The Last of the Mohicans (Modern Library Classics Series)

The Last of the Mohicans (Modern Library Classics Series)

4.1 108
by James Fenimore Cooper

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Cooper's famous adventure brings the wilds of the American frontier and the drama of the French-Indian war to vivid life. Featuring the classic character Natty Bumppo, it is a moving, memorable depiction of courage, passion, and forbearance, and a precursor to the Western genre.  See more details below


Cooper's famous adventure brings the wilds of the American frontier and the drama of the French-Indian war to vivid life. Featuring the classic character Natty Bumppo, it is a moving, memorable depiction of courage, passion, and forbearance, and a precursor to the Western genre.

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From the Publisher
"[Cooper's] sympathy is large, and his humor is as genuine — and as perfectly unaffected — as his art."
- Joseph Conrad

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Modern Library Classics Series
Edition description:
First Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.15(w) x 7.98(h) x 0.79(d)

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Chapter I

Mine ear is open, and my heart prepared; The worst is worldly loss thou canst unfold:— Say, is my kingdom lost? Richard II, III.ii. 93–95.

It was a feature peculiar to the colonial wars of North America, that the toils and dangers of the wilderness were to be encountered, before the adverse hosts could meet. A wide, and, apparently, an impervious boundary of forests, severed the possessions of the hostile provinces of France and England. The hardy colonist, and the trained European who fought at his side, frequently expended months in struggling against the rapids of the streams, or in effecting the rugged passes of the mountains, in quest of an opportunity to exhibit their courage in a more martial conflict. But, emulating the patience and self-denial of the practised native warriors, they learned to overcome every difficulty; and it would seem, that in time, there was no recess of the woods so dark, nor any secret place so lovely, that it might claim exemption from the inroads of those who had pledged their blood to satiate their vengeance, or to uphold the cold and selfish policy of the distant monarchs of Europe.

Perhaps no district, throughout the wide extent of the intermediate frontiers, can furnish a livelier picture of the cruelty and fierceness of the savage warfare of those periods, than the country which lies between the head waters of the Hudson and the adjacent lakes.

The facilities which nature had there offered to the march of the combatants, were too obvious to be neglected. The lengthened sheet of the Champlain stretched from the frontiers of Canada, deep within the borders of the neighbouring province of New-York, forming a natural passage across half the distance that the French were compelled to master in order to strike their enemies. Near its southern termination, it received the contributions of another lake, whose waters were so limpid, as to have been exclusively selected by the Jesuit missionaries, to perform the typical purification of baptism, and to obtain for it the title of the lake “du Saint Sacrement.” The less zealous English thought they conferred a sufficient honour on its unsullied fountains, when they bestowed the name of their reigning prince, the second of the House of Hanover. The two united to rob the untutored possessors of its wooded scenery of their native right to perpetuate its original appellation of “Horican.”*

Winding its way among countless islands, and imbedded in mountains, the “holy lake” extended a dozen leagues still farther to the south. With the high plain that there interposed itself to the further passage of the water, commenced a portage of as many miles, which conducted the adventurer to the banks of the Hudson, at a point, where, with the usual obstructions of the rapids, or rifts, as they were then termed in the language of the country, the river became navigable to the tide.

While, in the pursuit of their daring plans of annoyance, the restless enterprise of the French even attempted the distant and difficult gorges of the Alleghany, it may easily be imagined that their proverbial acuteness would not overlook the natural advantages of the district we have just described. It became, emphatically, the bloody arena, in which most of the battles for the mastery of the colonies were contested. Forts were erected at the different points that commanded the facilities of the route, and were taken and retaken, rased and rebuilt, as victory alighted on the hostile banners. While the husbandmen shrunk back from the dangerous passes, within the safer boundaries of the more ancient settlements, armies larger than those that had often disposed of the sceptres of the mother countries, were seen to bury themselves in these forests, whence they rarely returned but in skeleton bands, that were haggard with care, or dejected by defeat. Though the arts of peace were unknown to this fatal region, its forests were alive with men; its glades and glens rang with the sounds of martial music, and the echoes of its mountains threw back the laugh, or repeated the wanton cry, of many a gallant and reckless youth, as he hurried by them, in the noontide of his spirits, to slumber in a long night of forgetfulness.

