The Education of Little Tree
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The Education of Little Tree

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  8,801 ratings  ·  1,090 reviews
Forrest Carter, from the age of four or five, was inseparable from his part-Cherokee grandfather, who owned a farm and ran a country store nearby. Granpa called him Little Sprout; when he grew taller, he became Little Tree. From Granpa he absorbed the Cherokee ethic; to give love without expecting gratitude, to take from the land only what you need. Little Tree watches a m...more
Paperback, 216 pages
Published August 31st 2001 by University of New Mexico Press (first published 1976)
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Keely
The closest this book gets to touching nature is the sweet sappiness of the story. Though the author put the story forward as true, he was not actually a Native, but a racist con-man who fought to keep segregation and was a member of the KKK.

But this revelation shouldn't be that surprising, since the book is hardly insightful or sensitive in its views. Carter's characters are old, romanticized cliches of the colonial 'Noble Savage'--poor Indians beset by the white man's greed trying to eke a pe...more
Leah Higginbotham
Jun 22, 2008 Leah Higginbotham rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone!
Recommended to Leah by: Michelle (mother in law)
*Note: there is a lot of controversy and here say about the author of this book. Forget about it and enjoy this book with an innocent mind!

The Education of Little Tree follows a young boy as he follows his Grandpa, learning and loving as he goes. From plowing to whiskey making, it divinely illustrates the power of self. Regardless of external influences, industry, growth, abundance, and love can be grown and cultivated.

This book was so deep and enriching on so many levels. It made me look at my...more
Elizabeth
Jan 19, 2009 Elizabeth rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
This is one of my favorite books of all time. It's so much more than how you would describe it, so much more than words like story about a boy and his grandparents living in the South describe. The words have such power. They are so vivid; they recreate a world, a picture of a different time and place that is gone from us now. Because of their power, I can so perfectly imagine those hills, that place, and those people in my mind. Every time I read this book, I feel as I am there with them, livin...more
wheels
Jan 22, 2008 wheels added it
embarrassing. after caty informed me, i googled the author and learned that the original edition was published as an autobiography, though carter is not of native american heritage, was a leader in the klu klux klan, and active as a segregtionist. wow, huh? if you ever want a defintion of appropriation and cultural theft, here's an exemplary one. (my tattered copy was dubbed as an autobiography.)
Lynn
I finished this book last weekend. I'd put it up there with The Alchemist and To Kill a Mockingbird, it was that powerful. This is a work of fiction (despite the intro, it is not really an autobiography) about a 5 year old Cheerokee boy who is raised by his grandparents, Cheerokee hill people, after the death of his parents. It is set in depression-era Tennessee. The story is told in vignettes; the chapters in chronological order. It was a quick read, just over 200 pages, with some mild language...more
Sue
This is the story of Little Tree, a five-year-old boy who is brought up by his Cherokee grandparents after his mother dies. Although the introduction claims it's an autobiographical reminiscence, it is in fact fiction. Moreover, the author is not Cherokee; at one point he was apparently a member of extreme racist groups in the USA.

Nevertheless, it's a very well-written book. I gather that some of the details of Little Tree's life and Cherokee customs are not based on reality, but pure fiction;...more
Sierra
I got out of college without reading a heck of a lot of classic literature, American or otherwise. Now I'm trying to make up for lost time. I picked up The Education of Little Tree because there happened to be a copy here at my sister's house. I vaguely remembered there being some controversy á la Rigoberta Menchú or Nick Frey. The reissue I have from 1999 has "AMERICAN INDIANS/FICTION" on the back cover, but the introduction calls it "[Forrest Carter's] autobiographical remembrances of life wit...more
Tim
Interesting book, especially in the fact that the writer was also a speech writer for George Wallace, infamous Southern biggot and racist. Maybe that shows Carter´s true talent then, the ability to switch between such different literary voices...the question is, which voice is his?
Scott Wojtalik-courter
I remembered enjoying this book when i read it about fifteen years ago. I stuck in on my list of 'have-reads' and gave it high marks. Then I read a little bit about this author. I just am flummoxed, though I shouldn't be; the levels to which people will stoop. Well, you can't deny he was a decent teller of tales, or lies, as Mark Twain might have said. A klansman who formed his own chapter, took part in lynchings, was a political writer who wrote George Wallace's infamous line, 'segregation now,...more
Sheyla
Just finished this and I loved it. I will have to add this one to my list of Favorites. All told from the mouth of a 5 year old... Maybe that's why I was so entertained. I'm surrounded by kids all the time anyway.

