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Pathfinder

James Fenimore Cooper

Book Overview: 

Natty Bumppo goes by many names: La Longue Carabine, Hawk Eye, Leatherstocking, and in this tale, The Pathfinder. Guide, scout, hunter, and when put to it, soldier, he also fills a lot of roles in pre-Revolution upstate New York. An old friend, Sergeant Dunham of the 55th Regiment of Foot, asks him to guide his daughter through the wilderness to the fort at Oswego where Dunham serves. With the French engaging native Indian allies against the British and the Yankee colonists, such a journey is far from safe.

Dunham has a plan in mind – to see his daughter Mable married off to the most redoubtable frontiersman and marksman in the territory, who is Pathfinder himself. But as an attractive and marriageable young lady, she draws other suitors. Then a military expedition contrives to put Sgt. Dunham, Mable, Pathfinder, and two other wooers into an isolated and dangerous garrison. Here treachery raises the stakes, and with the soldiers of the detachment shot down or captured, all of them must show mettle for any of them to escape with their scalps.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .now; he has been a soldier since he was sixteen, and he looks upon his trade as every way as respectable as that of a seafaring man, a point I hardly think it worth while to dispute with him."

"My father has been taught to believe that it is honorable to carry arms," said Mabel, "for his father was a soldier before him."

"Yes, yes," resumed the guide; "most of the Sergeant's gifts are martial, and he looks at most things in this world over the barrel of his musket. One of his notions, now, is to prefer a king's piece to a regular, double-sighted, long-barrelled rifle. Such conceits will come over men from long habit; and prejudice is, perhaps, the commonest failing of human natur'."

While the desultory conversation just related had been carried on in subdued voices, the canoes were dropping slowly down with the current within the deep shadows of the western shore, the paddles being used merely to preserve the desired direction and proper p. . . Read More

Community Reviews

I enjoyed reading this book but I was a little disappointed in the ending. I had hoped that Mabel Dunham would come to love Pathfinder and that Jasper Western would fall in love with someone else. When it did not end that way I felt very sorry for poor Pathfinder, having to go back to a life of s...more

Thomas Berger in his afterword to this Signet Classics edition of The Pathfinder makes the persuasive point that much of American mythology about the frontiersmen and the pioneer way of life comes from Fenimore Cooper's Leatherstocking Tales. The long, lean, moccasin-shod, buckskin-wearing and ta...more

If one can read books promiscuously, as I was reassured in graduate school that one could, I read all five of the books in this series like a complete whore, giving myself entirely over to the story - loved all five. A word of caution, however: They were written in a different order than the chro...more

Abject racism aside, this a fun, action-packed (by 19th century standards) read. The Pathfinder is the American action hero prototype--amazingly skilled at everything he does, an innate sense of right and wrong, smart without any fancy book learning. There's treachery and deceit, romance, scalpin...more

Розповідь про наступні пригоди Натаніеля Бампо та його друга Чінгачгука на берегах Великих Озер. Військові сутички за участі індіанських племен. Гарні описи дикої північноамериканської природи.

Natty in love. The last of the Leatherstocking books for me and I'm sorry to see them end. Far more than just classics, these five novels embody and predict so much later pop culture that I'm rendered inarticulate. Each of the books can be characterized in a genre and this one is most certainly a...more

Toto bola obľúbená.

Published in 1840, this was the second-to-last of the Leatherstocking Tales to be written, though in terms of the series' internal chronology, it's the third. Protagonist Natty Bumpo ("Pathfinder" is another of his many nicknames) here is in his late 30s. The French and Indian War is still raging...more

The following review contains spoilers if you haven't read The Prairie or if you don't read the introductions of the Penguin Classics editions.

If you're reading the Leatherstocking Tales in chronological order of the story, you may or may not know that Natty kicks the bucket at the end of the ser...more

Chronologically the third novel in the life of the Leatherstocking Tales’ hero, the Pathfinder follows an epic frontier adventure across the great lakes region, specifically Lake Ontario. The Pathfinder is presented as the perfect archetype of the frontier American. His character is described in...more

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