around which the action occurs and devotes too many pages to the minutiae of its description. He does so again in The Prairie, this time plunking a rocky promontory, a thicket and a river conveniently in the middle of the plains. Also, it wouldn’t be a Cooper tale without a daring escape. However, in The Prairie Natty and friends escape from the Sioux not once, not twice, but three times! Natty calls the Sioux many unkind names, but, strangely, “stupid” isn’t one of them. It is also amusing that Natty always has time to soliloquize in the face of immediate danger. The other characters catch on quickly and cut his speeches short right up until the end. I read the 1984 paperback edition of The Prairie, which was the only one available at my local library. (On the inside cover it was noted that the book had been a gift!) It took me so long to read the book that by the time I finally finished it looked as if it had been in a buffalo stampede. Still, a paperback Cooper is better than no Cooper at all.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Richard Thompson

    The only other one of the Leatherstocking Tales that I have read is Last of the Mohicans, which is much more famous than The Prairie, but to my mind not nearly as good. I found the old Natty Bumppo to be a more believable and interesting character than his younger self. He is the same wise man with a deep knowledge of nature and life on the frontier, but here we see him with his faculties weakened by age and deeply aware of his own mortality. As an older man he is less willing to fight both beca The only other one of the Leatherstocking Tales that I have read is Last of the Mohicans, which is much more famous than The Prairie, but to my mind not nearly as good. I found the old Natty Bumppo to be a more believable and interesting character than his younger self. He is the same wise man with a deep knowledge of nature and life on the frontier, but here we see him with his faculties weakened by age and deeply aware of his own mortality. As an older man he is less willing to fight both because of the stupidity and horror of violence, which he sees more clearly as an older man, and because the weakness of age makes him less able to hold his own in a physical struggle. There is never a doubt that Natty's values are the true ones that we are to admire and follow, but he isn't always perfect. Sometimes his caution goes a bit too far, and he has a tendency to rattle on at length, and sometimes his lack of education makes him unable to understand or respond intelligently to things that the other characters say. But his imperfections have their charms and ultimately make him a more completely drawn character. I also enjoyed the other characters, particularly the less likeable ones, Ishmael Bush the squatter and Mahtoree the Sioux chief, and although others have criticized the plot as being slight, I found it to be totally sufficient as a vehicle for a portrait of an interesting group of characters in the wild frontier before the arrival of any but a few white men.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sarah C

    I take it Fenimore was not so familiar with this landscape as his descriptions of the prairie, to me, didn't convince. Natty, now a very old man, is the fittest 80/90 year old man in existence. Still, it was a good story and for me quite emotional at the end as our hero has become "my friend" over all the five books of the leather-stocking series. Very corny in places and sometimes predictable but I shall miss reading about his adventures. I have really enjoyed this series of books, at times the I take it Fenimore was not so familiar with this landscape as his descriptions of the prairie, to me, didn't convince. Natty, now a very old man, is the fittest 80/90 year old man in existence. Still, it was a good story and for me quite emotional at the end as our hero has become "my friend" over all the five books of the leather-stocking series. Very corny in places and sometimes predictable but I shall miss reading about his adventures. I have really enjoyed this series of books, at times they have been difficult to read but I have persevered as I believe there is no harm in trying to read "old English", (a bit like reading Shakespeare). I was left in the end like I had lost a dear friend and I suppose that's the quality of the writer and his writing. In all the two months it took me to read the whole five books I have been drawn away into a world that no longer exists and have a sympathy for the Indians and early pioneers that were trying to get away from it all. Fenimore had he lived till now would be horrified to see what we have done to this planet. I loved these books and don't regret for one minute picking up the first one.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Brian Willis

    I did ultimately enjoy this, the last of the five in the Tales regarding Hawk-Eye in fictional chronology, though the 3rd written by Cooper. I felt that it took longer to "get there" than the others; however, it does transport the setting finally to the wild prairie and includes some memorable characters. The ending, particularly the last 100 pages, as is typical of Cooper, is thrilling and pulse pounding, and the very end is very final for Hawk-Eye. Overall, despite its age, Cooper has thrills I did ultimately enjoy this, the last of the five in the Tales regarding Hawk-Eye in fictional chronology, though the 3rd written by Cooper. I felt that it took longer to "get there" than the others; however, it does transport the setting finally to the wild prairie and includes some memorable characters. The ending, particularly the last 100 pages, as is typical of Cooper, is thrilling and pulse pounding, and the very end is very final for Hawk-Eye. Overall, despite its age, Cooper has thrills in store for the open minded. In particular, he has an axe to grind with mindless settling of the prairie frontier. And how did he know how to survive getting caught in a prairie wildfire?

