Precaution (1820) is the first novel written by American author James Fenimore Cooper. It was written in imitation of Jane Austen's work and did not meet with contemporary success. Cooper went on to have great success with works such as The Pathfinder (1841) and The Deerslayer (1840). The American reading public responded most to The Last of the Mohicans (1826).
It is thought that the novel was written after a challenge made by his wife. His biographer Warren Walker records it this way:
- "... In the customary practice of the day he was reading aloud to his wife one evening from a current English novel, but found the story dull. Throwing it aside, he declared, "I could write a better book than that myself." And Susan's challenge to make good his boast resulted in his writing Precaution (1820). . ."
- Long, Robert Emmet James Fennimore Cooper: Literature & Life Story. Continuum: A Fredrick Ungar Book. ISBN 0826404316.
- Spiller, Robert E. James Fennimore Cooper. Minnesota: North Central Publishing Company.
- Walker, Warren James Fennimore Cooper: An Introduction and Interpretation. 2nd ed., New York: Barnes and Nobel.