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This book is not about Quanah Parker, his mother, or the Comanche It s really about How the White Man Conquered the Savage, Primitive, Warmongering Barbarians.My complaints about this book are many, but I ll try to keep it simple.Mainly, it s because a history written in 2010 contains things like this There were no witnesses to this great coming together of Stone Age hunters and horses, nothing to record what happened when they met, or what there was in the soul of the Comanche that under This book is not about Quanah Parker, his mother, or the Comanche It s really about How the White Man Conquered the Savage, Primitive, Warmongering Barbarians.My complaints about this book are many, but I ll try to keep it simple.Mainly, it s because a history written in 2010 contains things like this There were no witnesses to this great coming together of Stone Age hunters and horses, nothing to record what happened when they met, or what there was in the soul of the Comanche that understood the horse so much better than everyone else did Whatever it was, whatever sort of accidental brilliance, whatever the particular, subliminal bond between warrior and horse, it must have thrilled these dark skinned pariahs from the Wind River country.Throughout the book, Indians are described as savage, primitive, and low barbarian Oh and Indian.I found it disingenuous of Gwynne to describe in detail the massacre of Cynthia Ann Parker s family and her capture, then acknowledge his description as needlessly bloody He describes most of the Comanche raids in those needlessly bloody details, including what seems like every rape, scalping, and disembowelment, but white men s raids on Indian villages the Sand Creek Massacre being the one notable exception get a brief tally of this many killed this many captured.Gwynne s writing style is just annoying, filled with What happened next was one of the greatest worst most or No one knows why This isn t a story being told around a cowboy campfire Give me some facts and let me decide, thank you very much.Then there s this description of QuanahHe was also strikingly handsome fully dark skinned Comanche but with a classical, straight northern European nose, high cheekbones, and piercing light gray eyes that were as luminous and transparent as his mother s He somehow looked completely Indian without looking Asiatic, and could have served as a model of how white people thought a noble savage ought to look Indian voices appear once in awhile, as if Gwynne suddenly remembered the part that comes after the colon in the book title Most of this book is told in a very, very strongly white voice.I ll leave you with this, perhaps the best quote from this book, and then I m going to quietly toss it in the Goodwill pile, after which I will dance the dance of joy that I never have to look at this again Rachel became entirely Comanche She shed her pioneer clothing for Indian buckskins, and, though she does not comment on it, would have been as filthy and bug ridden as any of the Comanches, who were notable even among Indians for their lack of hygiene.So there you go Enjoy Empire of the Summer Moon Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History by S.C Gwynne is full of great research and racism This book has only a tiny, tiny mention about Quanah This book is very misleading by the title and blurb It should be called, How the Horrible Redman was Subdued by Mighty Whiteman Only once did it mention how James Parker, the head man that thought it would be a great idea to build a home in the middle of In Empire of the Summer Moon Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History by S.C Gwynne is full of great research and racism This book has only a tiny, tiny mention about Quanah This book is very misleading by the title and blurb It should be called, How the Horrible Redman was Subdued by Mighty Whiteman Only once did it mention how James Parker, the head man that thought it would be a great idea to build a home in the middle of Indian territory while there were many events of attacks A home far from anyone else and further than anyone else had gone James was a man that had killed 4 5 Indians but he didn t call it murder because they were Indians He was a corrupt man in other ways, too many things to bring up here This is the only thing brought up against a white man and it was brief A true Whitewash book The book was good at the research but too bad the facts he presented was all one sided If it was a history book, why not show both sides If it was about Quanah, how about tell us about him That is why I got the book What a waste of my time It just made me mad I almost stopped several time but I wanted to finish so I could review it The one star review is for research, and it doesn t let us give a no star option Going in my worse book ever file The desert wind would salt their ruins and there would be nothing, no ghost or scribe, to tell any pilgrim in his passing how it was