Empire of the Summer Moon

Empire of the Summer Moon

Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History

Book - 2010
Average Rating:
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Gwynne presents a history of the 40 year battle between the Comanche Indians and white settlers, centering on the Comanche chief Quanah.
Publisher: New York : Scribner, 2010
Edition: 1st Scribner hardcover ed
ISBN: 9781416591054
1416591052
9781416591061
1416591060
Branch Call Number: 978.004974572 GWYNNE
Characteristics: viii, 371 p., [8] p. of plates : ill., map ; 24 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

"The central truth of their lives was the past, the dimming memory of the wild, ecstatic freedom of the plains...of a world without property or boundaries." - from Chapter 22

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AL_LESLEY Nov 23, 2016

S.C. Gwynne writes an entertaining and comprehensive book about an amazing and tragic piece of American history previously unknown to me. Highly recommended.

This book details the rise of the Comanche, the most powerful military force on the southern plains for decades, and centers around war chief Quanah Parker and his navigation between his traditional culture and the culture of settlers.


From the critics


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w
wodebaobei38
Jul 05, 2017

Wow!

e
etfutdet
May 09, 2017

Beautifully presented, one of my all-time best reads.

c
conpenn
Feb 27, 2017

Not a history major? This might be difficult to get through. But it's an amazing story.

AL_LESLEY Nov 23, 2016

S.C. Gwynne writes an entertaining and comprehensive book about an amazing and tragic piece of American history previously unknown to me. Highly recommended.

b
belalin
Sep 16, 2016

There are some excellent comments below and each has nuggets of truth as well as misinterpretations of what the author is saying. Bottom line is that this book is extremely enlightening and while describing the violent nature of the Comanche, the author is still very sympathetic to them for the loss of their land and way of life. The author is an historian; the book is well researched and contains pages of footnotes. Don't let the overly politically correct reviewers below dissuade you from reading this book. You can still be sympathetic to First Nations without ignoring the barbaric nature of some of their customs. European history is full of barbarism and war.

b
bpatenaude1930
Jul 05, 2016

Great book and truly enlightening. Amazing what the old west was like during the pioneer days

r
Rvanderroest
Jun 24, 2016

I valued reading this book immensely as it greatly changed my perspective on the history and subject of the American West. I am also greatly impressed by the military accomplishments of the Comanche Tribe from the before 1800 till the end of their Empire around 1880. It is thanks to them that Spain's conquistadors were halted, no annihilated. The missions in Comanche territory were abandoned. At the same time I was deeply angered by the accounts of torture to the death of captives, which included women and children, and infants! In one word, this is unspeakable; and even it was in European Pioneer culture of the 1800's. It was very accepted among many native American tribes, and they did it also to other native American tribes. The accounts in this book helped me to understand the hatred most pioneers had for Comanche and other tribes. A side that is not often illustrated or sympathized with. The book is obviously from the Euro-American perspective as the writer is true to his own. I did not find the book to be biased or racist, though. S.C. Gwynne has meticulously researched his historical facts, and it is a very truthful and accurate account of events. In all, this book sets the record straight and improves our understanding of both sides of the frontier.

j
jwoerner
Nov 30, 2015

A completely white-centric and racist book.

d
danielestes
May 07, 2015

One of the reasons I'm enamored with stories of the American West is they share this consistent theme of progress at a terrible cost. For many, much was lost, and for others, much was gained. Once upon a time North America was this vast expanse of wilderness, populated by a multitude of tribes and untouched by the modern world, and then in a relative instant that way of life was whisked away (though some would say consumed) by civilization. This is the unified story of all mankind: The rise and fall of societies while the human race goes on. The story of the Comanches is also part of that larger story—of remembering what once was and no longer is.

The Comanches were, in a word, calamitous. They thrived on primacy; on the destruction of those around them, be it whites, Mexicans or other Indians. They were not the Hopi-like people our idealistic imaginings of life before the Europeans make them out to be. And neither did they just kill for territorial reasons. Sometimes it was for revenge; sometimes it was for the pure sport of it. The tortures they inflicted on a whim would give you nightmares. A warrior's heart indeed.

Empire of the Summer Moon by S. C. Gwynne succeeds in capturing the entire history of the Comanches by relating it through the narrative of two individuals: Cynthia Ann Parker, a young girl captured by the tribe in 1836 and subsequently lived with them for the next 24 years, and her firstborn son, Quanah Parker, one of the Comanches most effective leaders and also its last.

a
annesiems
Nov 19, 2014

I agree with bjessima 's critique on the book. I found it tremendously informative, but very one-sided. Gwynne has no true understanding of native spiritualism -he calls it religion and keeps referring to the Indians as barbaric stone age tribes. It was tough to swallow. Our 'civilization' is going to bring this world to an end. Natives knew how to sustain life on this planet. As 2gooddogs writes, pay back is a bitch and we are feeling it already. Many more deaths will happen as storms and heat waves will claim the earth back.

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