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Empire of the Summer Moon - S. C. Gwynne

Empire of the Summer Moon

By S. C. Gwynne

  • Release Date: 2010-05-25
  • Genre: History
Score: 4.5
From 1,328 Ratings


*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.


  • Challenges the Narrative

    By P Bud
    This book depicts the clash of civilizations and pays equal attention to the expansion minded European settlers and the exploiting and expanse mindedness of the Comanche empire. Fans of the victim narrative will dismiss the account. Realism on the Plains of Texas.
  • Authors tend to write history -mgy

    By mgy🤪💭
    And history is emotion. With a feather that is native to its side, there is a knife on its side, that can be drawn, painted, rocked . . . The feather can be: Hellllooooo Ouuuttttt Ttthhheerrreeee / Baby, the night away! The knife is on it’s side by way of drawn feather
  • Empire of the Southern Moon

    By Readyreader123
    Fascinating historical account of the Comanche tribe.
  • Best read of my life

    By F/W jj
    I live in Fort Worth, Texas. The book took me back in time knowing that I was in living Comancheria territory many many years later. It was a tough read, but incredibly worth the effort. Meticulously written. Spellbinding in the the details.
  • Rich History

    By CMMH1990
    Gwynne strikes a perfect balance between the historical and emotional sides of the fighting between Comanche Indians and American settlers. This book is well-detailed but still moves fast enough to keep the reader engaged. Also, his writing does not aim to convince the reader that one side was right and the other was wrong. Rather, he unbiasedly describes all facets of the conflict, showing the reader that it cannot be boiled down to the simple good vs evil battle that we were taught in history class. Anyone living in Texas should try to give this a read.
  • Stunning

    By Smackanally
    Great read. Leaves you loving and hating everyone involved. Sheds light on parts of Native American history I never knew existed.
  • Excellent!

    By MichaelFL
    This book reminds me of Texas history class growing up in Levelland in the 50’s and 60’s.
  • Comanche Moon

    By boots saddle
    Excellent history of the old west, but a little ponderous.
  • A great read for history of the American West

    By Fellafromdrippin
    A great read because of it veracity and straight to the heart of the matter. A page turner that keeps the reader engaged from the moment you begin reading this tale of Quanah Parker and the Comanches. A story too of the continuous attempts and success of the federal government to steal the lands of the Native Americans. The instructive story here is that dependence on the government leads to a shadow life of what is really the full life of a truly free person.
  • Straight History with Facts

    By Azkid70
    Good read I recommend this for any history buff