Shop now Shop now Shop now  Up to 70% Off Fashion  Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Shop now Shop now Shop now
Customer Review

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling Narrative History of the Comanche & their Last Major Leader, 6 Nov. 2011
This review is from: Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History (Hardcover)
A very fine narrative concerning the history (both the rise and fall) of the Native American people known today as the Comanche (from a Ute word meaning those who like to fight or who fight a lot). An unsophisticated group of stone age hunter-gatherers who had eked out a living on the edges of better territory dominated by larger and more formidable Native American peoples than themselves, the Comanche eventually discovered the horse, left to run wild and multiply in North America after the Spanish had retreated south in the face of rebellions against them. The Comanche soon realized that horses were good for more than just eating or dragging tent poles behind them when the bands moved camp and became the most effective mounted warriors in North America and, Gwynne suggests, maybe in the world. A small, stocky people well suited for riding, they rapidly came to dominate the central and southern plains of North America, placing them directly in the path of the expanding American Republic as it moved westward via new settler migration and war with Mexico over the western territories held by that country.

Gwynne intersperses his tale of the rise of the Comanche and their fierce war with other Indian tribal nations (including Apaches and Tonkawas, both of whom would develop an undying hatred of their foes and align themselves with the incoming whites to eventually bring the Comanche down) with an account of the background, birth and rise of Quanah Parker, the half white war chief of the Comanche nation who would lead them in their final struggle with white civilization. In the interim, the Republic of Texas broke away from Mexico to become the Comanche's most dangerous enemy. But not at first.

Initially, the early Texans were outclassed because they were used to the forests and mountains of their eastern homes. Armed only with the slow-to-reload muzzle loading rifles of the era (which required plenty of cover between shots and could not be easily reloaded on horseback), they could neither outshoot nor outride the wild Comanche warriors in a country where cover was scarce and often non-existent. It took a series of disastrous defeats before the Texans slowly got it together and learned to fight with the relentless ferocity of the Comanche from horseback, mastering the trails and redoubts of the country itself in the process. Nor did it hurt when the advent of the revolver in the mid 1840's gave the newly formed, and still green, Texas Rangers a marked advantage over the mounted Comanche warrior equipped only with bow and arrow.

The book recounts the gradual erosion of Comanche dominance as it gives the history of Quanah's mother, Cynthia Ann Parker, captured as a nine year old girl and adopted by members of the Comanche band that took her. Eventually married to a Comanche warrior, she is finally retrieved by whites only to pine away until her early death because of her lost husband and sons. Quanah, her eldest, is left to fend for himself at the age of twelve and eventually grows into a large and powerful warrior in his own right, the man who will lead the last free band of Comanches until he is finally run to ground and beaten by the U.S. Army -- having at last learned to fight Indians the Indian way.

This is a fine book that deals with an important part of Texas history as well as the history of America's western plains overall. Importantly, it offers a comprehensive and vivid picture of the Comanche nation from its first appearance as a competitor for the resources of the Great Plains until its final defeat in the late 1800's. A very valuable addition to any library of the west.

Stuart W. Mirsky
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
  [Cancel]