The Comanche Empire Pekka Hamalainen

Series:
The Lamar Series in Western History
Format:
Paperback
Publication date:
26 Jun 2009
ISBN:
9780300151176
Imprint:
Yale University Press
Dimensions:
512 pages: 235 x 156mm
Illustrations:
12 b-w illus. + 8 maps
Sales territories:
World

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From the author of Lakota America, an award-winning history of the rise and decline of the vast and imposing Comanche empire

"Cutting-edge revisionist western history."—Larry McMurtry, The New York Review of Books


"A landmark study that will make readers see the history of southwestern America in an entirely new way."—David J. Weber, author of Bárbaros

In the eighteenth and early nineteenth 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.

Pekka Hämäläinen is the Rhodes Professor of American History and Fellow of St. Catherine’s College at Oxford University. He has served as the principal investigator of a five‑year project on nomadic empires in world history, funded by the European Research Council. Hämäläinen is the author of Lakota America: A New History of Indigenous Power, also published by Yale University Press. 

Hämäläinen succeeds in introducing a new perspective on Southwestern history, mastering Spanish and Mexican historic resources to tell of a horse- and bison-based Comanche empire, Comanchería. . . . Enthusiastically recommended for academic and public libraries."—Library Journal

Winner of the 2008 Kate Broocks Bates Award, presented by the Texas State Historical Association

Co-winner of the 2009 Merle Curti Award, presented by the Organization of American Historians

Received Honorable Mention for the 2008 PROSE Award in the U.S. History and Biography/Autobiography category, sponsored by the Association of American Publishers

Gold medal winner of the 2008 Book of the Year Award in the category of History, presented by ForeWord magazine

Winner of the Great Plains Distinguished Book Prize presented by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Center for Great Plains Studies

"The Comanche Empire is a landmark study that will make readers see the history of southwestern America in an entirely new way."—David J. Weber, author of Bárbaros: Spaniards and Their Savages in the Age of Enlightenment


"This exhilarating book is not just a pleasure to read; important and challenging ideas circulate through it and compel attention. It is a nuanced account of the complex social, cultural, and biological interactions that the acquisition of the horse unleashed in North America, and a brilliant analysis of a Comanche social formation that dominated the Southern Plains. Parts of the book will be controversial, but the book as a whole is a tour de force."—Richard White, author of The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650-1815




"The Comanche Empire is an impressive achievement. That a major Native power emerged and dominated the interior of the continent compels a re-thinking of well worn narratives about colonial America and westward expansion, about the relative power of European and Native societies, and about the directions of change. The book makes a major contribution to Native American history and challenges our understanding of the ways in which American history unfolded."—Colin G. Calloway, author of One Vast Winter Count: The Native American West before Lewis and Clark


"Hämäläinen not only puts Native Americans back into the story but also gives them—particularly the Comanche—recognition as major historical players who shaped events and outcomes."—Sherry Smith, Southern Methodist University, author of Reimagining Indians: Native Americans Through Anglo Eyes, 1880-1940