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30 review for The Old American (Hardscrabble Books-Fiction of New England)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    I admire Ernie Hebert very much.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Maurice Williams

    In 1736, Indians are watching Nathan Blake through the windows of Blake's cabin. When Blake leaves to get something outside, he is surrounded. "You have come too early," says Blake, "I've not had a chance to eat." One Indian surprises Blake by saying in English, "It must be a poor Englishman who cannot go to Canada without his breakfast." This really happened to Nathan Blake of present-day Keene, New Hampshire. His captors keep Nathan as a slave. Ten years later, Nathan' wife ransomed him. Free a In 1736, Indians are watching Nathan Blake through the windows of Blake's cabin. When Blake leaves to get something outside, he is surrounded. "You have come too early," says Blake, "I've not had a chance to eat." One Indian surprises Blake by saying in English, "It must be a poor Englishman who cannot go to Canada without his breakfast." This really happened to Nathan Blake of present-day Keene, New Hampshire. His captors keep Nathan as a slave. Ten years later, Nathan' wife ransomed him. Free again, he lived to be 100 and was buried along with six generations of his descendants near the site where he was captured. An inscribed stone marks the spot. Not much else is known except that Nathan was very happy during those ten years. Intrigued with this true story, Ernest Hebert wrote a historical novel about it. Hebert is a professor at Dartmouth and knowledgeable about early American history. He added interesting fiction to the bare facts and turned out an interesting novel that reveals a great deal about the Indians. He describes how they lived and shows their truly human side. Hebert singles out one Indian as the captor. He names this Indian "Caucus-Meteor," and portrays him as the son of King Philip and king of the remnants of King Philip's tribe. A King Philip really lived during pioneer times. At that time, the Indians were called "Americans." Hebert develops the character of Caucus-Meteor in greater detail than the character of Nathan Blake. Caucus-Meteor, the Old American is the main character. Caucus-Meteor is a deeply human and interesting person who will earn your compassion and respect. The Indians made Nathan and two other captives run the gauntlet. Nathan's bravery going through the gauntlet wins the Indian's admiration. They adopt him. Another captive who lost his temper and started to fight didn't fare so well. Caucus-Meteor becomes fatherly toward Nathan and treats him kindly and with compassion. He takes Nathan to his home village of Conissadawaga in Canada. Caucus-Meteor is the village chief. Caucus-Meteor decides to improve Nathan's standing in the tribe. He Declares Nathan no longer a slave. Nathan carries the title "Provider of Services" (a willing servant). Nathan first has to be tested in advance to see if he is worthy. First test is wrestling. Second test is racing. Nathan does well in both and becomes fully accepted by the Indians. The characterization of Caucus-Meteor and some of his tribal friends opens a new perspective on the life and customs of these fascinating people. If you like historical fiction about pioneer times and the American Indians, you will like this book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jon Walgren

    I loved this book. Having read a lot of history, this turned out to be an historical 'novel' that combined actual facts of the Colonial American pre-revolutionary period through the approximate end of the French & Indian Wars ...actually, in the book's case, 1746, 17 years before the Treaty of Paris of 1763 which also ended the Seven Years War. The book is a wonderful tale of the English, French, and 'American' (Amerind) peoples which includes spirituality, love, lust, cultural differences, viol I loved this book. Having read a lot of history, this turned out to be an historical 'novel' that combined actual facts of the Colonial American pre-revolutionary period through the approximate end of the French & Indian Wars ...actually, in the book's case, 1746, 17 years before the Treaty of Paris of 1763 which also ended the Seven Years War. The book is a wonderful tale of the English, French, and 'American' (Amerind) peoples which includes spirituality, love, lust, cultural differences, violence, outdoor travel, interracial marriage, infidelity, outdoor living, 'American' customs and so much more. I came close to weeping at book's end

  4. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    I haven't had a book make me cry in awhile, but this one did. The storytelling was phenomenal, with the character development truly outstanding. The voice of the main character was completely relatable to me, even though there is a difference in gender, era, and culture between us. I was sad for the book to end - I wanted to hear more! I haven't had a book make me cry in awhile, but this one did. The storytelling was phenomenal, with the character development truly outstanding. The voice of the main character was completely relatable to me, even though there is a difference in gender, era, and culture between us. I was sad for the book to end - I wanted to hear more!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Phil Ellenberger

    Enjoyed This book tells a most interesting tale about a realerson. It usesee a delightful and somewhat whimsical! device to tell it. The resulting Wonder is compelling. This reader could identity with the protagonist and enjoy the main character's dilemma. Enjoyed This book tells a most interesting tale about a realerson. It usesee a delightful and somewhat whimsical! device to tell it. The resulting Wonder is compelling. This reader could identity with the protagonist and enjoy the main character's dilemma.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Charles A. Belisle

