The falcon : a narrative of the captivity and adventures of John Tanner

by John Tanner, 1780?-1847

Book, 2003



Call number

E87.T16 A3


Publisher Unknown


This fascinating autobiography chronicles the life of John Tanner (the Falcon) who was captured in 1789 at the age of nine by the Shawnee tribe and then sold to an Ojibwa family with whom he spent the first half of his adult life ranging the north woods of Minnesota, Michigan, and Ontario. Tanner attempted to return to white society but ultimately decided his home was with the Ojibwa.

User reviews

LibraryThing member bongo_x
This was very interesting in that it really gives a personal view of life with Native Americans in the early 1800’s. This really isn’t storytelling, it’s just a dispassionate telling of events, more or less in order. Describing this book as unsentimental would be a huge understatement but
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that works in a strange way to add to the impact. Imagine the narrator from Dragnet telling the story of a life full of more drama and adventure than a dozen typical lives. He is starving more times than I could count, there’s a lot of fighting and betrayals, and hunting and constantly moving as part of the nomadic lifestyle they lead.

Most of the book deals with his life among the Indians. This is a good antidote to the idealized vision of Native Americans, and the negative stereotypes as well, even though some of those are certainly present. In his dealings with the Indians he experiences amazing acts kindness and generosity, shocking cruelty and fair number of just plain jerks. There are dozens of events in his life that would qualify as the craziest thing that ever happened to you or anyone you know, and most of us will never know that kind of hardship even once.
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LibraryThing member encephalical
Amazing story. Would love to have an edition with maps, notes about current place names and such, as I've been through some of that area. The harshness of day to day living is what struck me most. The matter of fact delivery brings this across well. I found it totally engrossing.
LibraryThing member Grace.Van.Moer
Fascinating and remarkable memoir. Kidnapped as a young boy, Tanner spent most of his life with Native Americans in the upper Midwest & South Central Canada. I am in awe of how far and wide Tanner travelled, while being on the edge of starvation many times.

Original publication date



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