The New York Times takes a look at Philbrick’s work, here, along with another book, this one about Quanah Parker of the Comanche.
The Times terms S.C. Gwynne’s book on Parker, “Empire of the Summer Moon,” transcendent:
Born the son of an Indian warrior and his white wife (who had been captured at the age of 9 during a raid on a Texas ranch), Parker grew up to become the last and greatest chief of the Comanche, the tribe that ruled the Great Plains for most of the 19th century. That’s his one-sentence biography. The deeper, richer story that unfolds in “Empire of the Summer Moon” is nothing short of a revelation. Gwynne, a former editor at Time and Texas Monthly, doesn’t merely retell the story of Parker’s life. He pulls his readers through an American frontier roiling with extreme violence, political intrigue, bravery, anguish, corruption, love, knives, rifles and arrows. Lots and lots of arrows. This book will leave dust and blood on your jeans.
Reviewer Bruce Barcott terms the Comanche a Native American superpower, and quotes Gwynne: “They held sway over some 20 different tribes who had been either conquered, driven off or reduced to vassal status,” Gwynne writes. “Such imperial dominance was no accident of geography. It was the product of over 150 years of deliberate, sustained combat against a series of enemies over a singular piece of land that contained the country’s largest buffalo herds.”
Parker’s own transformation mirrored that of his people:
Quanah Parker’s second act was, if anything, more remarkable than his first. Resigned to reservation life, he transformed himself from a death-dealing warrior to a prosperous cattleman and a hard-bargaining politician who earned the respect and friendship of Teddy Roosevelt.”
Barcott calls “Empire of the Summer Moon” “a forceful argument about the place of Native American tribes in geopolitical history.”
Sounds like a book worth reading.
Tags: Battle of the Little Bighorn, buffalo post, Comanche, Empire of the Summer Moon, Gwen Florio, Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer, Nathaniel Philbrick, Native American news, Quanah Parker, S.C. Gwynne, Sitting Bull, The Last Stand - Custer