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One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd

Average Rating 4
( 462 )
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(241)

4 Star

(114)

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(56)

2 Star

(31)

1 Star

(20)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

29 out of 30 people found this review helpful.

Amazing and thought provoking.

I just finished re-reading this book, something I rarely do. Jim Fergus has created a rich, lush, story filled with enduring characters and thought provoking themes. I am an avid reader and this is certainly one of my all time favorites and one I always recommend.
One ...
I just finished re-reading this book, something I rarely do. Jim Fergus has created a rich, lush, story filled with enduring characters and thought provoking themes. I am an avid reader and this is certainly one of my all time favorites and one I always recommend.
One Thousand White Women is a fictional account of a would be cultural experiment. It is based on the true fact that in 1854 at a peace conference a Cheyenne chief requested the gift of 1,000 white women as brides for his men. The Cheyenne were/are a matrilineal society...children belonging to their mother's tribe. This would have allowed for the Cheyenne to begin assimiliating into white culture. Of course this request was not met in real life but Fergus vividly paints for us a portrait of what might have happened.
This novel gives us female characters that inspire, motivate and break our hearts. White women, and one escaped African American slave, who risk everything for the opportunity to choose their own destinys. The main character, May Dodd was commited to an insane asylum by her family for, "Moral perversion" after living with and having children out of wed lock with a man beneath her social status. She chooses to volunteer to go west and be married to a "Savage" as a way of gaining her freedom and hopefully one day reconnecting with the children she bore out of wedlock. The book, One Thousand White Women, is her journal and letters to her children and others. We learn of her love for an American soldier she meets along the way and her marriage to a Cheyenne chief named Little Wolf. I think the center of the story though is the bond between Mary and the other white women who make the journy with her. Humorous, touching and inspiring...the tale of their friendship and support truly makes this book the treasure it is.

posted by MoonpieMama on May 7, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

10 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

interesting, be sure to keep in mind "savage"

I did find this very interesting, and the early references to "strong" women taking charge of their lives was enjoyable, also the "history" of what it could have been like was a page turner.
HOWEVER, there are many parts that I had to skim over, keeping in mind it is a...
I did find this very interesting, and the early references to "strong" women taking charge of their lives was enjoyable, also the "history" of what it could have been like was a page turner.
HOWEVER, there are many parts that I had to skim over, keeping in mind it is about savages and there are parts that are hard to read. The cruelty to animals and the "savage" treatment of other tribes.

posted by gigi1025 on April 16, 2011

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  • Posted May 7, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Amazing and thought provoking.

    I just finished re-reading this book, something I rarely do. Jim Fergus has created a rich, lush, story filled with enduring characters and thought provoking themes. I am an avid reader and this is certainly one of my all time favorites and one I always recommend.
    One Thousand White Women is a fictional account of a would be cultural experiment. It is based on the true fact that in 1854 at a peace conference a Cheyenne chief requested the gift of 1,000 white women as brides for his men. The Cheyenne were/are a matrilineal society...children belonging to their mother's tribe. This would have allowed for the Cheyenne to begin assimiliating into white culture. Of course this request was not met in real life but Fergus vividly paints for us a portrait of what might have happened.
    This novel gives us female characters that inspire, motivate and break our hearts. White women, and one escaped African American slave, who risk everything for the opportunity to choose their own destinys. The main character, May Dodd was commited to an insane asylum by her family for, "Moral perversion" after living with and having children out of wed lock with a man beneath her social status. She chooses to volunteer to go west and be married to a "Savage" as a way of gaining her freedom and hopefully one day reconnecting with the children she bore out of wedlock. The book, One Thousand White Women, is her journal and letters to her children and others. We learn of her love for an American soldier she meets along the way and her marriage to a Cheyenne chief named Little Wolf. I think the center of the story though is the bond between Mary and the other white women who make the journy with her. Humorous, touching and inspiring...the tale of their friendship and support truly makes this book the treasure it is.

    29 out of 30 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2007

    Western adventure.

    'Bought this book brand new and have lent it out so much that the cover is extremely tattered. After 7 years of first reading this book it is one that is at the top of my recommendation list for people to read if they are ask if I can recommend anything good to read. I think it will appeal to not only women but men. The author did great research and writes so well that I have to remind some of my friends that the book is fiction and based on a 'what if?' notion.'

    21 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 30, 2009

    Great book CLEARLY written by a man.

    I really enjoyed this book. I thought the whole premise of the story was very original and fascinating. My only complaint about the book is that the main characters are female - who despite the author's attempts - are unlike any women I have ever met. They think like men, have sex like men, process violence and sexual assault like only a man could, etc. I read this book with my bookclub - all female - and our opinion was unaminous that only a man would think that gang-raping a woman would "tame" her. Still, despite this annoying issue, the story was fascinating and the plot well written.

    16 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 16, 2011

    interesting, be sure to keep in mind "savage"

    I did find this very interesting, and the early references to "strong" women taking charge of their lives was enjoyable, also the "history" of what it could have been like was a page turner.
    HOWEVER, there are many parts that I had to skim over, keeping in mind it is about savages and there are parts that are hard to read. The cruelty to animals and the "savage" treatment of other tribes.

