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

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Overview

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, David Drummond

Few people realize that the Comanche Indians were the greatest warring tribe in American history. Their forty-year battle with settlers held up the development of the new nation. Empire of the Summer Moon tells of the rise and fall of this fierce, powerful, and proud tribe, and begins in 1836 with the kidnapping of a lovely nine-year-old girl with cornflower blue eyes named Cynthia Ann Parker. She grew to love her captors and eventually became famous as the "White Squaw." She married a powerful Comanche chief, and their son, Quanah, became a warrior who was never defeated and whose bravery and military brilliance in the Texas panhandle made him a legend as one of the greatest of the Plains Indian chiefs.In this vivid piece of writing, S. C. Gwynne describes in sometimes brutal detail the savagery of both whites and Comanches and, despite the distance of time, demonstrates how truly shocking these events were, juxtaposed against the haunting story of an unforgettable figure of a woman caught between two worlds.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781400116553
Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc.
Publication date: 05/25/2010
Edition description: Unabridged, 12 CDs, 15 hrs
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 6.40(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

S. C. Gwynne is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared extensively in Time magazine-for which he served as bureau chief, national correspondent, and senior editor from 1988 to 2000-and in Texas Monthly, where he was executive editor. His work has also appeared in the New York Times, Harper's, and California Magazine. He lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife and daughter. David Drummond has made his living as an actor for over twenty-five years, appearing on stages large and small throughout the country and in Seattle, Washington, his hometown. He has narrated over thirty audiobooks for Tantor, in genres ranging from current political commentary to historical nonfiction, from fantasy to military, and from thrillers to humor. He received an AudioFile Earphones Award for his first audiobook, Love 'Em or Lose 'Em: Getting Good People to Stay. When not narrating, David keeps busy writing plays and stories for children.

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Empire of the Summer Moon 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 502 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There's no story like a true one and one that rings so loud as 'Empire of the Summer Moon" is hard to find. It is a fascinating look into the "new" world's treatment of Native Americans and equally Native American's treatment of "new" world settlers. It is an astonishing tale of hardship and loss and horrific brutality. Ultimately it reminds us - tells us - that there was a 300 plus year war to claim this land, one that annihilated entire civilizations and while doing so completely defined the story. "Empire of the Summer Moon" re-tells that story in all of its complexity. A must read for anyone interested in the history of the United States and the culture and world of the people who lived here prior to their destruction.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this book well researched and fascinating. I didn't want to put it down. Recommended to anyone who has an interest in this subject matter.
MusicCritic More than 1 year ago
Although non-fiction, this book is easily as good a read as most any fiction you can think of. It tells an enormously complex tale, spanning at least hundreds of years, yet ties everything together nicely using the interlocking stories of Cynthia Ann Parker and her son, Quanah Parker, and that of a Ranald Slidell Mackenzie, a U.S. Army Officer. As other reviews have pointed out, the book tells both sides of the story, warts and all. The broader story of the Comanche people is spun throughout the narrative, as well as that of the American frontier. The nature of the warfare on the frontier - both Indian and Spanish/Mexican/Texan/US Government - and its evolution, is one of the most interesting aspects of the story: how geography influenced strategy & tactics, how changes in technology influenced both sides, and how business interests played a part. If the book has a flaw, it is simply that it raises so many interesting points along its course that I want to know more. As it was, I finished it in 4 days, but that was mainly because I was continually googling this or that. I guess the big question, in the end, for me, is "Was the destruction of the Comanche way of life inevitable?" Of course, this book does not answer that question, since it is probably unanswerable. It also does not offer a judgment on the reservation system (although it does judge the operation of the Bureau of Indian Affairs). All in all, one of the better history books I've ever read - not quite Barbara Tuchman, but in the same ballpark.
