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The Prairie

James Fenimore Cooper

Book Overview: 

The story opens with Ishmael, his family, Ellen and Abiram slowly making their way across the virgin prairies of the Midwest looking for a homestead, just two years after the Louisiana Purchase, and during the time of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. They meet the trapper (Natty Bumppo), who has left his home in New York state to find a place where he cannot hear the sound of people cutting down the forests. In the years between his other adventures and this novel, he tells us only that he has walked all the way to the Pacific Ocean and seen all the land between the coasts (a heroic feat, considering Lewis and Clark hadn’t yet completed the same trek). (Summary by Wikipedia)

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .n hesitated, and seemed to give the required advice with deep reluctance. As every eye, however, was fastened on him, and whichever way he turned his face, he encountered a look riveted on the lineaments of his own working countenance, he answered in a low, melancholy, tone—

"I have seen too much mortal blood poured out in empty quarrels, to wish ever to hear an angry rifle again. Ten weary years have I sojourned alone on these naked plains, waiting for my hour, and not a blow have I struck ag'in an enemy more humanised than the grizzly bear."

"Ursus horribilis," muttered the Doctor.

The speaker paused at the sound of the other's voice, but perceiving it was no more than a sort of mental ejaculation, he continued in the same strain—

"More humanised than the grizzly hear, or the panther of the Rocky Mountains; unless the beaver, which is a wise and knowing animal, may be so reckoned. What would I advise? Even the fema. . . Read More

Community Reviews

I take it Fenimore was not so familiar with this landscape as his descriptions of the prairie, to me, didn't convince. Natty, now a very old man, is the fittest 80/90 year old man in existence. Still, it was a good story and for me quite emotional at the end as our hero has become "my friend" over a

Even for a Cooper novel, The Prairie can be pretty rough going most of the time: the narrative is often barren or contrived, a passel of useless characters trail the reader around, and the writing expresses nothing in fewer words that could not be obscured with more. These are literary offenses. I d

Продовжуючи читати улюблений цикл дитинства, я не мав особливих очікувань щодо цього роману. І чверть століття тому Прерія була нудною до неможливості. Але... Оскільки я перечитую в порядку написання, то в мене жевріла слабка надія, що все не так погано. Врешті-решт, Піонери виявилися сильним і яскр

I did ultimately enjoy this, the last of the five in the Tales regarding Hawk-Eye in fictional chronology, though the 3rd written by Cooper. I felt that it took longer to "get there" than the others; however, it does transport the setting finally to the wild prairie and includes some memorable chara

Somewhere within the illimitless plains of the prairie lies a tale of human valor.

Analyze the shit outta any of these classics & you're bound to discover the golden nugget that someone somewhere sometime once found and classified as such. Not the case with this, the last of the Leatherstocking tales. It's not for modern readers. At all.

Campfire philosophy is perhaps the least int

Taking place in the then trackless expanses of the Louisiana Purchase territory, somewhere about 500 miles west of the Mississippi, in 1805, this novel is actually set in Cooper's own lifetime, as was The Pioneers. (In 1805, the author would have been in his teens.) I've classified it, somewhat loos

The only other one of the Leatherstocking Tales that I have read is Last of the Mohicans, which is much more famous than The Prairie, but to my mind not nearly as good. I found the old Natty Bumppo to be a more believable and interesting character than his younger self. He is the same wise man with

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