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The Education of Little Tree by Forrest…

The Education of Little Tree (1976)

by Forrest Carter

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,241434,248 (3.82)1 / 53

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Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
A literary hoax with seriously sinister origins.

Mr. F. was an amazing teacher. He was my social studies teacher in 5th and 6th grade and I even had him for a homeroom teacher. A main part of his curriculum was a game of, essentially, historical competitive Dungeons and Dragons, in 5th grade as colonialists in the New World and in 6th as a wagon train headed to Oregon. Not everybody made it. As a class we were engaged with the first complex historical problems we'd faced, primarily it was about America as a nation of immigrants, sometimes working with but mostly displacing native populations. Native Americans, or Indians as I still think of them most of the time, were stressed as being neither noble savages or scalping heathens in his classroom, but people.

Well duh you might be thinking, but that is a rarer idea in classrooms than you think. Mr. F. (that's what we called him, I still can't spell his last name) was somewhere between my grandparents and parents in age, and he could be gruff and hard to approach but his projects and readings pushed thinking. The books that come to mind are [b:My Brother Sam is Dead|122756|My Brother Sam Is Dead|James Lincoln Collier|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1308957659s/122756.jpg|1207057], [b:Out of the Dust|25346|Out of the Dust|Karen Hesse|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1298418262s/25346.jpg|808243], [b:The Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson|774600|In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson|Bette Bao Lord|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1266640820s/774600.jpg|760644] and The Education of Little Tree.

Little Tree was unquestionably a favorite. We watched the movie adaption, too, and I enjoyed the simplicity of Little Tree's life with his grandparents, the mischievious fox, the still, the talk of books, and when Little Tree has to go away for awhile the baffling stupidty of the Reverend and Orphanage was eye-opening. I still see those aspects in the story now, but a third or so into the book, which was already dragging, I learned about who Forrest Carter really was. Asa "Forrest" Carter first of all was not Cherokee and apparently knew nothing about Cherokee culture, but an anti-semitist, segregationist speechwriter and founder of a violent Ku Klux Klan splinter group? Because of course the Ku Klux Klan wasn't doing enough? Wow. I wanted to stop reading right there. But I figured I should see it out, Mr. F. assigning this in the late 90s must have known about such a high-profile controversy, and thought it was still an important book. Not a word was said to the class of course. I feel a little betrayed, to be honest. He trusted us with moral issues in other matters, reading this book and talking about the author might have been a great opportunity.

Mr. F. didn't 'sell' the book to us as non-fiction (the book was marketed as a memoir until 1991) but I thought it was safe to assume that it was accurate. Nope. I believe that people can change, but Carter was either a liar or delusional, not apologizing or even acknowledging his actions before he adopted his 'Forest Carter' identity. Denial is worse to me than the open committment of a crime. Even with all of this, I thought 'Well, I enjoyed it as a kid, maybe the story and its message is powerful enough to overcome my feelings knowing the facts as an adult'....It's not. The book is too simple and so many of the attitudes, actions and stories from Little Tree's eccentric grandfather and other characters are tinged with different meanings now. I can't escape it. I think the book still has something to offer, thus the two stars, but I couldn't in good conscience give this to anybody, least of all my nephew. My copy is going out the door ASAP and I wish the University of New Mexico Press the best of luck with the buckets of money they're still earning with this title. ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 18, 2019 |
I am just now reading about this author being a racist. I loved the book when I read it years ago. I do need to make the chaneto fiction. We haveit in biography.
( )
  ioplibrarian | Aug 26, 2018 |
What a charming little book. It's the story of a Cherokee boy who loses his parents when he is five. He goes to live with his grandparents up in the mountains. Although the language is a bit archaic and can be hard to read it also adds to the feeling of the story. It's set in the 1930's. The boy learns a number of things about living off of and with nature such as when and what to gather. How different birds will have different meanings to the Cherokee. Towards the end of the book and he has been living with his grandparent for a few years the law intervenes and he is sent to an orphanage. When this first happens I was thinking please don't let him end up living out his days this way. He of course doesn't, his grandfather comes to visit at Christmas time and he goes back to the mountains. Was very enjoyable to read, but the end is truly sad. ( )
  ChrisWeir | Jun 25, 2017 |
received in the mail today and is a good book. I have also seen the movie to this book ( )
  KimSalyers | Oct 6, 2016 |
received in the mail today and is a good book. I have also seen the movie to this book ( )
  KimSalyers | Oct 2, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
This is an engaging story of a Cherokee boy's childhood in the 1930s. The richness of the informal education and wisdom provided by the boy's grandparents is in striking contrast to that of the white-run school the boy is subsequently forced to attend. This book was originally published as autobiographical reminiscences, but has been reclassified as fiction. Controversy surrounds this moving work. Some believe author Forrest Carter to be the late Asa Earl Carter, a white supremacist. Carter, nevertheless, could have had Cherokee heritage and still have held racist beliefs.
Part of Little Tree’s strong appeal, I suspect, is its tone of moral certainty. If Grandpa’s folksy wisdom feels a bit heavy-handed at times, it also serves as a touching reminder of a more innocent era. For young and old alike, Forrest Carter’s memoir brings alive once more, in luminously remembered detail, the shape and spirit of a world we had lost.
A Cherokee boyhood of the 1930s remembered in generous, loving detail, from the author of the very dissimilar Josey Wales novels.
added by Muscogulus | editKirkus Reviews (Oct 13, 1976)

» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Forrest Carterprimary authorall editionscalculated
Strickland, RennardForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0826328091, Paperback)

The Education of Little Tree tells of a boy orphaned very young, who is adopted by his Cherokee grandmother and half-Cherokee grandfather in the Appalachian mountains of Tennessee during the Great Depression.

“Little Tree” as his grandparents call him is shown how to hunt and survive in the mountains, to respect nature in the Cherokee Way, taking only what is needed, leaving the rest for nature to run its course.

Little Tree also learns the often callous ways of white businessmen and tax collectors, and how Granpa, in hilarious vignettes, scares them away from his illegal attempts to enter the cash economy. Granma teaches Little Tree the joys of reading and education. But when Little Tree is taken away by whites for schooling, we learn of the cruelty meted out to Indian children in an attempt to assimilate them and of Little Tree’s perception of the Anglo world and how it differs from the Cherokee Way.

A classic of its era, and an enduring book for all ages, The Education of Little Tree has now been redesigned for this twenty-fifth anniversary edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:14 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Little Tree is an 8-year-old Cherokee boy, who, during the time of the depression, loses his parents and goes to live with his mountain dwelling grandparents and learn the wisdom of the Cherokee way of life.

» see all 4 descriptions

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