that people had lived in this place and in this place had died Cormac McCarthy The date was October 3rd, 1871 Six hundred soldiers and twenty Tonkawa scouts had bivouacked on a bend of the Clear Fork of the Brazos, about one hundred and fifty miles west of Fort Worth, Texas Though they did not know it at the time their presence marked the beginning of The desert wind would salt their ruins and there would be nothing, no ghost or scribe, to tell any pilgrim in his passing how it was that people had lived in this place and in this place had died Cormac McCarthy The date was October 3rd, 1871 Six hundred soldiers and twenty Tonkawa scouts had bivouacked on a bend of the Clear Fork of the Brazos, about one hundred and fifty miles west of Fort Worth, Texas Though they did not know it at the time their presence marked the beginning of the end of the Indian wars in America.The chosen agent of this destruction was a West Point Graduate and civil war hero named Ranald Slidell Mackenzie Mackenzie was a difficult, moody, implacable young man The Indians called him No Finger Chief or Bad Hand because his hand was gruesomely disfigured from war wounds.The nation was booming In 1869 The Transcontinental Railroad was completed, linking the industrialized east with the developing west Only one obstacle remained, the war like Indian Tribes who inhabited the Great Plains.Mackenzies objective was clear He was there with his troops to kill Comanches Of those, the most remote, primitive and hostile were a band of Comanches know as the Quahadis LIke most Plains Indians the Quahadis were nomadic and led by a fierce and brilliant young Chief named Quanah Quanah was too young for anyone to know much about him except that he was reported to be ruthless and very clever But there was something else, he was a half breed, the son of a Comanche chief and a white woman In fact Quanah s mother had long been famous, because she had refused on repeated occasions to return to her people Her name was Cynthia Ann Parker, a daughter of one of early Texas s most prominent families Nearly 40 years earlier in 1836, she had been kidnapped at the age of nine by a Comanche war party It is this forty year period that Gwynne uses as the backdrop for his narrative And he does not pull any punches when describing the brutality of the Comanche war raids It was typical for all white men to be killed and scalped, some captured alive suffered a slower,tortuous death Captive women were gang raped, many tortured and killed but some, if they were young would be spared Babies were invariably killed in horrific ways, while preadolescents were often adopted by the Comanche or traded to other tribes Comanche territory during this period essentially covered the Southern Great Plains, including large chunks of New Mexico and Colorado as well as Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas The migrating white man or Anglo Americans had a difficult time getting their heads around this, accustomed as they were to tribes in the East who travelled by foot The Comanche on the other hand were not only mounted but were the undisputed masters of horsemanship Their wild mustangs were fast and they had many, allowing fresh mounts as required, all of which meant that their striking range was huge They were not only able to travel large distances at an alarming speed but they were also highly skilled at waging war while mounted Their quiver typically held twenty arrows as opposed to the weapons of the white man who in the early days had to dismount, load, aim and then fire Eventime was required to reload They simply did not stand a chance against the Comanche who were equally adept at stealing their horses once they had dismounted.Meanwhile, in an effort to stop the raiding and killing, government authorities were making treaties with the Plains Indians Treaties as it turned out that neither the Indians or the Government had any real intention of honouring It astounds me that later, when many of the Plains Tribes surrendered and agreed to relocate to the white man s reservations, they were held accountable and punished for breaking those same treaties that the white man so frequently broke themselves The Texan solution to the Comanche s superior ability to fight was to recruit young, single men with a taste for open spaces, danger and raw adventure, whose only purpose would be to hunt and kill Plains Indians, most notably the Comanche They soon became known as Texas Rangers Sadly though, these young recruits were not supplied with much of anything else, no uniforms, provisions, weapons, training or barracks They organized themselves and were largely answerable to themselves The only thing the government reliably provided was ammunition As a result many young lives were lost The ones that survived were a rough bunch, that drank hard and liked fighting and killing It was remarkable then that this group of unmanaged, ruthless ruffians gave its full and unswerving allegiance to a quiet, slender, twenty three