An understanding of the history of the Southwestern region of the U.S., and its cultures, is incomplete until you have an appreciation of the geography of the area, and in particular of the Llano Estacado. The Llano Estacado is the Southern High Plains Region of the Great Plains of the United States.
I was fortunate to have a friend recently recommend “Empire of the Summer Moon” by S.C. Gwynne (available from Amazon: amzn.com/1416591060). Its focus is on the Comanche people, and describes an arc of history in which geography was the central determinant. A potent combination of horsemanship, skill, and strategy allowed the Comanche to leverage the high plains geography, and become what Gwynne calls the most powerful Indian tribe in American history.
Be warned, though, that once you begin “Empire of the Summer Moon” you won’t be able to put it down (in my case it consumed an entire holiday weekend). And you won’t be the same after reading it. You’ll have a new appreciation for native cultures, for Texans, of the formation of a nation, and for the impact of the Llano Estacado on all of these. It is well worth the investment of your time.
(Original post on October 1, 2016)