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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
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • 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.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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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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    5 out of 5 stars
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summer Mooon

The real history of the plains Indians. great read. that will really set you to thinking about the B.S. we were told about in school and bad Hollywood movies.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Save Star House!

The Comanches are rich enough to make a greater offer for Quanah's house. They have done great creating a new nation, but they must accept the past and preserve it.

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Fantastic book on Texas history

A must read for every student of American history. A balanced telling of the cultural upheaval that was the settling of the American Southwest.

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Excellent

Two books in one! A great overview of Comanche history and then a more concise treatment of Quanah Parker.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Very Thorough

This is a very good historical account. I found it very interesting. However, it is exceeding long. I did not finish it because it just went on and on and I felt I'd heard about all I needed to hear about these Indians.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting insights into the life and times of Quana Parker

The history of Comanche and other Horse Tribes intersects with the development of Texas in this detailed and at times grisly , but fascinating, account.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Amazing historical tale not free from commentary

Would you listen to Empire of the Summer Moon again? Why?

Yes.Years from now when the history is not fresh in my mind, I would enjoy revisiting the subject.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Empire of the Summer Moon?

The story of Quanah Parker's family as well as his personal history.

Any additional comments?

I liked David Drummond's performance but he tended towards voicing the characters in a way that I found distracting at times.