year old by the name of John Coffee Hays He was the uber ranger, the one everyone wanted to be like and in time, the one the Comanche feared Hays soon realized that the only way to fight the Comanche was to fight like them, mounted and able to fire their weapons while riding Still the war raged on and in time an evendevastating plague came to the Great Southern Plains in the form of the white buffalo hunters The buffalo were the Comanche s primary food source, while their hides were treated and used to provide shields, blankets and clothing The Comanche hunted buffalo for sustenance, killing only as many as they could use The white buffalo hunters killed for profit, taking the hides and leaving the rest of the carcass to rot It was not uncommon for each hunter to kill hundreds daily It did not take long for the once prolific herds to vanish from the plains, thereby unalterably compromising the Comanche way of life.Woven throughout this narrative is the story of Quanah Parker, half Comanche, half Texan, and Chief of the Quahadis The Quahadis were the one tribe that never signed a treaty with the white man and their Chief, Quanah was never defeated in battle He eventually led his people to the reservation and remains a legend as the last great Chief of the Comanche nation I leave you and this way too long review with this actual historic description of the young war chief in battle.A large and powerfully built chief led the bunch, on a coal black racing pony Leaning forward upon his mane, his heels nervously working in the animal s side, with six shooter poised in the air, he seemed the incarnation of savage, brutal joy His face was smeared with black war paint, which gave his features a satanic look A full length headdress or war bonnet of eagle s feathers, spreading out as he rode, and descending from his forehead, over head and back, to his pony s tail, almost swept the ground Large brass hoops were in his ears he was naked to the waist, wearing simply leggings, moccasins and a breechclout A necklace of bear s claws hung about his neck..Bells jingled as he rode at headlong speed, followed by the leading warriors, all eager to out strip him in the race It was Quanah, principal war chief of the Qua ha das Captain Robert G Carter Highly Recommended Empire of the Summer Moon Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History by S.C Gwynne, first published in 2010, tells the entertaining and informative, somewhat scholarly account of the Comanche tribe Gwynne uses the histories of Cynthia Parker the historic inspiration for Natalie Wood s character in John Wayne s The Searchers and the Mary McDonnell character Stands With a Fist in Kevin Costner s film Dances With Wolves and her son Empire of the Summer Moon Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History by S.C Gwynne, first published in 2010, tells the entertaining and informative, somewhat scholarly account of the Comanche tribe Gwynne uses the histories of Cynthia Parker the historic inspiration for Natalie Wood s character in John Wayne s The Searchers and the Mary McDonnell character Stands With a Fist in Kevin Costner s film Dances With Wolves and her son Quanah as a vehicle to further explore the larger, pre historic anthropology of this bellicose tribe Horses and horsemanship are the central components of the Comanche story, some historians and even concurrent observers equated themwith other horse cultures such as the Mongols, Tartars or Magyars than with other Native American tribes Other ethnographers and anthropologists have compared the warlike Comanche with the culture of ancient Sparta or of the ancient Celts and Vikings Though probably mostly historically accurate and fairly objective, and certainly sympathetic to the history of the Comanche people in the 1800s, this book is written from the Anglo American perspective and rarely wholeheartedly embraces the culture of the Comanche Brutally and graphically violent probably necessary considering the context this reminded me of Larry McMurtry s The Berrybender Narratives and even Cormac McCarthy s Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West not for the squeamish I bought this at the airport, it looked like a good read A chapter or two in the language and stereotypes became really disturbing His version of human history, summed up in two pages is just bizarre.The language, and long discredited concepts that Gwynne prattles along with are apalling Higher civilizations , of which the Plains Indians were three to four millennia behind And oh yes, the Native Americans were premoral, pre Christian, low barbarian versions of Europeans And of course t I bought this at the airport, it looked like a good read A chapter or two in the language and stereotypes became really disturbing His version of human history, summed up in two pages is just bizarre.The language, and long discredited concepts that Gwynne prattles along with are apalling Higher civilizations , of which the Plains Indians were three to four