Book Review: The Deerslayer by James Fenimore Cooper

Author: James Fenimore Cooper
Title: The Deerslayer
Publication Info: [Ashland] : Blackstone Audiobooks, [2004]
ISBN: 0786132353


This is the first chronological story of Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales although the last of the five books published by Cooper.  I’ve long intended to read this book and I was somewhat disappointed.  It was hard to get past the racism, sexism, and ableism (the inordinate references to Hetty as “feeble-minded”)  even while making allowances for these attitudes being accepted at the time the story is set as well as when Cooper was writing.  The excessive piety and preachiness of Deerslayer and Hetty get obnoxious as well.

That being said, I did enjoy the setting of the book in a New York when it was still a wilderness with warring parties of English & French, Huron, Iroquois & Delaware fighting for its control.   And for all the stereotypes, Cooper wryly shows how the native Indians and the simple woodsman Deerslayer can be more civilized than Europeans like Floating Tom and Hurry Harry.

Despite my disappointment, I would still like to give the next book (chronologically) in the series a chance — The Last of the Mohicans — as it has a good reputation.

Rating: **

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