The Last of the Mohicans

The Last of the Mohicans


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Celebrated for almost 150 years as the prototype of the American adventure story, The Last of the Mohicans remains a perennial favorite, an astonishingly complex work to be read on many levels. Irradiated by an elusive irony that gives epic scope to the American colonial experience, it projects on a broad canvas the futile efforts of European armies to wrest a glorious wilderness from the Indians and each other. It speaks with compassion of racial injustice and prejudice, especially of the dispossession of the Indian.

In tribute to his friend Cooper shortly before the novelist’s death, George Copway, the Chippewa chief Kah-Ge-Ga-Gah-Bowh, wrote: “No living writer, nor historian, has done so much justice to the noble traits of our people. The whole American feeling takes pride in such a man, as the author of The Last of the Mohicans.”

Suggested by Cooper’s visit to Glens Falls and Lake George with four British travellers in 1824, this book is the second of the Leatherstocking Tales in point of composition and also in the chronology of the hero’s life. In it Hawk-eye appears as a reincarnation of the Leather-stocking of The Pioneers, now a younger, hard-bitten Indian scout.

George Sand, one of Cooper’s many European admirers, remarked of the romance: “While Sir Walter Scott mourns for a nation, a power, above all an aristrocratic way of life [,w]hat Cooper sighs for and laments is a noble people exterminated; a serene natural world laid waste; he mourns all nature and all mankind...”

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442481305
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication date: 06/11/2013
Series: Scribner Classics Series
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 372
Sales rank: 334,812
Product dimensions: 7.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)
Lexile: 1230L (what's this?)
Age Range: 10 - 13 Years

About the Author

N.C. Wyeth (1882–1945) began his artistic career as a young adult. Born in Needham, Massachusetts, Wyeth traveled the American West extensively and drew what he saw. His prolific career includes three thousand works and more than one hundred book illustrations, including those for a majority of the Scribner Illustrated Classics series.

Date of Birth:

September 15, 1789

Date of Death:

September 14, 1851

Place of Birth:

Burlington, New Jersey

Place of Death:

Cooperstown, New York


Yale University (expelled in 1805)

Read an Excerpt

The Last of the Mohicans


“Mine ear is open, and my heart prepared:

The worst is worldly loss thou canst unfold:

Say, is my kingdom lost?”

Richard II1

IT WAS A FEATURE peculiar to the colonial wars of North America, that the toils and dangers of the wilderness were to be encountered before the adverse hosts could meet. A wide and apparently an impervious boundary of forests severed the possessions of the hostile provinces of France and England. The hardy colonist, and the trained European who fought at his side, frequently expended months in struggling against the rapids of the streams, or in effecting the rugged passes of the mountains, in quest of an opportunity to exhibit their courage in a more martial conflict. But, emulating the patience and self-denial of the practised native warriors, they learned to overcome every difficulty; and it would seem that, in time, there was no recess of the woods so dark, nor any secret place so lovely, that it might claim exemption from the inroads of those who had pledged their blood to satiate their vengeance, or to uphold the cold and selfish policy of the distant monarchs of Europe.

Perhaps no district throughout the wide extent of the intermediate frontiers can furnish a livelier picture of the cruelty and fierceness of the savage warfare of those periods than the country which lies between the head waters of the Hudson and the adjacent lakes.

The facilities which nature had there offered to the march of the combatants were too obvious to be neglected. The lengthened sheet of the Champlain stretched from the frontiers of Canada, deep within the borders of the neighboring province of New York, forming a natural passage across half the distance that the French were compelled to master in order to strike their enemies. Near its southern termination, it received the contributions of another lake, whose waters were so limpid as to have been exclusively selected by the Jesuit missionaries to perform the typical purification of baptism, and to obtain for it the title of lake “du Saint Sacrement.” The less zealous English thought they conferred a sufficient honor on its unsullied fountains, when they bestowed the name of their reigning prince, the second of the house of Hanover. The two united to rob the untutored possessors of its wooded scenery of their native right to perpetuate its original appellation of “Horican.”

Winding its way among countless islands, and imbedded in mountains, the “holy lake” extended a dozen leagues still farther to the south. With the high plain that there interposed itself to the further passage of the water, commenced a portage of as many miles, which conducted the adventurer to the banks of the Hudson, at a point where, with the usual obstructions of the rapids, or rifts, as they were then termed in the language of the country, the river became navigable to the tide.

While, in the pursuit of their daring plans of annoyance, the restless enterprise of the French even attempted the distant and difficult gorges of the Allegheny, it may easily be imagined that their proverbial acuteness would not overlook the natural advantages of the district we have just described. It became, emphatically, the bloody arena, in which most of the battles for the mastery of the colonies were contested. Forts were erected at the different points that commanded the facilities of the route, and were taken and retaken, razed and rebuilt, as victory alighted on the hostile banners. While the husbandman2 shrank back from the dangerous passes, within the safer boundaries of the more ancient settlements, armies larger than those that had often disposed of the sceptres of the mother countries, were seen to bury themselves in these forests, whence they rarely returned but in skeleton bands, that were haggard with care, or dejected by defeat. Though the arts of peace were unknown to this fatal region, its forests were alive with men; its shades and glens rang with the sounds of martial music, and the echoes of its mountains threw back the laugh, or repeated the wanton cry, of many a gallant and reckless youth, as he hurried by them, in the noontide of his spirits, to slumber in a long night of forgetfulness.

