William Cooper's Town: Power and Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early American Republic

William Cooper's Town: Power and Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early American Republic

by Alan Taylor
     
 

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An innovative work of biography, social history, and literary analysis, this Pulitzer Prize-winning book presents the story of two men, William Cooper and his son, the novelist James Fennimore Cooper, who embodied the contradictions that divided America in the early years of the Republic. Taylor shows how Americans resolved their revolution through the creation of

Overview

An innovative work of biography, social history, and literary analysis, this Pulitzer Prize-winning book presents the story of two men, William Cooper and his son, the novelist James Fennimore Cooper, who embodied the contradictions that divided America in the early years of the Republic. Taylor shows how Americans resolved their revolution through the creation of new social forms and new stories that evolved with the expansion of our frontier. of photos.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Taylor's account of politician William Cooper and his son, the novelist James Fenimore Cooper, was awarded a Pulitzer Prize. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Wheelright William Cooper became a land speculator in frontier New York following the American Revolution. Taking advantage of postwar opportunities, he bought the Otsego Patent and founded Cooperstown, New York. Using his social and political connections, he became a judge and then a U.S. congressman. One of his sons, the famous novelist James Fenimore Cooper, wrote The Pioneers, a fictionalized account of early Cooperstown. Taylor (history, Univ. of California) traces Cooper's life and the development of Cooperstown in exhaustive detail, drawing parallels with The Pioneers. He provides a thoroughly researched account of the early village. However, his constant attempt to cram every relevant fact into his text leads to lengthy sentences that dampen reader interest. Only the most persevering reader will make it through this one. For large academic libraries specializing in postrevolutionary American history.-Grant A. Fredericksen, Illinois Prairie Dist. P.L., Metamora
Patricia Hassler
A tall, stout wheelwright with bright eyes, boisterous charm, and a love of banter, wrestling, and horse racing turned himself into a wealthy land developer, judge, and U.S. congressman in postRevolutionary War America. His life would make a great novel, and it did. William Cooper's founding of Cooperstown, New York, was later echoed in the historical fiction of his son, James Fenimore Cooper. Alan Taylor has produced a meticulously researched, stylishly accomplished account of the elder Cooper's life through a hearty combination of biography, social history, and literary exegesis. Taylor reveals Cooper's rise from a rude bumpkin to a powerful pseudoelitist and then follows his evolution into the meddlesome landlord he had warned himself against. Ironically, he became as distant from his settlers as from the family he had hoped would develop the erudition, style, and social acceptance that eluded him. His enduring legacy was a son who turned his lack of commercial power into a literary power that made him the early nineteenth century's best-selling author. This is informative, enlightening, entertaining history."
From the Publisher
"Marvelous....Taylor's intellectual grasp never fails."—The New Yorker

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780394580548
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/26/1995
Edition description:
1st ed
Pages:
549
Product dimensions:
6.70(w) x 9.66(h) x 1.75(d)

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