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The Education of Little Tree

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The Education of Little Tree tells of a boy orphaned very young, who is adopted by his Cherokee grandmother and half-Cherokee grandfather in the Appalachian mountains of Tennessee during the Great Depression. Little Tree as his grandparents call him is shown how to hunt and survive in the mountains, to respect nature in the Cherokee Way, taking only what is needed, leaving the rest for nature to run its course. Little Tree also learns the often callous ways of white businessmen and tax collectors, and how Granpa, in hilarious vignettes, scares them away from his illegal attempts to enter the cash economy. Granma teaches Little Tree the joys of reading and education. But when Little Tree is taken away by whites for schooling, we learn of the cruelty meted out to Indian children in an attempt to assimilate them and of Little Tree's perception of the Anglo world and how it differs from the Cherokee Way. A classic of its era, and an enduring book for all ages, The Education of Little Tree has now been redesigned for this twenty-fifth anniversary edition.

216 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1976

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About the author

Forrest Carter

34 books294 followers
Asa Earl "Forrest" Carter was an American political speechwriter and author. He was most notable for publishing novels and a best-selling, award-winning memoir under the name Forrest Carter, an identity as a Native American Cherokee. In 1976, following the publication success of his western The Rebel Outlaw: Josey Wales, The New York Times revealed Forrest Carter to be Southerner Asa Earl Carter. His background became national news again in 1991 after his purported memoir, The Education of Little Tree, was re-issued in paperback and topped the Times paperback best-seller lists (both non-fiction and fiction). It also won the American Booksellers Book of the Year (ABBY) award.

Prior to his literary career as "Forrest", Carter was politically active for years in Alabama as an opponent to the civil rights movement: he worked as a speechwriter for segregationist Governor George Wallace of Alabama; founded the North Alabama Citizens Council (NACC) and an independent Ku Klux Klan group; and started the pro-segregation monthly titled The Southerner.

From Wikipedia

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,782 reviews
Profile Image for J.G. Keely.
546 reviews9,782 followers
November 10, 2011
The closest this book gets to touching nature is the sweet sappiness of the story. Though the author put the story forward as true, he was not actually a Native, but a racist con-man who fought to keep segregation and was a member of the KKK.

But this revelation shouldn't be that surprising, since the book is hardly insightful or sensitive in its views. Carter's characters are old, romanticized cliches of the colonial 'Noble Savage'--poor Indians beset by the white man's greed trying to eke a peaceful and natural existence out in the wild of nature. It should remind us all that an overly rosy view can be just as racist and condescending as a negative one.

Carter is just another in a long line of people who tried to make themselves more mysterious and interesting by making up a distant Native ancestor and then claiming it gives them some kind of spiritual and moral superiority. I guess I should mention here that it's overtly racist to imagine that a fully-formed culture can be propagated through blood, as if Native peoples were magic elves.

But people like to individualize themselves, and if that means they have to create a culture from whole cloth to belong to, that isn't going to stop them, whether it's someone bringing up their '1/16th Cherokee blood' or a Wiccan who doesn't realize they're following Christian mysticism, conspiracy theories, and some stuff that was made up by delusionals and con-men.

And if that wasn't enough to tip us off, there's also a lengthy sambo slapstick scene almost as insulting to blacks as Martin Lawrence in a fatsuit. It just goes to show that it's easy to fool people with over-the-top cliches and over-romanticized characters. Even Oprah was taken in, featuring this book in her reading club--but perhaps it shouldn't surprise us that one purveyor of ill-informed saccharine melodrama should be taken in by another.

In the end, we get a sort of literary version of the blackface minstrel show, depicting Native life with a quaint nostalgia that has nothing to do with the real experience of Natives or their history. Instead, everything is boiled down into a simple little story--almost a fable--of how the colonial mindset would prefer to see Natives: as fundamentally separate in vague, mystical ways.

They are so oversimplified (as heroes or villains) that they no longer resemble real people; instead, they are reduced to a subspecies of man defined by a set of universally shared traits. Their identity is primarily communal, primarily traditional, incapable of change, learning, or individuality.

It's hard for me to think of a more pointed definition or racism than 'assuming that a group of people, similar in appearance and ancestry, all share a series of invariable traits which make them fundamentally and inescapably different from every other individual and people group'.

Like 'The Kite Runner', this is just another book that assuages white guilt by making white readers feel that, in just picking up a book, they have become worldly, understanding, and compassionate--despite the fact that neither book really reveals the culture it set out to depict, and could not provide any real insight to anyone who was in the least familiar with how those cultures actually work.
Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,738 reviews14.1k followers
June 11, 2016
Within the first three pages I fell in love with our four year old narrator, whose grandfather called Little Tree. His relationships with his grandparents reminded me so much of mine, it was hard not to identify with that even though his Cherokee culture was of course different. Still, the love, the knowledge, the ways shown to live were in many ways, different but the same. So Little Tree learns from his grandparents the way of the Indian and how to navigate the world of the white man. Loved watching him learn, change and grow. Of course there is sadness, the white world trying to encroach on the Indian ways, but also he knows he is loved.

I knew nothing about this author when I read this book. Only after reading and reading other reviews did I learn about this author's shaded and terrible past. So does one judge this book by its author? I usually think that learning about an author often adds nuances to their books, that are usually passed over. Since an author puts his heart and soul into their stories, there is always something there identifiably the authors own, whether opinions, or memories. So...... Can people change? Going by this book I can't believe the same man who wrote this book was the same man as that of his earlier years. So I was conflicted and decided to judge this book on its own merits rather than judging the authors life. Others may not feel so but that is up to them. I enjoyed this book, enjoyed the story so that is how I will rate it.
Profile Image for Lawyer.
384 reviews831 followers
June 10, 2016
The Education of Little Tree: Which is Right

The Education of Little Tree by Forrest Carter was chosen as the Pre-1980 Group Read by members of On the Southern Literary Trail for June, 2016. Special thanks to Trail Member Tina for nominating this work.

 photo Little Tree First Edition_zpsslx108u8.jpg
The Education of Little Tree, First Edition, Delacorte Press, New York, New York, 1976

 photo Forrest Carter_zpsdl8rynkw.jpg
Forrest Carter, 1975

This is my third read of this book. It means much to me. For it speaks of the love shared by a young boy and his grandparents. Orphaned at five, Little Tree, a Cherokee Indian, is taken into the home of Granma and Granpa.

