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Book review: Empire of the summer moon

Posted by Pascal Landshoeft

Jul 1, 2014 11:30:00 AM

Book review: Empire of the summer moon

Colts, Cowboys & Quannah Parker: The last chief of the Comanches


If you like Texas, colts, cowboys, politics, American history and stories about undermined minorities or just one of the mentioned this book will be a delight for you. If you do not like war stories, blood and gore, stories about rape, death and Indians do not waste your time on this formidable book and opt for fantasy.

I was introduced to the paperback edition by my girlfriend and at first was rather reluctant about reading it. The cover shows Quanah Parker in his Comanche tribes gown which reminds a German a bit too much of the hilarious depictions in Karl Mays Old Shatter hand movies. But a tale of never judge a book by its cover materialized itself while I was progressing through the 319 pages. S.C. Gwynne composes a story around the Comanche, Texas Rangers and the army by telling the story of Cynthia Ann Parker and Quanah Parker as historically correct as possible. The inaccuracies derive from general lack of sources about the early encounters between the Comanche and the American settlers.

The book focuses on the years between 1836 to 1875 in the area of Texas. It introduces the reader to a great many of well known characters who dominated and formed this rough part of American history. Cynthia Ann Parker who gets kidnapped by the Comanche tribe becomes part of it. She marries an Indian chief and her son Quanah Parker is destined to become the last chief of the Indians. Their story will educate the reader on how and why the Colt was invented, what Bob Marley actually means when he sings of buffalo soldiers and which crucial role the Comanche played in keeping a vast amount of territory unclaimed by settlers until the mid of the 19th century.

A European might get a better idea of why the American mid states have a certain opinion about guns while reading between the lines of the exploration of the American west. For Americans it might open up the opportunity to explore more than just the civil war or Apache pizza deliveries.

The book is overindulging the violence of the wars between the Indians and the settlers for my own personal taste. Violence is a vital part of Comanche culture but it does not have to be dragged along over almost half of the book. Apart from this the book was a great read which I managed to cover in a week .Always a good sign. If you can find a edition with printed maps which provide more details about the movement of the Comanche and the several skirmishes you would have the perfect kind of historical accurate bed time educational entertainment.


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