One Thousand White Women

One Thousand White Women

The Journals of May Dodd

Book - 1998
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"One Thousand White Women" is the story of May Dodd and a colorful assembly of pioneer women who, under the auspices of the U.S. government, travel to the western prairies in 1875 to intermarry among the Cheyenne Indians. The covert and controversial "Brides for Indians" program, launched by the administration of Ulysses S. Grant, is intended to help assimilate the Indians into the white man's world. Toward that end May and her friends embark upon the adventure of their lifetime. Jim Fergus has so vividly depicted the American West that it is as if these diaries are a capsule in time.
Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, 1998.
ISBN: 9780312180089
Characteristics: 304 p. :,ill. ;,24 cm.


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Jan 13, 2018

This is the first book in a 2 book series. Unfortunately, I read them out of order so I already knew the outcome of this book before I started it. Although there were 2 decades between the publishing of the 2 books, I read them within a month of each other. Consequently, I found that the 2 books were so similar that I felt I was reading the same book twice. The two bride groups followed the same pattern. May and Molly's journal voices and experiences were almost identical. Hawk and Little Wolf were also very much alike. I enjoyed the theme and setting of both books, and I'm glad I read this first one and got to know the original characters, but I don't recommend reading them back to back since they are so similar.

Librarian_Deb Dec 03, 2017

I read this mesmerizing account of a woman's life in the American Old West because my book group had selected it for discussion. It does make an excellent discussion book, as it brings up issues such as cultural differences and how people of different races and beliefs interact. The main character, May Dodd, starts out the book in an insane asylum, where she was committed by her family. A program to make peace with the Cheyenne Indians by offering them white woman as brides becomes her ticket out of the asylum. She and a band of other woman from a wide range of backgrounds are transported to Indian territory. In the course of the book, told in the form of May's journal entries, May falls in love with an Army Captain, becomes the bride of an Indian chief, is terrorized by a lecherous half breed, survives a night of drunken terror, is captured by a rival tribe and rescued, and finally witnesses a betrayal so unimaginable she never believed it would happen.[return]There is so much action, so many unbelievable characters, and such a perfect capturing of the historical period that I have to give this book a hearty thumbs up. If you are wondering if if would be a good read--it is! I highly recommend the audio version as well, that is how I enjoyed it and the narrator Laura Hicks performs the story brilliantly. She creates a voice for each character that sounds so true to who they are, and smoothly recites the many foreign words and even sings when needed. Her performance made it a joy to get into my car each day and experience this remarkable story

AnnabelleLee27 Aug 25, 2017

A fictional account of a woman participating in a secret government program in the 1870s seeking to assimilate the Northern Cheyenne into white "civilization" through marriage (the exchange of a thousand white women for a thousand Cheyenne horses) as told through her journals. The journals & premise are fiction but the novel includes many real historical details. The novel is notable for its depiction of Cheyenne life during the turbulent shift from independence to the reservation system and they are presented as richly complex humans rather than as simple stereotypes. The novel is also notable for its depiction of the women and how the conditions in the larger society led them to choose to participate in the program. Rather like the Cheyenne, they did not have many choices or even a safe way to exist within or along side the larger white culture. The novel addresses themes of belonging, respect, loss, and love.

Jul 30, 2016

I was so disappointed to find out this account was fiction. Yes, disappointed, but yet amazed that an author could so completely wrap me in the story hook, line and sinker. Jim Fergus did his job. I’m doing more research on the Brides for Indians program where the US sent one thousand women from insane asylums and prisons to marry American Indians in exchange for one thousand horses. The story was riveting.

Feb 20, 2016

I wanted to like this book, but it read like a novel from the perspective of a woman written by a man (a man, who has never met or interacted with a woman).

Nov 11, 2015

Great story very enjoyable read.

Jun 20, 2015

I gave this book a four star rating mostly for the last section of the book more than for the book as a whole. It is a fast-moving, easy to read novel that fits well into what I call the "Summer Reading" category.

As much as I enjoyed reading this book, I found it difficult to ignore certain aspects of the protagonist's character. Specifically, she is supposed to be an 1875 modern woman, but it felt like she was really a 1995 modern woman. There were also smaller things that just didn't feel right about her. At one point I closed the book to see who wrote it and thought, "Ah, this is a man trying to write in a woman's voice.".

In conclusion, if you go into this expecting to find a 19th century female heroine who thinks how a 21st century man thinks a 19th century woman should, then you will be fine. Also, expect the other women in the book to have Dickensian names that are not as clever as Dicken's characters. Oh, and one other thing: I got this at a Fill a Bag for $1 Rummage Sale. If I would have paid full price for it, I would have given it a much lower rating.

Jun 11, 2015

May Dodd was so courageous and open minded, her ability to be supportive to those around her gave her the strength to meet each day with calm and energy. I really loved her character and wish there was a series based on her. I am always sympathetic to the Native Americans and how women were treated as second class citizens, she had the misfortune to be both.

May 23, 2015

Extremely believable. Carefully told. Amazingly good story about a woman even though written by a man. Engaging and heart-wrenching.

dairyqueen Mar 17, 2015

I loved this book! Very interesting story.

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Dec 05, 2016

Frightening or Intense Scenes: Contains multiple instances of rape. While these scenes were not overly descriptive, the majority of the female characters ended up experiencing some sort of sexual assault by the time the book ended.

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