  7. 5 out of 5

    J

    Somewhere within the illimitless plains of the prairie lies a tale of human valor.

  8. 5 out of 5

    AnonymousReaderPerson

    This is one of those books that I thought would make me a more sophisticated reader, tackling something that my English teachers probably fawned over while the rest of the class rolled their eyes and couldn't wait for the bell. I've read classics that I've enjoyed, but this is not one of them. Did people seriously ever talk like this in the United States of America? The story is at least twice as long as it needs to be, and I'll be honest...Unless I wanted to re-read every sentence five times in This is one of those books that I thought would make me a more sophisticated reader, tackling something that my English teachers probably fawned over while the rest of the class rolled their eyes and couldn't wait for the bell. I've read classics that I've enjoyed, but this is not one of them. Did people seriously ever talk like this in the United States of America? The story is at least twice as long as it needs to be, and I'll be honest...Unless I wanted to re-read every sentence five times in order to digest what the author was trying to tell me, I was resigned to finishing it without a complete grasp of the story's events. I'll rely on Wikipedia for that. After reading this, I know that run-on sentences were not harped on in Cooper's time like they are today. Oh, and he overuses commas, big time, so much, so that they are sometimes, placed where it doesn't, seem like they should be, in the midst of, a sentence that is already a run-on, and you've already forgot what the hell he was talking about, so your mind, begins to wander as, the words pass by your, already weary eyes... The only thing that propelled me through to the end was applying the score from the film adaptation of Last of the Mohicans. And if my inability to enjoy this thing simply means I'm not that "sophisticated" reader I set out to be when I opened this thing, then so be it. I'll gladly settle for a literary bum if being otherwise subjects me to writing like this.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    I actually might have rated this a 3.75 if you could give quarter stars. I didn't think this book was as bad as some of the others in this Leather Stocking Series. Usually Natty goes off on tangents about Faith, Race and other things, but I found him somewhat subdued in this book. He does go off on how he's an old man, a Chritian and not so educated but again, it's quite mild in comparison to some of the other books. I found it interesting and exciting here and there too. So almost 4 starts just n I actually might have rated this a 3.75 if you could give quarter stars. I didn't think this book was as bad as some of the others in this Leather Stocking Series. Usually Natty goes off on tangents about Faith, Race and other things, but I found him somewhat subdued in this book. He does go off on how he's an old man, a Chritian and not so educated but again, it's quite mild in comparison to some of the other books. I found it interesting and exciting here and there too. So almost 4 starts just not quite. Not being able to stomach civilization and all it's "perversions", Natty finds himself surviving in the prairies between the Sioux and Pawnee Indian tribes. He comes across a small wagon train of settlers with a cargo that is precious and illegal. Of course rescue is needed and wars with natives pursue with "the old trapper" (Natty) being wise and beloved by almost all. Alas the great Dearslayer's, Hawkeye's, Long Gun's, Old Trapper's or what ever other pet names acquired through this series...trails must come to an end, and done so with quite the pomp and ceremony. Goodbye.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jim Kisela

    This 1830 novel reads reasonably well today, and in fact, is quite contemporary in its reflection on how civilization is changing the landscape (and not for the better), and how the settlers disrespected and mistreated the original native inhabitants. I kept stopping myself and asking: "When was this written, because the language and issues are so pertinent". The use of the word "parachute" really surprised me because I thought of it as a modern word, in relation to airplanes and flying. I wasn't This 1830 novel reads reasonably well today, and in fact, is quite contemporary in its reflection on how civilization is changing the landscape (and not for the better), and how the settlers disrespected and mistreated the original native inhabitants. I kept stopping myself and asking: "When was this written, because the language and issues are so pertinent". The use of the word "parachute" really surprised me because I thought of it as a modern word, in relation to airplanes and flying. I wasn't far off, however. The word was invented about 1780 in France by the ballooning enthusiasts who thought that an umbrella like device could be used in the event of a ballooning problem. The connection to Cooper is probably from his time in Europe when he moved to Paris for a period of time around 1826 and immersed himself in French life and culture.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Trebor

