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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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2,7661522,118 (3.68)122
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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Great tale of Indians and the White brides the government arranges to send to live with them in the wild.
A must read ( )
  Barbaralois | Jul 2, 2017 |
listened to audio. kept me interested in car from historical perspective but dialogue didn't feel in keeping with the time. also, her angelic tendencies to always be on the right side of this ugly time in our nation's history seemed unbelievably contrived. ( )
  mfabriz | Jun 25, 2017 |
Really really interesting historical fiction based upon 1875 treaty between US Grant & Little Wolf, leader of the Cheyenne in which the US would give 1000 (white) women to the native americans, who would then marry them & procreate, bringing about eventual harmony. ( )
  JeanetteSkwor | Mar 27, 2017 |
One Thousand White Women is the story of May Dodd, a Chicago socialite from the 1800s, who signs on to the Federal government plan of Brides for Indians as a means to escape an insane asylum where her family has placed her because she had fallen in love with a man below her station. Through her journals May describes her life in the asylum and later her new life as a prairie bride of Chief Little Wolf of the Cheyennes. Along her journey she tells of her fellow brides who come from all walks of life. In return for their marriage to a Cheyenne and subsequent bearing of a mixed race baby or two, the government hopes to assimilate the Cheyennes into the white man’s culture. Along the way May meets an Army Captain and they fall in love but part, knowing that their love could never be. May continues on her journey, assimilating into the life of the Cheyennes as the third wife of Chief Little Wolf, all the while keeping a set of notebooks that become her journals.

The descriptions of life on the prairie are both breathtaking and brutal. But through it all May begins to question which side is the real savage – Native American or white Christian. A detailed and fast booking book, it will appear to the reader that the journals they are reading are true although the author states up front that everything contained in the book is fiction based on the true fact that such a Brides for Indians program was proposed but never acted upon.

I loved the different ‘brides’ who, although stereotypical, give much needed diversity to the story. And although we see Chief Little Wolf as a proud and courageous warrior we soon learn that he is so much more. Finely researched, cleverly written, and engrossing the reader will find this story difficult to put down. ( )
  AuthorMarion | Feb 6, 2017 |
At a peace conference in 1854, a Cheyenne chief asked authorities in the U.S. Army for a gift of one thousand women, to be brides for the warriors of his tribe.... The Cheyenne's proposal met with outrage and the peace conference fell apart. In real life, it never happened. But what if it did go through? In an alternative history, this novel thoroughly explores that idea.

May Dodd is from a family of high society, so her liaison with a man of lower social status is deemed highly inappropriate.... and she is forcibly consigned to an insane asylum. It is misery there- but to her surprise one day she is given a chance at freedom: to volunteer in the "social experiment" of becoming a wife in the Cheyenne tribe. ... the company May keeps on the train West is full of interesting, colorful characters from all walks of life. Her story unfolds alongside that of a dozen other women she keeps in close contact with. I prefer a more personal narrative that focuses on one person- this one although written in style like a series of journal entries and letters (unsent), tells the story of so many women, which makes it feel less intimate. It is really interesting to see how the various characters struggled to adjust to their new life- some of them who really were intent on converting the Cheyenne people to christianity or teaching them to be more like the europeans, failed bitterly and were dissatisfied with their situation. Others like May Dodd who came with a more open mind and were willing to learn from their new companions became content with their new lives. May finds that the tribal people are more kind and forgiving in some ways than the whites who despise them, but in other ways they act very cruel... Given the reason why the women went to live there, there is an awful lot of preoccupation with sex- But the voice of the main character, telling everything in her journal, sounds very true to its time, so she describes everything with a certain amount of discretion. It never gets terribly distasteful. Just tiresome. There was plenty of material about the toil of everyday life, new skills they had to learn, efforts to find game, friction with enemy tribes and white soldiers, etc. But you can never really forget what the main subject matter is.... Overall, a very interesting story.

more at the Dogear Diary ( )
  jeane | Feb 5, 2017 |
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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
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To Dillon
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23 March 1875: Today is my birthday, and I have received the greatest gift of all - freedom!
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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)

(summary from another edition)

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