My Mother married young. On a dare, no less. Crossing the Mississippi state line where it was possible to marry at a younger age without parental consent. My father decided he was much too young to be one, though I guess he enjoyed making me. When he abandoned my mother and me I was a week old. We were taken in by my mother's parents.

I was raised in my Grandparents' home. My Mother completed her growing up in that home. Although I came to excel academically throughout my years in school, without doubt, my most valuable education did not come from text books but my Grandparents, especially my Grandfather, who was always Papa to me.

I recognize much of this book as the truth. It is a beautiful and wondrous truth. I share much in common with Little Tree. The lessons he was taught by his Grandparents are tenets for a more full and complete life. Living in harmony with the environment. Take only what you need. To take more is only greed. Tolerance for those different than us. Living simply, recognizing the difference between needs and wants. Accepting your self worth, though you may be looked down upon by others who consider themselves higher than you by their perception of social stature, the value of the roots of the history of your people or family. The acceptance of the passing of all things. This is the nature of life. Embrace these truths and live fully, or live in anxiety and stuggle in futility. Live in despair and desparation. I was taught these same truths.

When this little book was first published, it attracted little attention, little acclaim, no fanfare. It was not until the University of New Mexico issued a paperback edition of the book in 1980 that The Education of Little Tree became a publishing phenomenon. The book was introduced by a Cherokee Native American whose ancestors had been moved from their homes during the infamous Trail of Tears. Forrest Carter had written the book as his autobiographical memoir. He billed himself as a Storyteller to the Cherokee Nation. It is frequently on the reading curriculum of many high schools. Copies have sold in the millions.

Who is Forrest Carter?

In 1975 a darkly tanned man with a mustache walked into an Abilene, Texas, bookstore owned by Chuck and Betty Weeth. He introduced himself as Forrest Carter. He had written his first book, Gone to Texas under the name Benjamin Franklin Carter. That book was reprinted under the title The Outlaw Josey Wales under the name Forrest Carter. Clint Eastwood bought the film rights. Carter was doing well. He became an Abilene, Texas, fixture and was a regular dinner guest at the Shipps. It was there Carter began telling his story of being raised as a Cherokee orphan by his grandparents in Tennessee and he was writing his biography.

But Forrest Carter had a past. He wasn't a Cherokee. He wasn't from Tennessee. He was Asa Carter, born in 1925 in Anniston, Alabama. During the 1950s he was a member of the Ku Klux Klan and founder of a white supremacy group. He formed a splinter group of the KKK which was responsible for an attack on Nat King Cole at a concert in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1956. Carter worked at Birmingham radio station WILD where he broadcast right wing programs supporting anti-semitism and blatant segregation.

 photo asacarter-header_zpshuyil9pw.jpg
Asa Carter, Speech Writer

Carter became a speech writer for Governor George Wallace in the 1960s, penning the vitriolic first Inauguration Speech containing the infamous line, "Segregation now, segregation forever." Carter continued to work through the administration of Governor Lurleen Wallace, who ran in her husband's stead when he could not run for a successive third term.

However, Carter and George Wallace had a parting of the ways. When Wallace ran for a third term as Governor in 1970 and was elected again, Wallace pushed Carter to the side. Wallace had toned down his segregationist rhetoric. He saw Carter as an extremist. Wallace had no more use for him. On the day of Wallace's third Inauguration, Alabama journalist and author Wayne Greenhaw found Carter behind the State Capital crying. Carter told Greenhaw Wallace had sold out Alabama to the liberals. It was the last time Greenhaw ever saw Carter in person.

But Greenhaw did see a televised interview between a man who called himself Forrest Carter and Barbara Walters on The Today Show in 1976 talking about his "Autobiography," The Education of Little Tree. Greenhaw recognized the voice and began asking questions of Asa Carter's old associates.

Greenhaw got a phone call from Carter. "You wouldn't want to hurt old Forrest, would you?" Greenhaw retorted it was all a lie. And he would prove it. Carter hung up. And disappeared once more.

Forrest Carter was Asa Carter. He died June 7, 1979, of heart failure in Abilene, Texas. He was at work on The Wonderings of Little Tree which was unfinished. He is buried in Anniston, Alabama.

Should This Book Be Read?

This book has been subject to much criticism, most of it based on the personal and political life of Asa Carter. Is this the proper basis for judging a work of literature?

I say it is not.

Whatever Asa Carter's actual political beliefs were at one time does not mean he still possessed those beliefs at the time he wrote The Education of Little Tree. His relationship with the Shipps in Abilene, Texas, indicate a completely different person than the man who worked for George Wallace.

His editor at Delacorte Press, Eleanor Friede, and her husband were Jewish. He was a frequent guest in their home. Carter never uttered a word of intolerance in their presence.

The Education of Little Tree is a work about love and tolerance. The racists in this book are wealthy whites, bureaucrats, politicians, and intolerant preachers. Perhaps Carter portrayed that so well because he knew what it was to hate.

Native Americans and blacks are respectfully and sympathetically portrayed. For Asa Carter's previous anti-semitic assertions in earlier years, the kindest person in this work aside from Little Tree's Grandparents, is Mr. Wine. A Jew.