millennia behind And oh yes, the Native Americans were premoral, pre Christian, low barbarian versions of Europeans And of course they were, savage, filthy, wore their hair long according to the insightful Gwynne As for Native religion, there was no tendency to view the world as anything but a set of isolated episodes, with no deeper meaning Wow Once again thanks for your insight Mr Gwynne His sources for the nature of the Comanches, and of Native Americans in general consist almost entirely of the accounts and opinions of 18th and 19th century European s, of whom most were directly involved in the seizing of Native lands and the extermination of Native peoples This book would have surely been a best seller in 1910, when the stereotypes and ignorance that Mr Gwynne puts forth were yet to be discredited, but for it to have been published in 2010, and to have received many positive reviews and very little critisism is both disturbing and astounding Sam Gwynne s History of the Spanish, the Texans, the Americans and the Comancheria Sam C Gwynne attended Princeton and Johns Hopkins Universities He s spent most of his life as a journalist He spent almost twenty years as a correspondent, bureau chief, and Chief Editor for twenty years Gwynne s work has appeared in the New York Times, Harpers, California, Texas Monthly, among other publications Gwynne was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction for Empire of the Summer Sam Gwynne s History of the Spanish, the Texans, the Americans and the Comancheria Sam C Gwynne attended Princeton and Johns Hopkins Universities He s spent most of his life as a journalist He spent almost twenty years as a correspondent, bureau chief, and Chief Editor for twenty years Gwynne s work has appeared in the New York Times, Harpers, California, Texas Monthly, among other publications Gwynne was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction for Empire of the Summer Moon Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History Gwynne lives in Austin Texas with his wife and daughter His most recent book is Rebel Yell The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson First Ed., Scribner, New York, New York, 2010 Popular American histories focus their attention on the Native Americans of the High Plains George Armstrong Custer remains an icon of glorious defeat S.C Gwynne does a great service in providing us with Empire of the Summer Moon Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History Although Gwynne s bibliography shows a great amount of previous literature regarding the Comanche, his work will acquaint those of us unfamiliar with Indians of the Southern Plains with the Comanche Indian Nation To actually call the Comanche an Indian Nation is a misnomer They were a band of loosely associated nomadic bands that ranged from Colorado to Eastern New Mexico, Oklahoma, and down through the Panhandle of Texas all the way to the outskirts of present day Austin and San Antonio The land they occupied was named Comancheria by the Spanish The Comanche had no central political or social organization War chiefs were chosen strictly on the basis of an individual s ability to recruit followers and successfully raid their opponents for horses and captives The land known as Comancheria The Spanish, Mexicans, and Texans were all taken by surprise by the ferocity of Comanche attacks The Comanche were the first Native American opponents of all the aforementioned to fight from horseback The Comanche consistently out maneuvered not only the Indian tribes they had previously dominated but also European and American colonists.Gwynne offers captivating portraits of individuals frequently left out of histories of the American West While early history of the Comanche remains much of a mystery, Gwynne brings the Comanche into sharp focus from 1830s Texas until their ultimate surrender in the late 19th Century.Students of Texas history will discover unsettling policies of government leaders during the time of the Republic of Texas that was nothing short of an extermination of the Native Americans Although the Comanche was their true opponent, early Texans showed a lack of discernment in implementing the Republic s policies, attacking tribes who were peaceful or had already chosen to follow the white man s road My wife, a native Texan, was completely unaware of much of the Republic s actions against the Indians, as these incidents were completely left out of her school texts from elementary school through college.Do not consider Gwynne s work or this review to be a replication of the sorrow recounted in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee An Indian History of the American West The Comanche were brutal in their attacks on any opponent The Comanche subjected those they defeated in battle to torture and mutilation Captured infants were routinely murdered, being of no immediate use to the band Women were routinely repeatedly sexually assaulted and mutilated Those women who were not