    A great read A very well written story of the mingling of cultures in the formation of America. Touching, real, heroic and sad. I could not put it down.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Molly

    I’m grateful to my parents for giving me this book, which I had never heard of before. A gem.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    1746-1749 about Nathan Blake in captivity in Canada

  9. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    Most amazing blend of surrealism and realism I have ever read It is an amazing work of fiction that at its heart is non-fiction. Like that picture that is both a vase and an old woman at the same time as you shift your focus. I cherish the time I spent immersed in this magical world of truth and wonder.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mark Wilson

    I loved this book Set in an little-explored era (in my experience), the American frontier of the early 1700's, this novel follows Caucus-Meteor, the "Old American" of the title, and his captive Nathan. Indian and white man are depicted convincingly, and their journeys make for fascinating and rewarding reading. Their interior journeys are even more interesting than their exterior travels - highly recommended. I loved this book Set in an little-explored era (in my experience), the American frontier of the early 1700's, this novel follows Caucus-Meteor, the "Old American" of the title, and his captive Nathan. Indian and white man are depicted convincingly, and their journeys make for fascinating and rewarding reading. Their interior journeys are even more interesting than their exterior travels - highly recommended.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Bruce Hartman

    Two of my favorite books are The Black Robe by Brian Moore and this book, The Old American, by Ernest Hebert. They go together. The Black Robe tells the story of the early French Jesuit explorers in Canada in the 1640s and their encounter with the Native Americans. The Old American takes place about a hundred years later in the same region. The French and English have established themselves in Canada and New England, but the Indians are not yet defeated, and their culture has not been extinguish Two of my favorite books are The Black Robe by Brian Moore and this book, The Old American, by Ernest Hebert. They go together. The Black Robe tells the story of the early French Jesuit explorers in Canada in the 1640s and their encounter with the Native Americans. The Old American takes place about a hundred years later in the same region. The French and English have established themselves in Canada and New England, but the Indians are not yet defeated, and their culture has not been extinguished. The Indians are still the "Americans" and the white settlers, who we think of as the Americans, are the "English." The book is about the transition to the world we take for granted, seen through the eyes of an "English" settler in New Hampshire who is captured by the Indians and taken to French Canada. His long life parallels the decline of Indian power, the fall of French Canada to England, the American revolution and the establishment of the United States, as experienced by a man who saw it all, from every angle, until he finally becomes "the old American."

  12. 4 out of 5

    Helene

    I paired this with John Demos' The Unredeemed Captive as a book study for the Tuesday Academy folk. Both books were very well received and made for great discussion. We talked about the history, the culture of the time, the various perspectives, and of course the links between both books. What starts out as Caucus-Meteor being an original (native) American and being old, referred to as such, comes around to Nathan Blake, captured in Keene in 1746, being ransomed, and returned to live out his long I paired this with John Demos' The Unredeemed Captive as a book study for the Tuesday Academy folk. Both books were very well received and made for great discussion. We talked about the history, the culture of the time, the various perspectives, and of course the links between both books. What starts out as Caucus-Meteor being an original (native) American and being old, referred to as such, comes around to Nathan Blake, captured in Keene in 1746, being ransomed, and returned to live out his long life, it is he who in the end, is the Old American. Perpectives Change Tradition Treatment of captives and First Nations people

  13. 4 out of 5

    Marcie

    I like historical fiction because I can always learn something. And while this novel was based on a true event (capture by Indians of a frontier colonist during the French & Indian War) in a time period I find fascinating (think "Last of the Mohicans"), I was disappointed. The story moved glacially slow at times and then lightning quick when I wanted more. It seemed the author was trying to fit in every bit of detail he could about the ways of life and the cultural interactions of the era, and i I like historical fiction because I can always learn something. And while this novel was based on a true event (capture by Indians of a frontier colonist during the French & Indian War) in a time period I find fascinating (think "Last of the Mohicans"), I was disappointed. The story moved glacially slow at times and then lightning quick when I wanted more. It seemed the author was trying to fit in every bit of detail he could about the ways of life and the cultural interactions of the era, and instead of adding authenticity, it made the writing seem stilted. The voice of the narrator - the Indian who captured Nathan - was much too modern and European to be convincing.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Joanne

    Ernest Hebert is a history professor up at Dartmouth College who really did his homework for the writing of this novel. Based on the true story of Nathan Blake, who was taken captive from Hebert's home town of Keene, N.H., this book brought me a deeper understanding of the reasons whites were taken as captives by New England tribes. I always thought it was a simple matter of retribution, but that really wasn't so much the case. Hebert does a great job of weaving this tale almost exclusively with Ernest Hebert is a history professor up at Dartmouth College who really did his homework for the writing of this novel. Based on the true story of Nathan Blake, who was taken captive from Hebert's home town of Keene, N.H., this book brought me a deeper understanding of the reasons whites were taken as captives by New England tribes. I always thought it was a simple matter of retribution, but that really wasn't so much the case. Hebert does a great job of weaving this tale almost exclusively with dialogue in a style that both informs and entertains. Loved it.