It was in this scene of strife and bloodshed that the incidents we shall attempt to relate occurred, during the third year of the war which England and France last waged for the possession of a country that neither was destined to retain.

The imbecility of her military leaders abroad, and the fatal want of energy in her councils at home, had lowered the character of Great Britain from the proud elevation on which it had been placed by the talents and enterprise of her former warriors and statesmen. No longer dreaded by her enemies, her servants were fast losing the confidence of self-respect. In this mortifying abasement, the colonists, though innocent of her imbecility, and too humble to be the agents of her blunders, were but the natural participators.

They had recently seen a chosen army from that country, which, reverencing as a mother, they had blindly believed invincible—an army led by a chief who had been selected from a crowd of trained warriors, for his rare military endowments, disgracefully routed by a handful of French and Indians, and only saved from annihilation by the coolness and spirit of a Virginian boy, whose riper fame has since diffused itself, with the steady influence of moral truth, to the uttermost confines of Christendom. A wide frontier had been laid naked by this unexpected disaster, and more substantial evils were preceded by a thousand fanciful and imaginary dangers. The alarmed colonists believed that the yells of the savages mingled with every fitful gust of wind that issued from the interminable forests of the west. The terrific character of their merciless enemies increased immeasurably the natural horrors of warfare. Numberless recent massacres were still vivid in their recollections; nor was there any ear in the provinces so deaf as not to have drunk in with avidity the narrative of some fearful tale of midnight murder, in which the natives of the forest were the prinicipal and barbarous actors. As the credulous and excited traveller related the hazardous chances of the wilderness, the blood of the timid curdled with terror, and mothers cast anxious glances even at those children which slumbered within the security of the largest towns. In short, the magnifying influence of fear began to set at naught the calculations of reason, and to render those who should have remembered their manhood, the slaves of the basest of passions. Even the most confident and the stoutest hearts began to think the issue of the contest was becoming doubtful; and the abject class was hourly increasing in numbers, who thought they foresaw all the possessions of the English crown in America subdued by their Christian foes, or laid waste by the inroads of their relentless allies.

When, therefore, intelligence was received at the fort, which covered the southern termination of the portage between the Hudson and the lakes, that Montcalm3 had been seen moving up the Champlain, with an army “numerous as the leaves on the trees,”4 its truth was admitted with more of the craven reluctance of fear than with the stern joy that a warrior should feel, in finding an enemy within reach of his blow. The news had been brought, towards the decline of a day in midsummer, by an Indian runner, who also bore an urgent request from Munro,5 the commander of a work on the shore of the “holy lake,” for a speedy and powerful reinforcement. It has already been mentioned that the distance between these two posts was less than five leagues.6 The rude path, which originally formed their line of communication, had been widened for the passage of wagons; so that the distance which had been travelled by the son of the forest in two hours, might easily be effected by a detachment of troops, with their necessary baggage, between the rising and setting of a summer sun. The loyal servants of the British crown had given to one of these forest fastnesses the name of William Henry, and to the other that of Fort Edward; calling each after a favorite prince of the reigning family. The veteran Scotchman just named held the first, with a regiment of regulars and a few provincials; a force really by far too small to make head against the formidable power that Montcalm was leading to the foot of his earthen mounds. At the latter, however, lay General Webb, who commanded the armies of the king in the northern provinces, with a body of more than five thousand men. By uniting the several detachments of his command, this officer might have arrayed nearly double that number of combatants against the enterprising Frenchman, who had ventured so far from his reinforcements, with an army but little superior in numbers.

But under the influence of their degraded fortunes, both officers and men appeared better disposed to await the approach of their formidable antagonists, within their works, than to resist the progress of their march, by emulating the successful example of the French at Fort du Quesne, and striking a blow on their advance.

After the first surprise of the intelligence had a little abated, a rumor was spread through the entrenched camp, which stretched along the margin of the Hudson, forming a chain of outworks to the body of the fort itself, that a chosen detachment of fifteen hundred men was to depart, with the dawn, for William Henry, the post at the northern extremity of the portage. That which at first was only rumor, soon became certainty, as orders passed from the quarters of the commander-in-chief to the several corps he had selected for this service, to prepare for their speedy departure. All doubt as to the intention of Webb now vanished, and an hour or two of hurried footsteps and anxious faces succeeded. The novice in the military art flew from point to point, retarding his own preparations by the excess of his violent and somewhat distempered zeal; while the more practised veteran made his arrangements with a deliberation that scorned every appearance of haste; though his sober lineaments and anxious eye sufficiently betrayed that he had no very strong professional relish for the as yet untried and dreaded warfare of the wilderness. At length the sun set in a flood of glory, behind the distant western hills, and as darkness drew its veil around the secluded spot the sounds of preparation diminished; the last light finally disappeared from the log cabin of some officer; the trees cast their deeper shadows over the mounds and the rippling stream, and a silence soon pervaded the camp, as deep as that which reigned in the vast forest by which it was environed.

