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One Thousand White Women: The Journals of…
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One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd (original 1998; edition 1999)

by Jim Fergus

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2,6281432,275 (3.69)120
Member:chrystal
Title:One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd
Authors:Jim Fergus
Info:St. Martin's Griffin (1999), Edition: 1st, Paperback, 464 pages
Collections:Illumination
Rating:***
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One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus (1998)

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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. ( )
  brangwinn | Jul 30, 2016 |
Reminds me of nothing so much as the sequel to Clan of the Cave Bear. ?A naive reader might think she's learning something, but really it's a pastiche of romance, erotica, and racism. ?á

?áYes, racism. ?áEven though Fergus took pains to do his research and to portray his characters of all 'races' as complex individuals and as members of peoples with both 'bad' and 'good' customs, he just doesn't get it. ?áFor example, he apologizes in advance for any errors he may make in transcribing the language of the Cheyenne, but not for any misunderstandings of their cultural practices... and boy he writes of those practices as if he has the knowledge of a tribal elder. ?á

And the dialect he puts in the women's mouths - at least, the Irish, Swiss, and Southern women. ?áThe less exotic women speak in perfect English. ?áOf course this is all told in the journals of May... are we really to believe she scribbled over campfire-light italics to indicate the loyke us and the mahself every time she recorded her companion's language?

I don't even want to talk about Euphemia, aka Black White Woman.

Other things trouble me. ?áThe southern belle clings to her memories and her flask (a magical self-filling flask, apparently, btw) until she's gang-raped by another nation. ?áThen her Cheyenne husband patiently nurses her, and all of a sudden she's happy and glowing and fully assimilated to the savage way of life.... ?á?á

I finished because I wanted to find some redeeming value. ?áI'm sure the author meant well. ?áBut ... fail ... another day of my life, lost. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
I found this to be a somewhat entertaining read. This is the type of book which is perfect for a book club – it isn’t very deep or hard to read, may serve as an infrequent reader’s introduction to the subject, but leads more serious readers to other books on the subject. (For example John G. Bourke was a real historical figure and his many books and diaries are available, including On the Border With Crook).

That being said…. the characters were clichéd, the plot was predictable, and at NO time did I believe this was written by a woman of the period. Snark Alert! May was the worst kind of Mary Sue (Google it). Now I remember why I couldn’t remember anything about this book - I first read it not long after it was published in the 1990s.

For a much better fictional romp through the Cheyenne Nation, read Little Big Man by Thomas Berger… or watch the movie.
( )
  memccauley6 | May 3, 2016 |
At a peace conference at Fort Laramie in 1854, a prominent Cheyenne chief suggest that the US Government send white women to the West to be brides for his warriors. As children born in their tribe follow the mother's lineage, such unions would lead to an easing of the native assimilation into white man's society. The idea was never seriously considered but in this novel it is. Certain historical events and characters do play a part in the narrative but this a piece of fiction.

The author did extensive research into the culture and life style of the Cheyenne tribe and other Indian tribes with whom they may have contact. One of the main characters in the novel is John G. Bourke who was a real US Army officer during the time period of the novel. The book he wrote about his time with General Crook appears in the bibliography.

May Dodd is the main character in the story and a very strong woman is she. Sent to a mental institution by her family for living with a man below her station out of wedlock, she volunteers for the marriage to Indians program to get her freedom. On the way west, she meets and falls in love with John Bourke. As he is engaged to another and she is committed to the Indian program she follows through to the Cheyenne encampment.

Life among the Indians proves to be tough but most of the women persevere and actually develop affection and even love for their husbands and the women of the tribe. The reader learns much about the life of the Plains Indian. Some of the war actions of the Indians may be upsetting to the reader but none can match what the US Army did to them in order move them to the reservations.

Apparently many readers believe this to be a real journal. It is not. ( )
  lamour | Apr 24, 2016 |
Started out better than it ended. But it was interesting. ( )
  sydsavvy | Apr 8, 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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Wikipedia in English (1)

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)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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