Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History
Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize
This stunning historical account of the forty-year battle between Comanche Indians and white settlers for control of the American West was a major New York Times bestseller.
In the tradition of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, a stunningly vivid historical account of the forty-year battle between Comanche Indians and white settlers for control of the American West, centering on Quanah, the greatest Comanche chief of them all.
S. C. Gwynne’s 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 readers may be more familiar with the tribal 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. Comanche boys became adept bareback riders by age six; full Comanche braves were considered the best horsemen who ever rode. 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.
Against this backdrop Gwynne presents the compelling drama of Cynthia Ann Parker, a lovely nine-year-old girl with cornflower-blue eyes who was kidnapped by Comanches from the far Texas frontier in 1836. She grew to love her captors and became infamous as the “White Squaw” who refused to return until her tragic capture by Texas Rangers in 1860. More famous still was her son Quanah, a warrior who was never defeated and whose guerrilla wars in the Texas Panhandle made him a legend.
S. C. Gwynne’s account of these events is meticulously researched, intellectually provocative, and, above all, thrillingly told. Empire of the Summer Moon announces him as a major new writer of American history.
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EMPIRE OF THE SUMMER MOON: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American HistoryUser Review - Kirkus
An appropriately fast-paced life of Comanche leader Quanah Parker and his band, the last Native free riders on the plains.Former Time editor and correspondent Gwynne (The Outlaw Bank: A Wild Ride into ... Read full review
Fascinating, InformativeUser Review - Hiyaker - Borders
It is well worth your investment of time to read this book. A fascinating look at the clash of societies, one strong, seemingly invincible, but vulnerable to an even stronger society. There are ... Read full review
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Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the ...
S. C. Gwynne
No preview available - 2010