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The Old American

3.83  ·  Rating Details  ·  83 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
In 1746, Nathan Blake, the first frame house builder in Keene, New Hampshire, was abducted by Algonkians and held in Canada as a slave. Inspired by this dramatic slice of history, novelist Ernest Hebert has written a masterful new novel recreating those years of captivity.
Set in New England and Canada during the French and Indian Wars, The Old American is driven by its co
Paperback, 304 pages
Published November 1st 2001 by Dartmouth (first published 2000)
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Community Reviews

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Jun 08, 2009 Anne rated it really liked it
I admire Ernie Hebert very much.
Bruce Hartman
Feb 09, 2013 Bruce Hartman rated it it was amazing
Two of my favorite books are The Black Robe by Brian Moore and this book, The Old American, by Ernest Hebert. They go together. The Black Robe tells the story of the early French Jesuit explorers in Canada in the 1640s and their encounter with the Native Americans. The Old American takes place about a hundred years later in the same region. The French and English have established themselves in Canada and New England, but the Indians are not yet defeated, and their culture has not been extinguish ...more
I like historical fiction because I can always learn something. And while this novel was based on a true event (capture by Indians of a frontier colonist during the French & Indian War) in a time period I find fascinating (think "Last of the Mohicans"), I was disappointed. The story moved glacially slow at times and then lightning quick when I wanted more. It seemed the author was trying to fit in every bit of detail he could about the ways of life and the cultural interactions of the era, a ...more
Mar 15, 2010 Joanne rated it really liked it
Ernest Hebert is a history professor up at Dartmouth College who really did his homework for the writing of this novel. Based on the true story of Nathan Blake, who was taken captive from Hebert's home town of Keene, N.H., this book brought me a deeper understanding of the reasons whites were taken as captives by New England tribes. I always thought it was a simple matter of retribution, but that really wasn't so much the case. Hebert does a great job of weaving this tale almost exclusively with ...more
J. Trott
Feb 16, 2015 J. Trott rated it really liked it
Pre-Revolution American Historical Fiction is something I enjoyed as a youngun so I'm predisposed to like it. This doesn't have a lot of action, and the plot meanders along with the perspective and meditations, called conjurings, of the books main character, Caucus-Meteor. His openness to all views, his continual ambition, and the power of his contemplation make him a memorable character. His world view is a challenge to me for its pliancy.
I had read Hebert's Jordan books and I felt I had had my fill of Hebert, so I just couldn't get myself to read this book. I was tired of the Jordan clan and that whole lifestyle and Hebert writing style. I only decided to read this recently because it was praised at two of my book clubs. I'm glad I read it. I feel the book redeemed Hebert and made me like him as a writer again. I loved the historical aspect of the book - the story is enthralling!
Oct 25, 2009 Shelley rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, books-i-own
The Old American, which is about Nathan Blake (of Winchester/Main St. Blake House fame) and how he was kidnapped during the French and Indian war and taken to Canada. I thought I was really going to enjoy it, but only about 2 seconds of it took place in Keene.. and the rest was a little hard to get through.. even by me, who took a whole course on New England history! Oh well.. I gave it a shot! 2 books left and I'm done with the SuBC!
Jan 13, 2014 Bob rated it liked it
Good story -- a native American point of view, that is both affirmative and deeply divided, and constantly searching, after each "solution" fails...certainly worth reading
Feb 22, 2013 Nic rated it really liked it
I don't know how well-known this book is but "The Old American" warrants a lot of attention, it is one of the few modern stories of the colonial American frontier that seems like it actually could have happened. It is a fast read I found hard to put down... a must for fans of Historical Fiction.
The story of the abduction of an early pioneer by a native american, and how they come to respect each other. A really enjoyable read with thoughtful characters. The author is great a incorporationg unexpected humor. I will definately read more by Hebert.
Mar 29, 2010 Krista rated it liked it
I found this book very difficult to read in the beginning. It just didn't interest me at all. But after about 1/3 of the way through the book, I began to enjoy the book. Not sure I would have picked this book on my own, but am glad I read the book.
Aug 10, 2011 Alyssa rated it really liked it
I am a fan of this other, all of his books take place in NH (and always include Keene). This novel isn't as haunting as his others, but still makes you think for a bit after finishing it.
Jul 25, 2010 Katie rated it really liked it
historical fiction based on fact. colonial america, a real-life kidnapping of Nathan Blake by Indians. Same era as Tenderness with WolvesFabulous main character "the Old American"
Mar 17, 2010 Dody rated it really liked it
This is the book the town of Groton is reading I just started it and am enjoying it.
Dec 11, 2007 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Probably my favorite book. History, great characters, and elegance.
Collin Bell
Dec 28, 2015 Collin Bell rated it liked it
I read this twice and would read again.
John Kachuba
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Apr 03, 2016
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Paul W rated it it was amazing
Jan 27, 2016
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