According to the orders of the preceding night, the heavy sleep of the army was broken by the rolling of the warning drums, whose rattling echoes were heard issuing, on the damp morning air, out of every vista of the woods, just as day began to draw the shaggy outlines of some tall pines of the vicinity, on the opening brightness of a soft and cloudless eastern sky. In an instant the whole camp was in motion; the meanest soldier arousing from his lair to witness the departure of his comrades, and to share in the excitement and incidents of the hour. The simple array of the chosen band was soon completed. While the regular and trained hirelings of the king marched with haughtiness to the right of the line, the less pretending colonists took their humbler position on its left, with a docility that long practice had rendered easy. The scouts departed; strong guards preceded and followed the lumbering vehicles that bore the baggage; and before the gray light of the morning was mellowed by the rays of the sun, the main body of the combatants wheeled into column, and left the encampment with a show of high military bearing, that served to drown the slumbering apprehensions of many a novice, who was now about to make his first essay in arms. While in view of their admiring comrades, the same proud front and ordered array was observed, until the notes of their fifes growing fainter in distance, the forest at length appeared to swallow up the living mass which had slowly entered its bosom.

The deepest sounds of the retiring and invisible column had ceased to be borne on the breeze to the listeners, and the latest straggler had already disappeared in pursuit; but there still remained the signs of another departure, before a log cabin of unusual size and accommodations, in front of which those sentinels paced their rounds, who were known to guard the person of the English general. At this spot were gathered some half dozen horses, caparisoned in a manner which showed that two, at least, were destined to bear the persons of females, of a rank that it was not usual to meet so far in the wilds of the country. A third wore the trappings and arms of an officer of the staff; while the rest, from the plainness of the housings, and the travelling mails with which they were encumbered, were evidently fitted for the reception of as many menials, who were, seemingly, already awaiting the pleasure of those they served. At a respectful distance from this unusual show were gathered divers groups of curious idlers; some admiring the blood and bone of the high-mettled military charger, and others gazing at the preparations, with dull wonder of vulgar curiosity. There was one man, however, who, by his countenance and actions, formed a marked exception to those who composed the latter class of spectators, being neither idle, nor seemingly very ignorant.

The person of this individual was to the last degree ungainly, without being in any particular manner deformed. He had all the bones and joints of other men, without any of their proportions. Erect, his stature surpassed that of his fellows; seated, he appeared reduced within the ordinary limits of the race. The same contrarity in his members seemed to exist throughout the whole man. His head was large; his shoulders narrow; his arms long and dangling; while his hands were small, if not delicate. His legs and thighs were thin, nearly to emaciation, but of extraordinary length; and his knees would have been considered tremendous, had they not been outdone by the broader foundations on which this false superstructure of the blended human orders was so profanely reared. The ill-assorted and injudicious attire of the individual only served to render his awkwardness more conspicuous. A sky-blue coat, with short and broad skirts and low cape, exposed a long thin neck, and longer and thinner legs, to the worst animadversions of the evil disposed. His nether garment was of yellow nankeen,7 closely fitted to the shape, and tied at his bunches of knees by large knots of white ribbon, a good deal sullied by use. Clouded cotton stockings, and shoes, on one of the latter of which was a plated spur, completed the costume of the lower extremity of this figure, no curve or angle of which was concealed, but, on the other hand, studiously exhibited, through the vanity or simplicity of its owner. From beneath the flap of an enormous pocket of a soiled vest of embossed silk, heavily ornamented with tarnished silver lace, projected an instrument, which, from being seen in such martial company, might have been easily mistaken for some mischievous and unknown implement of war. Small as it was, this uncommon engine had excited the curiosity of most of the Europeans in the camp, though several of the provincials were seen to handle it, not only without fear, but with the utmost familiarity. A large, civil cocked hat, like those worn by clergymen within the last thirty years, surmounted the whole, furnishing dignity to a good-natured and somewhat vacant countenance, that apparently needed such artificial aid, to support the gravity of some high and extraordinary trust.

While the common herd stood aloof, in deference to the quarters of Webb, the figure we have described stalked into the centre of the domestics, freely expressing his censures or commendations on the merits of the horses, as by chance they displeased or satisfied his judgment.