  15. 4 out of 5

    J. Trott

    Pre-Revolution American Historical Fiction is something I enjoyed as a youngun so I'm predisposed to like it. This doesn't have a lot of action, and the plot meanders along with the perspective and meditations, called conjurings, of the books main character, Caucus-Meteor. His openness to all views, his continual ambition, and the power of his contemplation make him a memorable character. His world view is a challenge to me for its pliancy. Pre-Revolution American Historical Fiction is something I enjoyed as a youngun so I'm predisposed to like it. This doesn't have a lot of action, and the plot meanders along with the perspective and meditations, called conjurings, of the books main character, Caucus-Meteor. His openness to all views, his continual ambition, and the power of his contemplation make him a memorable character. His world view is a challenge to me for its pliancy.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Shelley

    The Old American, which is about Nathan Blake (of Winchester/Main St. Blake House fame) and how he was kidnapped during the French and Indian war and taken to Canada. I thought I was really going to enjoy it, but only about 2 seconds of it took place in Keene.. and the rest was a little hard to get through.. even by me, who took a whole course on New England history! Oh well.. I gave it a shot! 2 books left and I'm done with the SuBC! The Old American, which is about Nathan Blake (of Winchester/Main St. Blake House fame) and how he was kidnapped during the French and Indian war and taken to Canada. I thought I was really going to enjoy it, but only about 2 seconds of it took place in Keene.. and the rest was a little hard to get through.. even by me, who took a whole course on New England history! Oh well.. I gave it a shot! 2 books left and I'm done with the SuBC!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    I had read Hebert's Jordan books and I felt I had had my fill of Hebert, so I just couldn't get myself to read this book. I was tired of the Jordan clan and that whole lifestyle and Hebert writing style. I only decided to read this recently because it was praised at two of my book clubs. I'm glad I read it. I feel the book redeemed Hebert and made me like him as a writer again. I loved the historical aspect of the book - the story is enthralling! I had read Hebert's Jordan books and I felt I had had my fill of Hebert, so I just couldn't get myself to read this book. I was tired of the Jordan clan and that whole lifestyle and Hebert writing style. I only decided to read this recently because it was praised at two of my book clubs. I'm glad I read it. I feel the book redeemed Hebert and made me like him as a writer again. I loved the historical aspect of the book - the story is enthralling!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Krista

    I found this book very difficult to read in the beginning. It just didn't interest me at all. But after about 1/3 of the way through the book, I began to enjoy the book. Not sure I would have picked this book on my own, but am glad I read the book. I found this book very difficult to read in the beginning. It just didn't interest me at all. But after about 1/3 of the way through the book, I began to enjoy the book. Not sure I would have picked this book on my own, but am glad I read the book.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    The story of the abduction of an early pioneer by a native american, and how they come to respect each other. A really enjoyable read with thoughtful characters. The author is great a incorporationg unexpected humor. I will definately read more by Hebert.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nic

    I don't know how well-known this book is but "The Old American" warrants a lot of attention, it is one of the few modern stories of the colonial American frontier that seems like it actually could have happened. It is a fast read I found hard to put down... a must for fans of Historical Fiction. I don't know how well-known this book is but "The Old American" warrants a lot of attention, it is one of the few modern stories of the colonial American frontier that seems like it actually could have happened. It is a fast read I found hard to put down... a must for fans of Historical Fiction.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    historical fiction based on fact. colonial america, a real-life kidnapping of Nathan Blake by Indians. Same era as Tenderness with WolvesFabulous main character "the Old American" historical fiction based on fact. colonial america, a real-life kidnapping of Nathan Blake by Indians. Same era as Tenderness with WolvesFabulous main character "the Old American"

  22. 5 out of 5

    David

    Probably my favorite book. History, great characters, and elegance.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Bob

    Good story -- a native American point of view, that is both affirmative and deeply divided, and constantly searching, after each "solution" fails...certainly worth reading Good story -- a native American point of view, that is both affirmative and deeply divided, and constantly searching, after each "solution" fails...certainly worth reading

  24. 5 out of 5

    Collin Bell

    I read this twice and would read again.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Alyssa

    I am a fan of this other, all of his books take place in NH (and always include Keene). This novel isn't as haunting as his others, but still makes you think for a bit after finishing it. I am a fan of this other, all of his books take place in NH (and always include Keene). This novel isn't as haunting as his others, but still makes you think for a bit after finishing it.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Dody

    This is the book the town of Groton is reading I just started it and am enjoying it.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tonya Green

  28. 5 out of 5

    Elin

  29. 4 out of 5

    jw russell

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sabine

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