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The Prairie by James Fenimore Cooper (The Leatherstocking Tales #5)

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  1,208 Ratings  ·  72 Reviews
The Prairie: A Tale (1827) is a historical novel by James Fenimore Cooper, the third novel written by him featuring Natty Bumppo, his fictitious frontier hero, who is simply known as "the trapper" in it. Chronologically The Prairie is the fifth and final installment of the Leatherstocking Tales. It depicts Natty in the final year of his life still proving helpful to people ...more
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Published July 2nd 2011 by Granto Classic Books (first published 1825)
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Aug 28, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Analyze the shit outta any of these classics & you're bound to discover the golden nugget that someone somewhere once found and classified as such. Not the case with this, the last of the Leatherstocking tales. It's not for modern readers. At all.

Campfire philosophy is perhaps the least interesting aspect of this tale (the opposite case of, say, the superlative "Lonesome Dove") which is about 200 years old… & by setting all players on leveled, even ground (Shakespeare’s plays are often q
Oct 27, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have now read the entire Leatherstocking Tales and regret to say that I rank The Prairie next to last on the good book scale for that series. ( The Pathfinder scored lowest for me, but I will give it another chance and read it again because I really didn’t pay much attention to it the first time. ) My disappointment with The Prairie lay in the plot itself, not the message. Cooper unabashedly criticized western expansion at a time when the nation believed it had a divine right to displace the o ...more
Jan 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The only other one of the Leatherstocking Tales that I have read is Last of the Mohicans, which is much more famous than The Prairie, but to my mind not nearly as good. I found the old Natty Bumppo to be a more believable and interesting character than his younger self. He is the same wise man with a deep knowledge of nature and life on the frontier, but here we see him with his faculties weakened by age and deeply aware of his own mortality. As an older man he is less willing to fight both beca ...more
Sarah C
Apr 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I take it Fenimore was not so familiar with this landscape as his descriptions of the prairie, to me, didn't convince. Natty, now a very old man, is the fittest 80/90 year old man in existence. Still, it was a good story and for me quite emotional at the end as our hero has become "my friend" over all the five books of the leather-stocking series. Very corny in places and sometimes predictable but I shall miss reading about his adventures. I have really enjoyed this series of books, at times the ...more
This is one of those books that I thought would make me a more sophisticated reader, tackling something that my English teachers probably fawned over while the rest of the class rolled their eyes and couldn't wait for the bell. I've read classics that I've enjoyed, but this is not one of them. Did people seriously ever talk like this in the United States of America?

The story is at least twice as long as it needs to be, and I'll be honest...Unless I wanted to re-read every sentence five times in
Mar 26, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I actually might have rated this a 3.75 if you could give quarter stars.

I didn't think this book was as bad as some of the others in this Leather Stocking Series. Usually Natty goes off on tangents about Faith, Race and other things, but I found him somewhat subdued in this book. He does go off on how he's an old man, a Chritian and not so educated but again, it's quite mild in comparison to some of the other books.