To refuse to read this book because of Asa Carter's previous political life is a form of censorship. I do not believe in censorship in any form. Nor the banning of books. There is far too much of that as it is.

Do not think I write an apologia for Asa Carter. I detest what he once stood for. However, I am ever mindful of the resilience of human beings and their ability to change. Hatred is a heavy burden to bear. If not exorcised it will destroy the one who carries it. Perhaps Carter wrote this as his penance.

I believe in the possibility of redemption. As Little Tree would say, "Which is right."


Act One. Seeing the Forrest Through the Little Trees. A Transcript from This American Life concerning Forrest/
Asa Carter and The Education of Little Tree

16 reviews1 follower
June 23, 2008
*Note: there is a lot of controversy and here say about the author of this book. Forget about it and enjoy this book with an innocent mind!

The Education of Little Tree follows a young boy as he follows his Grandpa, learning and loving as he goes. From plowing to whiskey making, it divinely illustrates the power of self. Regardless of external influences, industry, growth, abundance, and love can be grown and cultivated.

This book was so deep and enriching on so many levels. It made me look at my own life and what aspects of it were in harmony or out of harmony. Little Tree and his Grandparents lived with the land, not in spite of it like I feel a lot of our population is doing now. It motivated me to plant a good garden, enjoy nature more, love more.

One aspect of the book that I really looked deeply at was the small side story of the sharecroppers. They were always going from place to place without ever enough money, food, clothing, etc. They depended heavily on others for their lifestyle. Little Tree and his family lived with the land and met their own needs accordingly, therefore thriving and not left wanting. They lived simply, within their means, and appreciated much.

So which of my needs am I meeting through my own means? Naturally, I'm not going to move to a cabin in the woods with no electricity or plumbing. But am I relying too heavily on someone else for my food? My retirement? My happiness?

Through my tears upon finishing The Education of Little Tree, I felt gratitude in knowing that true happiness does not come in the form of big houses and fancy cars. I'm working, striving to become more self-reliant, and enjoying the tender moments I have with my sweet family. I plan on making this a regular read.
May 13, 2020
Μου αρέσει να ξέρω κάτι για την ιστορία και τη ζωή
του συγγραφέα που διαβάζω κάθε φορά,
κάθε ξεχωριστή δημιουργία καλλιτεχνικής έμπνευσης και πάθους που μου δωρίζεται ως κομμάτι απο κάποιο θησαυρό σοφίας, πρακτικής και λογικής,
ακόμα καλύτερα, ως κομμάτι απο παράδοξη εμπειρία υπαρξιακής δομής και αποδόμησης.

Για να απολαύσω τη γεύση του μυαλού του
και να γευτώ το μέλι ή το κεντρί της πένας του,
να δεχτώ τα χάδια της μελωδίας των λέξεων του
και να παραδοθώ σε ξεχωριστούς έρωτες ,κλέφτες πόνων και ηδονών απο αυτούς που σε λιώνουν βυθίζοντας σε στο νοσταλγικό μαράζι της λάβας
των λογοτεχνικών αριστουργημάτων.

Θέλω πάντα να δω αν μπορώ
να βρω αυτά τα ανεκτίμητα και τα ανεξήγητα μυσταγωγικά αμαρτήματα μέσα στην πνευματική ψυχή μου όταν αυτή χάνεται στις σελίδες που διαβάζω.
Εδώ, όμως, το παρασκήνιο του συγγραφέα είναι αινιγματικό.
Ο Carter, του οποίου το πραγματικό όνομα ήταν
Asa Earl Carter, ήταν μέλος της
Ku Klux Klan και αργότερα μετανοημένος μάλλον, ίσως και συνειδησιακά εξιλεωμένος
Τα γραπτά του μπερδεύουν με βάση τις πεποιθήσεις του και τον τρόπο που έζησε τη ζωή του.

Ας αναλογιστούμε όλοι πως κάθε δημιουργός που μένει στην πολιτιστική κληρονομιά της ανθρωπότητας είχε τα μυστικά του,, τα πάθη του, τα λάθη του, τις διαταραχές του, τα σωματικά , πνευματικά και ψυχικά του τραύματα , τα οποία επουλωμένα ή όχι επηρέαζαν
σε κάποιο βαθμό την απόδοση του στην αγαστή επικοινωνία με τον αναγνώστη μέσω της τέχνης
Και στο βωμό της τέχνης κάθε σπονδή και κάθε παρασπονδία μπορεί να οδηγήσει σε αληθινά θαύματα ίσως, ακόμα και σε παραμυθένια παλάτια χτισμένα με πραγματικά όνειρα, με αληθινά δάκρυα, με λαμπερά χαμόγελα, με τις βαθύτερες αξίες που κρύβονται στην ζεστασιά της ανθρώπινης καρδιάς και φυσικά με το μεγαλούργημα που γεννιέται απο τις ιδέες και την τέχνη του πνεύματος της φαντασίας.

Επομένως προσπερνάω κάθε ξεφτίλα λάθους και κάθε πόνο λάθους και επικεντρώνομαι στο μεγαλείο της τέχνης.

Μεγάλος προλογικός σχολιασμός, μα έπρεπε
να εκφραστώ αναφορικά με τις αφοριστικές
κριτικές προς το έργο του συγγραφέα βάσει
των προσωπικών του επιλογών που δεν επηρεάζουν κάπου το υπέροχο δημιούργημα που χάρισε στην ανθρωπότητα.