* As each nation of the Indians had either its language or its dialect, they usually gave different names to the same places, though nearly all of their appellations were descriptive of the object. Thus, a literal translation of the name of this beautiful sheet of water, used by the tribe that dwelt on its banks, would be “The tail of the Lake.” Lake George, as it is vulgarly, and now indeed legally, called, forms a sort of tail to Lake Champlain, when viewed on the map. Hence the name. [1831]

It was in this scene of strife and bloodshed, that the incidents we shall attempt to relate occurred, during the third year of the war which England and France last waged, for the possession of a country, that neither was destined to retain.

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What People are saying about this

D. H. Lawrence
In his immortal friendship of Chingachgook and Matty Bumppo [Cooper] dreamed the nucleus of a new society….A stark stripped human relationship of two men, deeper than the deeps of sex. Deeper than property, deeper than fatherhood, deeper than marriage, deeper than Love.
James Franklin Beard
The Last of the Mohicans raises again the question of the efficacy of human effort to control irrational forces at work in individual men, races, and nations. The question has never been more pertinent than now.

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The Last of the Mohicans 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 108 reviews.
TheQuillPen More than 1 year ago
Well, I must be the bearer of bad news here: the back cover of the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of this novel leads readers astray. It mentions "death-defying chases and teeth-clenching suspense," but let me tell you, there's nothing teeth-clenching about this book. I've never liked Cooper's writing, so I may come off as a little harsh, but the plot is average at best and even painfully predictable at times. Granted, plot isn't everything, but this novel does not possess many qualities that redeem the floundering plot. Cooper writes rather coldly, and his characters, with the possible exception of Hawk-eye, are extremely flat and even unlikable, which does not work well for this kind of story. I must give Cooper credit for his exquisite descriptions, especially of the vast frontier wilderness, but unfortunately for Cooper, description alone doesn't make a good book. I'd like to read The Last of the Mohicans again, just to make sure I didn't miss some revelation the first time around, but when the book cover is better than the story, you know something's wrong.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Lest its importance be lost, let me praise at once the Barnes and Noble Classics edition of THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS for its bit more than one page long essay -- 431f-- after the end notes -- called 'INSPIRED BY THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS.' By Stephen Railton, 'INSPIRED' lists and describes notable cinema inspired by Cooper's masterpiece. They begin with D. W. Griffith's 1909 one reeler, LEATHER STOCKING and move along through the 1920 Maurice Tourneur version with Wallace Beery as the satanic Magua and 1924 and 1936 versions by director George B. Seitz, the last starring Randolph Scott 'in perhaps the performance of his career.' Michael Mann's Oscar- winning 1992 THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS is great fun but bears very little resemblance to Cooper's original. *** The last words of this great novel give a sense of what the point of the yarn is. They are solemn remarks by ancient chief Tamenund, well over a century old, whose name is also preserved as Tammany and in 'Tammany Hall.' He concludes thus the funeral rites for Cora and Uncas: 'It is enough,' he said. 'Go, children, of the Lenape, the anger of Manitou is not done. ... The pale-faces are masters of the earth, and the time of the red-men has not yet come again. The day has been too long. In the morning I saw the sons of Unamis [turtles, totem, i.e., of Delawares of the eastern seaboard] happy and strong and yet, before the night has come, have I lived to see the last warrior of the wise race of the Mohicans.' 'Ch XXXIII' *** This book is probably too leisurely for children or even college students who are not English majors. Read it for a sad meditation on why American Indians and European whites never found a way to live together as equals and form an entirely new North American civilization -- much as the Normans had done in Saxon England. Fenimore Cooper makes much of white prejudices against interracial marriages. That Scottish Cora could love and be loved by the last Mohican Indian, gorgeous young Uncas, was thinkable to Cooper's readers only because far back in time she had had a West Indian granddam of color. *** Cooper also notes that the massacre of surrendered troops of Fort William Henry by Indian allies of the French was the second such incident to blot the copy book of the Marquis de Montcalm. *** A final historical suggestion by Cooper is that the Indians could have made themselves as much junior partners of the colonials as the savage Highlanders of Scotland eventually became of Scottish lowlanders and the vastly more numerous English. But the Indians could not unite. They spent too much time killing and raiding other Indians to resist the all-conquering European whites. --- -OOO-
