The first of Cooper's renowned Leatherstocking Tales - introducing the heroic American frontiersman, Natty Bumppo.
In this classic novel, James Fenimore Cooper portrays life in a new settlement on New York's Lake Otsego in the closing years of the eighteenth century. He describes the year's cycle- the turkey shoot at Christmas, the tapping of maple trees, fishing for bass in the evening, the marshalling of the militia. But Cooper is also concerned with exploring the development of the cultural and philosophical underpinnings of the American experience. He writes of the conflicts within the settlement itself, focusing primarily on the contrast between the natural codes of the hunter and woodsman Natty Bumppo and his Indian friend John Mohegan and the more rigid structure of law needed by a more complex society. Quite possibly America's first best-seller (more than three thousand copies were sold within hours of publication), The Pioneers today evokes a vibrant and authentic picture of the American pioneering experience.
James Fenimore Cooper was born on Septenber 15, 1789, in Burlington, New Jersey, and grew up in the frontier village of Cooperstown, New Yorrk, in the heart of the wilderness he was to immortalize in his frontier novels. A high-spirited youth, he was expelled from Yale because of a prank and was finally signed by the navy by his strong-willed father. In 1819 a trfling incident reportedly led to the writing of his first book. Reading aloud to his wife from a popular English novel, he exclaimed, 'I could write you a better book myself!' The result was Precausion (1820), which followed in 1821 by his first real success, The Spy.
Cooper became a prolific writer, creating two unique genres that were to become staples in American literature - the sea romance and the frontier adventure story. The first of the famous Leatherstocking tales, The Pioneers, appeared in 1823 and introduced the wilderness scout Natty Bumppo. This detailed portrait of frontier life has been called the first truly American novel. In The Last of the Mohicans (1826) Natty Bumppo becomes the well-loved Hawkeye befriended by the noble Indian Chingachgook; the novel remains a favorite American classic. Other Leatherstocking tales were The Prairie (1827), The Pathfinder (1840) influenced both Herman Mel