James Fenimore Cooper, widely considered to be the first great American novelist, was born in Burlington, New Jersey on September 15, 1789. The son of a wealthy and influential judge, Cooper lived the comfortable life of a country gentleman until a series of family tragedies left him deeply in debt and caused him to turn to writing as a source of income. Although his first novel, Precaution, was a failure, his second effort, The Spy, was very successful, bringing him international fame and recognition. Cooper is perhaps best known for his five Leatherstocking Tales, the most famous of which is The Last of the Mohicans.
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May 05, 2004
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