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The Deerslayer (The Leatherstocking Tales, #1) Unabridged Audiobook

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A restless white youth raised by Indians, Natty Bumppo is called Deerslayer for the daring that sets him apart from his peers. But he has yet to meet the test of human conflict. In a tale of violent action and superbly sustained suspense, the harsh realities of tribal warfare force him to kill his first foe, then face torture at the stake. Still yet another kind of A restless white youth raised by Indians, Natty Bumppo is called Deerslayer for the daring that sets him apart from his peers. But he has yet to meet the test of human conflict. In a tale of violent action and superbly sustained suspense, the harsh realities of tribal warfare force him to kill his first foe, then face torture at the stake. Still yet another kind of initiation awaits him when he discovers not only the ruthlessness of "civilized" men, but also the special danger of a woman's will. His reckless spirit transformed into mature courage and moral certainty, the Deerslayer emerges to face life with nobility as pure and proud as the wilderness whose fierce beauty and freedom have claimed his heart. Read by Peter Berkrot. 21 hrs, 3 min.


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A restless white youth raised by Indians, Natty Bumppo is called Deerslayer for the daring that sets him apart from his peers. But he has yet to meet the test of human conflict. In a tale of violent action and superbly sustained suspense, the harsh realities of tribal warfare force him to kill his first foe, then face torture at the stake. Still yet another kind of A restless white youth raised by Indians, Natty Bumppo is called Deerslayer for the daring that sets him apart from his peers. But he has yet to meet the test of human conflict. In a tale of violent action and superbly sustained suspense, the harsh realities of tribal warfare force him to kill his first foe, then face torture at the stake. Still yet another kind of initiation awaits him when he discovers not only the ruthlessness of "civilized" men, but also the special danger of a woman's will. His reckless spirit transformed into mature courage and moral certainty, the Deerslayer emerges to face life with nobility as pure and proud as the wilderness whose fierce beauty and freedom have claimed his heart. Read by Peter Berkrot. 21 hrs, 3 min.

30 review for The Deerslayer (The Leatherstocking Tales, #1) Unabridged Audiobook

  1. 4 out of 5

    Werner

    Though this book was the last of the Leatherstocking Tales series (which follows the life of backwoods hunter and scout Natty Bumpo --"Leatherstocking" and "Deerslayer" are two of the several nicknames he'll bear during his career) to be written, it's actually the first in the internal chronology of the series, set in 1744 at the outbreak of King George's War. (This was one of several English vs. French wars in North America, leading up to the French and Indian War depicted in The Last of the Though this book was the last of the Leatherstocking Tales series (which follows the life of backwoods hunter and scout Natty Bumpo --"Leatherstocking" and "Deerslayer" are two of the several nicknames he'll bear during his career) to be written, it's actually the first in the internal chronology of the series, set in 1744 at the outbreak of King George's War. (This was one of several English vs. French wars in North America, leading up to the French and Indian War depicted in The Last of the Mohicans. Neither the date or the name of the war are explicitly given in the book, but enough clues are supplied to make them clear.) Having read two books of the series out of order, as a grade-school and junior-college student, I'd resolved, after this long hiatus, to finally read the whole corpus, in as close to the internal order as I could. Now that I've finished this one, my only regret is that I waited so long; it's the best of Cooper's works that I've read yet. The cover copy of this 1982 Bantam classic printing (not the same edition Goodreads depicts above) characterizes this as Cooper's masterpiece. Since I've only read three of his other novels, I can't say for certain if that's true; but I think it well may be. We first meet the roughly 22-year-old Natty here about to arrive at Lake Otsego, in the New York Appalachian mountains just about due west of Albany (the later site of the real-life settlement of Cooperstown, where the author grew up). An orphan raised by the Delaware Indians (how that came about isn't explained in this book), he's on his way to meet his Indian friend Chingachgook on an at first undisclosed errand, and traveling in company with slightly-older trapper Henry "Hurry Harry" March, just because they're bound for the same place. March is interested in visiting the lake's residents: widowed, mysterious (and maybe shady) "Floating Tom" Hutter, who's built a residence/fortress on a shoal well out into the lake, and his two comely daughters, Judith and "feeble-minded" Hetty. It's a situation already fraught with danger and suspense, because the recent outbreak of war makes isolated settlers like these probable targets for bands of the Indian allies of the French. The main events of the story (except for a sort of epilogue --which Cooper handles here much better than he does in The Spy) take place in less than the span of a week; but an enormous amount of adventure and moral trial and growth happens in that span. All of the author's works I'd read previously were early ones; this is a much more mature work, and it shows. Cooper's diction here isn't any more elaborate and orotund than that of most Romantic-era fiction (and that's also the case with The Spy; I'm beginning to think the fulsomeness of The Last of the Mohicans is more unique to that work than a general defect of Cooper's style). His approach to story telling, to be sure, is slow and deliberate; he uses big words if they serve his purpose, constructs complex sentences, and isn't afraid of occasional direct address to the reader. But those features don't bother me; and the story he tells is absorbing (even suspenseful and tense), well-constructed, and emotionally powerful; this is Romantic historical fiction at its finest. Moreover, it's the vehicle for profound moral and spiritual reflection, which is built into the fabric of the story and animates it as naturally as blood and breath animate the human body. That aspect is more pronounced here than in any other Cooper novel I've read, and that's what elevates it into five-star territory. Both Balzac and James Russell Lowell (in the latter's satirical poem "Cooper," one of several literary criticisms he wrote in poetic form of other authors of his day) fault Cooper as not being particularly sharp in his characterizations. (Although despite that, Balzac rated him highly overall.) Lowell was particularly caustic about Cooper's female characters, deeming them all "sappy" and "flat," and essentially indistiguishable. But by now, I've read enough of Cooper to judge this for myself, and to a degree rebut it --and no Cooper novel furnishes as much grist for a rebuttal as this one, because ALL of the important characters here are sharply-drawn and distinguished, and come alive with considerable reality. We get more of a sense of Natty's inner character here than we do in either of the first two books of the series to be written, and I'd say that's true of Chingachgook as well. Judith Hutter is anything but "sappy" or "flat," and Hetty is sui generis. (Some of Cooper's women deserve Lowell's stricture --Alice in The Last of the Mohicans comes to mind; but that's mainly because she's overshadowed by Cora, who's another exception to the charge; and Frances Wharton in The Spy is yet another. And there's no Cooper novel I've read that's without some distinctively drawn and memorable male characters, as well. ) In my review of the Last of the Mohicans, I mentioned (and refuted) Mark Twain's snide criticism of that work in "Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses," but noted that he reserved most of his artillery for The Deerslayer. His principal criticism is for the scene where Hutter's "Ark," or oar-and-sail propelled barge, passes a point where Indians are waiting in a tree to ambush it, and successfully gets by before any of them can effect a permanent landing on the boat, most of them falling into the water. With a great show of supposed plausibility, he purports to show mathematically that it's impossible for a craft to go that rapidly, and ridiculous to suppose that it could. (When I read Twain's collected essays as a teen, I noted that in controversies, intellectually dishonest ridicule is a tactic he generally preferred over reasoned argumentation, which is why his essays have never commanded the same respect as those of some other writers of his era; and this case is no exception.) Suffice it to say that his argument depends on his "guess" about the dimensions of the vessel and its possible speed, and that when the actual passage is read and compared to Twain's description of it, it's Twain who looks ridiculous. His (hyperbolic) claim that Cooper overuses the device, in this series, of persons disclosing their whereabouts in the forest by stepping on a twig also falls flat here; some characters avoid doing so, and a deer does it (I've actually personally heard a deer doing that in the Appalachian forest, which I doubt Twain ever did --the woods around Hannibal, MO in the 1830s were a lot less "wild" than the real wilderness), but no human ever does it. My one criticism of Cooper's performance here is on a major point of historical accuracy (or, in his case, inaccuracy); he confuses the Iroquois and the Hurons as the same tribe, allied with the French, whereas in fact they were two different tribal groups, mortal enemies of each other, and the former were actually allied with the British. For a New York native who wrote a great deal about Indians (and the Iroquois were and are THE major Indian group in the state!) and purported to know something about them, that's a pretty glaring error. However, his portrayal of the Indians here is otherwise accurate, and not an unsympathetic depiction of their attitudes and culture (warts and all). Criticisms of Cooper's portrayal as racist, IMO, are unfounded. Natty has, to be sure, some excessive consciousness of his white identity (partly a psychological reaction to growing up as a minority of one in another culture --and as Cooper makes clear in the Preface, Natty's prejudices aren't necessarily his own prejudices); but he respects Indian culture and beliefs and recognizes Indians as fellow humans of no less worth than his own, in sharp contradistinction to the racist attitudes of March and Hutter. Personally, I found that one of the best features of the book. I definitely intend to read more by this writer; and he's earned a place in my Favorite Writers list!