    10 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 4, 2009

    One Thousand White Women is a captivating read from the first line.

    The characters draw the reader into their world. A world where they do not fit the typical role expected of women in the 1860's. Each of the characters brings their own set of strenghts and fears to the group. I look forward to reading other books by this author.

    8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 14, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    One Thousand Exciting Adventures!

    It's 1875, and the dwindling tribes of Plains Indians are seeking creative solutions for peace with the white men and the US Government (which has broken promise after promise with the Indians, but grows daily in numbers and strength, regardless of the number and increasing intensity of Indian attacks and attempts at pushing back the White men).

    Seeking an "honorable" way to assimilate into White society, respected Cheyenne Chief Little Wolf approaches the "Great White Father," President Ulysses Grant with a proposal. The proposal was for the US government to trade 1000 white women for 1000 horses. They Cheyenne are a matriarchal tribe and believe that children belong to their mothers. The Cheyenne men would take as wives the white women, breed with them and thereby mingle the races, leading to a natural assimilation. Well, the mere suggestion of handing over white, Christian women to red-skinned savages is enough to cause a near-riot in the hall where the meeting took place. All rejected it summarily - publicly.

    The plan, however, was secretly agreed upon and the trades began...

    May Dodd had grown up in a wealthy Chicago family. Her rebellious nature brought her into a relationship with one of her father's employees. She moved out of her comfortable home, married the man and had two children with him. May's father was so outraged by her behavior (which he deemed inappropriate in her and humiliating to himself) that he had her committed to a mental asylum, charging her with Promiscuity. Her children were taken away, and she was left to the inhuman "treatments" meant to cure her of her affliction. You can only imagine.

    When an opportunity arose to break free from the asylum (through the "Brides for Indians" program of the US Government) May jumped at it... This book is a record of her adventures, and what adventures they were! Did you ever wish you'd not read a particular book... just so you could experience the pleasure of reading it again - for the first time? This is one of those books. I highly recommend it!

    6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Not recommended!

    The women in my book club all agreed that this book was not worth the read. I was rolling my eyes nearly every page at some corny piece of dialog or overly romantic view of women/frontier life/women's private lives. While the concept of the plot is interesting, the novel never quite overcomes its characters or writing (too expected, too cliche, and too idealized). Read more of my reviews on twitter!

    6 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 26, 2010

    Who knew?

    1000 White Women
    By Jim Fergus

    Written in a female voice, this is a novel about injustice and betrayal. It is an imaginative fictional account of May Dodd's travel west to marry a Cheyenne warrior. Along with a cast of "brides" that include a mute, a nurse, an English naturalist, a Southern belle, a black woman, a Swiss and lusty Irish twins, May takes part in Ulysses S.Grant's program to trade women for horses. Whose idea was this? Was it clandestine? This book will make you want to find the answers to what actually happened in 1854.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 29, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus

    This is a fantastic book and easy read. Although fiction, it read like a non-fiction book. It gave a very realistic account of how it would be like to live with the Cheyenne Indians as a white woman in the late 1800's. It gave information about the choices, or lack thereof, women had at that time. It was exciting and pretty well researched.
    I highly recommend it for those who would like to know more about that time period and place and American Indians.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2012

    Good book!

    Very exciting - well written. Reader MUST remember that this is really fiction based on one statement in history. Just one statement. The book really sticks in your mind.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 4, 2009

    Couldn't Put it Down

    One Thousand White Women was a great book to read. I couldn't put it down. I found myself peaking into the next chapter so I could see what happened to the characters. It was very suspenseful and I would highly recommend it. I passed it on to my sister for her plane ride back home.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2012

    A MUST MUST Read!!!! :)

    The author wrote this so well and did such great research that I had to remind myself that this book was fiction and based on a "what if?" notion. This story will make you think about how the American Indians were treated!!!

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 31, 2012

    Good reading

    I really enjoyed this book. It made good reading.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 9, 2011

    My favorite book

    i read this book years ago and have been suggesting it to others ever since.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 2, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Highly recommend

    This was one fabulous book, wish it didn't end! Tried to keep reading as long as possible. Wish there was a series about these women!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 30, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Exquisite Visualizations

    I love books that give you every description needed to create your own visualization of the places, people and events. One Thousand White Women is just that ... a story that unfolded, giving you the words to create every scene with great detail, and making the reading of the story even more intense. I was amazed at how much the author captured the feelings from a female perspective, giving true definition to both the main character as well as her fellow tribe-mates. One Thousand White Women gives me reason to read more from this author.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2009

    a historical insight

    A really good read about a sad time in our history. I found it informative and well written.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2009

    Very different book

    This book was great. I plan on reading it a second time, which I usually do not do. This book is different from anything I have ever read. The personalities of the characters portrayed, and circumstances they are involved are refreshingly different. I am so glad I purchased this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 4, 2013

    I think it's a book for women readers

    All the time I was reading this book I thought it was a true story. I'm thinking, how come I never heard about this. In the end I find the true facts. I enjoyed reading this book and recommend it. Yes I would read something written by Jim Fergus.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2012

    Loved it !

    Loved it !

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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