Customer Reviews for

One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

26 out of 27 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 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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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2014

    EHHH?

    Book starts with an interesting premise and writing style, but half way into it the story line becomes predictable and the writing deteriorates into a repetitive pattern that is simplistic and superficial, Good read for a middle school girl,

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2013

    Not a page turner

    Was disappointed that it was "suggested" to be a work of non-fiction. The story was fairly well written, but kind of creepy that a man was writing as a woman.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2013

    Enjoyable read..........

    Would have liked it better had I not discovered, before I finished it, that it was not "true" historical fiction.

    This did not portray what truly happened in history.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2013

    No way

    I am in the minority on this one....just silly in parts, preposterous in others. Though i realize it was an imaginative take on an idea that never really happened i never believed any of it for a second

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2012

    Thought Provoking? NO not at all. I knew when I bought it that i

    Thought Provoking? NO not at all. I knew when I bought it that it was not my cup of tea (This was recommended to me by a friend).
    It was FINE
    but really kind of far fetched.
    More mindless then anything else. Maybe good for a plane ride, the beach and when you just want to occupy your head without much thinking.

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  • Posted January 2, 2010

    Obnoxious Main Character

    My book club decided to try this book after reading the synopsis. It sounded like it would be really interesting to read about the women and how they adjusted to Native American life. However, after we started it, most of us though the main character, May, was completely obnoxious and conceited. She's the prettiest, all the men want her, she get the best "stuff" in the story...blech! Several of us suffered through it, hoping it would get better. We were wrong. Another thing I found irritating was that the author wrote it with smatterings of 1800s-sounding dialogue, names, and expressions and and then had the characters refer to more modern things, like needing to get a manicure. Don't waste your time with this book. Our next book was City of Thieves, by David Benioff. It was about a million times better!

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  • Posted April 14, 2009

    One Dimensional

    My larger issue with this book is that the characters are so one dimensional. The main character, May, is absolutely everything a woman or a human being should be: attractive, smart, kind, witty and assertive (which didn't prevent me from hoping the book ended with her murder, but I digress.) Anyone that has been discriminated against (i.e. black people and native Americans) represent all that is good, moral and brave in this world. And, Martha. What to say about Martha? She's everything you hope your daughter will never be? She represents weakness, timidity and social repellant? For my full review go to http://thebooksnob.blogspot.com/

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2008

    A reviewer

    This book came to me HIGHLY recommended by a great woman, 81 years old, librarian, huge reader. I wanted so badly to like it!! It was readable but this nagging thought crept into my head and grew louder and louder with every page. 'Oh that would never happen!!' All my objections were with the writing style. To stage it as a series of handwritten letters was absurd, since so much of the writing was way beyond anything you'd write in a letter!! It was bizarre that the author felt the need to make each woman character some kind of cliche or caricature....the Irish girls, the mute, the prim southern woman, the black woman...all with comical accents. It felt more like a writing exercise, 'let's play with dialects!' The women were not believable and behaved in ways that I found unrealistic. Saying things like 'He loves me big titties!' That is a purely male word, I haven't ever heard a woman say a thing like that! Discussing the priest and his abuse really disturbed me, with the Irish woman remarking that the priest back home did that to the young boys (offhandedly graphic decription) was tasteless and totally uncharacteristic of any woman I know! I've read some amazing books in a woman's voice that were very well done. (One was so well done I was in complete disbelief afterwards when I learned the author was a man.) This is not one of them!! Every word felt very much like a man imagining what goes on in a woman's brain and being WAY off-track! I think it's a great premise, it would have been great to imagine how such a program would have worked back then, but it was not executed in a satisfying way at ALL. A woman would have written more about everyday life and the relationship with her husband, but the author kept coming up with more and more plot contrivances, maybe to keep himself interested. There was just no way to care about these characters, they were cartoon people!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2007

    disappointing and unrealistic

    This book was recommended to me by the bookstore salesman. I love historical fiction, so I thought I would enjoy the time period. The premise sounded so interesting, but the book is written more like a romance. My daughter read the book before me and she was also disappointed. I didn't think the author's portrayal of the women during the time period was believable. I also didn't like the author's portrayal of the native Americans in the book. There just weren't any likable characters. The book read like a man pretending to write a woman's journal.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2007

    Ridiculous

    This is quite possibly the worst book I have ever read. The main character is simply not credible. No woman living at that time would have written letters to her sister detailing her various sexual exploits. This struck me as a male fantasy of how women yearn for animal sexuality (which wouldn't have been bad if it hadn't been written in such a laughably corny style). The premise was promising, but the book is a complete disappointment.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2001

    Hold The Fort

    First, to correct a huge misleading conception about this book, it is NOT historical fiction. If you read the introduction carefully, it emphatically states no white women ever made the journey to the west as wives for Indians. May Dodd never existed. She and her journal are completely fictional. I would have enjoyed this book had I not been misled on this vitally important issue.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted June 24, 2011

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