I found it interesting and exciting here and there too. So almost 4 starts just n
Inese Okonova
Pēc sarakstīšanas gada šī ir trešā no piecām grāmatām par Netiju Bumpo, pazīstamu arī kā Takuzini, Vanagaci, Ādzeķi un droši vien vēl kaut kā. Sižetiski šis ir noslēgums viņa dēkām, kas beidzas ar sirmā klejotāja nāvi jau ļoti cienījamā vecumā, un ar šo darbu arī es beidzot esmu sēriju pabeigusi.
Godīgi sakot, šis, manuprāt, ir vājākais ķēdes posms, kas noteikti nepatiks spraigu sižetu alkstošajiem, bet arī citādi neizceļas (kā piemēram, "Pionieri", kas patika ar savu rietumu iekarotāju sadzīves
Gena Lott
Aug 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first book I read by Cooper and I certainly took things out of order. It took a while for me to get into Cooper's stride. But the book is deep and rich, though parts are haunting. I must read some of his other books. I consider his work some that any "well read" person should have purused!
Andre LeMagne
Dec 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Of all the Leatherstocking Tales, I found this one particularly compelling. The protagonist is no longer young and vigorous; he is in the final years of his life, yet his intrepid spirit and level head remain in play.
Chip Hunter
Dec 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the third in the five-volume series known as The Leatherstocking Tales. Here we catch up with Natty Bumppo (known here simply as 'the trapper') 10 years after the close of The Pioneers, as the end of his life approaches. He's left behind civilization of any kind, and seems to just want to be left alone, to live out his final days in peace and harmony. Not so fast, though, Bumppo! Along comes the family if Ishmael Bush, among whose troubles the trapper quickly gets entangled. From rescuin ...more
Nov 07, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This read took me a while because I had to constantly go back and reread many paragraphs over to fully understand what was occurring. The content was written in a very flowery and archaic form of prose, which was at times difficult, for me, to comprehend the complete picture. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the plot and the characters though completely predictable. If written in a more modern style at least half the book would have been unneeded. I am a western and historical romantic at heart and so en ...more
Jan 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I always kind of put off reading these books (as I work my way through the ginormous collection I have in one huge heavy volume). I don't even know why. Because once I start I am absolutely captivated and can't wait to get back to it. This one is rather bittersweet because the hero is old and weary of endlessly fleeing the encroach of civilization and the destruction of the forests he loved so, but it is a rollicking good adventure tale and everyone - Indians, settlers, squatters etc. - are port ...more
Jul 18, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not really my genre, but a good dose of American literature once in a while is healthy. I decided to read this instead of Last of the Mohicans because I knew that film so well...''twas a bit unsettling to learn how much of the film was complete fabrication. And yet, I like the film better than the real story, alas.
Aaron Crofut
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I loved this entire series. The story was interesting, the characters believable, the morals important, in particular that of people in general and their particular natures. Natty Buumpo is a wonderful character; his end brings the stirring of emotions that only a good book can provide.
Eva Lucia
Also posted on Eva Lucias blog

The Prairie is the fifth story in the Leatherstocking Tales but can be read individually. It focuses on the Native Americans and presents many sensuous descriptions of the landscape and the different conflicts which take place during the novel’s plot.

Furthermore, it shows the difference of British literature and American literature at this time (1820s-1840s). Whereas the British literary tradition had existed longer, the American literary scene was not as establishe
Jun 28, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I promised myself I would read all the Leatherstocking tales. Arghh!

THE PIONEERS was quite good and I got excited and got the other four books about Natty Bumppo. They were deadly. Yes, I know they are 'classics.' James Fenimore Cooper is supposed to be one of our national literary lights. I have read many other 'old' authors, both American and European, those writers who have 'stood the test of time' and whose works have endured. For the life of me, I have no idea why Cooper is part of this gro
Mark Oppenlander
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bill Wallace
The Pioneers is a novel of ideas, but The Prairie is closer to the roots of the American Western in its romantic form. I prefer the earlier book but there is a lot to like here too, some of it perhaps outside the author's intentions. Certainly Cooper had no notion how condescending his view of his Noble Savages would appear to a reader almost two centuries later, though to his credit, most of Cooper's characters, red-skinned or palefaced, are multi-dimensional. Even the novel's antagonists, Ishm ...more
Jul 25, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is simply awful. It was written in the 1820's about the far west of which the author knew nothing. Of course he was writing for an audience that also knew nothing of the far west.
The book starts with the characters camped on the west bank of the Missouri River and the next day they reach the Rocky Mountains pulling their wagon by hand. The quality of the prose is childish and the story line is absurd.
This book came out shortly after "The Last of the Mohicans" which I read as a child 6
Jul 02, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
People must have been desparate for entertainment in 1827 when this was published. Yup.....sitting by the fire, no TV, no radio, no movies, just James Fenimore Cooper and his Leatherstocking Tales. I really had my doubts as to whether I was going to get through this book.

The language he uses is so off-putting. It's as though he needs to show how educated he is by using 50-cent words when 10-cent words will do just fine. The first half of the book was really painful to get through. About the midd
Jim Kisela
Jul 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This 1830 novel reads reasonably well today, and in fact, is quite contemporary in its reflection on how civilization is changing the landscape (and not for the better), and how the settlers disrespected and mistreated the original native inhabitants.