« Η εκπαίδευση του μικ��ού δέντρου» είναι ένα μεγαλειώδες παραμυθένιο αφήγημα για ενήλικα και ανήλικα παιδιά.
Περνάει μέσα στην ψυχή σαν δροσερό αεράκι
που φυσάει για να αποκοιμίσει τη νύχτα και
να ξυπνήσει τις ηλιαχτίδες, πολύ πολύ νωρίς,
πριν ξυπνήσει η αυγή και αρχίσει να χρωματίζει
την πλάση, όταν ακόμη ο ήλιος σου επιτρέπει να
τον κοιτάξεις χωρίς να πληγωθείς, χωρίς να δακρύσεις απο την πυρακτωμένη του λαμπρότητα.
Είναι το εωθινό λυκόφως σε τραβάει στα μαγνητικά του πεδία μόνο αν κοιτάς τον κόσμο χωρίς προοπτικές εγωισμού και εκμετάλλευσης.

Μια έμπνευση είναι ολόκληρο τούτο το τραγουδιστό αφήγημα της φύσης και της νομοτέλειας. Μια στιγμή οίστρου και πνευματικής ωριμότητας ,
απο αυτές που σε σπρώχνουν
με κάθε τρόπο να ψάχνεις μόνο το καλό, παντού και πάντα και να το μοιράζεσαι, όσο υποκειμενικά κι αν το σφετερίζεσαι στις σαθρές συμβατικότητες του κακού.

Το 1835 όταν ανακαλύφθηκε χρυσός στη γη που ανήκε στους Ινδιάνους Τσερόκι στην Τζόρτζια, μια μειοψηφία συμφώνησε να πουλήσει όλη τη γη της φυλής ανατολικά του Μισισιπή με ένα σχετικά αστείο ποσό.
Το Ανώτατο δικαστήριο των ΗΠΑ ακύρωσε τη συμφωνία, αλλά κάποιοι κυβερνητικοί αξιωματούχοι και ο πρόεδρος Andrew Jackson αγνόησαν την απόφαση.
Την περίοδο 1838-1839 οι Ινδιάνικες φυλές
οδηγήθηκαν δια της βίας στην Οκλαχόμα. Η πορεία διήρκησε 116 ημέρες και χάρισε στους ανώρερους λευκούς 4.000 νεκρούς ινδιάνους ( περίπου το 1/3 του πληθυσμού των Τσερόκι).

Το Μικρό δέντρο , ένα πεντάχρονο αγοράκι (μπασταρδάκι) όπως το αποκαλούσαν οι πολιτισμένοι λευκοί, μετά τον θάνατο των γονιών του θα ζήσει μερικά απο τα καλύτερα χρόνια της ζωής του σε μια αρχέγονη ορεινή καλύβα που την έπνιγε η φύση, τα πλάσματα της, τα φυσικά φαινόμενα των διάφορων εποχών και ολόκληρο το οικοσύστημα με το οποίο,
δυο ανόθευτοι ψυχικά και πνευματικά άνθρωποι,
ο παππούς και η γιαγιά της ινδιάνικης φυλής,
τον έμαθαν να ζει με αυτό και όχι να ζει απο αυτό.
Του δίδαξαν τον «τρόπο» που αφορούσε τα πάντα!....

Αυτό το βιβλίο γίνεται αισθητό στην καρδιά .
Αυτό το βιβλίο αισθάνεται το μυαλό.
Αυτό το βιβλίο διαδίδει όλα τα καλά για την εκπαίδευση ...ανθρώπων.


Καλή ανάγνωση.
Πολλούς ασπασμούς.
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
240 reviews
January 20, 2009
This is one of my favorite books of all time. It's so much more than how you would describe it, so much more than words like story about a boy and his grandparents living in the South describe. The words have such power. They are so vivid; they recreate a world, a picture of a different time and place that is gone from us now. Because of their power, I can so perfectly imagine those hills, that place, and those people in my mind. Every time I read this book, I feel as I am there with them, living their life.

I remember very clearly exactly where and when I was as I finished this book. It was on a train from Tokyo to Kyoto. That moment, how I felt, my actions at the time are now a part of me.

I hope everyone loves this book as much as I do.
Profile Image for Tonkica.
626 reviews117 followers
June 17, 2019
Od onih sam osoba koje žele znati što manje o knjizi prije nego ju počnu čitati. Ili ne znati baš ništa, a dobiti ju kao zadatak za book klub ili jer se nekome jako svidjela ili jer je nekome bila totalna koma. Na taj način nemam očekivanja koja su me inače uvijek dovela do toga da nešto zamišljam kako bi trebalo biti i onda se razočaram. Tako je i s ovim naslovom. Malo Drvo mi stoji na popisu za čitanje dvije godine i nikako da dođe na red. No evo je - priča o malom indijancu je bilo sve što sam o njoj znala i što god da sam kasnije doznala, nije narušilo moj doživljaj pročitanog.
Uronila sam u svijet jednostavnosti, logičnosti, sreće, zadovoljstva, ljubavi, poštovanja, rada i marljivosti, strpljenja, zahvalnosti i uživala u cijelom tom putu. Priča je toliko topla i lijepa! Jednostavno je pisana iz pogleda glavnog lika (dječaka od 5-6 godina) koji uči o životu od svoje bake i djeda Cherokee indijanaca. Suživot ljudi, prirode i životinja je ono što smo svi zaboravili i jako je lijepo prisjetiti se kako je to onda bilo.

Taj mir u duši i staloženost je odlika takvog života za koji sam povjerovala da je pisan po istinitim događajima. Što je nakon izdavanja i bilo točno! Onda se pokazalo da je pisac bio nešto skroz drugo od onoga za što se predstavljao, da nije imao veze s indijancima, čak da je bio i u KKK klanu, rasista i pobornik sagregacije.
Sa suzama u očima na kraju knjige, sve te informacije mi nisu narušile priču o Malom Drvu. Tko god da je napisao knjigu, bila ona istinita ili izmišljena, bio čovjek od prirode ili ne, divno je napisana. Što je na kraju istina (što se tiče života pisca), ne zna se točno, a i za dojam o pročitanom, mišljenja sam da nije ni bitno. Nekima ova informacija o piscu jako smeta kod doživljaja knjige, te su nakon prvotnog oduševljenja promijenili mišljenje i bili jako razočarani. Isplati se provjeriti kako ćemo reagirati, pošto knjiga obogaćuje bez obzira na sve.
Nisam znala da je po knjizi snimljen i film Dječak po imenu Malo Drvo - The Education of Little Tree (1997), ali ću ga prvom prilikom pogledati jer priča to zaslužuje.

