Empire of the Summer Moon (and a linkup)

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

I love learning about the past – it’s why I wanted one of the book club’s picks for the year to be a history book. However, it’s challenging to find a general-interest history book that isn’t too long and seems mostly doable in a month.

I’m not entirely sure I succeeded with this pick, although I enjoyed the book, in a way. It’s hard to use the word “enjoyed” with a book that has so many gruesome moments as this one does. But the way Gwynne brings the time period to life was excellent, and I learned a lot – that typically makes a book a winner for me.

I wouldn’t recommend it to non-history fans, or or anyone who is squeamish about what they read. It’s hard to get past some of the details. It also jumps around in time a bit, so anyone who wants a straight chronological retelling of events will likely be frustrated.

Overall, I’m glad I read it, and I wouldn’t have it if hadn’t been for the book club. Hopefully everyone else who read it feels the same way, and they don’t regret the reading time invested in it!

Looking ahead at next month, we’ll start our discussion of Big Little LiesBig Little Lies by Liane Moriarty on June 6th. There will be a linkup for posts relating to the book on June 29th.

If you’re debating about reading Big Little Lies, it’s a long one, but it’s *very* quick to read. I read almost all of it in one day, and could have finished it completely if I hadn’t been dividing my reading time between two different books that day. Just because it’s quick though, doesn’t mean it’s completely easy — it tackles some tough issues and should give a lot to discuss. I’m looking forward to it!

If you’ve written a post about Empire of the Summer Moon, you’re welcome to add it to the linkup below.

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3. The linkup will be open for two weeks.

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  1. I have just a chapter or two left–didn’t finish it soon enough to join in the discussion, but I’m glad I’m reading it!

    All this history is especially interesting because it’s right in my own area–I grew up in New Mexico, live in Oklahoma, and my dad is from the Austin area of Texas. I’ve been to Palo Duro canyon (I even have vague memories of stopping to read those Historic Marker signs at different scenic overlooks, probably about some of the battles in the book, though of course as a kid I mostly just thought it was very boring), spent a lot of time in Amarillo and Lubbock–smack in the middle of the Llano Estacado, and have been to San Antonio, Houston, Dallas/Ft. Worth–all the major cities mentioned. Plus, that drive from Tulsa to Albuquerque that I’ve done countless times cuts right across the Texas panhandle. So I feel like I have about as good a feel for the scenery and those vast distances as you can get in the modern era, and it really made the book come alive.

    I’ve also been reading a lot of nineteenth-century British fiction lately, and it’s so strange to compare what life was like in Britain vs. on the last frontier during the same exact time period. Utterly different worlds.

    The gruesomeness hasn’t bothered me, though the time period jumping got confusing–I appreciate him following the different story threads, but it was hard to figure out how exactly everything meshed. And for a book that’s ostensibly about Quanah, he doesn’t show up until the last third, which was strange.

    Overall, I agree. I am finding it fascinating and love the history in it, but it is not an easy book to read and probably wouldn’t make any converts of those who don’t normally read history or at least non-fiction.

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