Empire of the Summer Moon

Empire of the Summer Moon Summary

*Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize andthe National Book Critics Circle Award*
*A New York TimesNotable Book*
*Winner of the Texas Book Award and theOklahoma 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 Moonspans 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 backwardby 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 Moonannounces him as a major new writer of American history.

Book Reviews


Racist theme throughout1 star

The author could not get out of his Euro-centric way - forcing a hierarchy of primitive to advance, of civilized to not, even his charactarization of cleaner Indians to the east and filthy ones in the west. An amazing story that should be told - but not by S.C. Gwynne.15

DR dedman

History in color5 star

Absolutely fantastic book. I loved every single page. Highlighting half the book, to follow up and reread. The research is so extensive it’s hard to imagine. The ride it takes you on, hold on. For my mind is forever changed on what I was schooled in. An Author that can not get enough praise. Thank you for telling this story in color. I felt the anguish of both sides. This is the standard of which I hold reading history to be. This taste you’ve given me. Sincerely Thank You Darrin55

P Bud

Challenges the Narrative5 star

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.55


Authors tend to write history -mgy5 star

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 feather55


Empire of the Southern Moon5 star

Fascinating historical account of the Comanche tribe.55

F/W jj

Best read of my life5 star

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.55


Rich History5 star

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.55


Stunning5 star

Great read. Leaves you loving and hating everyone involved. Sheds light on parts of Native American history I never knew existed.55


Excellent!5 star

This book reminds me of Texas history class growing up in Levelland in the 50’s and 60’s.55

boots saddle

Comanche Moon5 star

Excellent history of the old west, but a little ponderous.55

Other Books by S. C. Gwynne

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