The French and Indian War adventures of Hawk-eye, a reclusive white woodsman, and his Indian friend, Chingachgook, have contributed much to the frontier mythos. The story of two men who are at odds with their own people, but reluctantly agree to guide two sisters through hostile Indian country, has found an enduring place in the literary and cultural history of America.
James Fenimore Cooper is widely acknowledged as the pre-eminent American writer of his time. The Last of the Mohicans is one of his most popular and critically-acclaimed works. Larry McKeever's animated and skillful narration intensifies the novel's romance and drama and brings its tragic characters fully to life.
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"Want to relish your early American history, to thrill again at the suspense of forest dangers, to wonder whether Hawkeye will ever quite forsake the trail for a tender passage of love and domesticity? Then this book is for you." (Chicago Sunday Tribune)
This read a lot fresher than I expected from a book which is now almost 200 years old (although, note that the narrator reads the footnotes without any warning--at first, I thought Cooper must have been post-modern!). The most surprising and intringuing aspect was its temporal scope: the events of all 400 pages (14 hours) occur within just a few days. This means the pace of the story-telling is relaxed, even when the action is not, affording loads of detail and creating very effective suspense (reminiscent of Hemingway's _For Whom the Bell Tolls_). For the most part, this immersion keeps the reader fully interested, but sometimes it becomes tedious, e.g., the Homeric burial rites at the end. The most memorable scenes are those relating the shocking horrors perpetrated by American Natives, dubious tellings which obviously should now be taken with several grains of salt.
This was my first Cooper novel. He spins a wonderful adventure tale which greatly caught me by surprise. The rendition by the narrator is done excellently, as well.
An engaging immersion in the French and Indian War, among the savagery of the Indians, caught between the powers of France and England. The story of the Mohican and the Delaware tribes, decimated by more than a century of contact with whites. Interesting characterization of Hawkeye and of his Indian brothers. Even the Huron villain is understandable. Better than any of the movie versions of the story, even though somewhat dated in style. Excellent narration.
I missed reading Cooper when I was in school, so I thought I would give him a try on audio. What drivel! His prose makes Faulkner?s seem short and concise. For the historic American novel I will stick to Irving and Hawthorne. P.S. The movie was great.
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