Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Empire of the Summer Moon

by Sam Gwynne

The Plains Indians and America's westward expansion like you've never read! Growing up in StL, my history consisted mainly of Marquette, La Salle, Lewis and Clark and other explorations of the Mighty Mississippi and our focus with growing America dealt with the Louisiana Purchase. And while that is all fine and interesting it seems childsplay in comparison to what kids in OK and TX might get to learn. If their textbooks told any story like Gwynne relates in Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History  then it should come as no surprise that Texans are so prideful.

Quanah Parker was the son of a Comanche warrior and a Texas girl, Cynthia Ann Parker, who was kidnapped by the Comanches at the age of 9. He would become a great warrior and mediator for his tribe as they navigated land battles with both the Mexican and US armies. Although Parker and the Comanches are singled out as stars in this book, Gwynne doesn't neglect the other Plains nations and their roles in the territorial conflict. Gwynne treats the Comanches with much admiration when he tells of their skills as fighters and horsemen and even though he also refers to them as savage and hostile, it is mainly in response to techniques and treatments of captives. He also relates the stories of several US Military men and their struggles to conquer the west and its inhabitants. He accurately portrays their frustrations and errors in dealing with the Plains Indians, as well as the numerous treaties that were violated by both sides.

If you like history you would like this book. If you are a Texan it is required reading. 

1 comment:

  1. Sounds interesting! I guess we will probably never hear all the sides of these stories, huh?