  2. 5 out of 5

    J.K. Grice

    Cooper is not the easiest author to read. He constantly uses the words FORMER and LATTER in his writing. Still, even wading through some of the tediousness of his style gives the reader a big payoff along the way. THE DEERSLAYER is a book of high adventure between pre-colonial whites and Native Americans. It is the first tale of our main character Natty Bumpo (named Hawkeye by the Natives, thank goodness!) He's a fronteirsman in the vein of Daniel Boone. This is a great outdoor adventure story Cooper is not the easiest author to read. He constantly uses the words FORMER and LATTER in his writing. Still, even wading through some of the tediousness of his style gives the reader a big payoff along the way. THE DEERSLAYER is a book of high adventure between pre-colonial whites and Native Americans. It is the first tale of our main character Natty Bumpo (named Hawkeye by the Natives, thank goodness!) He's a fronteirsman in the vein of Daniel Boone. This is a great outdoor adventure story to begin the "Leatherstocking Tales."

  3. 4 out of 5

    Belinda

    I hate you for all those hours of my life I'll never get back, James Fenimore Cooper.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    I chose to read this book because I had accepted to read the second in the series (The Last of the Mohicans) as part of a challenge, but I didn't want to jump in at the second book. This book also conveniently met the requirements for yet another challenge I'm completing; so, a win both ways! I really wanted to like this story, but it was so excruciatingly slow. I could seriously have let the audiobook play for thirty minutes without listening and then pick right back up with the story without I chose to read this book because I had accepted to read the second in the series (The Last of the Mohicans) as part of a challenge, but I didn't want to jump in at the second book. This book also conveniently met the requirements for yet another challenge I'm completing; so, a win both ways! I really wanted to like this story, but it was so excruciatingly slow. I could seriously have let the audiobook play for thirty minutes without listening and then pick right back up with the story without really missing anything. I'm not sure if it was the time period during which this book was published (1840s) or if it is simply the writing style of the author. Three things I learned in this story: 1. Hetty Hutter lacked intelligence. Every time the poor girl's name was mentioned, which was a lot, readers were reminded of how feeble minded she was. 2. Judith Hutter was beautiful. For how many times we were reminded that Hetty was dimwitted, we were reminded an equal number of times that Judith had the looks and the brains out of the two. 3. Racism has existed in many forms for a long time. I'm not really sure the author intended for all of Deerslayer's remarks about white gifts and red gifts to be viewed as racism, but when you insinuate that someone simply cannot help the way they act because of the color of their skin, that's racism. A major plot point in this book was to lay out all the differences between white gifts and red gifts. Toward the end of the book James Fenimore Cooper did elaborate a bit and say that all human nature is the same but we are different based on how we are raised. I'm not sure if that was the main theme he was trying to drive home, but I think he fell a little flat. I was really looking forward to reading The Last of the Mohicans, but I'm not so sure I want to put the time into it now. We shall see.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mike (the Paladin)

