Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Deerslayer” as Want to Read:
The Deerslayer
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
read book* *Different edition

The Deerslayer (The Leatherstocking Tales #1)

3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  7,656 ratings  ·  230 reviews
"The Deerslayer," by James Fenimore Cooper, is part of the "Barnes & Noble Classics"" "series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of "Barnes & Noble Classics" New introductions commissio...more
ebook, 608 pages
Published June 1st 2009 by Barnes & Noble Classics (first published 1841)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Deerslayer, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Deerslayer

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Mike (the Paladin)
This novel is primarily a romance or what might be called an action romance I suppose. It has come in for some notable criticism (from names as well known as Mark Twain no less) BUT as it's been around since 1841 there is obviously something here.

I think the only things to really be aware of here...going into it as a novel have "mostly" to do with the time in which it was written. The language is (of course) very dated. Often it is more like reading poetry than prose.

Then there are the racial a...more
dead letter office
Mark Twain: "Cooper’s art has some defects. In one place in ‘Deerslayer,’ and in the restricted space of two-thirds of a page, Cooper has scored 114 offences against literary art out of a possible 115. It breaks the record."

I'll refer you to Mark Twain's essay "Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses":

Now I feel sure, deep down in my heart, that Cooper wrote about the poorest English that exists in our language, and that the English of "Deerslayer" is the very worst that even Cooper ever wrote.

I may
I hate you for all those hours of my life I'll never get back, James Fenimore Cooper.
This book receives quite a bit of vitriolic language about how it's the "worst book ever written" and other predictably trite rantings of those who have different expectations than the book satisfies. I began this book with an open mind and with an interest in the writing style of an author I hadn't read before. Although I freely admit the prose is a bit longwinded, it contains some eloquent passages among the numerous pithy and dry paragraphs (think Romantic Period of literature and nature writ...more
If you've seen my booklists and read my reviews, you'll know I'm usually a great lover of classic novels. When I was about 11 or 12, my Dad got me a big stack of paperback classics and I spent an entire summer with Ivanhoe and Sidney Carton and Jane Eyre. I mean, I munched them up! Then I got to James Fenimore Cooper. Oh bad. Oh really, really bad. The stories themselves were pretty good, as witness the fact that they have been made into many successful movies. However, to read the stories, you...more
I never read Cooper growing up so wasn't sure what to expect in reading this novel. What I discovered was a multi-layered text that did the following:

Introduced Deerslayer, or Hawkeye as he is subsequently known (Hawkeye Pierce in MASH gets his nickname from him!). We see the maturing of this young woodsman who has lived among the Delaware Indians and is a sure shot with the rifle. At the beginning of the novel, he has only killed animals for food. Much of his development comes following a deadl...more
What can I say that Mark Twain didn't?

"Cooper's art has some defects. In one place in "Deerslayer," and in the restricted place of two-thirds of a page, Cooper has scored 114 offenses against literary art out of a possible 115. It breaks the record."


"I may be mistaken, but it does seem to me that "Deerslayer" is not a work of art in any sense; it does seem to me that it is destitute of every detail that goes to the making of a work of art; in truth, it...more
This was a very tedious read. While I normally like older books, something about Cooper's writing style just didn't grab me.

The Deerslayer is mainly a story about a man named Nathaniel Bumppus, or as he is better known by in this novel, Deerslayer. He is headed with a friend commonly referred to as "Hurry" to a lake where he will later meet another friend of his, a Delaware Indian he calls the "Sarpent" to rescue the Sarpent's betrothed from a group of Hurons. When they reach their destination t...more
This it the story of Deerslayer and his best buddy Chingachgook (which I still have not figured out how to say) as they go on their first "warpath" together. I looked for a movie version of this story after I finished it because I was interested to see how it would play out in modern times, but there is no movie made since 1920 (silent movie). I shouldn't be surprised. Let me say from the onset that I consider James Fenimore Cooper one of the finest writers I have read. That being said, the time...more
I really enjoyed this book and plan to read all of the Leatherstocking Tales. I read "Last of the Mohicans" several years ago, and didn't realize there was a series of books based on the main character. I liked what Deerslayer had to say to his friends before he parted with them, expecting he would be killed and never see them again. P. 418, he says, "I've often thought there's moments when our words dwell longer on the mind than common, and when advice is remembered, just because the mouth that...more
Sarah Sammis
Back in December I had fun reading Mark Twain's infamous review of Deerslayer by James Fenimore Cooper. Before Christmas when I had some time off from work we bought a copy to see if the book is as bad as the essay would imply. The short answer is yes and no. It was bad enough that I gave up on reading it seriously at about page 150, but did skim to the end