“This beast, I rather conclude, friend, is not of home raising, but is from foreign lands, or perhaps from the little island itself over the blue water?” he said, in a voice as remarkable for the softness and sweetness of its tones, as was his person for its rare proportions: “I may speak of these things, and be no braggart; for I have been down at both havens;8 that which is situate at the mouth of Thames, and is named after the capital of Old England, and that which is called ‘Haven,’ with the addition of the word ‘New’; and have seen the scows and brigantines collecting their droves, like the gathering to the ark, being outward bound to the Island of Jamaica, for the purpose of barter and traffic in four-footed animals; but never before have I beheld a beast which verified the true Scripture war-horse like this: ‘He paweth in the valley, and rejoiceth in his strength: he goeth on to meet the armed men. He saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha; and he smelleth the battle afar off, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting.’ It would seem that the stock of the horse of Israel has descended to our own time; would it not, friend?”

Receiving no reply to this extraordinary appeal, which in truth, as it was delivered with the vigor of full and sonorous tones, merited some sort of notice, he who had thus sung forth the language of the Holy Book turned to the silent figure to whom he had unwittingly addressed himself, and found a new and more powerful subject of admiration in the object that encountered his gaze. His eyes fell on the still, upright, and rigid form of the “Indian runner,” who had borne to the camp the unwelcome tidings of the preceding evening. Although in a state of perfect repose, and apparently disregarding, with characteristic stoicism, the excitement and bustle around him, there was a sullen fierceness mingled with the quiet of the savage, that was likely to arrest the attention of much more experienced eyes than those which now scanned him, in unconcealed amazement. The native bore both the tomahawk and knife of his tribe; and yet his appearance was not altogether that of a warrior. On the contrary, there was an air of neglect about his person, like that which might have proceeded from great and recent exertion, which he had not yet found leisure to repair. The colors of the war-paint had blended in dark confusion about his fierce countenance, and rendered his swarthy lineaments still more savage and repulsive than if art had attempted an effect which had been thus produced by chance. His eye, alone, which glistened like a fiery star amid lowering clouds, was to be seen in its state of native wildness. For a single instant, his searching and yet wary glance met the wondering look of the other, and then changing its direction, partly in cunning, and partly in disdain, it remained fixed, as if penetrating the distant air.

It is impossible to say what unlooked-for remark this short and silent communication, between two such singular men, might have elicited from the white man, had not his active curiosity been again drawn to other objects. A general movement among the domestics, and a low sound of gentle voices, announced the approach of those whose presence alone was wanted to enable the cavalcade to move. The simple admirer of the war-horse instantly fell back to a low, gaunt, switch-tailed mare, that was unconsciously gleaning the faded herbage of the camp nigh by; where, leaning with one elbow on the blanket that concealed an apology for a saddle, he became a spectator of the departure, while a foal was quietly making its morning repast, on the opposite side of the same animal.

A young man, in the dress of an officer, conducted to their steeds two females, who, as it was apparent by their dresses, were prepared to encounter the fatigues of a journey in the woods. One, and she was the most juvenile in her appearance, though both were young, permitted glimpses of her dazzling complexion, fair golden hair, and bright blue eyes, to be caught, as she artlessly suffered the morning air to blow aside the green veil which descended low from her beaver. The flush which still lingered above the pines in the western sky was not more bright nor delicate than the bloom on her cheek; nor was the opening day more cheering than the animated smile which she bestowed on the youth, as he assisted her into the saddle. The other, who appeared to share equally in the attentions of the young officer, concealed her charms from the gaze of the soldiery, with a care that seemed better fitted to the experience of four or five additional years. It could be seen, however, that her person, though moulded with the same exquisite proportions, of which none of the graces were lost by the travelling dress she wore, was rather fuller and more mature than that of her companion.

No sooner were these females seated, than their attendant sprang lightly into the saddle of the war-horse, when the whole three bowed to Webb, who, in courtesy, awaited their parting on the threshold of his cabin, and turning their horses’ heads, they proceeded at a slow amble, followed by their train, towards the northern entrance of the encampment. As they traversed that short distance, not a voice was heard amongst them; but a slight exclamation proceeded from the younger of the females, as the Indian runner glided by her, unexpectedly, and led the way along the military road in her front. Though this sudden and startling movement of the Indian produced no sound from the other, in the surprise her veil also was allowed to open its folds, and betrayed an indescribable look of pity, admiration, and horror, as her dark eye followed the easy motions of the savage. The tresses of this lady were shining and black, like the plumage of the raven. Her complexion was not brown, but it rather appeared charged with the color of the rich blood, that seemed ready to burst its bounds. And yet there was neither coarseness nor want of shadowing in a countenance that was exquisitely regular and dignified, and surpassingly beautiful. She smiled, as if in pity at her own momentary forgetfulness, discovering by the act a row of teeth that would have shamed the purest ivory; when, replacing the veil, she bowed her face, and rode in silence, like one whose thoughts were abstracted from the scene around her.