    This novel is primarily a romance or what might be called an action romance I suppose. It has come in for some notable criticism (from names as well known as Mark Twain no less) BUT as it's been around since 1841 there is obviously something here. I think the only things to really be aware of here...going into it as a novel have "mostly" to do with the time in which it was written. The language is (of course) very dated. Often it is more like reading poetry than prose. Then there are the racial This novel is primarily a romance or what might be called an action romance I suppose. It has come in for some notable criticism (from names as well known as Mark Twain no less) BUT as it's been around since 1841 there is obviously something here. I think the only things to really be aware of here...going into it as a novel have "mostly" to do with the time in which it was written. The language is (of course) very dated. Often it is more like reading poetry than prose. Then there are the racial attitudes. Yes to a modern "ear" they will even be found somewhat offensive. When Harry and Deerslayer start discussing the differences in race you'll need to get that grain of salt everyone is always talking about to take with said discussion. As a matter of fact one of the main plot points of the book revolves around what is "natural" for whites. If you can deal with the fact that we are seeing what were actually rather liberal ideas for the 1840s expressed by Deerslayer (Natty) then you'll get a romantic adventure. Some of the characters are well done...others not so much, but again I sort of think me criticizing a book that's been in print for over 170 years might be a bit presumptuous, LOL. I did skim the book some...the old language got to me to. But this is a good book for...remember when it was written.

  6. 5 out of 5

    dead letter office

    Mark Twain: "Coopers art has some defects. In one place in Deerslayer, and in the restricted space of two-thirds of a page, Cooper has scored 114 offences against literary art out of a possible 115. It breaks the record." I'll refer you to Mark Twain's essay "Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses": Now I feel sure, deep down in my heart, that Cooper wrote about the poorest English that exists in our language, and that the English of "Deerslayer" is the very worst that even Cooper ever wrote. I may be Mark Twain: "Cooper’s art has some defects. In one place in ‘Deerslayer,’ and in the restricted space of two-thirds of a page, Cooper has scored 114 offences against literary art out of a possible 115. It breaks the record." I'll refer you to Mark Twain's essay "Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses": Now I feel sure, deep down in my heart, that Cooper wrote about the poorest English that exists in our language, and that the English of "Deerslayer" is the very worst that even Cooper ever wrote. I may be mistaken, but it does seem to me that "Deerslayer" is not a work of art in any sense; it does seem to me that it is destitute of every detail that goes to the making of a work of art; in truth, it seems to me that "Deerslayer" is just simply a literary delirium tremens. A work of art? It has no invention; it has no order, system, sequence, or result; it has no lifelikeness, no thrill, no stir, no seeming of reality; its characters are confusedly drawn, and by their acts and words they prove that they are not the sort of people the author claims that they are; its humor is pathetic; its pathos is funny; its conversations are -- oh! indescribable; its love-scenes odious; its English a crime against the language. Counting these out, what is left is Art. I think we must all admit that. i think that's a bit harsh. but this book was pretty bad.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rich

    This book receives quite a bit of vitriolic language about how it's the "worst book ever written" and other predictably trite rantings of those who have different expectations than the book satisfies. I began this book with an open mind and with an interest in the writing style of an author I hadn't read before. Although I freely admit the prose is a bit longwinded, it contains some eloquent passages among the numerous pithy and dry paragraphs (think Romantic Period of literature and nature This book receives quite a bit of vitriolic language about how it's the "worst book ever written" and other predictably trite rantings of those who have different expectations than the book satisfies. I began this book with an open mind and with an interest in the writing style of an author I hadn't read before. Although I freely admit the prose is a bit longwinded, it contains some eloquent passages among the numerous pithy and dry paragraphs (think Romantic Period of literature and nature writing). Descriptions run a bit long in some cases and the characters set off on lengthy soliloquies at the oddest of times, but the book simply isn't without merit. It's a fairly unique voice offered in the age of Manifest Destiny and bigoted attitudes towards Native Americans, the author commits quite a few of these himself, it must be admitted, but offers a generous view for its era. Twain probably does more damage to Cooper's legacy than any other American author with his quick-witted and poignant critique of Cooper's style. His typically viperous tongue slashes to the bone while at the same time coaxing a smile from the reader. I am a huge Twain fan but to compare these two authors is folly. I would imagine Cooper never expected to be a gritty American author like Twain but most likely envied those like Emerson or Thoreau. It can be debated whether he successfully accomplished this aim, but to cast this book unfairly into the bonfire as so much kindling is unfair. It is clearly not the best example of American writing of the era, but clearly it isn't the worst either. It's a modestly enjoyable book with moral lessons for the era, which I believe makes it a limited success.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Aaron Cance

    If one can read books promiscuously, as I was reassured in graduate school that one could, I read all five of the books in this series like a complete whore, giving myself entirely over to the story - loved all five. A word of caution, however: They were written in a different order than the chronology of the narrative. Imagine my disappointment at the Deerslayer's death at the end of the third book out of five. The order that the author produced them: The Pioneers Last of the Mohicans The Prairie If one can read books promiscuously, as I was reassured in graduate school that one could, I read all five of the books in this series like a complete whore, giving myself entirely over to the story - loved all five. A word of caution, however: They were written in a different order than the chronology of the narrative. Imagine my disappointment at the Deerslayer's death at the end of the third book out of five. The order that the author produced them: The Pioneers Last of the Mohicans The Prairie The Pathfinder The Deerslayer The order of the narrative (Thanks for the assist with this, Dave): The Deerslayer Last of the Mohicans The Pathfinder The Pioneers The Prairie