murdered were enslaved to increase the female workforce in the band They were also passed to their captor s relatives and friends as sexual objects Many did not survive their captivity Those who were either rescued or purchased back from the Comanche ultimately were outcasts in white society.On occasion, white captives were adopted by the band who took them away from their homes and families Such is the case of the best known captive of the Comanche, Cynthia Ann Parker Cynthia Ann was captured when she was nine She was adopted by the band who captured her She married a Comanche known as Peter Nocona and gave birth to three children, one who would grow to become the principal war chief of the Comanche, Quanah Parker Cynthia Ann Parker was kidnapped at age nine by a Comanche war band in 1836 Her family was killed She was adopted by the tribe, ultimately marrying Comanche brave Peter Nocona She gave birth to three children, including Quanah Parker, the last free Comanche Chief until his surrender Cynthia died of influenza in 1871, after several unsuccessful attempts to return to her Indian family Peta Nocona, Chief of the Quahadi Comanche Band, married Cynthia Ann Parker, fathering three children by her, including Quanah Parker The date of his death is disputed According to some he was killed in an attack by Texas Rangers at the battle of Pease River in 1864 According to son Quanah, Rangers did not kill his father, but he died of wounds several days later that he had received in fighting with Apaches, not the Rangers Quanah Parker was born in 1845 He was never named principal war chief by the Comanches although he did fight as a warrior at the battle of Adobe Walls along with Apaches He surrendered in 1875 and was named Chief of the Apaches by the United States Government He died in 1911 The Parker family story was the inspiration for Allen Lemay s western masterpiece The Searchers, subsequently filmed by John Ford in 1956, starring John Wayne and Natalie Wood Although both book and movie were highly acclaimed, the story told there comes nowhere close to the dramatic truth of the history of the Parker family It s an iconic American film, but the truth overwhelms one of Hollywood s best Gwynne s work is a complex story of a lesser known era in American history It is a story worth knowing Gwynne tells it well I would encourage anyone interested in expansion of the American frontier to read it One not fully familiar with Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico geography would be well served to have maps readily available to appreciate the range of the Comanche travels and the speed in which they achieved it.Highly recommended This is a solid Five Star read Other reviewers claim that this is an unbiased historical account is laughable This is yet another telling of a war written by those who won it Gwynne states that he constructed the book using a large number of firsthand accounts from the era The firsthand accounts written are naturally all of settlers and the military, and all of them appalled and offended that anyone could dare attack them and deny the greatness of Manifest Destiny The books and articles referenced in the end are, as fa Other reviewers claim that this is an unbiased historical account is laughable This is yet another telling of a war written by those who won it Gwynne states that he constructed the book using a large number of firsthand accounts from the era The firsthand accounts written are naturally all of settlers and the military, and all of them appalled and offended that anyone could dare attack them and deny the greatness of Manifest Destiny The books and articles referenced in the end are, as far as I can tell, predominantly written by non Natives There isn t even a reference section for interviews, and no respectable book written about Native culture or a tribe should at no point reference interviewing tribal members about their own history The author repeatedly makes frustrating unreferenced assumptions that he passes on as fact These assumptions certainly make the book aentertaining read, but that doesn t make it true The descriptors that Gwynne uses are far from historically accurate He describes Comanche culture as stone aged, barbaric, totally disorganized and lacking in any sort of theism Basically devoid of any substance or intelligence I might beinclined to believe him if he actually referenced some Comanche sources in this regard Additionally, those are loaded terms with heavy implications He refers to Quanah s peyote cult A cult It is not that I feel that this book needs to be some huge exploration of Comanche culture But given that it is supposed to be about Comanche history, it should offer farinsight about the actual people rather than looking at them almost exclusively through a settler s lens For example, within just a few pages, Quanah transforms from being a bloodthirsty war chief to a master negotiator who agrees to move his people to the reservation Yet there is no exploration or