    This read took me a while because I had to constantly go back and reread many paragraphs over to fully understand what was occurring. The content was written in a very flowery and archaic form of prose, which was at times difficult, for me, to comprehend the complete picture. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the plot and the characters though completely predictable. If written in a more modern style at least half the book would have been unneeded. I am a western and historical romantic at heart and so en This read took me a while because I had to constantly go back and reread many paragraphs over to fully understand what was occurring. The content was written in a very flowery and archaic form of prose, which was at times difficult, for me, to comprehend the complete picture. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the plot and the characters though completely predictable. If written in a more modern style at least half the book would have been unneeded. I am a western and historical romantic at heart and so enjoyed the other Leather Stocking Tale that I've read."Deer Slayer" being the other. When I was a boy I dreamed of this type of woodsy adventurous life and when I read some of this stuff it kind of takes me back to those forgotten days.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Gena Lott

    The first book I read by Cooper and I certainly took things out of order. It took a while for me to get into Cooper's stride. But the book is deep and rich, though parts are haunting. I must read some of his other books. I consider his work some that any "well read" person should have purused!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Andre LeMagne

    Of all the Leatherstocking Tales, I found this one particularly compelling. The protagonist is no longer young and vigorous; he is in the final years of his life, yet his intrepid spirit and level head remain in play.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Chip Hunter

    This is the third in the five-volume series known as The Leatherstocking Tales. Here we catch up with Natty Bumppo (known here simply as 'the trapper') 10 years after the close of The Pioneers, as the end of his life approaches. He's left behind civilization of any kind, and seems to just want to be left alone, to live out his final days in peace and harmony. Not so fast, though, Bumppo! Along comes the family if Ishmael Bush, among whose troubles the trapper quickly gets entangled. From rescuin This is the third in the five-volume series known as The Leatherstocking Tales. Here we catch up with Natty Bumppo (known here simply as 'the trapper') 10 years after the close of The Pioneers, as the end of his life approaches. He's left behind civilization of any kind, and seems to just want to be left alone, to live out his final days in peace and harmony. Not so fast, though, Bumppo! Along comes the family if Ishmael Bush, among whose troubles the trapper quickly gets entangled. From rescuing fair damsels in distress to facing down angry Indians, the ensuing adventure, while hardly seeming to ruffle the feathers of the unflappable Bumppo, is of the most-serious nature, with life and death on the line, and many depending on his skill and cunning. To me, this book stands out as having some of the best supporting cast of any of the Leatherstocking tales. Paul Hover, Ellen Wade, Captain Middleton, Dr. Battius, Esther, Ishmael, Abiram White, and Hard-Heart are all strong and colorful characters that give this book some much-needed flavor. While they're not overly-developed (to say the least), as Cooper allows the readers' imagination to fill in many gaps about appearance and personalities, by the end of this book you'll really feel like you've got a handle on who these people really are, and what drives each and every one. Even Asinus and Hector come to be much-adored by the end of this book. To me, it is the characters that make this book a success, elevating it above some of Cooper's other work. Like all of Cooper's novels, this one could have used a bit of aggressive editing, being longer than necessary, and at times downright boring. Of course, this mostly stems from his overly-pedantic writing, where he (as the narrator) and his characters (in their dialogue) talk in some of the most flowery and round-about manners to get across rather simple ideas. Almost as if Cooper was trying to prove something to his European critics, but maybe just a symptom of the Romanticist times. Either way, it makes this book fairly slow going, and will unfortunately discourage many readers. Really, the only one of his books that doesn't have excessively wordy descriptions is The Last of the Mohicans, and there is no surprise why that one has been the most popular. I enjoyed THE PRAIRIE. Much better than THE PIONEERS, but not as good as THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS. Recommended for fans of the classics.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Paul Peterson

