David Brickley's Reviews > Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History

Empire of the Summer Moon by S.C. Gwynne
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Aug 08, 2012

really liked it

This is a book that I think every American should read. In the beginning we came into this land and immediately began displacing all of the aboriginal peoples who had dwelled here for many centuries. Yet I would wager that almost nobody knows anything about those peoples other than what watching Wagon Train has showed them. Which leaves out anyone born later than 1960. This is all to say that this book does an excellent job of showing, with most excellent clarity, the dichotomy of a native people trying to live as they always had, coping (or not coping) with an unimagined influx of a completely other culture usurping their land and destroying their way of life. That's one aspect; the other is the daunting challenge that the westward flowing Americans (the white ones) faced as they impinged upon the established native tribes' territory and way of life. This author does an excellent job of laying out the case for both sides without handing down judgement of either side, all in a writing style that is more story-teller, ala Bernard DeVoto, than pedantic historian research paper. It appears to be extremely well researched, and through it all is the the very strong thread of the lineage of the Commanch warrior-chief Quanah, who was the embodiment of what was, and who became the embodiment of what was to be for the vanquished native Americans.

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Reading Progress

Started Reading
July 15, 2012 – Finished Reading
August 8, 2012 – Shelved

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Benjamin Taddesse Great review! I just started the book and find myself so taken with the time period and mentality of the American people and government. So much of how we think ourselves as a nation today is only based off of who we think we are post WWII, not a nation the slaughtered and displaced millions. Settlers is a washed over word for invaders. At the least the Spanish called themselves conquerers.

message 2: by Emily (new)

Emily We know lots about what the pre-Columbian people of North America were up to. Please, go to the Native American section in your bookstore or library, your local history museum, the Native internet, Cahokia National Park, Wounded Knee, read, ask. There's a massive historical record. Conversely, I don't know what Wagon Train is but I imagine it's a TV show about people with feathers being defeated by cowboys.

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