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.
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.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Probably an accurate and honest account, but to brutal for my sensibilities.
An ethnocentric account of dramatic events
Though I enjoyed the history of the Comanche, I found the voice of the narration to be shockingly biased in tone. As compared to the depictions of Caucasians, the native peoples are almost universally described in terms which hold a negative connotation; savage, ignorant, primitive, etc. It felt as though one would imagine a story crafted in the early 1900’s, not the 21st. The few times the writer attempts to empathize with his subjects, are the instances where the story rings the most hollow.
Joe Rogan brought me here
I’ve listened to this book 10 times over. Absolutely phenomenal.