"Perhaps no other American writer stands in greater need of a major reevaluation than Cooper. There has been no serious book-length biography of Cooper in more than fifty years. Wayne Franklin's biography is the first treatment of Cooper's life to be based on full access to his family papers, many of which were privately held from his death until the early 1990s. Cooper's story, as Franklin tells it, is almost incidentally a literary one. It is first and foremost a story of how, in literature and countless other endeavors, Americans in his period sought to solidify their political and cultural economic independence from Britain and, as the Revolutionary generation died, stipulate what the maturing republic was to become. Cooper is, then, a representative figure of the early American republic."--BOOK JACKET.