„Ako ti se Coon Jack čini mrzovoljnim... znaš, on se više nema za što boriti. A nikad nije naučio ništa drugo osim boriti se. Djed je ispričao kako je tada bio jako blizu tome da se rasplače zbog Coon Jacka. Rekao je da je nakon toga Coon Jack mogao reći ili učiniti što god je htio, on ga je volio, jer ga je razumio.“

„Kad naiđeš na nešto što je dobro, rekla je baka Malom Drvetu, prvo što trebaš napraviti je potražiti nekoga s kim to možeš podijeliti; na taj se način dobro širi do najudaljenijih kutaka svijeta. - Što je dobro. I imala je pravo.“
Profile Image for wheels.
47 reviews3 followers
January 22, 2008
embarrassing. after caty informed me, i googled the author and learned that the original edition was published as an autobiography, though carter is not of native american heritage, was a leader in the klu klux klan, and active as a segregtionist. wow, huh? if you ever want a defintion of appropriation and cultural theft, here's an exemplary one. (my tattered copy was dubbed as an autobiography.)
Profile Image for Scott Wojtalik-courter.
44 reviews1 follower
June 20, 2013
I remembered enjoying this book when i read it about fifteen years ago. I stuck in on my list of 'have-reads' and gave it high marks. Then I read a little bit about this author. I just am flummoxed, though I shouldn't be; the levels to which people will stoop. Well, you can't deny he was a decent teller of tales, or lies, as Mark Twain might have said. A klansman who formed his own chapter, took part in lynchings, was a political writer who wrote George Wallace's infamous line, 'segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever'; this was an evil man who hated the very people to whom this book might have some appeal. I feel somewhat dirty for having enjoyed it, though somewhat hypocritical for not liking it now. Shouldn't art stand on its own? Should I not enjoy Wagner because he was an anti-Semite? Great googley moogley! I'm gonna have to go with erring on the side of my conscience on this one and recant my rating. He misrepresented the story as a true autobiography (though that, in itself, isn't enough; art is largely artifice), and he is not Wagner. This was just a good story, or at least an appealing one, that was made larger by the belief that it was real, and to discover exactly how unreal it was destroys the illusion. And in art, the illusion is everything.
Profile Image for Tim Henkels.
20 reviews1 follower
October 19, 2007
Interesting book, especially in the fact that the writer was also a speech writer for George Wallace, infamous Southern biggot and racist. Maybe that shows Carter´s true talent then, the ability to switch between such different literary voices...the question is, which voice is his?
100 reviews4 followers
June 21, 2007
I got out of college without reading a heck of a lot of classic literature, American or otherwise. Now I'm trying to make up for lost time. I picked up The Education of Little Tree because there happened to be a copy here at my sister's house. I vaguely remembered there being some controversy á la Rigoberta Menchú or Nick Frey. The reissue I have from 1999 has "AMERICAN INDIANS/FICTION" on the back cover, but the introduction calls it "[Forrest Carter's] autobiographical remembrances of life with his Eastern Cherokee Hill country grandparents." I decided to just go ahead and read the book, then google it later.

Pre-google review:
Touching - check
Sage - check
Well-written - check

The characters were quite endearing and an interesting story unfolds before the backdrop of the Great Depression.

Post-google review:
You poser!

This article in salon.com, entitled "The Education of Little Fraud" slams Forrest Carter (actually Asa Carter), pointing out that he was a founder of the Ku Klux Klan. http://archive.salon.com/books/featur...
That's a detail that's hard to overlook. Then there's the fact that actual Cherokee Indians have said the book is inaccurate and tends toward the "Noble Savage" take on things.

Honestly, where does that leave us?

I guess I'm just going to have to call a spade a spade, or, in this case, call fiction fiction and just leave it at that. It's still a good read, taken with a grain of salt. I guess I won't base my entire understanding of the Cherokee way of life on this single 216-page novel. Nor my knowledge of Mayan cosmology on Mel Gibson's "Apocalypto." Now that's a lesson to take home.
Profile Image for Lynn.
57 reviews
December 28, 2008
I finished this book last weekend. I'd put it up there with The Alchemist and To Kill a Mockingbird, it was that powerful. This is a work of fiction (despite the intro, it is not really an autobiography) about a 5 year old Cheerokee boy who is raised by his grandparents, Cheerokee hill people, after the death of his parents. It is set in depression-era Tennessee. The story is told in vignettes; the chapters in chronological order. It was a quick read, just over 200 pages, with some mild language. I wish I could describe this book better, but it was so moving and just amazing.

I really recommend NOT google-ing the author until after you've read the book, he wasn't a very good person. Although, the story about this book getting the boot from Oprah's list is funny.
Profile Image for Arzu.
187 reviews20 followers
December 17, 2015
kötü çeviriye rağmen kitabı çok sevmeniz mümkünden de öte..
okuma listenize ekleyin diyorum, neden mi? çünkü "iyi bir şeyle karşılaştığın zaman yapman gereken ilk şey bulabildiğin insanla onu paylaşmaktır."
Profile Image for Sue.
Author 1 book36 followers
March 19, 2009
This is the story of Little Tree, a five-year-old boy who is brought up by his Cherokee grandparents after his mother dies. Although the introduction claims it's an autobiographical reminiscence, it is in fact fiction. Moreover, the author is not Cherokee; at one point he was apparently a member of extreme racist groups in the USA.

