*Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award*
*A New York Times Notable Book*
*Winner of the Texas Book Award and the Oklahoma Book Award*
This New York Times bestseller and 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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
American history buffs, rejoice! It’s hard to imagine a more fascinating account of the Indian Wars than S. C. Gwynne’s Empire of the Summer Moon. When nine-year-old Cynthia Ann Parker was kidnapped by Comanche raiders, no one could have predicted that she would willingly stay with the tribe—and eventually give birth to Quanah, arguably the most powerful Native American war chief of all time. Gwynne’s compelling and brilliantly researched book examines this 40-year-long saga from both perspectives, that of the Comanche tribe and the Parker family. Along the way, he touches upon everything from the building of the transcontinental railroad to the demise of the American buffalo. Actor David Drummond’s no-nonsense narration is the perfect match for Gwynne’s balanced account of this brutal and important piece of American history. After listening you’ll be convinced: Truth really can be stranger than fiction.
I can understand why this book offends.
But why read something, or listen to it as I did, if it doesn’t stir some powerful emotion in us?
Wonderful book, recommended by Joe Rogan. Just finished the whole book and I am very impressed by the attention to detail the author has. I did not previously have much knowledge about the Comanches or other native Americans and this book gave me a wonderful insight. Also, I greatly appreciate the author remained un biased throughout the whole book, he did not choose sides about who was in the right or wrong and gave the good and bag of both sides. Thank you so much.!
Painfully racist & factually incorrect
I picked up this book years ago and stopped reading after about 50 pages in when I realized the author repeatedly described the Comanche as barbarians and savages. He passes judgement on the Comanche's lifeways while excusing the brutally behaviors perpetrated by white settlers who sought to steal the Comanche's land. Moreso, he claims only the Comanche bred horses and broke them in a unique way. The Plateau tribes (ex. Nez Perce) also bred horses, and other tribes (Umatilla, Cayuse) broke while horses in the same way. This book is a complete disservice to indigenous Americans, and discrace it was nominated for a Pulitzer.