Thursday, July 29, 2010

Book Reviews

Although I have never reviewed a book on this blog I find that I'm compelled to tell you about two books I read this week.  Each one is entirely different from the other but both fascinated me in an all consuming way.

The first book that I started at the beginning of the week, Empire of the Summer Moon by S. C. Gwynne is the historically accurate account, data the author has taken from many books, personal diaries and articles, is the story of the Plains Indians, the nomadic warriors of which there were several bands after their migration from the Northern Plains to the buffalo hunting grounds in the Southwest.  After a raid which killed many people at Parker Fort, Cynthia Ann Parker was taken as a nine year old.  Little is known of her life until twenty five years later when she is recaptured by the whites and taken back to live with her family, the Parkers of Parker County, Texas.  She grieved for the rest of her life for her two sons who disappeared in a raid by the Texas Rangers on one of their encampments in the Panhandle of Texas.  Her daughter, Prairie Flower died while she was with her family in Texas.  Cynthia Ann, who saw her husband Peta Nocona killed at the hands of the white man eventually starves herself in her grief for her Indian family.  During the many battles between the Texas Rangers and the various Indian tribes who eventually band together and ride against the encroaching whites, the Civil War begins and ends.  Quanah Parker the eldest son of Cynthia Ann and Peta Nocona becomes the most powerful Indian chief at the time they all surrender to live on a reservation which is now Oklahoma.  We learn  cruelty from both sides, atrocities commited by both the Indians and the whites.  Author S. C. Gwynne gives a most thorough review of those years and of the different Texas Rangers who became excellent Indian fighters.  Living in Texas I can associate the places where battles were fought, possibly very near where I live.  One of the last pictures of Cynthia Ann (and pictured in the book) was taken in Fort Worth, Texas.
The second book, A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron, is an extraordinary story of one dog who is reincarnated four times, each time taking along things he has learned about himself and the humans he encounters and loves until he fulfills the true meaning of his life.  Told from the viewpoint of the dog, the story is funny and also heartbreaking, much as life is.  Any dog lover will love this book.  I read it in one day because I just couldn't put it down.  It is not a history like Empire of the Summer Moon but I was equally entranced and totally moved by it.  Can you tell I am a dog lover?


Sherri Woodard Coffey said...

I have Empire of the Summer Moon on my to-read list. Glad to hear you enjoyed it.

nan16 said...

I was really fascinated by it. Everyone at the book store told me it was one of the best books that had come out lately.