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William Cooper's Town: Power and Persuasion…

William Cooper's Town: Power and Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early… (1995)

by Alan Taylor

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319353,253 (3.92)17



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5161. William Cooper's Town Power and Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early American Republic, by Alan Taylor (read 13 May 2014) (Pulitzer History prize for 1996) My good niece Susan sent me 104 books and this book was included. Since I have long wanted to read it because I want to read all Pulitzer prize winners, it was the first of said 104 books I read. This excellent book won the 1996 Pulitzer History prize and is the 54th such winner I've read. It also won the Bancroft Prize in 1996 and is the 36th Bancroft winner I've read. It is an amazing book and while extremely detailed is a stunningly insightful book, telling the story of William Cooper's founding of Cooperstown, NY, in 1786 and his struggle to foster that town, as well as other settlement efforts he made. His efforts were often unsuccessful. The story is told with frequent references to James Fenimore Cooper's novel, The Pioneers, which obviously relates to the events surrounding the efforts at Cooperstown, despite the effort of James Fenimore Cooper to deny the relationship. The research involved is awesome and the book is a tour de force in both history and biography, as well as literary commentary. The book well deserves the honors it has won. ( )
  Schmerguls | Apr 19, 2016 |
I absolutely *loved* this book! I read it as part of a library study group. The teacher warned us that this book was "scholarly". I found it to be a well-written and riveting story not only of a cute little town in NY but of the early expansion of America. I learned a lot from this book, and treated myself to a visit to Cooperstown immediately after finishing it. This book made the town's history come alive and made for a memorable visit. ( )
  meacoleman | Apr 27, 2014 |
Fantistic. Couldn't be better (or, at least, it'd be very hard). ( )
  JBD1 | Jan 19, 2006 |
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"The enterprise of Judge Temple is taming the very forests!" exclaimed Elizabeth, throwing off the covering, and partly rising in the bed. "How rapidly is civilization treading on the footsteps of nature!" she continued, as her eye glanced over not only the comforts, but the luxuries of her apartment, and her ear again listened to the distant, but often repeated howls from the lake." - James Fenimore Cooper, The Pioneers, 212
For Shelley and Peter, Erik and Even and in memory of Paul Fenimore Cooper, Jr.
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The death of Judge William Cooper in late 1809 dismayed his friend Miers Fisher, who, on June 13, 1810, wrote a moving letter of tribute addressed to the judge's sons.
Strange if I should run Such a Long Gauntlet and Receive no Stripes. - William Cooper
Here Sovereign Dirt erects her sable throne, / The house, the host, the hostess all her own. - Washington Irving
Learn hence, young man, and teach it to your sons, / The wisest ways to take it as it comes - William Cooper
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679773002, Paperback)

In 1786 William Cooper, determined to become a self-made gentleman of substance in post-revolutionary America, founded Cooperstown, N.Y., through a dodgy land deal. His town rose to become county seat, and Cooper became a judge and then a congressman. He lost most of the prestige he earned later, when he overstretched himself, and his local patronage weakened when he backed the Federalists against the victorious Republicans. Nonetheless, his son, James Fenimore Cooper, the early 19th century's best-selling novelist, wrote essentially a justification of his father in his third novel, The Pioneers (1823). Taylor's book--a combination of biography, personal history, social history, literary exegesis and analysis of father-son dynamics--charts the interplay between the fact and the fiction of the days when upstate New York was the frontier. William Cooper's Town won the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for history.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:27 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

William Cooper and James Fenimore Cooper, a father and son who embodied the contradictions that divided America in the early years of the Republic, are brought to life in this Pulitzer Prize-winning book.   William Cooper rose from humble origins to become a wealthy land speculator and U.S. congressman in what had until lately been the wilderness of upstate New York, but his high-handed style of governing resulted in his fall from power and political disgrace.  His son James Fenimore Cooper became one of this country's first popular novelists with a book, The Pioneers, that tried to come to terms with his father's failure and imaginatively reclaim the estate he had lost.   In William Cooper's Town, Alan Taylor dramatizes the class between gentility and democracy that was one of the principal consequences of the American Revolution, a struggle that was waged both at the polls and on the pages of our national literature.  Taylor shows how Americans resolved their revolution through the creation of new social reforms and new stories that evolved with the expansion of our frontier.… (more)

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