  9. 4 out of 5

    Libby

    If you've seen my booklists and read my reviews, you'll know I'm usually a great lover of classic novels. When I was about 11 or 12, my Dad got me a big stack of paperback classics and I spent an entire summer with Ivanhoe and Sidney Carton and Jane Eyre. I mean, I munched them up! Then I got to James Fenimore Cooper. Oh bad. Oh really, really bad. The stories themselves were pretty good, as witness the fact that they have been made into many successful movies. However, to read the stories, you If you've seen my booklists and read my reviews, you'll know I'm usually a great lover of classic novels. When I was about 11 or 12, my Dad got me a big stack of paperback classics and I spent an entire summer with Ivanhoe and Sidney Carton and Jane Eyre. I mean, I munched them up! Then I got to James Fenimore Cooper. Oh bad. Oh really, really bad. The stories themselves were pretty good, as witness the fact that they have been made into many successful movies. However, to read the stories, you have to read the sentences. Some of these sentences are pages long. By the time you get to the predicate, you've forgotten the subject! American authors in the early 1800's seemed determined to prove to a European audience that they had great vocabularies and could craft an elaborate style. Cooper obviously was of this school of thought. All those intervening clauses and subclauses, hanging on his sentences like poor relations! If you want to read the classics, and you should, try Ivanhoe! Or if you have your heart set on this one, get the Cliff notes!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bob

    I never read Cooper growing up so wasn't sure what to expect in reading this novel. What I discovered was a multi-layered text that did the following: Introduced Deerslayer, or Hawkeye as he is subsequently known (Hawkeye Pierce in MASH gets his nickname from him!). We see the maturing of this young woodsman who has lived among the Delaware Indians and is a sure shot with the rifle. At the beginning of the novel, he has only killed animals for food. Much of his development comes following a I never read Cooper growing up so wasn't sure what to expect in reading this novel. What I discovered was a multi-layered text that did the following: Introduced Deerslayer, or Hawkeye as he is subsequently known (Hawkeye Pierce in MASH gets his nickname from him!). We see the maturing of this young woodsman who has lived among the Delaware Indians and is a sure shot with the rifle. At the beginning of the novel, he has only killed animals for food. Much of his development comes following a deadly encounter with an Iroquois where he takes a life in self defense, and contributes to the spiral of hostility between the whites and Iroquois. It is a novel exploring various conceptions of the humanity and spiritual status of native Americans, including their own self-conceptions as portrayed by Cooper. It is a religious tale, exploring various Christian notions of native American spirituality and chiefly of the piety of Hetty, the mentally impaired daughter of Thomas Hutter, the white trapper living in an island fortress on Lake Glimmerglass. Running through all this is an adventure novel as Deerslayer and his Delaware friend Serpent seek to rescue Serpent's betrothed from the Iroquois. They are joined by Hurry Harry who is enamored of Hutter's other daughter (an affection not returned and later given to only one other). The plot moves through a series of encounters, captures, releases or escapes to the climatic confrontation of white and Indian and its aftermath. In all, a long but good read!

  11. 4 out of 5

    John

    Just as enjoyable as the first time I read it many years ago. I can agree with some critics' poor ratings of Cooper's writing, but the misplaced soliloquys, slow action, and preachiness can be overlooked. Cooper, after all, was writing in a different time, and in a different style, than what many people today are used to. Cooper spends a lot of time describing nature, and using conversations to convey the beliefs of his characters, but when he gets to action, as in the last third of the novel, Just as enjoyable as the first time I read it many years ago. I can agree with some critics' poor ratings of Cooper's writing, but the misplaced soliloquys, slow action, and preachiness can be overlooked. Cooper, after all, was writing in a different time, and in a different style, than what many people today are used to. Cooper spends a lot of time describing nature, and using conversations to convey the beliefs of his characters, but when he gets to action, as in the last third of the novel, his writing is excellent.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    I enjoyed this book for two main reasons: the first being JFC's exuberant, almost worshipful respect for nature that permeates the story, and the second being his mostly objective treatment of the Native American characters. The Deerslayer is not just a story about a group of humans fighting over a lake, it is the story of the lake itself and the surrounding landscape. JFC crafts beautiful images of the region throughout the book, and in several places juxtaposes those images with later visions I enjoyed this book for two main reasons: the first being JFC's exuberant, almost worshipful respect for nature that permeates the story, and the second being his mostly objective treatment of the Native American characters. The Deerslayer is not just a story about a group of humans fighting over a lake, it is the story of the lake itself and the surrounding landscape. JFC crafts beautiful images of the region throughout the book, and in several places juxtaposes those images with later visions of how the lake is altered and disfigured by human activity, much to the dismay of his characters who love and respect the land. Unfortunately, he does use the word "savage" frequently in ways unflattering to himself, but he sets himself apart from most of his contemporary and future colleagues by presenting positive images of Native Americans that don't rely quite as much on stereotypes or lionizing "the civilized savage", though he certainly isn't perfect on this account either. On the whole, it was an engrossing story despite some of the moralizing because it contained compelling characters and skillfully depicted setting.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Dorothy

