The Comanche Empire - Hamalainen (Hämäläinen), Pekka - Yale University Press
Social Science

Series Information
The Lamar Series in Western History

The Comanche Empire

  • Pekka Hämäläinen
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Out of Print.

Winner of the 2009 Bancroft Prize, given by Columbia University

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.

Co-Silver medal winner of the 2009 Independent Publisher Book Award in the category of History.

Winner of the Caughey Western History Association Prize given by the Western History Association.

Received "Recognition of Excellence" in the 2009 Cundill International Prize in History given by McGill University.

Winner of the 2008 William P. Clements Prize for the best non-fiction book on Southwestern America, given by the William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies at the Southern Methodist Universit.y

Winner of the 2009 Norris and Carol Hundley Award for the most distinguished book on any historical subject, sponsored by the American Historical Association Pacific Branch.

Winner of the 2009 Award of Merit, sponsored by the Philosophical Society of Texas

Winner of the 2010 John C. Ewers Book Award given by the Western History Association

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 associate professor of history, University of California, Santa Barbara. He lives in Santa Barbara.

An alternate selection of History Book Club, Military Book Club, Book-of-the-Month Club, and Book-of-the-Month Club 2

Published in Association with The William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies, Southern Methodist University.