real insight about that significant change As I started the book, I was intrigued by the deep and personal accounts of the settlers, an interesting story worth telling and hearing But the missing voice of the Comanche people in a book purportedly written about them became too deafening a silence, and I eventually was frustrated enough to write this review A great combination of history and biography in the play of Manifest Destiny in the American conquest of the Great Plains The emotional challenge of this read for me is how to accommodate an admiration of a tribe of neverthan 10 20 thousand succeeding in halting their colonizers for two hundred years first the Spanish and later the Mexican, Texan, and American nations while not judging them over the inhumanity of their methods They were nomadic but defended their buffalo lands against A great combination of history and biography in the play of Manifest Destiny in the American conquest of the Great Plains The emotional challenge of this read for me is how to accommodate an admiration of a tribe of neverthan 10 20 thousand succeeding in halting their colonizers for two hundred years first the Spanish and later the Mexican, Texan, and American nations while not judging them over the inhumanity of their methods They were nomadic but defended their buffalo lands against all comers Every battle called for death to all warriors, torture and mutilation of all adult male captives, and dispatch of any infants with quick a death Women were raped and beaten, and their children were either adopted, enslaved, or held for ransom This all in approach to enemies was nothing personal against white invaders, but a tradition applied equally to their generational foes the Apache, Tonkawa, Navaho, and Ute tribes This is what happened to the Parker clan in 1836 at their foolish settlement at a site about 90 miles south of Dallas Though they built a walled fort, when the Comanches attacked most of their 16 adult men were in the fields and the gate was left open Three men and two women were brutally killed and three children and one woman was carried off, including one Cynthia Ann Parker, age 9, who was adopted and assimilated into the tribe Details of the raid and treatment of the captives were provided by the memoirs of the woman Rachel Parker Plummer, who was 17 when captured with her infant and subsequently recovered the subject of the iconic move The Searchers Later, as a grown woman, Cynthia became famous when recaptured with her baby daughter in a brutal cavalry raid while skinning buffalo and loading meat as the wife of a chief Her defiant resistance to return to white cultural ways captured the imagination of the American public She refused to speak English and perpetually tried to run away to her people, eventually dying of pneumonia A different kind of fame arose when it came out that her mixed race son, who at age 12 escaped during the raid and grew up to become the brilliant warrior and leader of the reclusive Quahadi band of the Comanche, Quanah Parker.The Comanches were unbeatable due to their complete adaptation to the horse for warfare and hunting and effectively making a whole economy out of breeding, stealing, and trading in horses, The fleet Iberian horses brought in large numbers to the continent by the Spaniards in the early 17th century with a lineage from the steppes of Central Asia were well suited for the arid grasslands of the West and Great Plains The horse allowed the Plains Indians to follow the buffalo herds and chase them down for the kill using lances While most tribes took to use of this imported gift, including adoption of the technology of bridles, bits, and saddles, the Comanche became special geniuses at fighting on horseback According to GwynneThey resembled less the Algonquins or the Choctaws than the great and legendary mounted archers of history Mongols, Parthians, and Magyars.Feats of Horsemanship , by George CaitlinUntil the appearance of the Colt 45 repeater pistols, soldiers or the voluntary force of Texas Rangers going up against the Comanche with single shot rifles or muskets all had to fight on foot The Comanches, pure poetry in motion, could fire up to a dozen arrows at full gallop in the time it took for their enemies to reload They were especially adept at hiding along the side of the horse using a strap and firing arrows under their steed s neck Thus, their artistry of first stealing or running off the horses of their opponents was the first step to doom for any but the largest and most intrepid forces throughout the 18th century and half of the 19th But by around 1858 when the Texas Rangers took up Colt weapons and punitive expeditions of the Army in the 1860s brought small howitzers with exploding shells into battle the equation of advantage to the Indians reversed Sometime around 1700, the Comanches, who called themselves Nermernuh The People , moved from present day Wyoming out onto the southern plains After driving out the Apaches and other tribes, their