Book: Empire of the Summer Moon

Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History by S. C. Gwynne.

Great book, if even just for the level of research that went into this book. Worthy of being a Pulitzer Prize finalist that it is. This book, I guess, can be differently titled as “The Killing Plains: Gore and mayhem in the old American West. Here are 3 excerpts:

The woman was filthy, covered with dirt and grease from handling so much bloody buffalo meat. But to Ross’s astonishment he noticed that she had blue eyes. And he saw that under the grime her short-cropped hair was lighter in color than Indian black. She was white. Not quite believing what they had found, they took her back to what was left of her village, which the soldiers were busily looting. They were also scalping the dead Indians, men and women alike. By now scalping was the common practice on both sides. Since two men claimed the scalp of Peta Nocona, they decided to split it into two parts.

The tribe cut a bloody swath of violence across the coastal lowlands, looting, killing, and burning on their way to Matagorda Bay, and sweeping the entire country of horse stock as they went. They took captives, too, including a Mrs. Nancy Crosby, the granddaughter of Daniel Boone, and her baby. Since she could not quiet the child, they killed it, spearing it in front of her.


The whites, strengthened by the arrival of more than seventy hunters who were now afraid to be alone on the plains, eventually decided it was safe to go about their business. After burying their four dead comrades (one died accidentally) and the scalped Newfoundland dog that had died with the drovers, the whites beheaded the dead Indians and stuck their heads on stakes outside the walls. They placed the thirteen headless bodies on buffalo hides and dragged them away along with the dead horses (the Indians had killed them all), which had begun to reek.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s