I kept stopping myself and asking: "When was this written, because the language and issues are so pertinent".

The use of the word "parachute" really surprised me because I thought of it as a modern word, in relation to airplanes and flying. I wasn't
В очередной книге Купера об индейцах прерия становится новой декорацией для происходящих событий. Не так важно, о чём будет сюжет, поскольку он мало отличается от аналогичных ему других произведений автора. Вновь читателя ждут высокопарные слова, романтически настроенные герои, индейские размолвки и бесконечная мудрость людей, осознающих крушение одного мира в угоду процветания другого. Каждый герой увлечён своим собственным делом, а их встреча друг с другом — удачное/неудачное стечение обстояте ...more
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Story is ok, but it's really boring. Even when something happens, it's written in a way that most modern readers are going to find completely uninteresting.
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
This is not JFC's most scintillating novel. But it's an important glimpse of life on the Great Plains at the end of Natty Bumpo's life. A melancholy, downbeat coda to the energetic stories of the French & Indian War, almost a lifetime before the events of The Pioneers. The hero has lost everything --even his name it seems-- except his rifle, his dog, and his wits. He's on the plains because there is no more solitude in the forest. Most of the characters he meets, Native American and white, a ...more
Patrick Walsh
Jun 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In The Writer's Almanac for 15th September 2013, the writers noted the birthday anniversary of James Fenimore Cooper, the author of the series known as the Leatherstocking Tales. The comment was made that Cooper made the "wild, untamed America seem romantic." Having read the entire series, I can understand that comment as it applies to some of the storytelling, but I find the notion that the fourth and fifth novels in the series (in historical order, not order of writing) are romantic to be at o ...more
Jun 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read most of this book for a class earlier in the semester, but I didn't have a chance to finish it until today. Yes, Cooper can be longwinded, but for the most part I found the descriptions beautiful, and I was surprised by how involved I became in the plot. Also, since this is the final book in the Leatherstocking series, Natty's character is quite old, which makes him more humble and less obnoxious than he is in the Deerslayer (at least from what Brian has told me). Overall, a thoroughly en ...more
Sep 13, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: just-adventury
2.5 I'm done! Cooper is long winded. He's a better storyteller than Brockton Brown, but holy cow, get to the point. It didn't help that I was behind the reading schedule for class and was constantly trying to catch up.

Influential contribution to American literature, but it in no way compels me to read more of Cooper. Good discussions in class about it.

I did like the portrayal of Ishmael and Mahtoree.
Feb 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hawkeye rules forever! Cooper is once again the master of action, with some soliloquy that rivals the bard. You can find a wide range of truths in this novel, with some wise comment on human nature and the environment. It's worth wading through the prose of the time to get a darn good story, and realize that logical thinking has always given good answers on a lot of subjects. A little slow to get into it, but I couldn't put it down by the end.
Apr 12, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another book club pick. Almost exactly what I expected. Quite lovely in parts, unbearably tedious in others, with dialogue that makes you want to tear your hair out (if real frontiers-people were this long-winded, they all would have been dead before finishing a sentence). Still, entertaining to a certain degree.
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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 about James Fenimore Cooper...

Other Books in the Series

The Leatherstocking Tales (1 - 10 of 19 books)
  • The Deerslayer (The Leatherstocking Tales, #1)
  • The Last of the Mohicans (The Leatherstocking Tales #2)
  • The Pathfinder (Leatherstocking Tales, #3)
  • The Pioneers (Leatherstocking Tales, #4)
  • The Leatherstocking Trilogy: Last of the Mohicans, The Deerslayer & The Pathfinder (Leatherstocking Tales)
  • Leatherstocking Saga
  • The Deer Slayer V1: Or the First Warpath (1841)
  • The Last of the Mohicans  (with Illustrations) (Cooper's Leatherstocking Tales)
  • The Leatherstocking Saga: Parts 1 & 2
  • James Fenimore Cooper: The Leatherstocking Tales I; The Pioneers, The Last of the Mohicans, The Prairie (Library of America)

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