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
“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)
I have stood before many museum exhibits about the Indians and seen a zillion artifacts, but until I read this book I never really had much of a sense of what life was like for either the Indians, the settlers, or the soldiers. One cannot help but admire the Plains Indians for their bravery and skill while at the same time being repelled by their savagery. Although we may now feel some guilt and remorse about the expulsion of the Indians and their subsequent settlement onto reservations, it is now apparent to me that there was probably no other way. The Indians credo was kill, or be killed and they were not the least bit interested in assuming a law-abiding and agrarian lifestyle. Probably there was no other way to settle the west except by forcible means. All in all, this was a terrific book about an historic period that we all have heard in cursory bits and pieces and, for me at least, never heard a comprehensive story of the old Indian West to learn of its horror, torture and struggle. A great book that I would I would heartily recommend. Anyone who pines for the "good old days" just doesn't know their history!
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..
Empire of the Summer Moon is written about the demise of the Western Native American Tribes (primarily the Comanche), the buffalo, and how the west was settled. People of all sides of the story were brutal, but I think this was primarily cultural. There were horrifying, awful examples given.BUT, it was interesting to learn about American society at the time and the Native society as well. I learned about how fast technology was growing during the era in which this was written about. It was a lesson about Cynthia Ann Parker and Quanah Parker and how she couldn't cope once returned to "her" people and how he coped once giving up his ways. A great listen, work the credit.
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.
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.
Love to read, and Audible has made the two-hour daily commute enjoyable!
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.
Great history, great story. I recommend this book to any interested in the give and take of the real history of North America
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.
This book is amazing. I couldn't stop listening. It's a good combination of story and history. The author brings it all alive.
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?
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.