    Slightly slower in pace than its sequel, Deerslayer reveals a coming of age tale of our Leatherstocking hero, Natty Bumpo. In this work, we learn how Hawkeye earned his noble nom de guerre. Together with his Delaware friend, our protagonist meets and ultimately redeems a frontier family. Although the dialog and musing of the frontierwomen, the Hutter sisters, is often tiresome, this is nicely balanced by Cooper's adroit action sequences. This is a novel for all genders. Slightly dissatisfying is Slightly slower in pace than its sequel, Deerslayer reveals a coming of age tale of our Leatherstocking hero, Natty Bumpo. In this work, we learn how Hawkeye earned his noble nom de guerre. Together with his Delaware friend, our protagonist meets and ultimately redeems a frontier family. Although the dialog and musing of the frontierwomen, the Hutter sisters, is often tiresome, this is nicely balanced by Cooper's adroit action sequences. This is a novel for all genders. Slightly dissatisfying is the ultimate and final decision the normally unerring Hawkeye makes- perhaps uncharacteristically relying upon conjecture and rumor. Does he rely too heavily on stereotype? Does he not allow for redemption? It may be this character's major failing is his simplicity, bordering on one-dimensionality

  14. 5 out of 5

    Diehl

    Not a book for the young or the impatient. I find the slowness and the intricacy of the prose delicious. The story line is no more laughable than most action movies. . . Cooper gets inside the mind of a frontiersman and slowly spins out a story that proceeds in microsteps of explication. It is both awe-inspiring and funny. One wonders if Cooper were a forerunner to Doestoyevsky. The setting of the story in primeval upstate NY gives one pause. We know how fragile and fleeting this seemingly Not a book for the young or the impatient. I find the slowness and the intricacy of the prose delicious. The story line is no more laughable than most action movies. . . Cooper gets inside the mind of a frontiersman and slowly spins out a story that proceeds in microsteps of explication. It is both awe-inspiring and funny. One wonders if Cooper were a forerunner to Doestoyevsky. The setting of the story in primeval upstate NY gives one pause. We know how fragile and fleeting this seemingly unbounded nature proved to be. Those pure lakes, virgin forests, plentiful game--forever gone--lend irony, perhaps unintended, to the story. It deepens the reader's sense of the impermanence of life and the awful power we wield to disrupt. So, no, the book isn't recommended for casual reading.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Marts (Thinker)

    This is a long tale, a very long tale that's quite descriptive and a bit wordy. The narrative is a good one, a good depiction of life on the American continent so long ago, the plot, well there's a bit of adventure and at times a bit of suspense, but nothing particularly fantastic occurs... For those who already read the Last of the Mohicans, this is just another Natty Bumppo affair so at least you would have already gotten an introduction to the atmosphere of the time...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Adrienne

    Haaaaaaaaave you ever seen the Star Wars prequels? Yeah. It's like that, except add 1,000,000 racism, and Jar Jar Binks is named 'Hurry Harry' and, in addition to being an idiot, is also completely morally bankrupt. I had to read this book for a grad class. Now, with a book like this, that normally means I "read" the book--in other words, skimmed it for the main ideas. However, I drew the short straw back in August 2018 and got stuck giving the stupid presentation on this book. So, I actually, Haaaaaaaaave you ever seen the Star Wars prequels? Yeah. It's like that, except add 1,000,000 racism, and Jar Jar Binks is named 'Hurry Harry' and, in addition to being an idiot, is also completely morally bankrupt. I had to read this book for a grad class. Now, with a book like this, that normally means I "read" the book--in other words, skimmed it for the main ideas. However, I drew the short straw back in August 2018 and got stuck giving the stupid presentation on this book. So, I actually, really, truly, line by line, read this shit. Let me be the first...or the twentieth...person to tell you to save your precious time and energy for something else. Go save the whales or something. Truly, anything but this.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    This it the story of Deerslayer and his best buddy Chingachgook (which I still have not figured out how to say) as they go on their first "warpath" together. I looked for a movie version of this story after I finished it because I was interested to see how it would play out in modern times, but there is no movie made since 1920 (silent movie). I shouldn't be surprised. Let me say from the onset that I consider James Fenimore Cooper one of the finest writers I have read. That being said, the time This it the story of Deerslayer and his best buddy Chingachgook (which I still have not figured out how to say) as they go on their first "warpath" together. I looked for a movie version of this story after I finished it because I was interested to see how it would play out in modern times, but there is no movie made since 1920 (silent movie). I shouldn't be surprised. Let me say from the onset that I consider James Fenimore Cooper one of the finest writers I have read. That being said, the time and circumstances in which he lived seem to have made him a judgemental and unforgiving man. And from what I hear, in his time, he was considered to be a little bit "lax" in the accepted moral deportment of the day. WOW! This story was very exciting and certainly held my interest even as I navigated the verbose style of the 19th century writing. A bit wordy, why use 2 words when 20 will do. But the words he chose were of such beauty and description that it made it worthwhile - a feat not managed by all the authors of his time. I skipped over nothing. Also, each chapter began with a quote from some antiquated author that was lovely and foretold a bit of what was to come. I enjoyed this rather than finding it cumbersome as I sometimes do. Never has there been a hero as virtuous as Deerslayer. In this day and age it is pure fantasy to imagine that he could exist. He is brave, honest, kind...but here we come to my problem....a little too judgemental for my taste. The reason I could not give this wonderfully written and exciting story 5 stars is that I feel the author too harsh on his characters. I cannot believe that the world is so black and white. I cannot allow the author that - even taking into consideration the times in which he lived. And I could not embrace the bigotry expressed in the characters. This is why, I am sure, you cannot find a modern portrayal of this story. Taking out the bigotry would destoy the story. Ironically, the bigotry and judgementalism are what destroy an otherwise timeless tale. I recommend reading this book simply for the wonderful descriptive prose and historical knowledge it possesses. Cooper WAS a genius of a writer. And for his time, he may even have had a more kind and open mind than I am giving him credit for. But don't expect to feel particularly good when you finish the book. I will say that the closing lines of the book do attempt a bit of redemption of the predjudices within: "We live in a world of transgressions and selfishness, and no pictures that represent us otherwise can be true; though happily for human nature, gleamings of that pure spirit in whose likeness man has been fashioned, are to be seen, relieving its deformities, and mitigating, if not excusing its crimes" This is the closest Cooper gets to admitting that "All men have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" and that we should "Judge not, lest we be judged".

