The Long Rifle is a uniquely American story. It is a timeless coming-of-age story set in the wild Rocky Mountains during the early fur trade era. The Long Rifle recalls a time of endlessly expanding horizons, of extraordinary possibilities, of being one with the natural world, and of refreshing innocence. The Long Rifle has a marvelous spirit that we have almost forgotten, filled with wonder at creation.
This book satisfied tens of thousands of readers almost one century ago when it was first published. White's tale of young Andy Burnett, carrying Daniel Boone's own long rifle, is as powerful today as it was when it was written in the 1930s.
Our storyteller does not so much write the tale as he does launch onto its primal energies and roar downstream with the current. Yes, it is old-fashioned. It is heroic, sentimental, and romantic. It is touched with magnificence. It is imbued with the innocence and optimism that young people, about to venture into unknown worlds, want to believe in.
Fleeing his step-father, young Andy Burnett heads for the wild, untamed Rocky Mountains where adventure waits. His shoulder bears the long rifle of Daniel Boone, the very one carried by the legendary man on his first trip to Kentucky.
Our author beats the drums of the American myth. Burnet goes through the rituals of his first buffalo hunt, his first experience with love, a hair-breadth Indian fight-all test his character. He learns what it means to be a partner. He is intoxicated by seeing new country. He has shining times and starving times, and he loves them all.
Burnett changes from a youth to a man, and all that means. Then, much too soon, he feels it all slipping away, the grand adventure coming to its inevitable end. In this way, The Long Rifle is less a novel than a sacrament. It is a campfire tale as old as the first humans. It reminds us of who we are, as campfire tales always do. This primal story has been told countless times on screen and in books. It is part of the American experience.
The world of the book is fresh and unspoiled, filled with the crazy joy of going somewhere just to go and see it, to feel the earth and drink its water. Our forefathers felt this urge and were privileged to act on it.
This book is now a child out of time. In fact, it was so when it was published in 1932. It is safe to assume that the publisher feared for this literary remnant of a more optimistic time.
That fear never came true. Americans love certain stories of affirmation, and the public took 'The Long Rifle' into its heart.
By the time of his death, White had written nearly sixty books. He was an active man, an avid outdoorsman, and a friend of Teddy Roosevelt's.
Daniel Boone, a celebrated pioneer, is the central character in the beginning of the The Long Rifle-the mysterious stranger who wins a shooting competition with a new kind of gun. It is a book with a leisurely pace, and in this way, also a book from another time.
Andy Burnet is a hero. He loves the West-it's grassy plains, its high mountains, its trappers' holes with quicksilver streams. Its abundant wildlife. Sometimes he seems to be in mystical accord with it.
Unique among white people in the book, he is deeply sympathetic to the Indians. Though the Blackfeet are hated equally by other Indians and all whites, Andy makes a blood brother among them, and treats the Blackfeet like his own family. His love for his red comrades underlies the novel's tragedy.
"I love the mountain man. The cowboy is a figure from realism, the mountain man from romance. In one of the most delicious scenes of all trapper tales, Vardis Fisher's Sam rides down a ridge on a thunderstorm bellowing Beethoven back at the gods. No cowboy ever did that-at least not in a book."
--Win Blevins, General Editor
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.07(d)|