Twain cites an abuse of language, a lack of plot and impossible action scenes for his reason for hating the book. Yes; Cooper's use of langua...more
Slightly slower in pace than its sequel, Deerslayer reveals a coming of age tale of our Leatherstocking hero, Natty Bumpo. In this work, we learn how Hawkeye earned his noble nom de guerre. Together with his Delaware friend, our protagonist meets and ultimately redeems a frontier family. Although the dialog and musing of the frontierwomen, the Hutter sisters, is often tiresome, this is nicely balanced by Cooper's adroit action sequences. This is a novel for all genders. Slightly dissatisfying is...more
Abigail Hartman
After reading "The Last of the Mohicans," it was good to go back and pick up this chronologically-first novel in the Leatherstocking Tales. It follows the adventures of Hawkeye (called Deerslayer at this point) and Chingachgook on their first warpath, as they seek to win back Chingachgook's betrothed from the Hurons who kidnapped her and to protect a white trapper and his two daughters.

It takes about a quarter of the book for the plot to really pick up, but one comes to expect that with Cooper....more
Aaron Cance
If one can read books promiscuously, as I was reassured in graduate school that one could, I read all five of the books in this series like a complete whore, giving myself entirely over to the story - loved all five. A word of caution, however: They were written in a different order than the chronology of the narrative. Imagine my disappointment at the Deerslayer's death at the end of the third book out of five.

The order that the author produced them:

The Pioneers
Last of the Mohicans
The Prairie
Rochelle Fisher
The language is amazing, but I found myself skipping over some parts. I wasn't sure why at the time...then I read Mark Twain's essay on the book, and discovered that the parts that he had the most problems with were the parts that my mind just wouldn't take in. I found the essay a lot more entertaining and stimulating than the book.
Okay, in the end, I was glad I read it, but #$%@! did his writing annoy me. JFC's a great story teller and the characters and lore of the leather-stocking tales keeps your interest, but it's about 700 pages longer than the story warrants, proof that there must not have been any quality editors on the frontier.
Feb 29, 2008 Nate rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: survivorman
really tedious prose, and the one dimensional characters keep getting captured by the fucking indians. why dont these assholes just go where the indians aren't? sounds like a logical solution to me
Troy Johnson
My least favorite book of all time. It about killed me reading it.
Justin Kemppainen
I understand that this is an oooold book written by the standards of people who died a very long time ago, but it is simply dull.

Instead of reading the more common Natty Bumppo tale in "The Last of the Mohicans" I wanted to start this series in its chronological beginning, and I haven't read Cooper since. I don't intend to ever again.

Deerslayer was desperately boring for a novel which contained the murder and mayhem of developing America. Yes, it's a classic. Yes, it's one of the first instances...more
This is a book I was told to read and enjoyed in part, the story is a rollicking great adventure
however this is barely a book about Native Americans, this is a book about how they cut down trees much to Cooper's horror and it shows, every page has reams of descriptions of trees, and the great forests, the story is great but it's bogged down with trees.
If you read this AFTER mohicans you'll be disappointed but if you read it first (as cooper intended) it's great fun, but with lots of trees

there i...more
I'd give 2.5 stars if I could. The entire story takes place around a lake. The fact the author could squeeze so many twists in one tiny setting was impressive, but all the characters were exaggerated stereotypes, and that annoyed me. The hero was a perfectly moral person. His retinue included the grumpy old man, the chauvinistic and close-minded jock, the jealous beauty queen, and a "weak-minded" girl. Man, I was going to drop the book if I heard about how the "weak-minded" girl was simple/dim/d...more
Rated: B+

He uses the reason that God has given him, and he uses it with a fellin' of his being ordered to look at, and consider things as they are, and not as he wants them to be. It's easy enough to find them who call themselves just; but it's wonderfully oncommon to find them that are the very thing, in fact. (ChapterXII)

"God has been kind to me, and lifted a burden off my heart. Mother had many such burdens, she used to tell me, and she always took them off in this way. 'Tis the only way, sis...more
Brent Ranalli
I came to Deerslayer with no preconceived notions, only knowing that years ago I had enjoyed Last of the Mohicans. There were some early warning signs (the bizarre throttling in the first conversation of the book?), but it was not until I was halfway through that I fully comprehended that although it was by a famous author this was truly a wretched, third-rate piece of fiction.

Mark Twain, it seems, has already said it best, so let me quote Twain on the aspects that bothered me most.