Nevertheless, it's a very well-written book. I gather that some of the details of Little Tree's life and Cherokee customs are not based on reality, but pure fiction; that would perhaps upset people from this background, but for me it was a delightful insight into a world I knew nothing about.

Moreoever, the book is very pro-Cherokee, and positive about Little Tree's experiences, educational and otherwise. White men are shown to be bigoted and legalistic, and Little Tree's brief foray into a boarding school is heart-breaking.

I can only assume that the author had repented of his former beliefs when he wrote it. Some critics consider the language offensive - it's written in a distinctive style, almost as if in five-year-old language at times. But for me, it added to the realism of the story.

All in all, I thought it a lovely book.
Profile Image for Sheyla.
18 reviews1 follower
December 16, 2008
Just finished this and I loved it. I will have to add this one to my list of Favorites. All told from the mouth of a 5 year old... Maybe that's why I was so entertained. I'm surrounded by kids all the time anyway.

The wisdom and utter innocence of Little tree was so refreshing I felt like I was being schooled by a 5 year old. I loved learning about all the Indian traditions.
Toward the end when he had to leave, I was so sad I ached for Little tree and his Grandparents. I fell in love with them and Willow John and in the end when they passed I felt as if I too needed to mourn.
I haven't been so emotionally connected like this to a book in a long time.
Profile Image for George K..
2,369 reviews294 followers
February 14, 2018
Βαθμολογία: 9/10

Το βιβλίο αυτό το είχα πιάσει στο παρελθόν δυο ή τρεις φορές και στις πρώτες λίγες σελίδες το άφηνα, γιατί προφανώς δεν είχα την κατάλληλη διάθεση για να το διαβάσω. Όμως χθες που το ξαναέπιασα και το ξεκίνησα, κάτι φαίνεται ότι άλλαξε. Διάβασα σερί κάτι παραπάνω από διακόσιες σελίδες, μέχρι που αναγκαστικά το άφησα για να πάω για ύπνο. Με είχε, πραγματικά, συνεπάρει. Σήμερα βρήκα χρόνο και διάβασα τις υπόλοιπες.

Πρόκειται για ένα πολύ ωραίο και ιδιαίτερο βιβλίο, γεμάτο νοσταλγία, συγκινήσεις, εικόνες και νοήματα, το οποίο θεωρώ ότι μπορεί να προσφέρει πολλά πράγματα στον αναγνώστη, ανεξαρτήτου ηλικίας. Είναι ένα βιβλίο που αναδεικνύει έναν άλλο κόσμο, αλλά και έναν άλλο τρόπο ζωής, που είναι τόσο άγνωστος σε όλους εμάς τους κατοίκους των μεγαλουπόλεων (ή ακόμα και των μικρών πόλεων). Ο συγγραφέας κατάφερε να με ταξιδέψει στα Απαλάχια Όρη του Τενεσί, σε μια δύσκολη εποχή, και μ'έκανε ως ένα βαθμό να ζηλέψω τα κατά τα φαινόμενα ξέγνοιαστα και ελεύθερα παιδικά χρόνια του Μικρού Δέντρου, παρ'όλες τις δυσκολίες που έζησε και τις ατυχίες που αντιμετώπισε. Οι περιγραφές των τοπίων και του τρόπου ζωής των απλοϊκών και πολύ συμπαθητικών Ινδιάνων που πρωταγωνιστούν στην όλη ιστορία είναι ρεαλιστικές και συνάμα μαγικές. Επίσης, ο συγγραφέας έθιξε και κάποια ζητήματα που άπτονται της θρησκείας, της πολιτικής και του σύγχρονου πολιτισμού, μέσω της απλοϊκής και αθώας ματιάς του Μικρού Δέντρου.

Δεν είναι απαραίτητο να γράψω ένα ολόκληρο κατεβατό για την ομορφιά και την ποιότητα που χαρακτηρίζει το βιβλίο αυτό, απλά διαβάστε το και θα καταλάβετε. Απλά, πιθανότατα, είναι ένα βιβλίο που χρειάζεται να διαβαστεί στον κατάλληλο χρόνο και χώρο, για να το απολαύσει κανείς όπως του αξίζει. Χάρηκα πολύ που επιτέλους το διάβασα και το μόνο σίγουρο είναι ότι θα το ξαναδιαβάσω κάποια στιγμή στο μέλλον.
Profile Image for Nikki Joyce.
185 reviews66 followers
June 17, 2021
**3.5 stars**

Told from the perspective of a little boy being raised by his grandparents, The Education of Little Tree explores Appalachian mountain life as a Cherokee Indian during Depression-era times. When Little Tree is only five years old, his mother and father pass away and he goes to live with his Cherokee grandmother and his part-Cherokee grandfather. Throughout his years with his grandparents, Little Tree learns the beauty and importance of nature, the history and ways of the Cherokee people, and the bond of family.

Published in 1976, this was a nice, quick read with several likable characters.
*Note: there is some controversy over this book, as it was deemed as autobiographical when it was released, but later revealed to be fictitious. Regardless, it makes for an interesting story and it’s hard not to love the little narrator.
Profile Image for Έλσα.
494 reviews96 followers
September 1, 2022
Καλό, αλλά δεν μπορώ να πω πως ενθουσιάστηκα! Αρκετά περιγραφικό, με ωραίες εικόνες κ πληροφορίες για τη ζωή των Ινδιάνων. Το βιβλίο μυρίζει νοσταλγία. Στις σελίδες του διαφαίνονται η αγάπη, η απώλεια κ τα μαθήματα ζωής των απλών ανθρώπων που προσπαθούν να επιβιώσουν σε δύσκολες συνθήκες.
Profile Image for Vannessa Anderson.
Author 1 book171 followers
April 24, 2017
The Education of Little Tree touched me on every emotional level!