domain, called the Comancheria by Santa Fe traders, comprised about 240,000 square miles, comprising most of western portions of present day Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas and parts of eastern New Mexico and Colorado Their heartland was the Llano Estacado in the Texas Panhandle, which is a high plain of oceanic grassland broken by rocky outcrops at an elevation of up to 5,000 feet For a long time after Coronado s passage through there it was as unknown a region to Americans as unexplored regions of Africa Comanche lands known as the Comancheria The Comanche attack on the Parker fort could be seen as the opening salvo of a 40 year war between the tribe and the American nation The year of the Parker attack, 1836, coincided with Mexican General Santa Anna s total victory at the Alamo and his later execution of about 350 captured Texans at Goliad That success had the side effect of making many martyrs and strengthen the resolve of the onery Texans General Sam Houston s victory and subsequent treaty marked the birth of the Republic of Texas Nationhood was supposed to be a temporary phase before joining the United States, but U.S leaders were worried that pushing statehood might provoke a war with Mexico and the issue of adding another slave state into the Union was a political hot potato Left on their own to deal with the Comanches, the Republic chose to develop a volunteer cadre of Texas Rangers with the mission to exterminate the Comanche by any means possible They are the heroes of many fictional tales of the West e.g McMurtry s Lonesome Dove saga and Phillipe s The Son , but in fact their typical illiteracy meant that most of their skirmishes with the Comanche went unrecorded Also, they usually numbered about 100 or less at any particular time.The Civil War led to a substantial depopulation of the Army forts throughout the West, allowing the raiding of the Comanches to escalate with impunity About a third of the tribe by then had been moved to a joint reservation in Indian Territory with their friends the Kiowa and, ironically, their enemies the Apache The Comanche used the reservation as a home base to stage raids on other reservation tribes and white settlements in Texas By 1864, their raids on the new Navaho reservation in New Mexico Territory and U.S supply caravans for them led the military commander for the region, General Charleton, to send Colonel Kit Carson on a first major punitive raid into the Comancheria In the Battle of Adobe Walls, he boldly led 330 soldiers and 72 Apache and Ute scouts into an attack on a Kiowa hunting camp near the top of the Texas Panhandle Over time an estimate of about 3,000 Comanches and Kiowa from neighboring camps were recruited into the battle, and only the shock and awe of two mountain howitzers saved his bacon and allowed him to escape the fate of Custer at the hands of the Cheyenne and Lakota Sioux in 1876 Though no victory, the precedent of this incursion can be seen as the beginning of an escalating campaign which in seven years would result in a final defeat of the Comanche nation General Ranald Mackenzie was a key player in this campaign, starting with his leading a force of 3,000 cavalry into the Llano Estacado region It failed because most of his horses were driven off, but survival with little loss still stood as a form of victory.Another contributor to Comanche defeat was the near extermination of their food source, the buffalo The completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869 was a not only a massive stimulus to settlers pursuing cattle ranching, but an open door to an industry of white buffslo hunters due to ready shipment of hides to eastern markets An estimated 31 million buffalo were slaughtered between the end of the 1860s and 1881 Thisthan anything else contributed to demoralization and willingness to submit to reservation life by Comanche holdouts.Once Quanah committed to his fate of defeat, he blossomed into a properly civilized leader for his tribe and successful partner with the white victors He wangled ways of beating the corrupt federal administration of the reservation at their own game, such as in lucrative income from grazing rights He build a mansion in the Wichita Mountains to house his large family of eventually nine wives and many children Though not a very spiritually inclined tribe, he became one of the founders of the Native American Church and the use of peyote in their sacrament and vision quests This book is well orchestrated and covers a lot of ground in its relatively short length It is not quite as eloquent and moving as my favorite history of the Indian wars, Hampton Sides Blood and Thunder , which focuses on Kit Carson and the Navahos This book included a nice collection of photos, although Quanah was so reclusive there are none of him until his reservation days The mystery is finally revealed for me on the remarkable success of his essentially Stone Age tribe in holding out so long in the face of the unstoppable force