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Comanches: The History of a People Paperback – April 8, 2003
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“For a complete history of the Comanches, this book probably has no equal.” –Dee Brown, author of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee
“This is a very good book. Like virtually all good books about the American Indian, it tells a tragic story, but unlike many of them, it tells it well. The author has mastered an extensive and complex subject: he is flexible, well-organized, and sensitive.” –Larry McMurtry
“Fehrenbach is a highly interpretive and original writer, whose work rests on solid scholarship. His book ranges grandly across the disciplines from folklore to anthropology to history.” –Southwestern Historical Quarterly
From the Inside Flap
Authoritative and immediate, this is the classic account of the most powerful of the American Indian tribes. T.R. Fehrenbach traces the Comanches' rise to power, from their prehistoric origins to their domination of the high plains for more than a century until their demise in the face of Anglo-American expansion.
Master horseback riders who lived in teepees and hunted bison, the Comanches were stunning orators, disciplined warriors, and the finest makers of arrows. They lived by a strict legal code and worshipped within a cosmology of magic. As he portrays the Comanche lifestyle, Fehrenbach re-creates their doomed battle against European encroachment. While they destroyed the Spanish dream of colonizing North America and blocked the French advance into the Southwest, the Comanches ultimately fell before the Texas Rangers and the U.S. Army in the great raids and battles of the mid-nineteenth century. This is a classic American story, vividly and poignantly told.
Top customer reviews
The author has presented a fascinating and surprisingly objective portrait of the Comanche culture as it evolved through the last four centuries of its' rapidly changing History.
This is one of the very best such histories of Native Americans of the 9 or 10 I've read. I happened to read “The Kiowas, and the Legend of Kicking Bird” by Stan Hoig right after finishing “Comanches”. Reading the two together really shed a lot of light and coherence upon U. S. History of the 1800s – WEST of the Mississippi. That's great since most history writings focus on the early presidents and the Civil War. Guess what ! Native Americans weren't invented in 1866. Really!
Because the Comanche history is so intertwined with the history of Texas and the Southwest, much of the book deals with first the Spanish settlement of the region and then the Anglo-Texan settlement. These portions of the book are very interesting in their own right. The author obviously conducted very thorough research in writing this book and presents a very well organized and enjoyable read.
Most importantly, Fehrenbach presents the story very objectively. It is obvious he has a great deal of respect for the Comanche, but he certainly does not hesitate to describe the atrocities they carried out against Spanish and Anglo-Texan settlers and how their own actions contributed to their demise. Nor does he hesitate to describe the unconscionable manner in which the Europeans and Americans treated the Comanches (and other Amerindians), and the failures of the federal government to properly provide for the Amerindians after they had been forced into the Oklahoma reservation territories.
Sadly, Mr. Fehrenbach died just last week and I am sorry that it was the announcement of his death that got me to purchase this and others of his books. I recall reading This Kind of War over 40 years ago and will be reading it again now.