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The Last of the Mohicans (Bantam Classics)
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In the novel, the white woodsman Hawk-eye and his Mohican Indian comrade Chingachgook join forces to help the daughters of a white military officer through hostile territory. The story takes place in a colonial American setting marked by conflict between French and English forces -- a conflict that also involves various Indian nations.
There are a number of exciting (and often graphically violent) scenes of battle and chase. Hawk-eye, a white man who, to a large degree, rejects European-American values, is a fascinating figure -- indeed, he is one of the most enduring fictional creations in all of United States literature. Through the mouths of Hawk-eye and the various Indian characters, Cooper offers some intriguing criticisms of white culture.
As I said, the book is not without flaws. The momentum of the book lags for a brief stretch, and some of Cooper's characters (in particular, his women) at times sound a bit stereotypical. But the overall power and intelligence of Cooper's work is undeniable. Particularly impressive is his re-creation of a multilingual world of complex cultural and personal conflict. Also noteworthy is his evocation of the American landscape. A tale of death and survival, of betrayal and loyalty, and, above all, of the extraordinary bond between a white man and an Indian, "The Last of the Mohicans" is one classic that deserves to be read and reevaluated by each generation.
The hero of these tales, the improbably named Nathaniel Bumppo (or Natty, or Deerslayer, or Hawkeye, or The Long Rifle, or...etc, etc) was the first, and remains the quintessential, all-American fictional hero; brave, noble, honest and more at home in the wilderness than the town. He is not however, the strong, silent type. He has a habit of launching into long, rambling streams of homespun philosophy at the drop of a coonskin cap. Never mind that lead shot is flying thick and fast around his ears, he will lean on his rifle and expound on the different natures of Indians and whites, or the evils of literacy.
The plot of Mohicans is action-packed, but is linear - no surprise twists, and no sub-plots - and contains some highly improbable elements. Well, would you be fooled by an enemy disguised as a beaver? Michael Mann's excellent 1992 screen version reworked the plot extensively, to its advantage.
Cooper was the first distinctively American novelist and was inspired by Walter Scott, the inventor of the historical novel. He was consciously attempting to emulate Scott but, although he writes quite well, he lacks Scott's lyricism.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Rating just the narration, not the story, it was OK. Cooper's language is both antiquated and at a very high education level. Read morePublished 12 days ago by Perpetual Dreamer
This classic novel explores human nature, honor, courage, fidelity, and cultural heritage in a way that is sensitive, rational, and starkly realistic. Read morePublished 21 days ago by Timothy Shaver
What a snoozer! Cooper has the knack of taking an exciting adventure and making it dull and tedious. It doesn't help that the narrator reads this like a robot.Published 27 days ago by Valerie
Be warned, it's 'wordy'. But the action keeps it belting along, and it's an interesting insight into an America that has long since disappeared.Published 1 month ago by Pygmy Possum
Very overwrought as an example of 19th century Romantic literature. The adaptation to Kindle format was clumsy with many text repetitions and double spacing of author's notes. Read morePublished 3 months ago by goboy