Table of Contents



Historical Introduction

Preface [1826]

Introduction [1831]

Addition to the 1831 Introduction [1850]

The Last of the Mohicans

Explanatory Notes

Textual Commentary

Textual Notes


Rejected Readings


What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“In his immortal friendship of Chingachgook and Natty Bumppo [Cooper] dreamed the nucleus of a new society….A stark human relationship of two men, deeper than the deeps of sex. Deeper than property, deeper than fatherhood, deeper than marriage, deeper than Love.” –D. H. Lawrence

The Last of the Mohicans raises again the question of the efficacy of human effort to control irrational forces at work in individual men, races, and nations. The question has never been more pertinent than now.” –James Franklin Beard 

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The Last of the Mohicans 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 110 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Last of the Mohicans was an interesting and very detailed portrayal of a small group in the middle of the French and Indian War. I liked it a lot and would like to read more of James Fenimore Cooper¿s novels sometime. I know that many people enjoyed the movie, but to get the whole picture, you really need to read the book. The movie is great, I agree, but I just liked to book better (then again, when is it that you ever like a movie more than the book?). Though not my favourite classic, it is still an amazing book, very worthy of anyone¿s reading time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
James Fenimore Cooper's novel, The last of the Mohincans, tells the story of the colonial scout Hawkeye, real name Natty Bumppo, with his 2 Indian companions Changachgook (his Mohican father) and his mohican brother Uncas. They stumble onto a party of British soldiers conducting 2 fair maidens (names Alice and Cora) traveling to their father Colonel Munro, who is the commander of the British Fort William Henry during the French and Indian War. They are being treacherously lead by a huron scout Magua who intends to hurt the 2 girls in order to get to their father the Colonel. I thought that The Last of the Mohicans was a very interesting piece of work. The book has a compelling story and great characters. Any one that is interested in historical fiction should read this book. The aouther tells this story in chronological order and in third person. He was very descriptive and precise in writing this novel. It is filled with action and adventure. It has a heart felt story with a sad, but meaningful conclusion that is poignant and well thought out. It gives you a sence of guilt to anyone that is from a British/ French heritage. It makes you realize what is the real goal of English or French society, putting risk on lives and ancient cultural heritage of the Native American people? Or have a few extra acres of land? I think that anyone who loves reading and have a plot that makes their mind work a little, would have the privelege of reading this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although I admit to looking up the meanings for many words being a trifle irritating, this was an enrichement to my understanding, a revelation as to the customs of the tribes of northernmost American Indians, and the story of the momentous passage of one culture to anothers assemilation and domination.
RebeccaGraf on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Classic American stories are part of our lives. We read books on them, references in television series, and watch movies on them. But when we read the actual classic, we find that what we thought it was about is slightly different. The Last of the Mohicans is no different.James Fenimore Cooper wrote a classic that is read in most schools across the country. It¿s the story of 2 young English women on a journey to see their father who is a leader in the British Army. With an escort of British military and one native scout they find themselves ambushed. They are saved by a scout and 2 other natives. The fighting amongst the French, English, and native tribes gives Cooper a plethora of material for an intricate plot.This proved to more difficult of a read than I remember from high school when I read it. Maybe it is because I¿ve read so many more contemporary versions and watched movies. There are several scenes were the dialogue is only in French. Sorry, I know about three words in that language. Also, so much description was placed that I¿d forget what was happening in the scene.Now, I have to admit how movies ruined Cooper¿s book for me. The movie with Daniel Daye Lewis was great. I loved it. When I just reread the book, I was so disappointed because the storyline is so different. The book has Alice and Duncan in love. The move has Hawkeye and Cora. There are many other differences, but I would be spoiling the reading experience.If you have not read the book yet, try not to see any movies on it first. It will make the experience so much more enjoyable.Note: This book was free as a public domain piece of literature.
janemarieprice on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I had a hard time getting into this book. It is a very interesting plot but the manner in which it is written made it pretty tedious for me. I also felt like things dragged on a bit much.
HankIII on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Fenimore writes with sentimental flair which can certainly annoy and irritate:1) the lofty narrative tone 2) the ornate convoluted language 3) the unconvincing dialogue 4) the unconvincing, one-dimensional characterization, and these are all there to repell any reader.However, there were times in my reading that I no longer had that plodding feeling, and I contribute that loss of annoyance to a few factors as the plot unfolded.The setting: I found Fenimore¿s description of the lush and dense foliage, the mountains, and the landscape of the early upper state New York wilderness as interesting and detailed, serving as a convincing foundation and revealing it as very much an obstacle in the French and Indian War. The culture: Fenimore delves into the various customs and tribal politics of the Hurons and Delawares. Yes, the scalping is all there, but it's the inter-personal relationships and how they are dealt with between Chigachgook and the Hurons. And of course, Hawkeye, clearly a man who has cast off civilation, preferring to live with the confines of the wilderness where contamination of western society are far and few between. When the sentimental language tended to be a bit much (which was frequent) I would remind myself that the novel was geared toward entertaining current readers of that time (with no i-pods and computers, something to bear in mind). There were a few times in the novel I found myself confused to what was happening, but strove on. I can't say this was an enjoyable read; I can say it was an unusual reading experience, and for the most part a painless one. It could have been worse--it could have been Faulkner. I actually have a desire to read the rest of The Leather Stocking Tales.