Little Tree, at age four, went to live with his grandparents after the death of his mom; only a year earlier he’d lost his dad. Little Tree’s grandparents, in their seventies, knew they probably only had a few years to teach Little Tree everything he needed to know to survive on his own started teaching him life’s skills upon their arrival to bring him home to live with them. The story took place in the Appalachian mountains of Tennessee during the Great Depression.

While Little Tree was being educated, so was I. Author Carter’s extraordinary imagination and writing skills made me care deeply about Little Tree, his grandparents, and his grandparents friends who stood in courage in spite of the horrendous lifestyle they were force to endure. The Education of Little Tree is on a subject that many would like for us to forget.

The Education of Little Tree is filled with history and so much useful information on surviving that you’ll want to write the information down. The Education of Little Tree will serve as a guide to effective parenting.

The Education of Little Tree is a book that I will read over and over because with each read, I’ll learn something that I’d missed in a previous reading.

The Education of Little Tree was my favorite book of 2012!

Profile Image for Eva G.
154 reviews36 followers
January 14, 2019
Túto recenziu by som chcela venovať plakaniu nad knihami. Zažívam dva druhy knižného plaču:

1) smutná/šťastná slzička, spravidla 1-6 kvapiek a potom už je dobre.

2) Usedavý rev, ktorý trvá minimálne hodinu a počas nasledujúceho týždňa sa môže hocikedy vrátiť. Z toho, čo si pamätám za posledné roky, suverénne najhorší rev typu 2 bol samozrejme pri čítaní Harryho Pottera - keď zabili Siriusa (na stupnici od 1 do 10 by som ho ohodnotila ako 8) a keď zabili Dumbledora (jasná 10-na), na konci Temných hmôt od Pullmana (to bola taká 8-čka, ale potom som mala dva týždne depresiu, lebo ma nebavila realita). Tento rok som to zažila pri Malom živote (to bola séria takých obyčajných 6-tiek).
No a potom pri tejto knihe. Solídna 9. Ale ani nie preto, že by sa v knihe stala nejaká odizolovane strašná udalosť, toto by som klasifikovala skôr ako Weltschmerzen kvôli tomu, ako si ľudia nevážia prírodu, ako si nevážia Natives, akí sú sprostí, necitliví, chamtiví, odstrihnutí, a ako sa veci už nedajú vrátiť späť.
Ale zároveň to bola krásna kniha a odteraz ju budem každému odporúčať.

(btw. ten archaický preklad mi dosť veľmi nesadol)
Profile Image for Natalie.
88 reviews
June 9, 2011
A dear new soul recommended me this novel, and am I so GLAD.

It's like Huckleberry Finn meets Laura Ingalls Wilder with Native American culture and folklore thrown in.

Written from the perspective of a little boy (similar to Huck Finn) who's orphaned when his parents die, he's adopted by his grandparents. You learn the Cherokee way of looking at the land, the environment and nature. The intersting thing, is that most novels of this sort take place during the "Wild West" migration period, but this one doesn't.

Interestingly enough, it takes place during the Depression. And through the boy's naivette, we're introduced to some interesting and true to life themes: the forced assimilation of Native Americans to the white man's life (Christianity, mission schools, reservations).

Lovingly, the novel never comes across as preachy, which is key when observing the world through a small boy's eyes.

I absolutely could NOT stop crying the last three chapters. The only thing I didn't like was that I felt we didn't know enough about where and what Little Tree was going to do now.

A must read for elementary teachers to read aloud, mothers and fathers to read to their children, but absolutely lovely for adults, too.
Profile Image for Tina .
575 reviews31 followers
July 24, 2016
"Grandpa said he had many's the time seen that same kind of thing, feelings taking over sense, make as big a fools out of people as it had ol' Rippitt. Which I reckon is so." I think this quote sums up this entire novel. People letting their feelings take over their common sense where others are concerned.

This is a novel about prejudice and discrimination against the Indian, the Jew, the White Man, the Politician, the Christian, the Poor, the Wealthy, the Sinner, the Saint, the Educated and the Uneducated. The Education of Little Tree is told through the voice of a young part Cherokee child and, I feel, it is very timely considering what is going on in our nation today. The lesson here being that prejudice and discrimination comes in many forms and goes in many directions and, most of it, is feelings taking over sense.

The irony of this gem is that it was published in 1976 under the pen name for Asa Earl Carter. Mr. Carter was a man whose own history of prejudice and discrimination would make your hair stand on end. I like to think that this book, which was not really autobiographical as Carter touted, was Mr. Carters way of making amends for his past feelings taking over sense.

My final rating: 4.5 stars

Profile Image for Zeren.
165 reviews166 followers
December 17, 2015
Kötü çeviriler kendilerini zor okuturlar. Bir istisna varsa o da bu kitaptır. Kalbi olan bir kitap Küçük Ağacın Eğitimi. Doğayla kopan bağlarımızı onarmak çok kolay değil. Dünyaya geldiğimiz o kadim bilgiyi toprağa gömüp üzerine onlarca "medeniyet" kuralı çok oldu. Kaybettik. Ama neyse ki hala bundan bahseden kitaplar ve insanlar var.
Profile Image for Sarah.
732 reviews73 followers
July 25, 2016
This was quite an emotional roller coaster. Little Tree sees everything with such innocence that the things he sees - racism and cruelty - are all the more heartbreaking. His relationship with his grandparents is quite deep and profound. I really loved this.
Profile Image for Matthew Moes.
77 reviews27 followers
August 10, 2015
Having just finished reading this beautiful story I discovered the controversy surrounding it and its author, only serving to deepen my appreciation for its significance. I found the story beautiful and spiritually moving, making note of several passages that I would like to refer back to from time to time. It is a beautiful story written on the theme of simplicity and natural living. Although it is introduced as an autobiographical account, posterity has unveiled its fictional origins. To me, this actually liberates the story from the necessity of authenticity and elevates its moral message to a universal one. This is as opposed to an authentic portrayal of the Cherokee, something I really did not find to be the point in the first place. I would strongly recommend this book for others, young and older, and especially educators, as I found it relevant to reflect on the educational ramifications as we frame the debate today to be between “academic achievement” vs. “human development”.