    This book would easily be a 5-star if not for the heavy, over-burdensome wording. The complex, multi-comma'd sentences make for a pretty tough slog all the way through. The story, however, is great. These are the early days of the plains, when Indians still held the upper hand there. The trapper is averse to towns and villages (what would he think of today's mega-cities?) and prefers open land and a good, honest struggle to life. If one were to calculate the time lapse since the first story in t This book would easily be a 5-star if not for the heavy, over-burdensome wording. The complex, multi-comma'd sentences make for a pretty tough slog all the way through. The story, however, is great. These are the early days of the plains, when Indians still held the upper hand there. The trapper is averse to towns and villages (what would he think of today's mega-cities?) and prefers open land and a good, honest struggle to life. If one were to calculate the time lapse since the first story in this series, he would see that things don't add up. The same person could not have been alive when Natty Bumpoo was roaming the forests of the east with Chingachgook, and still be breathing for this story. There are about 60 years missing in there, somewhere. But it hardly matters and can be easily ignored. "Tis the gift of youth to be rash and heady," the trapper calmly retorted. "The day has been, boy, when my blood was like your own, too swift and too hot to run quietly in my veins. But what will it profit to talk of silly risks and foolish acts at this time of life? A gray head should cover a brain of reason, and not the tongue of a boaster." "I have heard that there are men among my people who study their great medicines until they believe themselves to be gods, and who laugh at all faith except in their own vanities. It may be true. It IS true; for I have seen them. When man is shut up in towns and schools with his own follies, it may be easy to believe himself greater than the Master of Life; but a warrior who lives in a house with the clouds for its roof, where he can at any moment look both at the heavens and at the earth, and who daily sees the power of the Great Spirit, should be more humble. A Dahcotah chieftain ought to be too wise to laugh at justice." "Settlements, boy! It is long sin' I took my leave of the wasted and wickedness of the settlements and the villages. If I live in a clearing, here, it is one of the Lord's making, and I have no hard thoughts on the matter; but never again shall I be seen running willfully into the danger of immoralities." This concludes the "Leatherstocking Series" but I will pursue more Cooper. "The Pilot" comes to mind...

  16. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Hastings

    Note: Review written for compendium of all five Leatherstocking Tales and Mark Twain's criticism. Having seen Michael Mann's 1992 film 'The Last of the Mohecans' several times as a child, finding that it was based on a novel, which was part of a collection, and that the whole collection (including an introduction and essays) was only 50p in the Kobo store, I was very excited. I thoroughly enjoyed each story, as they presented a new world to me (pardon the pun) - the UK doesn't have the same expan Note: Review written for compendium of all five Leatherstocking Tales and Mark Twain's criticism. Having seen Michael Mann's 1992 film 'The Last of the Mohecans' several times as a child, finding that it was based on a novel, which was part of a collection, and that the whole collection (including an introduction and essays) was only 50p in the Kobo store, I was very excited. I thoroughly enjoyed each story, as they presented a new world to me (pardon the pun) - the UK doesn't have the same expansive wildernesses as old North America and I grew up a long time after Cow-Boy Westerns went out of fashion - and are full of simple adventure. Yes, there are many technical aspects that don't qualify any of the stories for more than 3 stars (see Mark Twain's ' Fenimore Coopers Literary Offences', appended to the end of the collection) but, if you aren't a natural critic, then there's still every reason to read one.

  17. 4 out of 5

    klagan

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I consider this to be the least interesting of all of The Leatherstocking Tales. The charm of the previous books was lacking in this one: the setting of the woods, and the personality of Natty Bumppo. I feel that Natty's character was underdeveloped in this book, and none of the other characters interested me enough to hold my attention. It was hard to read about Natty's end, I've grown so attached to him, but I think it was a good end. I will not read this book again, but otherwise I thoroughly I consider this to be the least interesting of all of The Leatherstocking Tales. The charm of the previous books was lacking in this one: the setting of the woods, and the personality of Natty Bumppo. I feel that Natty's character was underdeveloped in this book, and none of the other characters interested me enough to hold my attention. It was hard to read about Natty's end, I've grown so attached to him, but I think it was a good end. I will not read this book again, but otherwise I thoroughly enjoyed this series. I was spellbound by Natty's character and the life that he led in the woods. I will certainly read some of these again in the future.

  18. 4 out of 5

    David Haws

    If you’re writing for an audience, I suppose a little pandering is inevitable. Still, Cooper might have been less obvious, especially given his clear intention to expand the value of American Letters. The educational dialogues feel stilted, and he doesn’t do much to accommodate the individual voice or POV of his supporting characters. For example, he has Ellen say, “May I know the reason why you have run so great a risk of flying from this place, without wings, and at the certain expense of your If you’re writing for an audience, I suppose a little pandering is inevitable. Still, Cooper might have been less obvious, especially given his clear intention to expand the value of American Letters. The educational dialogues feel stilted, and he doesn’t do much to accommodate the individual voice or POV of his supporting characters. For example, he has Ellen say, “May I know the reason why you have run so great a risk of flying from this place, without wings, and at the certain expense of your neck?” While this completes his Leatherstocking series, other volumes, written as infill, and from a greater perspective, are more representative of Cooper’s deserved reputation.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia

