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

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Simon and Schuster, May 25, 2010 - History - 384 pages
The Epic New York Times Bestseller
Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize
Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award
A New York Times Notable Book
Winner of the Texas Book Award
Winner of the Oklahoma Book Award

This stunning historical account of the forty-year battle between Comanche Indians and white settlers for control of the American West “is nothing short of a revelation…will leave dust and blood on your jeans” (The New York Times Book Review).

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 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.

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, and the amazing story of Cynthia Ann Parker and her son Quanah—a historical feast for anyone interested in how the United States came into being.

Hailed by critics, 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 History

User 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, Informative

User 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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About the author (2010)

S.C. Gwynne is the author of Hymns of the Republic and the New York Times bestsellers Rebel Yell and Empire of the Summer Moon, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. He spent most of his career as a journalist, including stints with Time as bureau chief, national correspondent, and senior editor, and with Texas Monthly as executive editor. He lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife.

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