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Comanches: The History of a People

4.3 of 5 stars 4.30  ·  rating details  ·  141 ratings  ·  23 reviews
Authoritative and immediate, this is the classic account of the most powerful of the American Indian tribes. T.R. Fehrenbach traces the Comanches’ rise to power, from their prehistoric origins to their domination of the high plains for more than a century until their demise in the face of Anglo-American expansion.

Master horseback riders who lived in teepees and hunted biso
ebook, 592 pages
Published November 10th 2010 by Anchor (first published 1974)
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Tim Pendry
This is superb history - dispassionate though not without judgment, informative with a clear narrative and capable both of changing prejudices and assumptions and suggesting analogies with today.

Fehrenbach wrote this book forty years ago as a sympathetic historian of Texas and Mexico who was filling in the natural sovereign gap in the history of the South West - the 'savage' Comancheria.

Because it was written so long ago, it was also written before 'political correctness' obliged us to accept a
This is the penultimate history of the Comanche so far written. So little was known of the Nermernuh and so much of what was known was confused or misapplied from and to other Plains Amerindian bands or tribes even as late as the 1930s as to make a clear understanding of the role that the Comanche played within their own history and in the context of their place within the broader history of the North American continent. Fehrehbach has done a masterful job of carefully sorting and sifting throug ...more
After enjoying Fehrenbach's Lone Star, a massive history of Texas, Comanches comes as a great disappointment.

It begins, like Lone Star, with the beginning of time. It starts by describing the formation of the all-important geography that shapes this story of the Comanche people, and those who took their lands. The first half of the book - the better half - is devoted to a general sociological and anthropological survey of the Amerindians who became known as Comanche. It's a fascinating portrait
Jill Manske
Fehrenbach is a well-respected historian and expert on the history of Texas and the Indians of the region. He starts back at the beginning, how bands of aboriginal people crossed a land bridge from Asia to North America and how, over time, they settled in different regions of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. He discusses how there were ancestral groupings and the tribes they became. But what was a tad confusing was that he began discussing the tribes by their historic grouping names and then began u ...more
Andrew Edwards
This is a great book if you're interested in the history of the southwest. It was part of a frenzied bunch of reading I did after inhaling Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian. A substantial amount of McCarthy's basic philosophy came from this book.
Ken Brimhall
When I picked this book, I wanted to find out why the Comanches tortured their captives, and raped many of their women captives. They did it to humiliate them, to break the captives' spirit, to destroy their "medicine." They wanted to prove how great their "medicine" was, their ability to dominate. They had roughly one hundred years of domination on southern Great Plains as the finest horsemen in history riding the finest ponies. The Comanches captured, broke and rode thousands of ponies. Warrio ...more
Nick Lo
Probably should be called "Comanches, their part in American History" as the latter half of the book focusses more on the history that was unfolding around the Comanche and other Amerindians than specifically the Comanche themselves.

Another reviewer (Matt) does a thorough job of breaking down the weaknesses in the book in his review ( ). One point I disagreed with in his review was that the author "is fixated by torture and mutilation". Without any idea
Fehrenbach is a truly gifted historian. His tale of the Comanche people has got to be one of the best histories ever written. It's a thorough and academic insight into the lives and culture of a once-fearsome tribe of Indians who stood their ground in middle America for years against the relentless westward pressure of the Anglos.

What makes this book great is not just Fehrenbach's lyric writing, but his sober and unsentimental look at what went on as Americans encroached on this country's origin
Linda Humberstone
Fascinating book about a fascinating people written in an informative and non-judgemental style. Their way of life was so different from the invading settlers' that it could only ultimately end in the strongest with the best weapons winning the battle for the land. The Comanches beliefs and lifestyle was entirely adapted to how they could live and survive and their horsemanship skills superior to all but they were branded as savages simply because they fought back. To be honest some horrific cru ...more
Amazing book. Even though it is non-fiction, the writing is very unique and beautiful. I am convinced that Cormac McCarthy leaned heavily on this book while writing "Blood Meridian."
It's rare that I don't finish a book, no matter how badly I might hate it...and I only made it through sixty pages of this one.

The writing style was too flowery, and even worst, the tone was condescending. Every other paragraph he called the people he was talking about 'barbaric', 'inferior' or 'savage', and that is not a way to constantly describe the people you're writing about! It certainly doesn't make it sound like he actually respects these people and their history. Actually, it comes acro
Here's an old quote that might have come from Fehrenbacher.

“The Comanches were supposed to be the most literal-minded of all the tribes. There are Indians who live in a poetic world, half of the spirit, but the Comanches were a tough-minded, practical people, who laughed at the religious ceremonies of other tribes as crazy-Indian foolishness. They had no official medicine men, no pantheon of named gods, no ordered theology. Yet they lived very close to the objects of the earth around them, and s
Matt Baggett
A sad, sad tale that almost couldn't have happened any other way. Two cultures that could never have co-existed, The Comanches and the Americans.
Zach Vaughn
Fehrenbach’s "Comanches: Destruction of a People" is a fascinating read about the evolution and demise of Comanche culture on the Southern Plains. Immigrating onto the plains from the Rocky Mountains, the Comanches eventually became the dominant force on the Southern Plains, carving out a range from the Arkansas River to the Balcones Escarpment - a range that was largely unmolested until the 19th Century. Although unmolested for many years, the Comanches’ demise was inevitable - the result of a ...more
Steve Statham
An excellent book, the best I've read on American Indian history. Fehrenbach takes a clear-eyed look at all perspectives in the conflicts between Comanches and other Indian tribes, and between Comanches and the European and American powers. He sugar-coats nothing, but makes a point of relating each side's point of view. And like all good histories, it occasionally steps beyond the specific subject matter to shed light on other aspects of North America's history.
Antonio De Cunzo
Terribly dated, repetitive, slightly offensive, and written in an overbearingly grandiose style.
A gripping description of the Comanche people as they rose to dominate the Great Plains and then were destroyed by a coalition of all the neighbors they'd raided for loot, slaves, and prestige. The great tragedy was that the Comanche had no way to constrain their young men from raiding . . . making it impossible to coexist peacefully with any other culture.
Zoe Aarden
I'm finding this book difficult to read... It's racist and ethnocentric. And I'm only on page 20. Sigh. I'm finding it difficult to believe I'll glean anything of value from it, since Fehrenbach's perspective cannot possibly embrace or empathize with the reactions and experiences of the people he's writing about. Will try to finish the book, nonetheless.
I made it about half way through this book, but stopped when the historical accounts became more about the fighting and conquering and less about the culture of the people. Very dense but a great reference for Comanche history, as the title denotes.
Pat Mizell
Not for everyone, obviously, but for me and all closet cowboys and Western History buffs, a great explanation of these unique people. You'll still hate them, but at least you'll know them.
James Oliver Burns
This is a good book on the Comanche Peaple. Well Researched. You learn What brought thier down-and eventual surrender. The Destruction of thier way of life
Fredrick Danysh
Frehrenbach is a Texas writer who examines the conquest of the Comanche people and ended their reign of terror.
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Theodore Reed Fehrenbach, Jr. was an American historian, columnist, and the former head of the Texas Historical Commission (1987-1991). He graduated from Princeton University in 1947, and had published more than twenty books, including the best seller Lone Star: A History of Texas and Texans and This Kind of War, about the Korean War.

Although he served as a U.S. Army officer during the Korean War,
More about T.R. Fehrenbach...
This Kind of War Lone Star: A History Of Texas And The Texans Fire and Blood: A History of Mexico Lone Star: A History of Texas and the Texans The Battle of Anzio

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