The Pioneers

The Pioneers

3.7 6
by James Fenimore Cooper
     
 

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The first of Cooper's Leatherstocking Tales, The Pioneers introduces the character of Natty Bumppo, one of literature's most unforgettable heroes, an outsider on the advancing edge of a civilization he can neither abide nor escape. Bumppo makes his first appearance here as an aged hunter living on the fringe of settlement near Templeton (Cooperstown),

Overview

The first of Cooper's Leatherstocking Tales, The Pioneers introduces the character of Natty Bumppo, one of literature's most unforgettable heroes, an outsider on the advancing edge of a civilization he can neither abide nor escape. Bumppo makes his first appearance here as an aged hunter living on the fringe of settlement near Templeton (Cooperstown), New York, at the end of the eighteenth century.?An introduction by historian Alan Taylor (William Cooper's Town) explores the real historical backdrop against which Cooper's imagination flourished.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“His memory will exist in the hearts of the people...[and his works] should find a place in every American’s library.”—Daniel Webster
 
“Cooper emphatically belongs to the nation. He has left a space in our literature which will not easily be supplied.”—Washington Irving

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781598531558
Publisher:
Library of America
Publication date:
01/19/2012
Pages:
512
Sales rank:
1,200,642
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851) grew up at Otsego Hall, his father’s manorial estate near Lake Otsego in upstate New York. Educated at Yale, he spent five years at sea, as a foremast hand and then as a midshipman in the navy. At thirty he was suddenly plunged into a literary career when his wife challenged his claim that he could write a better book that the English novel he was reading to her. The result was Precaution (1820), a novel of manners. His second book, The Spy (1821), was an immediate success, and with The Pioneers (1823) he began his series of Leatherstocking Tales. By 1826 when The Last of the Mohicans appeared, his standing as a major novelist was clearly established. From 1826 to 1833 Cooper and his family lived and traveled in France, Switzerland, Italy, and Germany. Two of his most successful works, The Prairie and The Red Rover, were published in 1827. He returned to Otsego Hall in 1834, and after a series of relatively unsuccessful books of essays, travel sketches, and history, he returned to fiction – and to Leatherstocking – with The Pathfinder (1840) and The Deerslayer (1841). In his last decade he faced declining popularity brought on in part by his waspish attacks on critics and political opponents. Just before his death in 1851 an edition of his works led to a reappraisal of his fiction and somewhat restored his reputation as the first of American writers.
Alan Taylor’s books include William Cooper’s Town: Power and Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early American Republic, which won the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for history and the Bancroft Prize in American History. He is a professor of history at the University of California at Davis.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
September 15, 1789
Date of Death:
September 14, 1851
Place of Birth:
Burlington, New Jersey
Place of Death:
Cooperstown, New York
Education:
Yale University (expelled in 1805)

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The Pioneers 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
HomeSchoolBookReview More than 1 year ago
Though this is the fourth book of the "Leatherstocking Tales" in which Nathaniel Bumppo, alias Deerslayer, Hawkeye, Pathfinder, and Leatherstocking, appears when the five books are arranged in the chronological order of Bumppo's life, it was the first published. I had more trouble slogging through it than any of the first three, and I believe that the reason is simple. The Pioneers was not written about the exploits of Natty Bumppo. Yes, he is a main character in the book, but the plot mainly revolves around Judge Marmaduke Temple, who settled the area of Lake Otsego, NY, with his family and activities as the taming of the wilderness interacts with the needs and wishes of the now seventy-year-old hunter. It is believed that Cooper based the character of Temple on his own father (the founder of Cooperstown, NY) and the character of Natty Bumppo on some hunter whom Judge Cooper encountered. Natty became such a hero that people wanted more novels about him, so Cooper obliged with The Deerslayer, The Last of the Mohicans, and The Pathfinder. Those books are about Natty and his exploits. They are filled with excitement and adventure. The Pioneers is said to be "the most realistic of the Leatherstocking Tales." That may be true, but to me it is also the most boring so far. Like many other novels of the nineteenth century, it begins very slowly with a lot of descriptive introduction and background. The last third of the book has more action and thus is more interesting, but, unfortunately, one cannot understand the last third without having to wade through the first two-thirds. Even the afterword in my copy says, "Taken in this context, the novel does not have the appeal of The Deerslayer, in which Natty is presented in all his youthful vigor; The Last of the Mohicans or The Pathfinder, in which he is still in his full strength; or The Prairie, in which he strikes out once more for the Garden of the West and is at last fully portrayed by his creator as one of the really great characters of fiction. But The Pioneers is also the first novel in which Natty appears, and he is obviously not the principle reason why the novel was written. The reader who picks it up, therefore, as just one of the romantic tales of the wilderness scout is in for a disappointment." That is certainly true. Natty is pictured in The Pioneers as a somewhat crotchety and petulant old man, although he is still honest and loyal to a fault. It also seems to me that there is more bad language, with the "d" word and taking the Lord's name in vain, as well as references to drinking alcohol and smoking tobacco, than in the previous books. However, it is still an interesting story and fans of Natty Bumppo will not want to miss it.
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