of American settlement and control of the West A personal connection to the book for me comes from my growing up in Oklahoma and living for a period in my youth in the Hill Country of Texas It was great to get a human and respectful angle on a tribe so dreaded and subject to tales that make them out to be evil savages e.g the infamous Blue Duck character in McMurtry s saga Comanche faces Wiki Quanah is in the center I quit reading this book after the fourth chapter As it is one of the most racist books I have ever read, I am baffled by the glowing reviews it receives For your consideration Thus the fateful clash between settlers from the culture of Aristotle, St Paul, Da Vinci, Luther, and Newton and aboriginal horsemen from the buffalo plains happened as though in a time warp as though the former were looking backward thousands of years at premoral, pre Christian, low barbarian versions of themselves I quit reading this book after the fourth chapter As it is one of the most racist books I have ever read, I am baffled by the glowing reviews it receives For your consideration Thus the fateful clash between settlers from the culture of Aristotle, St Paul, Da Vinci, Luther, and Newton and aboriginal horsemen from the buffalo plains happened as though in a time warp as though the former were looking backward thousands of years at premoral, pre Christian, low barbarian versions of themselves Oh really Then there s this gem Making people scream in pain was interesting and rewarding for the Comanche , just as it is interesting and rewarding for young boys in modern day America to torture frogs or pull the legs off grasshoppers Boys presumably grow out of that for Indians, it was an important part of their adult culture and one they accepted without challenge Wow Just, wow You d think we d be a littleforward thinking nowadays than Andrew Jackson was in 1833 My original convictions upon this subject have been confirmed by the course of events for several years, and experience is every day adding to their strength That those tribes can not exist surrounded by our settlements and in continual contact with our citizens is certain They have neither the intelligence, the industry, the moral habits, nor the desire of improvement which are essential to any favorable change in their condition Established in the midst of another and a superior race, and without appreciating the causes of their inferiority or seeking to control them, they must necessarily yield to the force of circumstances and ere long disappear Then there s Gwynne s boldfaced claims that are, as far as I can tell, backed up with little to no research My favorite is his claim that the great Pueblo revolt in 1680 was very likely the result of the Pueblo Indians being upset that the Spanish were not doing a good enough job of protecting them from the Apaches Absolutely no citation to any authority I don t claim to be an expert in this area of history myself, but that sure was not the impression I got when I was at the Taos Pueblo earlier this year It sounded to me like it wasthe brutal oppression at the hands of the Spanish, but whatever.The worst part is that I had a sinking feeling that the author was going to decide that Quanah Parker was alright at least partially because he was half white Maybe the author would have proved me wrong, but I just couldn t stomach all his talk about the uncivilized, stone age, savage Comanche who were, according to the author, dirty even by Indian standards Zero stars `Free Kindle ✙ Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History ✐ In the tradition of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, a stunningly vivid historical account of the forty year battle between Comanche Indians and white settlers for control of the American West, centering on Quanah, the greatest Comanche chief of them allS C Gwynne s 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 familiar with the tribal names Apache and Sioux, it was in fact the legendary fighting ability of the Comanches that determined just how and 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 So effective were the Comanches that they forced the creation of the Texas Rangers and account for the advent of the new weapon specifically designed to fight them the six gun 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 a historical feast for anyone interested in how the United States came into being Against this backdrop Gwynne presents the compelling drama of Cynthia Ann Parker, a lovely nine year old girl with cornflower blue eyes who was kidnapped by Comanches from the far Texas frontier inShe grew to love her captors and became infamous as the White Squaw who refused to return until her tragic capture by Texas Rangers inMore famous still was her son Quanah, a warrior who was never defeated and whose guerrilla wars in the Texas Panhandle made him a legend S C Gwynne s account of these events is meticulously researched, intellectually provocative, and, above all, thrillingly told