Quannah Paker was one of the most interesting of the fighting plains Indians.  Born from a white mother who was captured by the Commanches at the age of eight, Quannah rose to power in the tribe by his wits, charisma, and pure physical prowess.  That is saying a lot, considering that the Commanches were arguably the most powerful tribe ever encountered by Euro-Americans as they pushed west onto the great plains.  The Commanches were the first tribe to adapt to life on horseback after they had captured many Spanish ponies in the sixteenth century and eventually learned to breed them.  As a result, the warrior class of the tribe had an uncanny riding ability that allowed them mastery of any disputed field with other natives as well as their white adversaries prior to the invention of repeating firearms.  Quannah led many raids into the frontier to kill settlers and steal more livestock, but his greatest battle was also his greatest defeat when he laid siege to some buffalo hunters fortified at a place called Adobe Walls in the Texas panhandle.  Not long after this rout, Parker’s band had to surrender, and Quannah began a second career as a diplomat and spokesman for his people in their dealings with the government.  This book was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and is a terrific read. 

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