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After leading the US Army a merry chase for many years, Parker was the last Comanche chief to come into the reservation. Once there, he settled into a comfortable life as rancher and diplomatic representative of his tribe to Washington. Controversy surrounded him during his lifetime: he was the son of a white woman captured as a child and married to a Comanche (later, after being forced to return to the whites against her will, she virtually killed herself); many Indians called Parker a traitor because he gave up revolt when he moved onto the reservation; and his wealth and friendships with people in high places were considered suspect by both whites and his own tribespeople. Hilts avoids these controversies; his well-researched, detailed description of the years of skirmishes with the cavalry doesn't indicate how cruel Comanche behavior actually was. The fictionalized dialogue sounds like a John Wayne movie, but lacks the zest and terminal sadness of the mightly fallen. And how could a biographer omit Parker's poignant comment, ""This was a pretty country you took away from us""? Russell Freedman's straightforward, factual account of Parker's life in Indian Chiefs (p. 636, C-96) is more concise but also more empathetic and moving; in Hilts' book, Quanah never seems to seethe--or question. Bibliography; no index.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1987
Page count: 144pp
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich