Long Branch Book Club

Women, comanches and zombies, oh my


On Aug. 2 the Long Branch Book Club met to discuss the historical novel, Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History by S. C. Gwynne.

Right away, the discussion centered on how different life was for men and women both in the Comanche Tribe and in Pioneer/Settler movement before the conversation detoured to zombies. There was not any mention of zombies in Empire of the Summer Moon. The story focused on the life and conflicts of the Comanche Tribe and the pioneers moving into their territory.

Often when the Comanches won a conflict, they would enslave the survivors and raise young children as part of the tribe. Those children, once grown, did not want to leave and even refused rescue. They loved their life as a Comanche.

The majority of the club’s readers agreed that the Comanche people, even the women, who were second-class citizens of the tribe, would feel sorry for the way modern people are no longer connected and reverent to the land. The Comanche cherished their land that sustained their life. Yet, few modern day people seldom go beyond the safety of their offices, stores and homes, or even venture out on their paved roads. Why?

When, in-mass, modern humans quested beyond their safe zones during the Pokémon craze some walked off cliffs, others crashed their cars or walked into poles. It is estimated that in the game’s first week of release 7.2 million people (fortune.com) downloaded the game and upwards of 65 million played it at one time (Vice.com). Thus suggesting that modern humans want to go outside, but need a reason. Zombies would make it so modern folks had to reconnect with nature. Perhaps, this reader suggested, this explains the recent zombie-themed media’s popularity with modern humans. If civilization falls, all humans would have to again directly rely on the land in order to survive. The reader went on to explain that even though they knew how to hunt, fish, garden and find water they don’t, because they don’t have to and they don’t have time. If the world reverted to a primal stage, then they would have the time to live off and with the land to survive, because bills, government ordinances and most other responsibilities wouldn’t matter anymore as part of modern survival. Just as the Comanches only had to worry about their tribal laws and survival until the pioneers came.

The Comanches still exist today in Oklahoma.

On Sept. 6 at 5:30 p.m. the Long Branch Book Club met to discuss, True Women: A Novel of Texas by Janice Woods Windle, a riveting tale of women during the Runaway Scrape and the Civil War.

All members agreed that this was an excellent book and portrayed women of the time accurately. Each member would recommend this book to anyone, but especially those who are interested in Gonzales and Seguin history.

Discussions ranged from how much the women did and why they didn’t demand recognition for their heroics to the confederate statues debate. Zombies were not mentioned at this meeting, except during the discussion of September’s book choice, Cell, by Stephen King. “On Oct. 1, God is in His heaven, the stock market stands at 10,140, most of the planes are on time, and graphic artist Clayton Riddell is visiting Boston, having just landed a deal that might finally enable him to make art instead of teaching it. But all those good feelings about the future change in a hurry thanks to a devastating phenomenon that will come to be known as The Pulse. The delivery method is a cell phone—everyone’s cell phone.” Amazon.com

All are welcome to join the group on Oct. 9 at 5:30 p.m. at the Long Branch Saloon, 315 Saint Lawrence Street, Gonzales, Texas. Birthday cake and snacks will be shared in remembrance of Keith Carter, who would have celebrated his 53rd birthday that day.