  18. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    What can I say that Mark Twain didn't? http://xroads.virginia.edu/~hyper/hns... "Cooper's art has some defects. In one place in "Deerslayer," and in the restricted place of two-thirds of a page, Cooper has scored 114 offenses against literary art out of a possible 115. It breaks the record." And "I may be mistaken, but it does seem to me that "Deerslayer" is not a work of art in any sense; it does seem to me that it is destitute of every detail that goes to the making of a work of art; in truth, it What can I say that Mark Twain didn't? http://xroads.virginia.edu/~hyper/hns... "Cooper's art has some defects. In one place in "Deerslayer," and in the restricted place of two-thirds of a page, Cooper has scored 114 offenses against literary art out of a possible 115. It breaks the record." And "I may be mistaken, but it does seem to me that "Deerslayer" is not a work of art in any sense; it does seem to me that it is destitute of every detail that goes to the making of a work of art; in truth, it seems to me that "Deerslayer" is just simply a literary delirium tremens." Twain's essay is so good that its almost worth reading the Deerslayer just to get all the jokes. The Deerslayer was the last of Cooper's Leatherstocking tales, but the first chronologically. It's an origin tale, just like that last X-Men movie. We get to see Deerslayer/Pathfinder/Hawkeye on his first warpath. We see his first kill. (He literally talks the man to death), how he comes across his famous rifle Killdear (He loots it from a dead man), and his first refusal of a woman's declaration of undying love. And just like in The Pathfinder, we get another shooting contest, and a whole bunch of really dumb, evil indians. (More Twain: "The difference between a Cooper Indian and the Indian that stands in front of the cigar-shop is not spacious.") The story goes nowhere--people get caught by Indians, people escape from Indians, then get caught again, then fight. (There are a couple of good fight scenes. When one main character is scalped alive, it's actually pretty exciting and surprising.) There's chunky dialog like this: "You are Hetty Hutter... Hurry Harry has told me of you, and I know you must be the child?" "Yes, I'm Hetty Hutter...I'm Hetty; Judith Hutter's sister; and Thomas Hutter;s youngest daughter." (And people don't "say" things, they more often than not "ejaculate.") And this character, Hetty Hutter, is "feeble-minded." Cooper also describes her as "simple," "foolish," owning an "unsophistacted mind," or with a "mental darkness which, in a measure, obscured her intellect." Every moment this poor thing is on the page, Cooper reminds us how dumb she is. Cooper as a writer is not nearly as bad as Twain says, but in at least this particular case, trotting out his best-selling Natty Bumpo character for a fourth sequel (the second after Bumpo's death in "The Prairie") he's at his most long-winded and least-focused. The Deerslayer is the 19th century literary equivalent of Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, or Police Academy 3: Back in Training.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Brent Ranalli

    I came to Deerslayer with no preconceived notions, only knowing that years ago I had enjoyed Last of the Mohicans. There were some early warning signs (the bizarre throttling in the first conversation of the book?), but it was not until I was halfway through that I fully comprehended that although it was by a famous author this was truly a wretched, third-rate piece of fiction. Mark Twain, it seems, has already said it best, so let me quote Twain on the aspects that bothered me most. "The I came to Deerslayer with no preconceived notions, only knowing that years ago I had enjoyed Last of the Mohicans. There were some early warning signs (the bizarre throttling in the first conversation of the book?), but it was not until I was halfway through that I fully comprehended that although it was by a famous author this was truly a wretched, third-rate piece of fiction. Mark Twain, it seems, has already said it best, so let me quote Twain on the aspects that bothered me most. "The conversations in the Cooper books have a curious sound in our modern ears. To believe that such talk really ever came out of people’s mouths would be to believe that there was a time when time was of no value to a person who thought he had something to say; when it was the custom to spread a two-minute remark out to ten; when a man’s mouth was a rolling-mill, and busied itself all day long in turning four-foot pigs of thought into thirty-foot bars of conversational railroad iron by attenuation." Honestly, what speechifying! Even when the subject is a need for haste or silence, on it goes. Back to Twain: "Rules governing literary art in the domain of romantic fiction . . . require . . . that a tale shall accomplish something and arrive somewhere. But the Deerslayer tale accomplishes nothing and arrives in the air." The rules also "require that the author shall make the reader feel a deep interest in the personages of his tale and in their fate; and that he shall make the reader love the good people in the tale and hate the bad ones. But the reader of the Deerslayer tale dislikes the good people in it, is indifferent to the others, and wishes they would all get drowned together." Deerslayer is neither entirely admirable--Cooper in the narrator's voice makes that quite clear--nor sympathetic. And he doesn't develop in any way. He just goes on bloviating and being imperturbable. He is no different at the end than he had been at the beginning, except a new Indian name and a new gun. Pretty weak tea for an "origins" prequel.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Joanne Kelleher

    At 550+ pages, The Deerslayer was a commitment that I would only make for a book club. It was not a quick read either; I found myself rereading many of the lengthy passages. In particular, the eponymous protagonist, AKA Natty Bumpo, was prone to soliloquizing. This may sound like I didn't enjoy the book. But...I liked it a lot! The action took place over one week during a time when the interactions between the Native Americans and the White settlers were becoming increasingly antagonistic. This At 550+ pages, The Deerslayer was a commitment that I would only make for a book club. It was not a quick read either; I found myself rereading many of the lengthy passages. In particular, the eponymous protagonist, AKA Natty Bumpo, was prone to soliloquizing. This may sound like I didn't enjoy the book. But...I liked it a lot! The action took place over one week during a time when the interactions between the Native Americans and the White settlers were becoming increasingly antagonistic. This window into the perceptions of the stakeholders in this struggle was informative, thought-provoking, and, of course, fraught, because we all know how that struggle ended. The majority of the action took place on Glimmerglass Lake and its environs. Through Cooper's beautiful descriptions of the lake in its many guises, it became an integral character in the book. This is a special book that would be appreciated by a certain kind of reader (with a lot of time on their hands!) Are you up for the challenge?