Smart2Finished More than 1 year ago
The scenes range from horrifying to humorous to heartbreaking. If the words "Llano Estacado" mean anything to you, you will be enthralled. I often heard fragments of Comanche and Cavalry lore when I was growing up, so I think S.C. Gwynne has done a marvelous thing--sifting, measuring, and packing so much into just one book. My hope is that many will read it, share it, and keep the stories alive for the next generation.
WylieCoyote More than 1 year ago
Having spent much of my life living and traveling over the area where Quanah Parker led his Comanche warriors, this new book by S.C. Gwynne fascinated me. I knew much of the story of the Parker clan and the capture of 9-year-old Cynthia Ann in 1836, but Gwynne's research sheds new light on the details of her life as well as the decades long clash between the lords of the plains and the Texas settlers. He allows the reader to see the mentality of both sides of this long war. The book flows smoothly and I only wish it had been a bit longer.
phalcon87 More than 1 year ago
I enjoy reading history usally accounts from WWII to the present day, but this book caught my eye, so I stepped out of my comfort zone & bought the ebook for my nook. Yes there is a time line like a guide taking through the years fom the early 1800's to the death of Quanah Parker in 1911. The historical account read like a novel & you felt like you were drawn into that world to witness the horrors from both cultures & how they really never tried to figure each other out. Prsonally I had learned so much of what I didn't know about the Plains Indian & their life & how the U.S. government dealt with the Indians in general. I am glad to have read it & thave learned something from our U.S. history.
OKWANYVA More than 1 year ago
My interest in this book was heightened by the fact that my Parker Great Grandfather was also from Coles County, IL where the other Parker's lived. But my research in the Cole's courthouse led me to believe that there were two Parker families in Coles County and even though my Grandmother said we were related to Cynthia, it most likely is not true. The interesting thing about this book, is that most of it happened less than a hundred years before my birth. Lots of excellent history in this book that describes how the Comanches ruled much of the Southwest. Quanah knew when the end was near and rode into Ft. Sill on his own. He never looked back at his old life and adapted to the new life at Ft. Sill. In lots of ways he was a business man, diplomat and a good politician and better then any other Indian Chief at adapting to the new life at Ft. Sill and often got his way with the military and Washington politicians. As another poster stated, Quanah's character is described in detail in th last 75 pages or so. Most of the book describes their early success as horsemen of the plains that won them lots of battles concentrating on stealing horses from soldiers before starting a battle and therefore were a good match against the army of those days until modern weapons finaly got the upper edge. Tons of footnotes, so you might consider buying the printed book rather than the NOOK version unless you are adapt at returning to where you left off.
LaurenBDavis More than 1 year ago
Although the subject matter intrigued me, I was less impressed by the actual book that I hoped I'd be. It's solid, and often interesting, but there is far less in it about Quanah Parker -- son of captured white woman Cynthia Ann Parker and a Comanche chief -- than the sub-title leads one to believe. Rather, Gwynne focuses on the Comanche's prowess as warriors -- albeit, in his words, pagan, stone-age warriors -- and their decades-long war against the encroaching whites. He also spends a good deal of time on how the Comanches were the first of the Aboriginal people of America to master the horses first introduced by the Spanish. Gwynne certainly exposes the brutal violence of all sides in the Plains warfare. There are no moral heroes here. And, while I am glad this isn't another book about First Nations peoples that reduces them to the equivalent of happy little wilderness elves, I was made slightly uncomfortable with the in-depth descriptions of Comanche torture methods as recounted by white survivors. The problem is not that these things did not occur, but that there is no balancing voice from the other side. I can't help but wonder what a survivor of the U.S. Army raids, or the Texas Ranger raids, or any of the ad hoc raids that took place might have revealed about the depth of white savagery, which I can help but suspect was equal. The problem is twofold: of course, neither the Comanches nor the other nations left written reports, on one hand; and on the other, there were virtually no survivors to spread tales even if they had. Still, what Gwynne does tell us is enough to make the reader