Raymond Seitz reviews Comanche Empire by Pekka Hamalainen
So vast was the territory and so complete the sway that Pekka Hamalainen, in this scholarly and eye-opening book, asserts that Comanche dominance deserves to be called an empire. Not an empire in the classic, Western meaning of the word, with a central metropolis and demarcated frontiers, but an empire in the sense of hegemony.
The tribe developed a military, economic and cultural cohesion that rivalled the French and Spanish presence in North America and overwhelmed the many other Indian tribes in the region. Only in the third quarter of the century, when the post-Civil War United States began its real push into the plains, did Comanche pre-eminence fall apart. But for more than 100 years, the Comanche were the 800-pound gorilla of the American West.