    I always kind of put off reading these books (as I work my way through the ginormous collection I have in one huge heavy volume). I don't even know why. Because once I start I am absolutely captivated and can't wait to get back to it. This one is rather bittersweet because the hero is old and weary of endlessly fleeing the encroach of civilization and the destruction of the forests he loved so, but it is a rollicking good adventure tale and everyone - Indians, settlers, squatters etc. - are port I always kind of put off reading these books (as I work my way through the ginormous collection I have in one huge heavy volume). I don't even know why. Because once I start I am absolutely captivated and can't wait to get back to it. This one is rather bittersweet because the hero is old and weary of endlessly fleeing the encroach of civilization and the destruction of the forests he loved so, but it is a rollicking good adventure tale and everyone - Indians, settlers, squatters etc. - are portrayed three dimensionally and the setting is absorbing.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Not really my genre, but a good dose of American literature once in a while is healthy. I decided to read this instead of Last of the Mohicans because I knew that film so well...''twas a bit unsettling to learn how much of the film was complete fabrication. And yet, I like the film better than the real story, alas.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ronald Chevalier

    Read years ago in college. I really like to character of Natty Bumppo, but Cooper’s writing is so ploddingly descriptive and pedantic that paper cutting myself to death would be a more enjoyable experience than reading page after page of description of minuscule objects. Mark Twain was a harsh critic of Cooper’s penchant for over indulging in descriptive details. It like death by description.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kakha

    It is not easy for me to say this, I do not want to say this about any book of this great, my favorite author, but maybe this book is the weakest among the five books in the series. Maybe I think so, because I was very upset by the end of this story... I feel sorry for my favorite hero... I do not want him to age and that he to leave this wonderful world.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Crofut

    I loved this entire series. The story was interesting, the characters believable, the morals important, in particular that of people in general and their particular natures. Natty Buumpo is a wonderful character; his end brings the stirring of emotions that only a good book can provide.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Rick Boyer

    A tale of the exploits of hunters, pilgrims, and native Americans in the wilds of the newly acquired Louisiana Purchase. A beautiful presentation of prairie life in the America of the early 19th century.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Steve359

    Very difficult to follow because of the language difference.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Nikobit

    Better read this one before you have reached 16 years old. Then repeat reading say 30 years later. The effect will amuse you.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Eva Lucia

    Also posted on Eva Lucias blog The Prairie is the fifth story in the Leatherstocking Tales but can be read individually. It focuses on the Native Americans and presents many sensuous descriptions of the landscape and the different conflicts which take place during the novel’s plot. Furthermore, it shows the difference of British literature and American literature at this time (1820s-1840s). Whereas the British literary tradition had existed longer, the American literary scene was not as establishe Also posted on Eva Lucias blog The Prairie is the fifth story in the Leatherstocking Tales but can be read individually. It focuses on the Native Americans and presents many sensuous descriptions of the landscape and the different conflicts which take place during the novel’s plot. Furthermore, it shows the difference of British literature and American literature at this time (1820s-1840s). Whereas the British literary tradition had existed longer, the American literary scene was not as established, like the society of America at this time (naturally, this has to do with political reasons, e.g. social classes and politics + the fact that America was established later as a nation than Britain). This novel shows a classic situation between the white man and the Native American. This was a part of the Frontier tradition. Cooper was mostly famous for his history accounts and travel sketches, which were popular in his time. However, this novel is very interesting. I specifically liked the focus on territory, which naturally is highly important at a time, when American society is still trying to establish itself. In the novel, there are many examples of the issue of territory, both physical and psychological borders One could compare Cooper to Sir Walter Scott. Both authors wrote historical fiction in the same historical time period. Whereas Sir Walter Scott focused on external elements, e.g. dealing with political aspects of the historical period, such as politics and Scottish identity (establishing a national identity as non-British), Cooper focused on internal elements, most importantly: forming American society and culture, which was still happening at this time. With a literary angle, mostly looking into territory and borders, I found the novel useful and interesting. The language allowed many examples of this specific angle. However, it was a long read and at times I found it to slow. This writing style could also symbolize the brutality and simple life of the Native Americans of this time. Well, read for yourself and let me see what you think! Blog ~ Facebook ~ Instagram ~ Youtube ~ Spotify

