Empire of the Summer Moon

Empire of the Summer Moon

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

Book - 2010
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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.
Publisher: New York : Scribner, c2010.
ISBN: 9781416591054
Characteristics: 371 p. ; 24 cm.


From the critics

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Aug 22, 2020

This a well written story but boring. This may all be true and other books about of this type were false or maybe this one wasn't really researched as well as others.

May 05, 2020

Engrossing story of the rise and fall of the Comanches and the family of Cynthia Ann Parker, kidnapped by the Comanches as a child, who grew up with the Native Americans, married a Native American, and gave birth to a son who would become the fascinating chief leader of the Comanches. A must read for students of Native American history and the American West.

Feb 17, 2020

Hard to imagine a more exciting narrative than that of the Comanches during the early days of the rise of Texas. And it's equally hard to imagine the story being told any better than author S C Gwynne does with Empire to the Summer Moon. The details can be graphic and the outcome a sad commentary of US history but the events leading up to the demise of the greatest Indian horse warrior makes for some of the most interesting and exciting reading. Expertly told, the events and fascinating characters are more than enough to keep the pages turning!

Jun 28, 2018

A brutal history, brilliantly told. This book describes the clash of two cultures, that could never coexist, where one or the other had to prevail to survive. We know the winner. Here you will get a fuller account of who the Plains people were, and how the coming of the settlers ultimately led to the end of their way of life.

I recommend this book. Also, "News of the World" and "The Captured".

May 25, 2018

wish this had been shared in my high school class .
amazing story !

Nov 28, 2017

The most realistic account of the demise of the Indian nations and how the "whites" ultimately won the battle. Horrific battles and raids on families on both sides of the fence depicted with unflinching reality; there are some accounts that go so far into unimaginable brutality one will find their breath swept away. You think I'm using hyperbole? Ha. Tell me that after you read it.

Jul 05, 2017


May 09, 2017

Beautifully presented, one of my all-time best reads.

Feb 27, 2017

Not a history major? This might be difficult to get through. But it's an amazing story.

ArapahoeLesley Nov 23, 2016

S.C. Gwynne writes an entertaining and comprehensive book about an amazing and tragic piece of American history previously unknown to me. Highly recommended.

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