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One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus
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One Thousand White Women (1998)

by Jim Fergus

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Showing 1-5 of 134 (next | show all)
Very enjoyable read, though I don't think the male author really speaks in a woman's voice. The voice of his protagonist, May Dodd, strikes me as entirely modern. For example, her out-of-wedlock relationship with a working man from the "lower" classes, that causes her family to have her committed to an asylum: the part of it I can't buy is her notion that she doesn't need to be married. To me that is just way ahead of the late 1800s. And the way she accepts polygamy, writes about sexuality--it seems altogether too modern. The idea of the brides for natives sounds plausible, even of the covert way it was done in the novel--officially rejected but privately sanctioned by the government. So overall it was an enjoyable and thought-provoking read, but I can't rate it any higher. ( )
  fromthecomfychair | Feb 11, 2016 |
I loved this story, based on a snipet of history. The author has a gift for relating time and place, but there were some flaws.

The novel is based on a small footnote in history - In 1874 a Cheyenne chief asks for 1,000 white women as brides for his warriors. The children, as per Cheyenne tradition, will be part of the mother's "tribe" and this will facilitate the assimilation into White Man's culture.

The novel is told in the form of a diary, detailing one woman's experiences as part of this social experiment. The tragic ending is a foregone conclusion, but HER story is still a triumph. ( )
  BookConcierge | Feb 11, 2016 |
***Spoilers ahead***

I had mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, it is a beautiful story - full of descriptions of the Cheyenne Indian way of life and how May Dodd and the other white women adapted to it. On the other hand, it did seem completely ridiculous. The author seemed to assign a terrible cultural stereotype to each of the white women; from the fat Swiss girl with huge breasts and a terribly thick accent where pronunciation of words were phonetically spelt; to pale, red headed Irish twins who were devoutly Catholic and had incredibly thick accents also. The stereotypical descriptions of these women and many others (including English, African and a Southern Belle) were so over the top and ridiculous it ruined the whole story.

As many other reviewers have noted, the fact that a man wrote this from the perspective of a 19th century woman - it just didn't work. The whole plot device of using the journals to tell the story was lazy. May Dodd managed to keep a perfect chronological record of everything that happens around her even as she lay dying?! I mean if I got shot and was freezing to death, spending my last moments scribbling in a stupid book would just not happen.

Despite all of the books terrible faults, I actually did enjoy the story. The ending was so sad, reflecting the very tragic way in which the native Americans had their way of life brutally decimated. It left me feeling pretty depressed. ( )
  4everfanatical | Feb 5, 2016 |
Narrated by Laura Hicks. Chief Little Wolf of the Cheyenne proposes a peace treaty plan to President Ulysses Grant: the tribe will swap 1,000 horses for 1,000 white women who will marry into the tribe and bear children, thus helping the tribe learn the white ways and preserve the dwindling Cheyenne population. Mae Dodd, an outspoken, progressive woman for her time, volunteers for the "Brides for Indians" program and this book is her journal of her experiences. The culture clash is at times distressing, amusing and horrifying for the volunteer wives. This and the details of daily life and survival and the wives' acceptance of Indian culture make for an intriguing read of "what if." The audio version was much more entertaining for me than if I had read it; narrator Laura Hicks voices this story with personality and verve, creating memorable pictures of the characters and events. (She presented a very entertaining and hilarious Gretchen, the Swiss.) It would be interesting to hear Native American reader reaction to this book: how accurately is the Cheyenne culture represented? ( )
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
Historical fiction based on government experiment to keep peace with the Great Plains Indians where 1000 White brides were promised to the tribes so that they may bear children who would serve to assimilate the cultures. The novel is written as journal entries of a fictional character, Mary Dodd, who marries a Cheyenne chief. She recounts her experiences as well as they experiences of many of the other women in the first installment of brides sent to the "savages". The characters are so well developed that it becomes hard to accept that they are fictional characters. I am sure I will be checking out more from this author in the near future. ( )
  micahmom2002 | Jan 25, 2016 |
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Epigraph
Women will love her, that she is a woman

More worth than any man; men that she is
The rarest of all women.

- William Shakespeare, The Winter's Tale, V.1
Dedication
To Dillon
First words
23 March 1875: Today is my birthday, and I have received the greatest gift of all - freedom!
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
One Thousand White Women begins with May Dodd's journey west into the unknown. A government program, in which woman are brought west as brides for the Cheyenne, is her vehicle. What follows is the story of May's adventures: her marriage to Little Wolf, chief of the Cheyenne nation, and her conflict of being caught between two worlds, loving two men, living two lives. Jim Fergus has so vividly depicted the American West that it is as if these diaries are a capsule in time.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312199430, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:32 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

An Indian request in 1854 for 1,000 white brides to ensure peace is secretly approved by the U.S. government in this alternate-history novel. Their journey west is described by May Dodd, a high-society woman released from an asylum where she was incarcerated by her family for an affair.… (more)

» see all 4 descriptions

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