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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Empire of the Summer Moon by S.C. Gwynne

Empire of the Summer Moon
by Gwynne S.C.

Paperback: 371 pages
Publisher: Scribner

Point: The final conquering of the Indian tribes of the West was a costly and bloody endeavor for both sides. This life and death struggle culminated in the subduing of the most powerful Indian tribe in American history - the Comanches.
This gruesome tale can be summarized in two words - Quanah Parker (c. 1848-1911). The fearless Comanches and the restless settlers. The roaming and the settlers. The native and the explorers. The savage and the systematic. Both were deadly. Both were desperate for land. Both killed. Both thought they were right. Both were found in Quanah Parker.

Path: Gwynne traces the brutal history of fighting from the kidnapping of Cynthia Ann Parker, mother of Quanah Parker through the various Indian fighters of Texas such as the Rangers, Jack Hays, and R. S. Mackenzie.

Sources: The author relies heavily on sources, leaving many footnotes. However, it does not read like a textbook, but rather a systematic version of Louis L'Amour.

Agreement: One can tend to romanticize this struggle between the free roaming Indians and the settlers. Either the Indians were happy and noble yet driven to war, or the settlers were fair and kind but brutally attacked. Gwynne takes a different route. Both were bloody, systematic killers who were desperate to keep their ideals.

Disagreement: Quite graphic.

Personal App: I was challenged to see both parties as they were. It gave me a greater desire to visit the battle fields, the reservations, and the museums.

Stars: 4 out of 5

It would be worth another read and I would recommend it.

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Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. (Philippians 3:8)