jolerie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The title of the story pretty much sums up the main storyline. The Last of the Mohicans is surprise, about the last of the Mohicans. Well if you want to be technical, it's about the last two Mohicans, a Father and his Son, but based on the title of the story, you can pretty much guess what happens at the end. The story is centred around two sisters, Cora and Alice who are the daughters of a British General. They are travelling back to meet up with their Father at one of the British trading posts when they are betrayed by an Indian guide (antagonist) who is supposed to show them they way through the wilderness. Long story short, the girls are caught and then freed and then caught again (this happens multiple times) and during this whole time, the Mohicans and their friend, the Scout (I am assuming he is British as well) who are the protagonist of the story are in constant pursuit to rescue these two damsels from the perils of their captors - the savages.As with so many other classics that I've read in the past, the first couple of chapters are always the most laborious to read as it takes me some time to catch onto the idioms and the language that these books usually take. I often find that I am reading the same paragraphs multiple times in order to wrap my mind around what the author is trying to convey. Overall The Last of the Mohicans was a pleasant enough read. There were certain portions of the book that keep me going while other parts rather dragged (after the second rescue and capture, it got rather annoying), and my mind would start wandering. With a little dash of adventure and a smidgeon of romance, the story passed relatively quickly for the most part. If you are a lover of Classics then I would definitely give this book a chance, but otherwise, for most readers, I think time could be better spent elsewhere.
choochtriplem on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was a history major in college and even studied much about the French and Indian War. The movie of the same title is great, so I thought the book would be worth a read. I was very, very wrong. The book is a long and rather awful read. I hate to say such bad things about a famous American novel and writer, but the story just did not make much sense sometimes and the narrative was long and very hard to read. If you like the movie, the story is completely different. It may be worth a read if you have the time.
lindseyrivers on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Who knew a book so full of action could be so boring? I didn't even cry at the end,,,
snat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If time travel were possible, I'd go back in time and assassinate James Fenimore Cooper before he ever put pen to paper (in this imaginary scenario, let it be known that I also possess mad ninja skills). Why do I hate Cooper so much? Let me count the ways:1) His never-ending description of every rock, twig, river, etc., that the main characters come into contact with. No pebble escapes his scrutiny. This book would have been 3 pages long without the description. And even then, it would have been 3 pages too long.2) Native American dialogue is limited to the occasional exclamation of "Hugh." Not Hugh as in Hefner, but something more like "huh." They're a quiet people, apparently. I'm shocked they don't greet each other by saying, "How."2 1/2) While we're on the subject, they're all stereotypes of either the noble savage variety or the "me big chief Ugh-a-Mug gotta have 'em squaw" variety. The whole thing is a racist piece of crap. And don't tell me that Cooper was reflecting the beliefs of the time because, while that may explain the racism, it doesn't explain away the crap bit.3) Practically every speech by Hawk-eye will contain some bit of dialogue such as, "Even though white blood runs through my veins." Lest we forget he's white since he's been hobnobbing with the natives for so long.4) Those damn women just keep getting kidnapped.5) For an action story, it's mind-numbingly boring. To illustrate, I give you a riveting, action packed scene in which Duncan, the British officer, tries to distract le Renard Subtil (also known as Magua, also known as Wes Studi in the film) with a discussion of French etymology. Dash cunning of him, don't you think? It sure would have sucked if he had just attacked him with a knife, a gun, or even a rapier wit. Apparently Duncan's plan was to wear down his enemy with sheer boredom:'Here is some confusion in names between us, le Renard,' said Duncan, hoping to provoke a discussion. 'Daim is the French for deer, and cerf for stag; elan is the true term, when one would speak of an elk.'6) Everyone is known by about three or four different names, because anything less would have been confusing. Right, Coop?7) Did I mention that it's just frickin' boring? I would rather slam my head in a car door than ever read this book again.The best part about the book was that there were entire sections in French. For once, lack of knowledge about a foreign language has paid off! I was practically giddy with excitement when I encountered entire pages of French dialogue as it meant, mon Dieu!, I got to skip the entire page.