The wisdom and utter innocence of Little tree was so refreshing I felt like I was being schooled by a 5 year old. I loved learning about all the Indian traditions.
Toward the end when he had to leave, I was so sad I ached for Little tree and his Grandparents. I fell in love with them an...more
Vannessagrace Vannessagrace
The Education of Little Tree touched me on every emotional level!

Little Tree, at age four, went to live with his grandparents after the death of his mom; only a year earlier he’d lost his dad. Little Tree’s grandparents, in their seventies, knew they probably only had a few years to teach Little Tree everything he needed to know to survive on his own started teaching him life’s skills upon their arrival to bring him home to live with them. The story took place in the Appalachian mountains of Ten...more
Molly
I remember my mother mentioning to me how good this book was said to be when I was a kid in Chattanooga, and then a few years later, how she mentioned the book was written by a former KKK member and was a lie. I also didn't remember this book ever coming up in discussions in creative writing classes about falsehoods and plagiarism and the like, nor do I remember it being mentioned in my American Indian classes.

I held off on reading this book, mostly because I wasn't sure what this knowledge woul...more
Hiedi
At first reading I loved this book. Then I did a little research and discovered that, although it said "a true story" on the cover of my edition of the book (later editions removed that phrase) it was a fictional story. This deception frustrated me. I was further disappointed when I learned that the author of the book was a speech writer who wrote extremely inflammatory and controversial racist speeches. Disgusting. Unless my research uncovered false info, it is very disturbing to read such a st...more
Jordan
I don't know what to make of this book.

On the one hand, the book is an endearing "memoir" of a Cherokee life nearly crushed by white hegemony. After being orphaned by his mother's death, and with no father (a point of contention for every white "Christian"), Little Tree lives with his Cherokee grandmother and Scottish-Cherokee grandfather.

Under their loving gaze, Little Tree has simple, anecdotal encounters with white culture, which leave him with a vague sense that he is oppressed by their id...more
Matthew Vinueza
The Education of Little Tree

This book is about a Cherokee boy named Little Tree and how's parents where killed and now lives with his grandparents. He then receives a unique education from his grandparents and gains many sad and good life experiences, it described all the adventures and that the Cherokees experienced traveling from the East of the United States to the West, and the life of Little Tree and his grandparents. This book is filled with humor tragedy and filled of love, and makes you...more
Laura
Apr 27, 2014 Laura rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who want to get angry
Recommended to Laura by: reading group
Oh holy hell.

So as we were casting about for the next book to read in my reading group, someone suggested “The Education of Little Tree” as a nice follow up to last month’s book, The Round House. Several members of my group went all misty eyed about how much this book, or at least the movie, meant to them, once upon a time. My eyes were squinting with SOME sort of memory about this book.

This book is presented as a wise and lovely tale of a child raised in the woods by his loving, wise, Native...more
Natalie
A dear new soul recommended me this novel, and am I so GLAD.

It's like Huckleberry Finn meets Laura Ingalls Wilder with Native American culture and folklore thrown in.

Written from the perspective of a little boy (similar to Huck Finn) who's orphaned when his parents die, he's adopted by his grandparents. You learn the Cherokee way of looking at the land, the environment and nature. The intersting thing, is that most novels of this sort take place during the "Wild West" migration period, but this...more
Myles
A literary hoax with seriously sinister origins.

Mr. F. was an amazing teacher. He was my social studies teacher in 5th and 6th grade and I even had him for a homeroom teacher. A main part of his curriculum was a game of, essentially, historical competitive Dungeons and Dragons, in 5th grade as colonialists in the New World and in 6th as a wagon train headed to Oregon. Not everybody made it. As a class we were engaged with the first complex historical problems we'd faced, primarily it was about A...more
Matthew Moes
Having just finished reading this beautiful story I discovered the controversy surrounding it and its author, only serving to deepen my appreciation for its significance. I found the story beautiful and spiritually moving, making note of several passages that I would like to refer back to from time to time. It is a beautiful story written on the theme of simplicity and natural living. Although it is introduced as an autobiographical account, posterity has unveiled its fictional origins. To me, t...more
Barb Graf
I first heard of this book on an Oprah show probably in the mid 1990's; she said such high praise of it. (I understand later she "took it off" her book shelf due to the controversy around the author's racism). I am not in any way supportive of racism; but this book appears to be something very good that the author did and that Oprah had recognized. That is why I first read it and I have passed it on to many people cause I liked it so much. It did seem to start a bit slow for me the first time I...more
David Hilton

This is a beautiful little book that follows the story of 5 year old orphan Little Tree who is taken in, loved deeply, and guided thoughtfully by his grandparents in the Cherokee tradition during the Great Depression. It is a nice contrast to Sherman Alexie's "Diary of a Part Time Indian," as it show Native Americans in wholly different setting but with some of the same values.

