Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History
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 Comanche...more
Sam C. Gwynne attended Princeton and Johns Hopkins Universities. He's spent most of his life as a journalist. He spent almost twenty years as a correspondent, bureau chief, and Chief Editor for twenty years. Gwynne's work has appeared in the New York Times, Harpers, California, Texas Monthly, among other publications. Gwynne was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction for Empire of the Summer Moon ...more
"Thus the fateful clash between settlers from the culture of Aristotle, St. Paul, Da Vinci, Luther, and Newton and aboriginal horsemen from the buffalo plains happened as though in a time warp--as though the former were looking backward thousands of years at premoral, pre-Christian, low-barbarian versions of themselves. ...more
Gwynne uses the histories of Cynthia Parker (the historic inspiration for Natalie Wood’s character in John Wayne’s The Searchers and the Mary McDonnell character Stands With a Fist in Kevin Costner’s film Dances With Wolves) and her son ...more
Commancheria - the millions of acres of treeless plains encompassing northern Mexico to present day Nebraska, the land of the 5 principal bands of the Commanches, a culture centuries behind the development of the eastern Indian tribes, and intertwined with the buffalo herds. Commancheria - a region so forcefully held by the Commanches that the westward tide of Anglo-Saxon expansion was held at ...more
My complaints about this book are many, but I'll try to keep it simple.
Mainly, it's because a "history" written in 2010 contains things like this:
There were no witnesses to this great coming together of Stone Age hunters and horses, nothing to record what happened when they met, or what there was in the soul of the Comanche that underst ...more
Aside from how freaking white this book is, and not even commenting on the occasional racist undertones (or overtones), it's just not even that great of a book. The subtitle leads the reader to believe that this will be about Quanah Parker when in reality that played such a small part of whatever it was Gwynne w ...more
Here are four illustrative examples of the casual racism entrenched in the author's vocabulary throughout the book:
1. “While t ...more
There were two things that bothered me about the book. First, were the inaccuracies. I'm not as well read in the History of the American West as many people, but I was finding common mistakes, especially when he was talking about other tribes.
What bothered me more was the fact th ...more
The Sioux and Commanche share some common things as both were horse tribes, they both drove other tribes from the bes ...more
The book tells the story of the Comanche Empire which, having mastered horse warfare, defeated all enemies until the late 19th century. It took the US decades to find a way to defeat them. Much of the story is of two cultures clash ...more
Odd and End Thoughts:
GR readers seem to be hotly divided as to whether Gwynn’s depiction of the Comanche is racist or simp ...more
Much of it is repetitive. Chapter 1, the Comanches were bad - stab, burn, rape, kill, steal. Chapter 2, the Comanches were bad - stab, burn, rape, kill, steal. etc etc. It does nothing to move the plot forward. (The ...more
Update: After having read most of Pekka Hamalainen's The Cherokee Empire (review to come fairly soon), I'm knocking this down to one star. Gwynne's simply wrong about huge pieces of the picture. His mis-characterizations of Cherokee culture and politics create a dangerous image. The fact that the book's well written make that all the more problematic. It's going to take a lot of hard work to counter the story he tells.
Original review follows:
The problems start with the title. What the Comanche h ...more
Why did I give it 5 stars? Without a doubt, this is the mo ...more
Very good read. If you are at all interested in the history of the West, I would highly recommend this.
Some interesting facts
The Comanche were one of the first Indian tribes to fight from the back of a horse.
By 1800 they controlled an area that included most of what is now Texas, Oklahoma, eastern New Mexico, Southeastern Colorado and even dipped down into Northern Mexico. The author call ...more
Starting a re-read with NYT as impetus.
When this rich book makes an appearance, I generally then think of the duo by Douglas Jones, what I consider the finest fiction concerning Comanche ...
Season of Yellow Leaf
Gone the Dreams and Dancing
|Non Fiction Book ...: January ~ Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History by S.C Gwynne||11||9||Jan 30, 2016 06:37AM|
|You'll love this ...: March 2014 - Empire of the Summer Moon discussion||39||53||Mar 29, 2014 05:13PM|