  21. 5 out of 5

    Brian Willis

    Representing a time at both seemingly more simplistic and brutally more complicated, Cooper's novel surprised me. Although some will find the prose antiquated, the truth is it thrills with a forward impetus that pushes the action along. There are digressions, but they are rustically romantic or philosophically digressing without disrupting the feel of the piece and that is a credit to Cooper. This is the American derivative of Sir Walter Scott, the closest paradigm to compare with this, the last Representing a time at both seemingly more simplistic and brutally more complicated, Cooper's novel surprised me. Although some will find the prose antiquated, the truth is it thrills with a forward impetus that pushes the action along. There are digressions, but they are rustically romantic or philosophically digressing without disrupting the feel of the piece and that is a credit to Cooper. This is the American derivative of Sir Walter Scott, the closest paradigm to compare with this, the last composed but earliest chronological of the five Hawkeye novels. Most likely for classic literature enthusiasts at this point, but I found it fulfilling.

  22. 4 out of 5

    John

    The first in the series of The Leather Stocking Tales which was also the last one Cooper wrote. The story is the beginning of Hawkeyes career and more known for the next novel in the series Last of the Mohicans . The story is about morality, racism and romance. An epic with the story set on and around a remote lake. The Huron and his battle with them and following his own moral code. In comparison to Hutter and Hurry Harry whose moral compass is askew. The daughters Judith and Hetty are The first in the series of ‘The Leather Stocking Tales’ which was also the last one Cooper wrote. The story is the beginning of Hawkeye’s career and more known for the next novel in the series ‘Last of the Mohicans ‘. The story is about morality, racism and romance. An epic with the story set on and around a remote lake. The Huron and his battle with them and following his own moral code. In comparison to Hutter and Hurry Harry whose moral compass is askew. The daughters Judith and Hetty are interesting in Hetty’s feeble mind and Judith journey from apparently being vain to maturity. The trials and tribulations of Hawkeye was entertaining if a bit far fetched. Great descriptive prose of the landscape and Cooper captures the mythical view of the early woodsman. Some say his character was based on Daniel Boone. All in all a great read with action, adventure and moral questions thrown into the mix.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    Finished: 04.07.2018 Genre: classic novel Rating: C Conclusion: #20BooksOfSummer My new best friends ...Natty Bumppo and Chingachook. Review

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ana

    I've read 100 pages and I'm still at introduction. Love classics :))

  25. 4 out of 5

    Susie Cross

    Even remembering I read this bores me. It was like 30 years ago. I wonder if I'd feel the same now. Don't care enough to find out.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    This was a very tedious read. While I normally like older books, something about Cooper's writing style just didn't grab me. The Deerslayer is mainly a story about a man named Nathaniel Bumppus, or as he is better known by in this novel, Deerslayer. He is headed with a friend commonly referred to as "Hurry" to a lake where he will later meet another friend of his, a Delaware Indian he calls the "Sarpent" to rescue the Sarpent's betrothed from a group of Hurons. When they reach their destination This was a very tedious read. While I normally like older books, something about Cooper's writing style just didn't grab me. The Deerslayer is mainly a story about a man named Nathaniel Bumppus, or as he is better known by in this novel, Deerslayer. He is headed with a friend commonly referred to as "Hurry" to a lake where he will later meet another friend of his, a Delaware Indian he calls the "Sarpent" to rescue the Sarpent's betrothed from a group of Hurons. When they reach their destination they meet a man and his two daughters who live on an island in the lake. The older daughter Judith, is quite taken with the Deerslayer and the younger, who is described as feeble-minded is as sweet a person as could be met. Their father is a bit rougher than them and after the death of his wife has been raising them himself. When Hurry and Thomas Hutter (the father) decide to go scalping Indians for fun and profit, Deerslayer doesn't go. Then when they are kidnapped, it is up to Deerslayer and the girls to ransom them and bring them home safely. Unfortunately, as soon as the men are returned home, Deerslayer is captured in the rescue of the Sarpent's betrothed. The rest of the novel deals with his capture. The characters in this story were hard for me to like. Hurry is a racist, which during the times, a little could be expected, but he regards anyone of skin other than white as no more than animals. Judith, while the author tries to paint her as vain, never appears that way in the novel to me, in fact, she seems very down to earth. The younger daughter, Hetty, is said to be feeble minded but I also didn't get that impression from the book. She seemed to be more just naive. Lastly, our main character, the Deerslayer, while he is supposed to be a wonderful man, not boastful, but not handsome either, is annoying. He continually goes on about "white-man's gifts" and "red-man's gifts" and repeats himself. He also is self described to go on long soliloquies which it seems as if he just likes to hear himself talk and somewhat pretentiously at that. The writing style is very tedious. There is a lot of conversation, which normally wouldn't be so bad, but Cooper seems to have them have different variations of the same conversation over and over. There is always mentions of red-man's ways and white-man's ways and the beauty of Judith in almost every conversation. I just wasn't as impressed with this as much as I am with some of the classics. While I know the book is very popular and has been around a long time, I guess I just don't think that's enough to make it outstanding to me. I probably won't pursue the rest of the books of "the Leatherstocking Tales" that this novel begins. The language is very authentic for the time and I do give Cooper credit for that. It was easy to imagine these characers talking with the dialect they were written in. Drawn out vowels and backwoods names for things are tastefully used for some of the characters and other characters to show a difference in upbringing and education have a more refined speech. It was well done. It was a nice tale, but just stretched out far too much with Cooper's stylistic writing. The Deerslayer Copyright 1841 548 pages There is also a bunch of prefaces that accompany the novel as well.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Sammis