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Last of the Mohicans was an interesting and very detailed portrayal of a small group in the middle of the French and Indian War. I liked it a lot and would like to read more of James Fenimore Cooper¿s novels sometime. I know that many people enjoyed the movie, but to get the whole picture, you really need to read the book. The movie is great, I agree, but I just liked to book better (then again, when is it that you ever like a movie more than the book?). Though not my favourite classic, it is still an amazing book, very worthy of anyone¿s reading time.
KTW More than 1 year ago
Twain was right about Fenimore....but i still need to read all the classics i blew off or didn't finish in HS
Guest More than 1 year ago
James Fenimore Cooper's novel, The last of the Mohincans, tells the story of the colonial scout Hawkeye, real name Natty Bumppo, with his 2 Indian companions Changachgook (his Mohican father) and his mohican brother Uncas. They stumble onto a party of British soldiers conducting 2 fair maidens (names Alice and Cora) traveling to their father Colonel Munro, who is the commander of the British Fort William Henry during the French and Indian War. They are being treacherously lead by a huron scout Magua who intends to hurt the 2 girls in order to get to their father the Colonel. I thought that The Last of the Mohicans was a very interesting piece of work. The book has a compelling story and great characters. Any one that is interested in historical fiction should read this book. The aouther tells this story in chronological order and in third person. He was very descriptive and precise in writing this novel. It is filled with action and adventure. It has a heart felt story with a sad, but meaningful conclusion that is poignant and well thought out. It gives you a sence of guilt to anyone that is from a British/ French heritage. It makes you realize what is the real goal of English or French society, putting risk on lives and ancient cultural heritage of the Native American people? Or have a few extra acres of land? I think that anyone who loves reading and have a plot that makes their mind work a little, would have the privelege of reading this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This Book took me a long time to finish. It is a good story and should be read. But it is really slow going, and i found that parts of it are boring. if you have trouble getting through books you shouldnt read it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Huge fan of the movie but I must say it was hard to finish this book. I tried to put myself in the mindset of the time it was written, but the book was simply just too boring. Explanations and events in the story were excruciatingly too drawn out and the dialogue was ridiculous in a lot of parts.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im here
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As far as l'm concern, l've seen that mostly everyone ignored all the "unskilled" rpers from the party last night. Thus, you bestowed a shameful label as another camp who ignores anyone they don't know. Frankly, all the partyers from last night were only attracted to familiar faces, having newcomers stranded and alone. You're just like all sh<_>itty places to rp, a fraud. Promising to make you feel as if you matter, everything as a whispering lie!!.. Now, l know mostly all of you know Camp Athens.. And you've sought another camp of it's loss.. the camp you mezmerized as you first planted a foot of it's rich soil. But, as our new rightful leader to take the throne of Kenny.. Mascon.. l can assure you that this camp is something to type for, spending time with people who care... a place of where peace is signified as an important aspect of this newly growing camp. <br> Together, We'll Rise. <p> The Athenian Constitution..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For providing just useless information.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lookin foreward to it, pretty lady:)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She goes to a table to sit. Her blue crystalized dress gets in her way.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
His mask was ovalish and white, that of a wickedly smiling face. He grips two bottle of absinthe in both of his hands.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Walks in wearing a short blue dress
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*she poofs to gt ready*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*walks up* id please.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She chuckles. "Mhm. Use the da<_>mn pillow, Dude. Stop hurting yourself."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"But... Yeah..." I sigh and resign to get very drunk, feeling like a jerk and an idiot, "Care to join me?" I offer you a shot of my fireball moonshine
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
'the republic' all res. For every ad posted there, two will be posted here
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Walked over "whats happening" he muttered passing by