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Publisher's Summary

Empire of the Summer Moon spans two astonishing stories. The first traces the rise and fall of the Comanches, the most powerful Indian tribe in American history. The second entails one of the most remarkable narratives ever to come out of the Old West: the epic saga of the pioneer woman Cynthia Ann Parker and her mixed-blood son, Quanah, who became the last and greatest chief of the Comanches.

Although listeners may be more familiar with the names Apache and Sioux, it was in fact the legendary fighting ability of the Comanches that determined just how and when the American West opened up. They were so masterful at war and so skillful with their arrows and lances that they stopped the northern drive of colonial Spain from Mexico and halted the French expansion westward from Louisiana. White settlers arriving in Texas from the Eastern United States were surprised to find the frontier being rolled backward by Comanches incensed by the invasion of their tribal lands. So effective were the Comanches that they forced the creation of the Texas Rangers and account for the advent of the new weapon specifically designed to fight them: the six-gun.

The war with the Comanches lasted four decades, in effect holding up the development of the new American nation. Gwynne's exhilarating account delivers a sweeping narrative that encompasses Spanish colonialism, the Civil War, the destruction of the buffalo herds, and the arrival of the railroads - a historical feast for anyone interested in how the United States came into being.

©2016 Simon & Schuster (P)2016 S. C. Gwynne

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
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Great story in need of better narration

Such a fascinating dive into a distinct part of history. The only critique is it seems the narrator was emotionally disengaged from the book's content, which left more to be desired from such a powerful story.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Rick
  • Murrieta, CA, United States
  • 10-07-16

Historically Significant

I've read a few books that focus on the Native American culture and the impact on the American West. I particularly enjoyed "The Heart of Everything That Is: The Untold Story of Red Cloud, An American Legend" written by Bob Drury, and Tom Clavin, and also Nathanial Philbrick's "The Last Stand", and "The Mayflower", each providing a glimpse into what Native Americans were up against, and the finality of their existence. This book provides an insight into the lives of one of if not the most feared tribes ever to grace the North American continent: The Comanches.

Plain and simply put, the Comanche nation was nasty! This is a band of natives that stopped at nothing when it came to war, whether they fought, captured, tortured, raped, scalped, or simply killed their opposition, they held nothing back. And they conducted these atrocities with fervor and zest which is far more extreme than any of their native cousins might have done. And the author doesn't hold back. Each detail is spelled out regardless of the victim, regardless of the situation, and without concern for a reader's queazy stomach. The nasty details are all provided as the historical significance of this great tribe unfolds.

The book feels a bit long in places though may be a result of the author's effort to include every generational anecdote from the early 1700's until their ultimate demise in the late 1870's. Little appears to be left out so the chapters are filled, and thus long(er) in spots. But the tiresome length is helped along with an easy to listen to narration which is evenly pitched, with perfect inflection and annunciation. David Drummond does an excellent job!

If you're looking for a book on Texas, and Oklahoma Native American history, this is the one for you. No details are left outs and you'll find each chapter full of historical significance you'd be hard-pressed to find anywhere else.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

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Well written, captivating story.

The reader is at once in awe and horrified at the actions and lifestyles. Really makes one stop and think about all that our aancestors endured.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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For non-fiction it is a good listen

Learned a lot about the Commanches and the brief history provided ob them. Chief Parker was ahead of his time in understanding the game and how to play it

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Fabulous

I enjoy Western history. I am no buff and have read a number of books overlapping this subject matter, but it was clear to me why this was a Pulitzer finalist. It was very accessible, a smooth read, and did not get repetitive or unnecessarily overdetailed. I highly rcommend this book to family and friends.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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One of the best books I’ve ever read

One of the best books I’ve ever read! I’ve completed this book twice and it will forever remain as one of the best books I’ve ever read in all my life!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Well written and very interesting.

This is a history book, written in story form. I checked a number of statements and accounts of events and they agreed with outside sources. I have no reason to doubt the author but some of the events were completely new to me. This was very well written, especially when considering that many related things were happening and different viewpoints were shaped at the same time in different parts of this vast land. This subject is not a huge hobby or interest for me to follow but I was fully engaged in this book. Highly recommended.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Educational

This was a hard lesson on American history. The domination of man over man expressed in horrific ways. I will listen to it again after my feeling stop hurting.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Follow the Comanche

Great look at the Comanche tribe. It follows the story of members of the Parker family. Captured by the Comanche and raised by them.

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Best Non Fiction Out There

I have read the book twice and now revisit it as an audiobook to continue to enjoy in segments. A tough and brutal truth of a book and people.