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Empire of the Summer Moon | [S. C. Gwynne]

Empire of the Summer Moon

Few people realize that the Comanche Indians were the greatest warring tribe in American history. Their 40-year battle with settlers held up the development of the new nation. Empire of the Summer Moon tells of the rise and fall of this fierce, powerful, and proud tribe, and begins in 1836 with the kidnapping of a lovely nine-year-old girl with cornflower blue eyes named Cynthia Ann Parker.
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Publisher's Summary

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

Few people realize that the Comanche Indians were the greatest warring tribe in American history. Their 40-year battle with settlers held up the development of the new nation. Empire of the Summer Moon tells of the rise and fall of this fierce, powerful, and proud tribe, and begins in 1836 with the kidnapping of a lovely nine-year-old girl with cornflower blue eyes named Cynthia Ann Parker. She grew to love her captors and eventually became famous as the "White Squaw." She married a powerful Comanche chief, and their son, Quanah, became a warrior who was never defeated and whose bravery and military brilliance in the Texas panhandle made him a legend as one of the greatest of the Plains Indian chiefs.

In this vivid piece of writing, S. C. Gwynne describes in sometimes brutal detail the savagery of both whites and Comanches and, despite the distance of time, demonstrates how truly shocking these events were, juxtaposed against the haunting story of an unforgettable figure of a woman caught between two worlds.

©2010 S.C. Gwynne (P)2010 Tantor

What the Critics Say

“Rigorously researched and evenhanded, the book paints both the Comanches and Americans in their glory and shame, bravery and savagery.” (Publishers Weekly)

"In Empire of the Summer Moon, Sam Swynne has given us a rich, vividly detailed rendering of an important era in our history and of two great men, Quanah Parker and Ranald Slidel Mackenzie, whose struggles did much to define it." (Larry McMurtry)

“Transcendent . . . Empire of the Summer Moon is nothing short of a revelation . . . will leave dust and blood on your jeans.” (New York Times Book Review)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (1042 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Bruce M. Anderson Houston, Texas United States 09-03-10
    Bruce M. Anderson Houston, Texas United States 09-03-10 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Hiistory the Way It Should Be Written"

    This is just a superb book. The narration and structure of the story were just terrific. I would recommend to anyone who has an interest in early 19th century American history..

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Elgin, TX, United States 02-04-11
    David Elgin, TX, United States 02-04-11 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Always more to learn!"

    My family and I have been "fans" of Quanah Parker for some time. Even where I thought I already knew the story, Gwynne provided additional fascinating detail. And there were many new stories I had never heard. I now drive around Texas with new eyes.

    The result is as close to an immersion in the Comanche experience as an armchair gringo is likely to get. I listened with a mixture of revulsion at their brutality and respect for their mastery of plains life and fierce determination to defend their way of life. And Quanah's transformation to a "bloodthirsty" businessman who impoverishes himself caring for others left me wishing I had known the man.

    Was sad when the book ended.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    roger richmond, CA, United States 11-02-11
    roger richmond, CA, United States 11-02-11
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    "Experience a Plains Indian"

    I listened to this wonderful book by Gwynne and then I bought a three copies of the book. One for me to read after listening and two to give away. Gwynne lets the reader into the Comanche culture--the violent nomadic horse culture. After two readings I really appreciate the loss of a way of life that ended as the primitive horse plains Indians were forced onto reservations.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Victor Grand Junction, CO, United States 08-04-11
    Victor Grand Junction, CO, United States 08-04-11 Member Since 2008
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    "Great"

    Great history, great story. I recommend this book to any interested in the give and take of the real history of North America

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Les Stephens 07-22-11 Member Since 2010
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    "Haunting"

    A great tale well told. Even-handed depiction of the inherent conflict in the clash of two cultures radically different from one another. The author depicted the Comanches in all their cruelty and brutality but with a sympathy for their plight. There are no heroes nor villains here, but there is plenty of heroic and villainous activity. Superb reader. I couldn't stop listening.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anna Santa Fe, NM, United States 12-05-10
    Anna Santa Fe, NM, United States 12-05-10 Member Since 2010

    twin oaks

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    "Amazing"

    This book is amazing. I couldn't stop listening. It's a good combination of story and history. The author brings it all alive.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eula Avon, CO, United States 08-28-10
    Eula Avon, CO, United States 08-28-10 Member Since 2001
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    "Empire of the Summer Moon"

    I have read and listened to hundreds of books and this is one of my top five. This type of book is unique in my reading /listening experience in that I have, priror to this, exclusively been into mystery/espionage type fiction. I found this absolutely facinating. Only shortcoming was my not being able to "picture" the setting/geography involved. Does the hardback include this? If so, I will buy it and read it. If not, can I download/view it somewhere?

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rebecca Lakewood, CO, United States 11-16-13
    Rebecca Lakewood, CO, United States 11-16-13 Member Since 2009

    Love to read, and Audible has made the two-hour daily commute enjoyable!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Commanches and the American West"

    I had no idea how little I knew about the Commanches other than they were fierce warriors and feared by settlers. This book talks about the traditions, the history of the Cheyenne, other plains Indians and the Indian Wars that eventually moved many tribes to reservations.

    I liked how Gwynne pushes people to not view traditions through our modern eyes, but also consider the violent natures of our ancestors (Celts, the inquisition). He has a balanced approach - the war attrocities of the Cheyenne and also the combating Texas Rangers and U.S. Cavalry. Gwynne also discusses the impact of changes in technology - like the Colt revolver.

    The end of the book covers the role of Quanah Parker - son Cynthia Anne Parker who was kidnapped in a raid when she was young. When "rescued" later in life, she continuously tried to escape back to the Cheyenne. Parker and his mother are studies in adaptation. He learned the game, and played it well to the benefit of himself and his peoples. What I don't like is that because of the focus on Quanah, it brushes on this not being the case for the majority of Indians who changed their lives from nomadic hunters to farmers. But - that is a lot to ask of a very interesting book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Biesty 12-24-11 Member Since 2010
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    "Crazy!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes! Anyone who likes the history of the West and history of war will like this book. If you are put off by graphic violence then you probably won't like this.


    What other book might you compare Empire of the Summer Moon to and why?

    If you liked the Larry McMurtry books like Comanche Moon and Dead Man's Walk you will love to hear what really happened and how close Larry McMurtry helped people get an idea of what it was like back then. You also keep realizing who he based characters on sometimes even by name.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julie BURLINGTON, COLORADO, United States 11-29-11
    Julie BURLINGTON, COLORADO, United States 11-29-11 Member Since 2006
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    "Facinating story told by a dull voice"

    When I first turned this on, I said outloud, "What in the world! This better be a great story with that kind of narration." Seriously, the documentary droning of the narrator was a downer for the first half our or so of listening. As I contemplated deleting it and picking a new book, I got into the story and I completely forgot about the voice telling it as I looked forward for each opportunity to plug in my ipod to my pickup stereo, or my home Bose, or my headphones, completely disregarding my initial impression of the reader.
    I really loved the entire history lesson, felt enlightened with each chapter, becoming completely engrossed in the stories, descriptions and characters. This is the history lesson I never learned about indiginous peoples of "The West" and one that deserves study and acclaim in schools. This book describes how the country was effected and absent is the judgement of either side, just a outlay of facts and the fiction much of the old school history books and movies are based on.
    I listened as intently as I had to "The Kitchen House", and absolutely recommend this to those interested in "The West" and how we came to be as a result of it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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