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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 8, 2012
Empire of the Summer Moon is an exceptionally vivid account of a tumultuous period in the history of the continent. Burns with the intensity of a lit fuse attached to the powder keg that was the western frontier.
The author's journalistic prowess in objectively detailing causes and events fogged by the thick lens of time enlightens the reader.
In times of war history is written by the victors who in battle are often fueled with hate and bent on revenge. Bringing to light the story of a strange culture vanquished from a vast and unforgiving wilderness untouched by modern ways is key to understanding the means by which a nation was forged and the duel nature which modern men still struggle with.
Despite the bloody examples of history, understanding the motivations and complex dynamics of foreign cultures still challenges today's leaders, a lesson waiting to be learned.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Although Quanah Parker doesn't really come into his own until the last 40 pages, Empire of the Summer Moon is a fascinating compendium of everybody's sins - from the bloodthirsty hunter-gatherers to the incompetent armed forces and xenophobic, hypocritical settlers in between.

From time to time, we in the 21st century need to be reminded that buffalo roamed the endless plains, in herds seventy miles long and five miles wide, That tribes of natives lived off them and commanded huge tracts of land - as any self respecting hunter-gatherer from bald eagle to mountain lion must to survive. That everyone was brutal, thoughtless and cruel comes with the territory. The totality of this makes the book continually compelling.

What I liked best was that over the course of 250 pages, I got used to the idea of the endless plains (a few thousand Comanches unfathomably controlling more than 120 million acres), the criminally brutal weather, and constant movement of people, to fight and to survive. And then in one brief sentence, not highlighted or separated, Gwynne takes it all away again:

"Within a few years, barbed wire would stretch the length and breadth of the plains" (p. 276)

It put everything in perspective, and made the decline and fall of the Comanche bands all that more inevitable, necessary, and tragic.

Extraordinarily well documented, well written and well laid out, this is a fine read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 24, 2013
As a family historian I was drawn to the story of Cynthia Parker and her life with the Comanches and of course the fate of her son, Quanah. While I found the brutality appalling the story is very compelling. Quanah seems to have inherited an equal amount of both sides of his heritage. It is a sad story that he lost his mother as a young teenager. His love and respect for her struck a chord with me. Their story will stay me for a long time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 9, 2013
If you are interested in a factual account of the native american during the late 1800's and early 1900's this book is for you.This book does not leave anything to your imagination, it tells what the Indians were like during that time and reasons for it, it is an "in your face" type of book.
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on June 13, 2015
Amazing read! Gwynne's book is insightful and reveals an aggressive culture that ironically used their god to legitimize their slaughter of indigenous people. The Comanche, like other indigenous people were systematically eliminated by the greed and wayward notion that the displaced Europeans were entitled to the land. A nation built by thieves who claimed they were civilized because they believed in god may awaken to the reality that their nation spirit will forever be haunted by their misguided, cruel entitled notions.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 2012
One of the best non-fiction books about Native American histroy I've ever read. A great combination of History and an interesting story of a captured child.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 21, 2010
A fine work. Vivid, balanced, elegantly written, rife with interesting detail. Highly recommended.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 28, 2010
....about who was bad (essentially all humans, skin deep underneath tend to be thieves and killers), graphic vocabulary and if presented gory details and facts are 100% accurate. While reading (and what a lecture it was!), I had a feeling that, in general, it is quite objective and acceptable, terrible, sad and tragic history; another example where "western culture" clashes with, and imposes its values on different culture. Books like this one, cannot be entirely incorrect. Absence of more detailed maps indicating particular battles and massacres, as well as small number of pictures showing the terrain and landscaping of Llano Estacado, Caprock Escarpment (just two examples) is frustrating, nevertheless, no matter what, Mr. Gwynne deserves applause for his great effort.
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on July 19, 2014
Excellent. Thank you
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on January 9, 2015
Nice book !
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