shudder. I'm saying only that it is virtually impossible to give a truly balanced view in light of the paucity of Native accounts. No matter how well-researched a book is -- and this is very well researched -- the writer is at the mercy of what's available. There is also perhaps some unintended irony here, which I mention only because of how obvious I found it: If the settlers/ranchers/pioneers could not be held back by the US government from seeping into Comancheria, then the way present day Texans complain about border crossers seems risible. Even if, as Gwynne suggests, the government had no intention of stopping them, seeing their inexorable march westward as part of Manifest Destiny, it's still a huge boulder of irony. As I said in the beginning, there is surprisingly little about the Parker family here. Their story becomes a framing device for the rest of the book, which is a mind-numbing recitation of battles, raids and atrocities on both sides, yet it is in these sections (and there are a few more scattered throughout) that I felt most engaged. Cynthia Anne is a remarkable figure and her life is tragic in many ways. Particularly poignant are the sections when Gwynne describes her grief at being 'rescued', torn from her Comanche loved ones and returned to a society she never adjusted to. Then, too, given what Gwynne does tell us in the last few pages of the book about Quanah Parker and his life on a reservation after the destruction of the Comanche nation, and the buffalo (a heart-wrenching section), I was left wanting more. Quanah lives in a large house, is unusually generous and obviously brilliant, even earning the admiration of President Teddy Roosevelt. In the final analysis, it was the human story, and not the battle-litany, which moved me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Unbelievable book. Fascinating research and facts. Can't put this book down! Highly recommend this book! We included this book in our summer reading list of books as we recently visited the book store, a summer tradition, to gather up all of our pics for our summer reading list. This includes books for myself, my husband, kids and nieces and nephews. We also buy some books as birthday presents for others so they can join in on our discussions, like the aunts and uncles and grandparents. We have a mini book club where we discuss our books as we all read along. We all read several books so as the reading goes along there are a lot of books to review. The kids have found a wonderful book called, Smitty's Cave Adventures. They all love thrilling action-adventure books and this one is full of mystery and intrigue! From a parental point of view, Smitty's Cave Adventures also has a good moral overtone. Even the girls wanted to read this book and they all concluded that this is their favorite book so far!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book seemed to be well researched and drew on many different sources! However, in my opinion, the author repeated himself too much, especially in the early chapters, an example being his repeated description of the horsemanship skills of the Comanches! Also, the author jumps around in the chronology of this story so much that it's difficult to follow! I would personally have liked to see the story unfold from beginning to end (more or less) than to have it jump backwards and forwards so much!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I guess I would be reading more about Quanah instead it was more a history of the Comanches, which is great but not what I had intended to read.
mommmabear58 More than 1 year ago
FROM THE VERY FIRST PAGE TO THE LAST , THIS IS THE GREATEST READ THIS SUMMER. I CAN NOT TELL YOU HOW I LOVE THIS BOOK FOR ITS RESEARCH, ITS HONESTY AND NOT HOLDING BACK. THIS BOOK IS NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART. ANYONE UNDER 18YRS OF AGE SHOULD NOT READ THIS BOOK NOR ANYONE WHO IS PREGNANT NOR SPIRITUAL , FOR IF YOU KNOW YOUR HISTORY AND KNOW ABOUT THE "COMANCHES" THEN YOU KNOW WHAT THEY ARE CAPABLE OF. I GIVE THE WRITER "THUMBS" UP ON THIS ONE. IF ONLY ALL NON-FICTION AUTHORS COULD FOLLOW YOUR RULE OF THUMB(NO PUN INTENDED) ON WRITING A BOOK THAT WOULD KEEP A PERSON WANTING MORE AFTER EVERY PAGE.IT DOESN'T NEED TO BE GRUESOME NEITHER JUST IN THE WAY ITS WRITTEN WOULD DO IT.I READ A BOOK TITLE" THE NIGHT STALKER" ( CAN NOT REMEMBER THE AUTHOR) BUT AT THE END WHEN THE TOWNSPEOPLE WERE RUNNING AFTER RICHARD, I WAS OUT OF BREATH, THAT'S HOW GOOD A WRITER HE WAS. BUT GRUESOME AND "COMANCHE" GO TOGETHER HAND IN HAND. NOW MY ONLY HOPES IS THAT THEY WOULD DO A MOVIE OF THIS BOOK. THANK YOU!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It seems to me this is simply a re-write of T.R. Fehrenbach's book: Comanches..., with a little dash of Cynthia and Quannah Parker thrown in. Given that impression, I question giving credit to Gwynne for "thorough research."