"The conversa...more
I read this at some point during high school as part of one of our yearly English projects. Despite being very interested in history and appreciative of a wide range of books and authors, I thought this book was pretty bad. One of the only things I still remember from this book (and liked) was the idea that Native Americans appreciated "simple" people like the character Hetty. I have no idea if this is accurate or not, but it was a nice concept to have put forth in a work of fiction.
I read this when I was 16 so I might of forgotten how good it was (I was also a hormonal teenager) but this book was a really fun read. It was really the first novel that I ever got into. Not a huge fan of the end though............
Sarah Thomas
I have to say, I hadn't heard very good things about this book before reading it and, when I was told to read it for university I was dubious. However, I'm happy to say I really enjoyed this novel! James Fenimore Cooper writes beautifully in the style of the American Romantics and his descriptions of the landscape paints a beautiful picture throughout the book.

The characters were interesting and likeable. I found this to be a great American adventure tale of the hero 'The Deerslayer' as he is kn...more
In Studies in Classic American Literature (1923), D.H. Lawrence describes this book as his favorite among The Leatherstocking Tales; having covered only this, The Prairie and The Last of the Mohicans, I can’t say this as definitively as Lawrence does, but it is clearly my favorite among the three. (That said, reading Cooper has been such a rewarding endeavor, I have chosen to expand my scope to the complete Leatherstocking Tales.)

Though The Deerslayer is important to The Leatherstocking Tales in...more

I feel impertinent in giving too low a rating to this very fine period piece. It was a charmer in it's day but viewed from the 21st century, it is a misanthropic book that paints women and minorities in a most unfavorable light, not to mention it's absurd view of appropriate religious practices.

I carefully avoided reading the Deerslayer when I was young because of its violence. It is violent and paints violence in a romantic light or a test of masculinity. I am, however, pleased to have finally...more
Tommy V
Although it was the last to be written, in 1841, James Fenimore Cooper’s The Deerslayer is, according to its own timeline, the first in a series of five novels that are known collectively as The Leatherstocking Tales. Nearly twenty years after penning the lifespan of his leading character, Natty Bumppo, Cooper revived (you could even say resurrected, since he killed him off in the 1825 novel The Prairie) Natty, called “Deerslayer” here, by telling a story of the young Natty’s skill with a rifle...more
I am a sucker for this type of writing. It's like a poetic puzzle that excites my better feelings when it is solved. I know this is a classic and many are probably familiar with the character but I will give a caution before I proceed... Spoiler Alert.

While the writing can be a little tedious in the unraveling at times and some plot points were a bit weak at times, I was drawn in and loved the storytelling of the author. It was not perfect but it definitely served the purpose of an entertaining...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Founding America: Documents from the Revolution to the Bill of Rights
  • The Virginian: A Horseman of the Plains
  • Leaves of Grass: First and "Death-Bed" Editions (Barnes & Noble Classics)
  • Two Years Before the Mast: A Sailor's Life at Sea
  • Maggie: A Girl of the Streets: and Other Tales of New York
  • Quentin Durward
  • Osceola the Seminole: The Red Fawn of the Flower Land
  • The Bostonians
  • The House of the Dead/Poor Folk
  • Hope Leslie: or, Early Times in the Massachusetts
  • The Scottish Chiefs
  • Northwest Passage
  • Westward Ho! or, the Voyages and Adventures of Sir Amyas Leigh, Knight, of Burrough
  • The History of Pendennis: His Fortunes & Misfortunes, His Friends & His Greatest Enemy
  • The Rise of Silas Lapham (Penguin Classics)
  • Common Sense and Other Writings
  • The Black Arrow (Elibron Classics)
  • Pearl-Maiden: A Tale of the Fall of Jerusalem
James Fenimore Cooper was a popular and prolific American writer. He is best known for his historical novel The Last of the Mohicans, one of the Leatherstocking Tales stories, and he also wrote political fiction, maritime fiction, travelogues, and essays on the American politics of the time. His daughter Susan Fenimore Cooper was also a writer.

* The Leatherstocking Tales
* The Littlepage Man...more
More about James Fenimore Cooper...
The Last of the Mohicans (The Leatherstocking Tales #2) The Pathfinder (Leatherstocking Tales, #3) The Pioneers The Prairie The Spy

Share This Book

“tis hard to live in a world where all look upon you as below them.” 18 likes
“God planted the seeds of all the trees," continued Hetty, after a moment's pause, "and you see to what a height and shade they have grown! So it is with the Bible. You may read a verse this year, and forget it, and it will come back to you a year hence, when you least expect to remember it.” 8 likes
More quotes…