cmbohn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is one of those icons of American literature that everyone has heard about, but not everyone gets around to actually reading. I don't know why I had never picked it up before, unless maybe I read something of Cooper's in school and didn't enjoy it. But I decided to see for myself what it was all about.Despite my expectations, the book was pretty easy to read. There were a few times when I skimmed through, especially towards the end, but there was a lot of action and the story was interesting. It is quite different from modern books in a couple of ways. First, the dialogue. Nobody speaks like that! In fact, I doubt they ever spoke like that! Usually it was just sort of one of those things you read and don't think about, but a couple of times it actually brought me back out of the story, especially when Hawkeye would use some dialectal spelling of a word which didn't need any spelling change in the first place. So that was sometimes disconcerting.The other major shift is the whole 'noble savage' thing. See, it starts with these two sisters who are daughters of an English - well, Scottish major, who is defending a fort from some French soldiers and Indians. They want to travel from one fort to another to meet him. They get captured, and lost, and rescued, and then arrive and a bunch more adventures ensue. They are rescued by Hawkeye and his two companions, both Mohicans. Somehow, there's all this stuff in there that translates into Bad Indian versus Good Indian. It's all pretty dated. If you ask me, none of them were all that noble! What's with all the scalping and dashing babies brains out? But Uncas and his father, the two Mohicans, were certainly more the heroic type. I just have to wonder how much of this is romanticized, and I think the answer is, most of it. It was still a good story, but I think modern readers would find it a little hard to puzzle out. I was helped a lot by and their reader's guide. 3 stars because it is a good story, but it's not really told in a way that I loved.
SweetbriarPoet on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I think people get mad at this book because it is written in the romantic style. Of course there is lofty language, of course it is strewn with figurative language and idealistic undertones. In fact, that is what made the novel revolutionary (not to mention an unseen-before anthropologist's cultural relativity..sort of.) If you don't like sentimentalism...then don't read fiction from the romantic period in America. And by romantic I don't mean love, I mean a deference to natural surroundings and a higher appreciation for artistry and sentimentalism. The characters are well developed, believable in that larger-than-life way. There is a proper hero, a fallen woman, an epic grace to the way the story flows. War and adventure is at the forefront, and a there is a hint of travel, journey, experience. To anyone who understands why historic literature is the way it is, I recommend this four star book.
crunky on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
--May contain minor spoilers--This novel held a few charms, but none were sustained throughout. Although the plot is one of adventure and suspense, to the modern reader the prose and dialogue often come off as goofy at best. The multiple epithets for each character, for example, imply a sense of grandeur to the pageant that simply wasn't there. The sentence structure, the narrative voice, the epigraphs that preface each chapter and the dialogue all shared in this effect. I was initially entertained by Cooper's eagerness to please, but eventually groans and eye-rolls began to take their toll. The book is at its best when we're getting to know the characters. I became fond of Major Heyward, and much preferred his character to that of Hawkeye the scout. Hawkeye is likely meant to be portrayed as an amazing hero, but he starts out as a completely insufferable know-it-all. (Hawkeye becomes much more tolerable in the final third of the book, but by that point the book has other problems...) I enjoyed the banter with Gamut, the descriptions of the Munro family's love for and loyalty to one another, and the portrayal of Uncas's and Chingachgook's relationship. Magua makes a worthy foe.Memorably, whenever a character is engaged in a debate or is called upon to make a stirring speech, Cooper goes to great lengths to describe the rhetorical strategy, cunning, and eloquence that must be employed for the occasion. One is asked to hear the listeners of these speeches oooh and aaah as Cooper praises the words of his noble and ignoble characters. These speeches on the page, however, are never all that different from how he has any given character speak the most casual dialogue anyway. It's goofball stuff.Cooper asks for a heavy suspension of disbelief when it comes to the amazing prowess of Hawkeye, but even this does not prepare one for later chapters featuring characters infiltrating enemy villages by wearing... a bear costume. (There was also a brief moment of a character blending in with some beavers.) There are truly impressive moments in the book (the massacre outside the fort, for example) but having recently finished it I just can't take it seriously--I'm hung up on the complete cheese of the hero crawling around disguised as a gruff but domesticated bear and getting away with it. Only the experienced eye of Uncas can notice the subtle differences between this farce and the real thing! I read this book out of literary/historical interest, and I'm glad I read it. I enjoyed it at times, although maybe not for the reasons Cooper may have intended. My curiosity is now satisfied, and I will not be looking to read more Cooper.
gooneruk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This week, I finished The Last Of The Mohicans, which took me a bit longer than most books of that length. The writing was particularly dense and descriptive, so I wasn¿t getting through as many pages as I would in a lighter book. I¿ve not seen the film, so the whole story was new to me, which is always a bonus.I really enjoyed this one, and it¿s the first classic I¿ve dipped into for a couple of months. It¿s easy to lose yourself in the 18th century American wilderness, and the characters are well fleshed out. I¿ll say this for Cooper: he can write battle scenes brilliantly. Every assault by Indians, or attempt to hold a position by the heroes, was captured in a manner which got my heart pounding from paragraph to paragraph, and put the images in my head as clearly as if I were standing in the middle of that forest.Having said that, I thought the writing style as a whole was over-descriptive. I¿m more of a fan of a more minimalist style, probably as a result of reading a lot of contemporary works. When writing gets too wordy, it can become difficult to get through and less enjoyable for me. That¿s probably why this book was a bit of a slog each day.Nevertheless, I¿m glad I persevered. I tried to read this book years ago, when I was about 18 or something, and gave up after about 20 pages because it just didn¿t grab me. It¿s been sat on my shelf since, and it was definitely worth picking up again.