    Back in December I had fun reading Mark Twain's infamous review of Deerslayer by James Fenimore Cooper. Before Christmas when I had some time off from work we bought a copy to see if the book is as bad as the essay would imply. The short answer is yes and no. It was bad enough that I gave up on reading it seriously at about page 150, but did skim to the end Twain cites an abuse of language, a lack of plot and impossible action scenes for his reason for hating the book. Yes; Cooper's use of Back in December I had fun reading Mark Twain's infamous review of Deerslayer by James Fenimore Cooper. Before Christmas when I had some time off from work we bought a copy to see if the book is as bad as the essay would imply. The short answer is yes and no. It was bad enough that I gave up on reading it seriously at about page 150, but did skim to the end Twain cites an abuse of language, a lack of plot and impossible action scenes for his reason for hating the book. Yes; Cooper's use of language is sloppy but I've read worse. His action scenes (when there are any) are ridiculous (but no more so than Clive Cussler or Dan Brown at their worst). The plot though, that's where the book falls apart. The scenes jump for setting to setting and action scene to action scene without segue, explanation or motivation. While memorable scenes stuck with me I had a hard time following how they were all sewn together into a coherent story. Another problem I had with the book was in the dialogue. As Twain notes in his review, no character has a consistent voice. Sometimes they are eloquent and sometimes they are speaking a backwoods dialect. There is no rhyme nor reason to how or when characters speak the way they do. One of the things the characters spend a lot of time debating (as they are running from the Indians) are the various merits of the different races and the differences of men and women. These arguments seem to be set up to show Deerslayer (Natty Bumpo) as a progressive character compared to Hurry Harry (Henry March) but these scenes are excessive and get in the way of the real plot (the war with Indians). Then there is the domestic story of the man and his daughters who need protection in the middle of the hostilities. Ultimately the book ends with this plot ending poorly and it was the book's concentration on this rather dull plot that convinced me to stop reading.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

    I really enjoyed this book and plan to read all of the Leatherstocking Tales. I read "Last of the Mohicans" several years ago, and didn't realize there was a series of books based on the main character. I liked what Deerslayer had to say to his friends before he parted with them, expecting he would be killed and never see them again. P. 418, he says, "I've often thought there's moments when our words dwell longer on the mind than common, and when advice is remembered, just because the mouth that I really enjoyed this book and plan to read all of the Leatherstocking Tales. I read "Last of the Mohicans" several years ago, and didn't realize there was a series of books based on the main character. I liked what Deerslayer had to say to his friends before he parted with them, expecting he would be killed and never see them again. P. 418, he says, "I've often thought there's moments when our words dwell longer on the mind than common, and when advice is remembered, just because the mouth that gives it isn't likely to give it again. No one knows what will happen in the world; and therefore it may be well, when friends seperate, to say a few words in kindness, as a sort of keepsake. I'll talk to each in turn, and what is more, I'll listen to what you may have to say back again, for it's a poor counselor that won't take as well as give." and p. 422, "All women have their trials. Bear your burden becomingly. There will be cloudy days, but by keeping the windows of the heart open, there will always be room for sunshine to enter. Let the earth around your married happiness be moistened by the dews of kindness...Care in listening, and stout-heartedness in holding to good counsel, is a wife's great protection."

  29. 4 out of 5

    Aaron Meyer

    It took me nearly eight months to finally make my way through this book and I can't say why. At the least it is extremely wordy and that at times has its drawbacks. The scenes many times were extremely drawn out. With that to the side though the story is bracing and at many times quite touching. Who can forget the first time Deerslayer sees the Glimmerglass, or his first kill on the warpath. Deerslayer's expounding of what is morally proper and his pure unabashed truthfulness. Or Hettie's It took me nearly eight months to finally make my way through this book and I can't say why. At the least it is extremely wordy and that at times has its drawbacks. The scenes many times were extremely drawn out. With that to the side though the story is bracing and at many times quite touching. Who can forget the first time Deerslayer sees the Glimmerglass, or his first kill on the warpath. Deerslayer's expounding of what is morally proper and his pure unabashed truthfulness. Or Hettie's simpleminded expositions of the Bible or her final moments. It shows the baseness of some men compared to the principled, and the consequences of actions for doing great wrongs. Though I would of wished Hurry to have been greater reprimanded for his than he got. This story has some real gold in it, but it does take some digging to get to it. The ending of the story is tragic, and sad. Now that I have finally read this one I am eager to reread the second book in the Leatherstocking Tales, which is The Last of the Mohicans.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Abigail Hartman

    After reading "The Last of the Mohicans," it was good to go back and pick up this chronologically-first novel in the Leatherstocking Tales. It follows the adventures of Hawkeye (called Deerslayer at this point) and Chingachgook on their first warpath, as they seek to win back Chingachgook's betrothed from the Hurons who kidnapped her and to protect a white trapper and his two daughters. It takes about a quarter of the book for the plot to really pick up, but one comes to expect that with Cooper. After reading "The Last of the Mohicans," it was good to go back and pick up this chronologically-first novel in the Leatherstocking Tales. It follows the adventures of Hawkeye (called Deerslayer at this point) and Chingachgook on their first warpath, as they seek to win back Chingachgook's betrothed from the Hurons who kidnapped her and to protect a white trapper and his two daughters. It takes about a quarter of the book for the plot to really pick up, but one comes to expect that with Cooper. Although "The Deerslayer" didn't tear my heart out the way "The Last of the Mohicans" did, it was still a splendid read and left me a little teary at the end - Cooper certainly knew how to tie his stories together, and then to tie those stories up.

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