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent and balanced portrayal of the clash between whites and Comances. The author brings history alive with his presentation of the forces and individuals involved, particularly the talented and remarkable Chief Quanah. Easy to read yet rich and thought provoking.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author gives you an excellent insight into the daily life of the Commanches, their history, their strengths and weaknesses, and the impact of the U.S. western expansion on their culture.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found the life of Quanah Parker after the "Trail of Tears" events and its aftermath just as fascinating as his life as a free Comanche warrior and chief. It was an amazingly detailed life, not just of Comanches and their history but of many other tribes. I found it worthy of reading even though it is not written as a novel but more of a factual report. There are many excerpts from letters and newspaper articles and even books published by family members of Quanah's mother. I found these fascinating. it seems to be very well researched. If you want to read a detailed account of American history, this is one to get.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a spectacular and totally absorbing book. Don't read the reviews; read the book. The background (not a review): My interest in this book was spurred by an incidental visit to the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian (Customs House, 1 Bowling Green, NY, NY). Before leaving the museum, keenly aware of my ignorance of American Indians and regretful I hadn't visited the museum (or learned more) sooner, I found this book in the museum shop. I bought the e-book (for my new Nook, of course!) that day (easily portable while travelling), and was completely absorbed -- I am now determined to learn more, from published first-person accounts and -- with luck -- similarly wonderfully crafted histories.
ameliaCB More than 1 year ago
Although I knew that settling the west was a violent and difficult task this book gives the reader an in-depth understanding of the long and difficult history. I don't agree with the review that considered this book "too biased". I felt that the book revealed the the passion, frustration and desire for revenge that was inevitable in both the settler and native american communities.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be both interesting and informative. I recommend it to anyone interested in this subject matter.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you have read "Patriots" by A.J. Langguth, you will enjoy this book. Gwynne tells the story of American expansionism and the conflict this created with the Southern Plains Horse-culture. You get to know the remarkable hero-villains, who made this history worth the telling. Both sides and the middle of the conflicts that occurred are detailed along with an eye to 1900's American political realities that cast the inexorable circumstances that bring us to what is today. I for one, could not put this book down!
senated More than 1 year ago
A totally absorbing story of the Indian wars in the southwest, more than the story of Quanna Parker, although that is the thread that keeps the book focused. The violence administered against the "white man" is almost understandablle but incredibly cruel. The only time I've read of such atrocities they were connected to the concentration camps of World War 2. The book would have been easier to follow if it were written in chronological order. Nonetheless, any American history buff will find it very interesting.
J5 More than 1 year ago
Provides real insight into the Comanche Nation and the westward expansion of the United States. Tough times, tough people and inevitable tragedy for the Comanche and their life source the Buffalo. Great historical context, but reads like a fictional novel.
wiseoldowl More than 1 year ago
If you're interested in Native American History, do NOT skip this book. Well researched (and documented). Author does an excellent job.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's a book where once you've started reading it, you hate to put down. I found the details of specific locations pertaining to raids, treaties, camps and the events that took place there, interesting and entertaining. A lot of them were in my backyard! I had no idea, until I read this book, how powerful the commanches were. I hope you like it too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
History and a great story all in one !The comanche's and white settlers were certainly a tough breed of survivors in a cruel time and conditions. The American Manifest Destiny had more than one perspective that was shown,but not forced on the reader. Make up your own mind circumstance by circumstance and events.