Cooper's Novels: The red rover

W. A. Townsend



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W. A. Townsend
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Dec 31, 1852
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History / General
Literary Criticism / General
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Doug Stanton
“A thrilling action ride of a book” (The New York Times Book Review)—from Jerry Bruckheimer in theaters everywhere January 19, 2018—the New York Times bestselling, true-life account of a US Special Forces team deployed to dangerous, war-ridden Afghanistan in the weeks following 9/11.

Previously published as Horse Soldiers, 12 Strong is the dramatic account of a small band of Special Forces soldiers who secretly entered Afghanistan following 9/11 and rode to war on horses against the Taliban. Outnumbered forty to one, they pursued the enemy army across the mountainous Afghanistan terrain and, after a series of intense battles, captured the city of Mazar-i-Sharif. The bone-weary American soldiers were welcomed as liberators as they rode into the city. Then the action took a wholly unexpected turn.

During a surrender of six hundred Taliban troops, the Horse Soldiers were ambushed by the would-be POWs. Dangerously overpowered, they fought for their lives in the city’s immense fortress, Qala-i-Janghi, or the House of War. At risk were the military gains of the entire campaign: if the soldiers perished or were captured, the entire effort to outmaneuver the Taliban was likely doomed.

“A riveting story of the brave and resourceful American warriors who rode into Afghanistan after 9/11 and waged war against Al Qaeda” (Tom Brokaw), Doug Stanton’s account touches the mythic. The soldiers on horses combined ancient strategies of cavalry warfare with twenty-first-century aerial bombardment technology to perform a seemingly impossible feat. Moreover, their careful effort to win the hearts of local townspeople proved a valuable lesson for America’s ongoing efforts in Afghanistan. With “spellbinding...action packed prose...The book reads more like a novel than a military history...the Horse Soldier’s secret mission remains the US military’s finest moment in what has since arguably been a muddled war” (USA TODAY).
James Fenimore Cooper
With the publication of The Pathfinder in 1840, James Fenimore Cooper engaged in what he called the “hazardous experiment” of reviving one of his most popular characters who had been allowed to die in a previous novel.

Natty Bumppo—who had appeared as Leatherstocking in The Pioneers, as Hawkeye in The Last of the Mohicans, and who had died as the Trapper in The Prairie—appears again as the hero of The Pathfinder. Encouraged by his British publisher to write another tale of the American frontier, Cooper revived his character to take him to the shores of Lake Ontario, the Inland Sea, for an adventurous story of sailors, Indians, and hunters. Inspired by his own experiences as a mid-shipman on Lake Ontario in 1808-09, Cooper writes in his most picturesque fashion of the wilderness of the Great Lakes, the Thousand Islands, and Niagara.

“Never did the art of writing tread more closely upon the art of the painter,” wrote Honoré de Balzac in his review of The Pathfinder. Cooper writes of places that were wilderness in his youth and that changed rapidly in his own lifetime as cities and commerce developed around the Great Lakes. Cooper’s attitude toward this development was ambivalent, as he indicated in his Preface: “That great results are intended to be produced by means of these wonderful changes, we firmly believe...but that they will prove to be of the precise results now so generally anticipated, in consulting the experience of the past, and taking the nature of man into account, the reflecting and intelligent may be permitted to doubt.”

The Pathfinder remains a classic and entertaining account of the American wilderness and of aspects of human experience in the New World.
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