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James Fenimore Cooper Books In Order

Publication Order of Leatherstocking Tales Books

The Deerslayer (1840) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Last of the Mohicans (1826) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Pioneers (1823) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Prairie (1824) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Pathfinder (1841) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Miles Wallingford (1814) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Precaution (1820) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Spy (1821) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Pilot (1824) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Lionel Lincoln (1825) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Red Rover (1827) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Two Admirals (1842) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Wing-and-Wing (1842) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Afloat and Ashore (1844) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Satanstoe (1845) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Red-Skins (1846) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Crater (1847) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Sea Lions (1849) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The American Democrat (1851) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

James Fenimore Cooper was an American fiction author known for being one of the most prolific authors of his time and foremost exponents of Romanticism. Cooper was born in Burlington, New Jersey in 1789 to Elizabeth and William Cooper. In 1802 Cooper got into Yale University though he did not finish his degree after he was expelled for a prank that went wrong and caused a lot of damage to his hostel. His expulsion was one of the lowest moments in his life and he decided to go become a sailor in a merchant vessel. By the time he was twenty-one he had risen to the rank of midshipman in the fledgling US Navy. In 1811 he met and married Susan Augusta de Lancey with whom he had seven children. Susan Fenimore Cooper his daughter also made a name for herself as a writer.

Cooper got into writing as a fluke when in 1820 his wife dared him to write a better book than the one she was reading. He went on to write “Precaution,” a Jane Austen influenced novel on the themes of manners and morals that was well received. Following the good reception of the novel, he went on to publish a historical romance “The Spy: A Tale of Neutral Ground.” He then moved to New York to pursue a career as a professional author. It was in New York where he got his first big break with “The Pioneers” first published in 1823 that was the first novel of the highly successful Leatherstocking series. The novel is a historical set in New York State that then had a wild frontier. It had as its lead Natty Bumppo a resourceful American wood dealer. The major themes of the novel and those following it were on the theme of conservation and environmental issues juxtaposed against civilization efforts. Cooper’s work during this time showed an early 19th-century American preoccupation it negligence and prudence in a nation where property rights were still fuzzy. Cooper makes use of Native American characters in his stories and highlights the often tenuous and complex relationships between them and the frontier settlers. In 1826 he published “The Last of the Mohicans” deemed his best work ever that would go on to become his most widely read. The novel is set in during the Indian and French war that was fought between Britain and France both of which were seeking dominance in North America. While initially criticized for its length and formal prose style, it has received widespread appreciation and fame that it was adapted for both the small and big screen.

The “Leatherstocking Tales” is James Cooper’s most popular series that he wrote between 1823 and 1841. The novels tell the story of 18th-century life between the white pioneers in New York State then a frontier state. Through Natty Bumppo, also known as Leatherstocking or Hawkeye in some of the novels, the author portrays that tenuous andcomplex relationship between the two groups. The novels follow the character as he grows from young adulthood to become an old man though they are not published in chronological order. “The Pioneers” the debut is a detailed portrait of the ways of the pioneering settlers. It is a critical look at the conflict between Natty Bumppo who deems the frontier as wilderness and another character that wants to cultivate and tame the land. “The Last of the Mohicans” is set in the French and Indian War and was followed by “The Prairie” in which the lead protagonist Leatherstocking dies. Natty had always been identified with the native inhabitants, and the vanishing wilderness though he becomes an elegiac figure towards the end of the novel. While he should have died with the publishing of “The Prairie,” Copper resurrected the character as a youth in “The Deerslayer” and as a young adult in “The Pathfinder.”

“The Pioneers” made James Cooper’s name as one of the foremost American authors of the 19th century. He was alive when the settlers were venturing into the frontier that was the American West. Needless to say, there was a lot of tension between the settlers and the Native Americans. The novel is thus a novel about the place of Native Americans and the racial tensions between the two groups. The novel introduced Natty “Leatherstocking” Numppo, a white man who is best friends with John Mohegan a Native American, and acts more Native American than white. Even the white settlers treat him as a Native American though the author always reminds us that he is white. Cooper creates a paradox in that while the lead is often treated as a native for his ideals and behavior, a lot of people still see him as white. What Cooper creates is the ideal white American frontier settler who behaves in every way as a native even though his skin is white. He respects nature and when he works the land, he is never wasteful as he only takes what he needs and nothing more. He does not have the savagery of the Indian, believes in fairness, is not greedy and is a Christian. For Cooper, Leatherstocking is what the ideal frontier American needs to be.

“The Prairie” is a delightful book that through the lead Natty Bumppo gives us a glimpse into life on the Great Plains. At the opening of the novel, the lead is frailer and his eyes are not as keen since he is now 87 years old. His days of hunting are behind him and he has been reduced to trapping. Nonetheless, he remains the self-reliant and independent man he has always been. He has left behind the beloved forests and the civilized life to go live in the Great Plains. But then his tranquil life is disturbed by the arrival of a bunch of rednecks led by Ishmael Bush. They had been evicted from land in Kentucky that they had attempted to take over by force and were now in town looking to do the same. It soon develops into a tale of Indian warfare, kidnapping, murder, and chaste romance. Natty is a more interesting and believable character as compared to his younger days. He still knows about the frontier and nature like the back of his hand even though he is now more aware of his diminished faculties. He is thus less willing to fight as he now sees more clearly the horror and stupidity of violence. Moreover, he can no longer hold his own in a fight given his advanced age.

James Fenimore Cooper’s “The Last of the Mohicans” provides a wild rush and it is no wonder it is the most popular of the Leatherstocking Tales. The novel is set in the New York frontier, where Hawkeye otherwise known as Leatherstocking alongside his Native American friends are fighting the French during the French and Indian War. Hawkeye had been brought up in the forests of New England and had long since cast of the distractions of Christianity. He acknowledges the savagery and nobility of the Native Americans and takes them as they are. He also understands the wilderness and the settlers and British soldiers since he can move freely between both worlds though he is never comfortable in any. He provides his talents to both camps and hence he is called on when the beautiful Munro sisters are abducted by the renegade Magua. This leads to the final confrontation between the settlers and the Native Americans that creates one of the most spine-tingling and unforgettable glimpses of life on the American frontier.

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