James Fenimore Cooper, Donald Ringe (Introducer)
Originally published in 1823, The Pioneers is the first of Cooper's five Leatherstocking Tales, and the one that incorporates most fully his own experience of growing up in a town of the American frontier. The heart of the novel is a conflict over who owns America, and by what concept of right. The competing claims of Native Americans, Tory loyalists, roving hunters, and visionary cultivators are pitted against one another in the area of history, and the magical village ofCooper's youth becomes the scene in which a nation's destiny is forged. The novel also marks the invention of his enduring contribution to world literature: Natty Bumpo, the Leatherstocking.
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