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mark Oppenlander

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is the last of the Leatherstocking Tales (which I have read in the order of the character's life story as opposed to the order of their publication) and it may be my favorite. In this yarn, we come across Natty Bumppo as an aged trapper (87 years old), wandering the great prairies of the Midwest. He falls in with a bunch of settlers who are headed West, but amongst whom there are some dramas already taking place, including kidnapping, betrothal issues and more. Add in a tribe of malicious, m This is the last of the Leatherstocking Tales (which I have read in the order of the character's life story as opposed to the order of their publication) and it may be my favorite. In this yarn, we come across Natty Bumppo as an aged trapper (87 years old), wandering the great prairies of the Midwest. He falls in with a bunch of settlers who are headed West, but amongst whom there are some dramas already taking place, including kidnapping, betrothal issues and more. Add in a tribe of malicious, marauding Indians who attack the settler family, followed by another tribe of noble Indians who hate the first tribe and suddenly, you have a Leatherstocking story! What I liked about this book is that the story was more straightforward than some of the others, with less stops and starts. The characters are varied, but understandable in their motivations. The villains are evil, but not simplistically so. The action, when it comes, is crisp and not overly bloody as it sometimes was in say, "The Last of the Mohicans." And at the end, when Natty passes away, the moment has an appropriate pathos and reverence. I think I would rate the series this way, from best to worst: - The Prairie - The Deerslayer - The Last of the Mohicans - The Pathfinder - The Pioneers If you can get over the verbose writing style and a few of the (to our ears and eyes) politically incorrect characterizations however, none of these books are bad. All provide a good story, a fair amount of entertainment and a glimpse into early American literary tastes.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Bill Wallace

    The Pioneers is a novel of ideas, but The Prairie is closer to the roots of the American Western in its romantic form. I prefer the earlier book but there is a lot to like here too, some of it perhaps outside the author's intentions. Certainly Cooper had no notion how condescending his view of his Noble Savages would appear to a reader almost two centuries later, though to his credit, most of Cooper's characters, red-skinned or palefaced, are multi-dimensional. Even the novel's antagonists, Ishm The Pioneers is a novel of ideas, but The Prairie is closer to the roots of the American Western in its romantic form. I prefer the earlier book but there is a lot to like here too, some of it perhaps outside the author's intentions. Certainly Cooper had no notion how condescending his view of his Noble Savages would appear to a reader almost two centuries later, though to his credit, most of Cooper's characters, red-skinned or palefaced, are multi-dimensional. Even the novel's antagonists, Ishmael Bush (now there's a name!) and Mahtoree, the brave, lustful, and treacherous Sioux chief, are complex and never emitrely villainous. Classic American anti-intellectualism is also present in the form of Natty's disdain for Dr. Bat, whose ludicrous figure and cockeyed book-learning provide most of the novel's humor. Given my interest in American Gothic fiction, special note should be made of an execution scene that borders on the sadistic and on the weird, iconic closing chapter wherein Cooper's many-named man of the wilderness, the spirit of westward expansion, withered and barely alive, provides instruction for the disposal of his mortal remains, while his faithful, taxidermied hound lies at his feet.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ross

    This book is simply awful. It was written in the 1820's about the far west of which the author knew nothing. Of course he was writing for an audience that also knew nothing of the far west. The book starts with the characters camped on the west bank of the Missouri River and the next day they reach the Rocky Mountains pulling their wagon by hand. The quality of the prose is childish and the story line is absurd. This book came out shortly after "The Last of the Mohicans" which I read as a child 6 This book is simply awful. It was written in the 1820's about the far west of which the author knew nothing. Of course he was writing for an audience that also knew nothing of the far west. The book starts with the characters camped on the west bank of the Missouri River and the next day they reach the Rocky Mountains pulling their wagon by hand. The quality of the prose is childish and the story line is absurd. This book came out shortly after "The Last of the Mohicans" which I read as a child 60 years ago and thought to be OK at the time as I now remember it. Hard to believe these two books are by the same author. However, I recently tried the first book in the series called "The Pioneers" and found it even worse than this book. Strangely the last book in the series called "The Deerslayer," written almost 20 years after this book, is worth reading. A peculiar case in which the last book in the series to be written is chronologicaly the first.

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