Thursday, July 09, 2009

The Last of the Mohicans

Looking for a book to read on the East Coast trip during June, I settled on The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper. The book appealed to me on three different levels.

First, Cooperstown is named for James Fenimore Cooper's father. James lived there as a child and during several periods during his adult life. After serving as a seaman, James returned to Cooperstown and settled at Fenimore Farm, the site of the Fenimore Art Museum, as a gentleman farmer. Sharon and I went through the Fenimore Art Museum.

Second, The Last of the Mohicans is set in Upper New York State about an hour north of Cooperstown. During my trail run while we were at Cooperstown, the terrain that I was running through felt very much like the descriptions on the countryside in the book. Much of James Fenimore Cooper's writing is based his childhood experiences in and around Lake Otsego and the surrounding area.

Third, the center point of the story is the massacre that follows the surrender of Fort William Henry during the French and Indian War. Since reading His Excellency, the George Washington biography, I have been intrigued by the French and Indian Wars. Washington's reputation really has it roots in several battles in this war.

Written in 1825, It was one of the most popular English-language novels of its time. Criticized for its long sentences and formal prose, I found the book very readable and well paced. I enjoyed the book a great deal.

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