TheTwoDs on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Cooper's famous tale of the white scout Hawkeye (aka Natty Bumppo aka La Longue Carabine) who has forsaken the growing materialism of "civilized" society to live amongst the natives in the woods of 18th century New York offers what should have been a lively tale of adventure. The year is 1757, the French and Indian War rages in North America, both the British and French having their own Indian allies. The daughters of a British commander, Munro, must travel from Fort Edward to Fort William Henry, guided by a Huron whom their father trusts. That Huron, Magua, turns out to be an ersatz ally of the French commander Montcalm. Hawkeye and his companions, father and son Chingachgook and Uncas, rescue the daughters, Cora and Alice. They lose them to Magua and his band of Huron. They rescue them again. Then, when they finally arrive at Fort William Henry, it is nearly too late as the French have it under a ferocious siege. Munro surrenders the fort to Montcalm who lets the British troops retreat to Fort Edward. Magua has other designs and attacks and massacres the British, yet again kidnapping the Munro girls.The racial and gender views of the time are repeatedly brought forth in the narrative, and this is not just Cooper regurgitating beliefs from 100 years prior to his writing. In the preface, Cooper himself states that women should not read his book as they won't like it, it's too manly. On practically every other page, Hawkeye, while treating his two Delaware as of his own family, reminds his white companions and the reader that his blood has no cross, meaning no cross-contamination with native blood. After a dozen or so instances, it gets incredibly trying seeing it on the page again and again.Somewhere inside is a great adventure story, but you have to get through a multitude of asides, 18th century racial philosophy that is repeatedly placed in the reader's face and a density of language beyond the usual anachronistics of early 19th century literature. It still, however, retains its place in literary history as one of the earliest examples of the American novel.
HenryG on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Having to read this in high school is one of the things that made me think I hated to read. I'm sure there are those for whom this is their cup of tea, but it should never be inflicted on high school students! It seemed like it was about a guy who walked around in the woods for hundreds of pages. Granted, my experience with it might be different as an adult, but I don't see myself trying again with this one.
soylentgreen23 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Cooper claimed he could write a better book than most that were printed in the day, and this is the result of his efforts. It remains surprisingly readable, for such an early work, although compared to the refined movie it is a little bloated.
euqubud on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When Michael Mann completed Last of the Mohicans, it was delayed for three months (and out of the profitable summer season) as someone introduced to him the concept of editing. Having trimmed the movie from three hours to less than two, leaving out important scenes and axing whole characters from the story, as well as killing others off early, he still managed to improve upon the original work threefold.Mark Twain has his own opinions which I will be wise to leave to him. They can be read here, in his subtly titled Fenimore Cooper¿s Literary Offenses. If you have the time, I suggest reading it, if only because any amount of time can be spent in worse ways than reading Twain. His essay is more concerned with the rather peculiar physics that dominate the Cooperian landscape. I, slogging through the book in front of a campfire reading by lantern light, disregarded these literary conceits in self-defense, preferring to focus the greater part of my mental energies on remembering where one of the characters has been for the last fifty pages or so.Last of the Mohicans is, by and large, an excellent story, when described to you by someone who has already read the book (or, sadly, seen the movie). Yes, the bad guy slips from the heroes fingers often enough that you assume he has a twirly mustache. Sure, it has a boat chase with canoes and the heroine gets kidnapped no less than three times. But the story¿s there, and it¿s interesting. It¿s just a pity that Cooper has to be the one to tell it, in the sense that Cooper wrote American fiction the way that Charlotte Bronte would write a Western. Oh, the dialogue:Hawkeye, on noticing a sniper in the trees:"This must be looked to!" said the scout, glancing about him with an anxious eye. "Uncas, call up your father; we have need of all our we¿pons to bring the cunning varment from his roost."Duncan, in the same battle:"That bullet was better aimed than common!" exclaimed Duncan, involuntarily shrinking from a shot which struck the rock at his side with a smart rebound.People did not talk like this in 1757, nor did they in 1831, nor will they ever. This is because Cooper¿s characters are not actually humans at all, but wound-up automatons whose sole function is to carry the story through its various settings and plot twists. Even then, the greatest potential that these twists present are wasted: the relationships between Alice and Duncan, Uncas and Cora, are glazed over, as though Cooper wasn¿t interested in anything that didn¿t include gunpowder. Romantic subplots have instead been persistently stuffed into the work by zealous critics, likely in attempt to give high school English teachers new ways to torture their students with subtext.
hvhay on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really did not enjoy this at all. The characters were one dimensional and the plot was boring as well as unbelievable. I understand that Cooper had a pretty high opinion of his writing but I don't think the books have stood the test of time.
wyvernfriend on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It really isn't quite my kind of the thing but it is an interesting read. It's littered with things that show a lot about the world it was written in and the life on the frontier. The women seem to be there to be rescued and honestly I preferred the film rather than the story. If I had read it when I was in my teens I might regard it in the same way as Kim and revisit occasionally but while it's something I don't regret reading, it's not one I will be hunting up to add to the collection.It's very wordy, very detailed and a story that is more about the frontier than the people. I can see how it influenced many writers but I can also see how it is disliked by many people today.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A wonderful classic that is still a great read. ~*~LEB~*~
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She goes to a table to sit. Her blue crystalized dress gets in her way.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
His mask was ovalish and white, that of a wickedly smiling face. He grips two bottle of absinthe in both of his hands.