Carter's writing is elegant in its simplicity. Little Tree's narration is believable and compelling. Each chapter is its...more
Jennifer Hughes
I don't know how this has slipped under my radar for so long. Little Tree has captured my heart. This was a beautiful and poignant memoir of a Cherokee boy raised by his grandparents in the Depression. The narrator's voice as a young child was so sweet and completely believable and captivating.

I feel like saying too much would be inappropriate for a book like this, since as Little Tree says, "Granpa said if there was less words, there wouldn't be as much trouble in the world."

On L.T.'s 6th birt...more
Mj
REVIEW BEFORE LEARNING ABOUT THE INFORMATION IN THE POST SCRIPT BELOW

The Education of Little Tree is a touching, funny and informative autobiography by Forrest Carter, also known by his Cherokee name of Little Tree. The story begins when he is orphaned at the age of five and begins living with his Granma and Granpa – his Mother’s parents. The story is about Little Tree growing up with them in an isolated log cabin in the eastern Tennessee mountains in the 1930’s.

Little Tree gets a great educatio...more
Chibineko
This is one of the better books I've ever had to read for school, although I'll admit that it's not really up my alley. I think I can lay part of the blame on my pre-research of the book, since it's hard reading this without taking the author controversey into consideration. (It does make it fascinating on a separate level, though.)

The book's story unwinds in a very gentle fashion for much of the novel, although I can't help but feel that the later parts of the book (the orphanage, etc) really c...more
Christina
Forrest Carter weaves a story of his young childhood being raised by his Cherokee Grandparents in the Appalachian Mountains during the 1930’s depression era. Carter moves the reader in the spiritual elements of how Little Tree is taught to live with Mother Earth and see the signs that she is rebirthing, he also learns how to plant by the signs of the moon, and listen to the birds call. He also is able to speak to trees and observe Mother Nature’s cycles and all life that she holds. Little Tree a...more
Lynne
Much controversy surrounds the author, Forrest Carter, purported to have been active in White supremacist organizations, and his claim that the book is based on childhood memories of his Cherokee uncle; when in fact his brother says there are no American Indian members in his family. The controversy includes racism and the author's intentions, stereotyping of characters in the book, as well as inaccuracies of the Cherokee language and culture.


My Thoughts


I love books like this, the kind that real...more
Kelli Robinson
After finishing this book and then delving into several book reviews by Christopher Hitchins where Hitchins thoroughly examines the authors in addition to the authors' works, I decided to do a bit of research myself on some of the authors I had recently read. I started with Forrest Carter (aka Asa Earl Carter) from Anniston, Alabama - just up the road from my home in Birmingham. What happened next was eye-opening. This book, which I found full of stereotypes and quite average despite its great r...more
Craig
This is a sweet read...as a novel. It was originally published as an autobiography, but later revealed as a total fiction. But despite the controversy over Forrest Carter's past, this book is a wonderful story. It will make you laugh, cry, and reflect upon your own childhood. Although the narration is deceptively simple, it is not simplistic, and the book addresses themes from liberal arts education, multi-culturalism and pride to dealing with death, the environment, and the importance and joys...more
Melissa Rochelle
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jonathan
This is an excellent story, and I highly recommend it if only for the humor (but there is a lot more to recommend than that). But oh, the questions it raises. The author, Forrest Carter, is widely presumed to be Asa Earl Carter, a Klansman and leader of the Alabama White Citizen Council and the speechwriter for George Wallace who wrote the “segregation now, segregation forever” speech. So how does that reflect on this book that is, if perhaps naive and romantic, certainly not racist? Can we acce...more
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Asa Earl "Forrest" Carter was an American political speechwriter and author. He was most notable for publishing novels and a best-selling, award-winning memoir under the name Forrest Carter, an identity as a Native American Cherokee. In 1976, following the publication success of his western The Rebel Outlaw: Josey Wales, The New York Times revealed Forrest Carter to be Southerner Asa Earl Carter....more
More about Forrest Carter...
Josey Wales: Two Westerns Watch for Me on the Mountain The Vengeance Trail of Josey Wales Gone to Texas Gone to Texas

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“You cannot know where your people are going if you don't know where your people have been.” 22 likes
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