Empire of the Summer Moon
All my professional life as a teacher, I’ve heard students proclaim their utter indifference to history. That pervasive attitude represents a lamentable failure on the part of our educational enterprise, especially since, properly written or enthusiastically taught, there are few things more naturally engaging than learning about the people and events that happened before we got here. Quanah Parker preceded us on this planet by about a century and a half, the son of a white captive and a Comanche chief. In unraveling this rich strand of American history, S.C. Gwynne does what any good storyteller does: He reanimates life on the printed page, returning his readers to people and events barely imaginable without the vivid detail he has unearthed in his research and brought to life with his skillful prose. There’s lots of blood and gore to be found in this tale, and real-life adventure as Texas Rangers battle Comanches. But beyond the cowboy-and-Indian shoot-’em-up aspects of this story, there’s a compelling human narrative that reads like a really good novel. Except that it’s all true.