In the 18th and early 19th centuries, a Native American empire rose to dominate the fiercely contested lands of the American Southwest, the southern Great Plains, and northern Mexico. This powerful empire, built by the Comanche Indians, eclipsed its various European rivals in military prowess, political prestige, economic power, commercial reach, and cultural influence. Yet, until now, the Comanche empire has gone unrecognized in American history.
This compelling and original book uncovers the lost story of the Comanches. It is a story that challenges the idea of indigenous peoples as victims of European expansion and offers a new model for the history of colonial expansion, colonial frontiers, and Native-European relations in North America and elsewhere. Pekka Hämäläinen shows in vivid detail how the Comanches built their unique empire and resisted European colonization, and why they fell to defeat in 1875. With extensive knowledge and deep insight, the author brings into clear relief the Comanches' remarkable impact on the trajectory of history.
"A fascinatingly informative volume." (Booklist)
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- Ronald D.
I have over 100 titles in my Audible library and have thoroughly enjoyed almost every one. This is a startling exception to that rule. I prefer history, and I loved Empire of the Summer Moon. That book is filled with vivid details about the American West and Comanche life. This book has almost no detail about Comanche daily life. It's the author's daydreaming about political interplay between Comanche, French, Spanish, Mexican and Anglo-American societies. In his conclusion, the author states that his "task in this book is to recover Comanches as full-fledged humans." What? Although the fact of Comanche humanity is obvious, the author still fails miserably at his stated task. He claims that earlier works glorify Europeans while demonizing Native Americans. His solution: do the opposite. Predictable and pathetic. The Comanche potential for deceit, violence, racism, brutality, and greed, which he purposely varnishes, combined with that for intelligence, adaptation, compassion, charisma, which he glorifies, are what actually characterize them as "full-fledged humans."