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The Deerslayer (The Leatherstocking Tales #1)

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  10,955 Ratings  ·  344 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:
All editions are beautifully design
Paperback, 608 pages
Published July 1st 2005 by Barnes Noble Classics (first published 1841)
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Brent Ranalli Deerslayer comes first chronologically but was written much later. And (in my opinion and plenty of others) it is not nearly as good a piece of…moreDeerslayer comes first chronologically but was written much later. And (in my opinion and plenty of others) it is not nearly as good a piece of writing. So (1) it is certainly NOT NECESSARY to start with Deerslayer, and (2) a safe recommendation would be to start with Last of the Mohicans and then, if you're really committed to the series, go on to the prequel. Kind of like Star Wars. (less)
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Sep 20, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I chose to read this book because I had accepted to read the second in the series (The Last of the Mohicans) as part of a challenge, but I didn't want to jump in at the second book. This book also conveniently met the requirements for yet another challenge I'm completing; so, a win both ways!

I really wanted to like this story, but it was so excruciatingly slow. I could seriously have let the audiobook play for thirty minutes without listening and then pick right back up with the story without r
Jul 25, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I hate you for all those hours of my life I'll never get back, James Fenimore Cooper.
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
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
Aug 24, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, classics
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
Feb 16, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aaron Cance
Apr 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary-fiction
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
Turpinu lasīt “Piedzīvojumi. Fantastika. Ceļojumi.” sēriju, tagad domāju uzsākt nelielu indiāņu grāmatu lasīšanas maratonu. Šī tēma man bērnībā bija ļoti iemīļota, un par pārsteigumu pats sev es atklāju, ka viņa man šķiet pievilcīga joprojām. Kūpers gan kā rakstnieks nav tas izcilākais, bet viņa darbi man bērnu dienās patika tik un tā.

Zvērkāvis vēlāk pazīstams arī kā Vanagacs ierodas pie kāda meža ezera, kas atrodas tagadējā Ņujorkas štatā. Plāns ir atlikt kādu delavēru virsaiti Čingačguku, puik
Feb 15, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  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
May 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 24, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 08, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read 100 pages and I'm still at introduction. Love classics :))
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
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
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
Aug 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 02, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book for two main reasons: the first being JFC's exuberant, almost worshipful respect for nature that permeates the story, and the second being his mostly objective treatment of the Native American characters. The Deerslayer is not just a story about a group of humans fighting over a lake, it is the story of the lake itself and the surrounding landscape. JFC crafts beautiful images of the region throughout the book, and in several places juxtaposes those images with later visions ...more
Aaron Meyer
Dec 06, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
It took me nearly eight months to finally make my way through this book and I can't say why. At the least it is extremely wordy and that at times has its drawbacks. The scenes many times were extremely drawn out. With that to the side though the story is bracing and at many times quite touching. Who can forget the first time Deerslayer sees the Glimmerglass, or his first kill on the warpath. Deerslayer's expounding of what is morally proper and his pure unabashed truthfulness. Or Hettie's simple ...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.
Sep 21, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 13, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Troy Johnson
Jun 22, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
My least favorite book of all time. It about killed me reading it.
Ethan Chippas
The Book Deerslayer by James Fenimore Cooper is a good book about coming of age and Native American relations. The book was written in 1841 by Cooper who also had written The Last of the Mohicans with a very descriptive style. The Characters are developed with backstories and reasons for their actions. Most of them are relatable and realistic with strong personalities. The younger main character is surrounded with older more seasoned men and learns about the world around him. Personally I think ...more
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
Jun 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not a book for the young or the impatient. I find the slowness and the intricacy of the prose delicious. The story line is no more laughable than most action movies. . . Cooper gets inside the mind of a frontiersman and slowly spins out a story that proceeds in microsteps of explication. It is both awe-inspiring and funny. One wonders if Cooper were a forerunner to Doestoyevsky.

The setting of the story in primeval upstate NY gives one pause. We know how fragile and fleeting this seemingly unbou
Nov 06, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-book
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Jul 16, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nathan Good
Sep 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This is one of my all-time favorite novels. The author does a good job of developing the characters just enough to cause you to fall in love with them (or to hate them) but with enough mystery surrounding them to make them still seem like real people. It is amazing how short a period of time such a large book fills, but this is accounted for by the extensive detail given to scenery and depictions of events as well as extensive conversations which take place for seemingly no reason except charact ...more
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James Fenimore Cooper novels 1 1 Oct 16, 2016 02:51PM  
  • Founding America: Documents from the Revolution to the Bill of Rights
  • The Virginian: A Horseman of the Plains
  • Northwest Passage
  • Rob Roy
  • The Bostonians
  • The Scottish Chiefs
  • Pearl-Maiden: A Tale of the Fall of Jerusalem
  • The Rise of Silas Lapham
  • Osceola the Seminole: The Red Fawn of the Flower Land
  • David Balfour: Being Memoirs of the Further Adventures of David Balfour at Home and Abroad (David Balfour, #2)
  • Hope Leslie: or, Early Times in the Massachusetts
  • Westward Ho! or, the Voyages and Adventures of Sir Amyas Leigh, Knight, of Burrough
  • Maggie: A Girl of the Streets and Other Tales of New York
  • The House of the Dead/Poor Folk
  • Drums Along the Mohawk
  • Two Years Before the Mast: A Sailor's Life at Sea
  • Great American Short Stories: From Hawthorne to Hemingway
  • The Four Feathers
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 Last of the Mohicans (The Leatherstocking Tales #2)
  • The Pathfinder (Leatherstocking Tales, #3)
  • The Pioneers (Leatherstocking Tales, #4)
  • The Prairie (Leatherstocking Tales, #5)
  • 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)
“tis hard to live in a world where all look upon you as below them.” 23 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.” 11 likes
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