The controversies regarding the author and the so-called stereotypes really make the book even more intriguing in the sense that it would seem the book does indeed serve as the author’s atonement for a life wasted in racist loyalties and personal bigotry. From the author’s biography it would seem that sometime between ending his political career and becoming an author that he really sought to become someone better. In this sense, his fabricated autobiography can be seen as part of this transformation, to the extent of projecting a totally different childhood, value system and worldview other than his own. As others have expressed bafflement at his intentions, I cannot believe that a work as touching and profound as The Education of Little Tree be anything less than sincere.
Profile Image for Emily.
513 reviews47 followers
May 9, 2015
Τα παρακάτω μπορεί να συμβούν μόνο στην Αμερική!
Πήρα στα χέρια μου "την εκπαίδευση του Μικρού Δέντρου" με ένθερμες συστάσεις για ένα όμορφο και τρυφερό βιβλίο.
Ανύποπτη για την προϊστορία του βιβλίου, το διάβασα με ανάμικτα συναισθήματα, κυρίως στενάχωρα.
Το Μικρό Δέντρο, είναι ένα αγοράκι 5 ετών, που μένει ορφανό και πάει να μείνει με τον παππού και τη γιαγιά, που είναι ινδιάνοι Τσεροκί. Το Μικρό Δέντρο αφηγείται τη ζωή του τόσο πειστικά που ο αναγνώστης νομίζει ότι διαβάζει ημερολόγιο. Τα συναισθήματα που σου δημιουργούνται είναι πολλά και ενδιαφέροντα. Συγκίνηση για τον μικρούλη, λύπη για το λαό των ινδιάνων που εξοστρακίζεται από τα μέρη του σελίδα τη σελίδα, οργή για την ανθρώπινη αναλγησία...
Τελείωσα το βιβλίο σχετικά γρήγορα. Μου έμεινε η γεύση της συγκίνησης και της στεναχώριας, οπότε είπα να δω μήπως ήμουν και η μόνη που το πήρα τόσο βαριά. Γκούγκλαρα το βιβλίο και τον συγγραφέα και βρέθηκα μπροστά στην έκπληξη! Μπροστά στην Αμερικανιά, όπως τα λέω αυτά, σε όλο της το μεγαλείο! Το βιβλίο δεν ήταν αυτοβιογραφικό (καλά αυτό, συγχωρείται, ούτε το πρώτο ούτε το τελευταίο θα είναι που μοιάζει αλλά δεν είναι) και ο συγγραφέας ήταν ένας απίστευτος ρατσιστής και ιδρυτής μιας τοπικής οργάνωσης Κου Κλουξ Κλαν!!! Είναι αυτό που λένε "εκβίαση συναισθήματος" και αυτός ο τύπος το πέτυχε πολύ καλά!
Μου θύμισε την ιστορία που πιάστηκα κορόιδο με μια ζητιάνα και την ανάπηρη κόρη της! Ξεγελάστηκα μέχρι κι εγώ! Έτυχε να περιμένω κάποιον για ώρα και ξαφνικά βλέπω την κόρη να σηκώνεται υγιέστατη για να ξεπιαστεί, τη μάνα να τηλεφωνεί στον πατέρα που κατέφθασε και τη συνομιλία και των 3 που σχεδιάζαν να φύγουν με ταξί γιατί είχαν κουραστεί από το πρωί! Τέτοια ιστορία ήταν και του Κάρτερ!
Profile Image for Barb Graf.
26 reviews2 followers
July 29, 2011
I first heard of this book on an Oprah show probably in the mid 1990's; she said such high praise of it. (I understand later she "took it off" her book shelf due to the controversy around the author's racism). I am not in any way supportive of racism; but this book appears to be something very good that the author did and that Oprah had recognized. That is why I first read it and I have passed it on to many people cause I liked it so much. It did seem to start a bit slow for me the first time I read it and with much sadness in the young boy's life. I had not seen it for some time then got a copy just a few years ago and then I started passing it around again and was so delighted that my mother-in-law really liked it. She read so many books; we had fun one Christmas that she gave it as gifts to several grandchildren; those of us who had read it enjoyed telling our favorite part of the book. There is a certain innocence that comes out in it; but it is evident that the author was hurt by losses/ his life story (another book that is loosely autobiographical: Forrest = Little Tree).
324 reviews3 followers
September 2, 2013

This is a beautiful little book that follows the story of 5 year old orphan Little Tree who is taken in, loved deeply, and guided thoughtfully by his grandparents in the Cherokee tradition during the Great Depression. It is a nice contrast to Sherman Alexie's "Diary of a Part Time Indian," as it show Native Americans in wholly different setting but with some of the same values.

Carter's writing is elegant in its simplicity. Little Tree's narration is believable and compelling. Each chapter is its own story, but the book hangs together effortlessly. The main characters, and some of the important minor ones - are richly painted. I want to meet these people and learn from them.

There's a crazy controversy about the author's background. It turns out the book is fictional and there's more to it than that. But, read The Education of Little Tree before digging into this. I'm afraid it could ruin an otherwise magical experience for you.

Do read this book. It is special and shouldn't be missed.
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