Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Light in the Forest by Conrad Richter

The Light in the Forest (original 1953; edition 2005)

by Conrad Richter

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,433165,286 (3.42)65
Title:The Light in the Forest
Authors:Conrad Richter
Info:Everyman's Library (2005), Hardcover, 176 pages
Collections:Your library, To read
Tags:JFIC, classic

Work details

The Light in the Forest by Conrad Richter (1953)

Recently added bySamuel0good, kthiot, Buchvogel, private library, seamainland, Km1014, JFeld
Legacy LibrariesCarl Sandburg

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 65 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
I do think this might be a bit too reverent of the Lenni Lenape and other natives, but it was a necessary counterpoint to the all-too prevalent white supremacist viewpoint of the time. I was never required to read it, but I'm not surprised that many students are, as it does have a lot of discuss-able ideas, and a fair bit of engaging drama and characterization. A bad teacher will ruin it; the students of a good teacher will benefit greatly from sharing it, and those of us reading it on our own will not regret doing so. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
What ages would I recommend it too? Six and up.

Length? Most of a days read.

Characters? Memorable, several characters.

Setting? Real world early U.S.

Written approximately? 1953.

Does the story leave questions in the readers mind? Too many to share. What would have really happened to a young adult shunned by both worlds? The story actually begins in the last few pages.

Any issues the author (or a more recent publisher) should cover? Yes. Many stereotypes are represented. Are they true to the time, the character, or are they Hollywood?

Short storyline: A teen boy is forcibly removed from the only family he knows and forced to return to his birth family who have negative stereotypes of the family who raised him.

Notes for the reader: Could have been a good adventure. Too much missing. The only character the reader can relate to is the younger brother. ( )
  AprilBrown | Feb 25, 2015 |
The Light in the Forest by Conrad Richter. Epiphany-OviedoELCA library section 12 D: Teen, Fiction. This short novel is a gem. The setting is around 1800 in central Pennsylvania. “True Son” is a white boy kidnapped at age 4 by the Lenni Lenape Indians to adopt and raise as their own. He does not remember his white parents; in fact, he has developed a prejudice for all things white. The day comes when all white captives must be returned to their original families, including True Son.
He is reclaimed, kicking and screaming, by his white parents at the rendezvous, and he lives with them for some time. White houses feel like prisons. White clothes are too constricting. Shoes made by a cobbler feel heavy and hard as rocks compared to pliable moccasins. He discovers that most of the white people, including his relatives, are prejudiced toward the Indians due to frontier killings, and they do not trust True Son. He begins to see the white people’s side of the story.
You will have to read the book to find out what happens to True Son. I put it in the teen section, not because it is a long or difficult book, but because of the Native American words which may make the book slower going for younger readers. The freedom of living in the forest as a Native American is so well-expressed, so close to nature. You really feel as if you are walking along Indian trails in the primeval forest of the New World. Richter writes so well about the Colonial culture from the viewpoint of a young Native American who finds himself in a situation he hate,s among people he fears and despises. The most important thing about this book is that it points out that anyone can be prejudiced. Anyone can be swayed by hatred to commit violence. It is only the wise who listen to all sides, who find the peaceful middle path. This is a lesson for every person in every age.
This novel was made into a Disney film in 1958, starring James MacArthur as True Son, Fess Parker as a scout, and Wendell Corey, Jessica Tandy, Carol Lynley, and one of my fave actresses of all time, Dorothy McGuire. It can be found in its entirety in English (though the youtube title is in Spanish) at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prf25cHiQB4
I wish good family entertainment based on American history like this were still made for today’s generation of youngsters. Conrad Richter also wrote Northwest Passage and The Awakening Land trilogy: The Trees, The Fields and The Town. These are classic novels about colonial America. Great escapist summer reading! ( )
2 vote Epiphany-OviedoELCA | Dec 27, 2011 |
True Son had been born into a frontier family, but all he could remember, all that he loved, was Native American. Now, at fifteen, he was ordered to go back to the white man, whom he had learned to hate. Where did he belong--and where could he go?.
Lexile: 870 [view chart]
  211Fern | Jan 11, 2011 |
This novel by Conrad Richter tells the story of a boy who was captured and raised by Indians and then must be returned to his white family due to a treaty. The boy has been with the Indians long enough that he has forgotten his white family and would rather stay with his Indian family. His adopted father, a warrior of honor, forces him to leave.

He is marched across the frontier and returned to his family who appear to have little sympathy for what this boy is going through. They just want him to be white and fit in, but don’t take the time to help him make this transition. Eventually he runs away and tries to return to the wilderness.

A interesting story of frontier life in Pennsylvania and of a boy that ultimately fits into neither world yet must try and find a place for himself. A rather sad story, but it certainly makes you think about how things haven’t really changed all that much, different is still unacceptable to many. ( )
2 vote DeltaQueen50 | Aug 21, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

Has as a student's study guide

Has as a teacher's guide

You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Shades of the prison-house begin to close
Upon the growing boy
But he beholds the light, and whence it flows
He sees it in his joy.
First words
The boy was about 15 years old.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
"True Son," born John Butler in a little frontier town, was captured by the Lenni Lenape Indians when he was four years old, and adopted into the tribe by the great warrior Cuyloga who re-named him and reared him as his own. True Son grew up to think, feel, and flight like an Indian, in reverence to their God.

Then the Indians made a treaty and agreed to return all white captives to their own people...but true Son had learned to hate all white men -

The Light in the Forest, with all its harshness and violence, is a moving and beautiful story, eloquently told by one of America's finest writers -
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0449704378, Mass Market Paperback)

Though reared as a Lenni Lenape Indian, fifteen-year-old True Son, once called John Camera Butler, was ordered back to the white man. It was impossible for True Son to believe that his people were white and not Indian. He had learned to hate the white man. And now he learned to hate his new father, his new house, his new family. He hated the name John Butler. Where did he belong now--and where could he go?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:26:18 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

As part of an agreement to keep peace, whites are insisting that captives who have been living with the Indians be returned to their white settlements. True True Son, fifteen years old, has lived with the Delaware tribe since being captured as a baby.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
97 avail.
9 wanted
1 pay1 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.42)
1 5
2 13
2.5 2
3 41
3.5 14
4 43
5 15

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 116,084,128 books! | Top bar: Always visible