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One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd Kindle Edition

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Length: 324 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

An American western with a most unusual twist, this is an imaginative fictional account of the participation of May Dodd and others in the controversial "Brides for Indians" program, a clandestine U.S. government^-sponsored program intended to instruct "savages" in the ways of civilization and to assimilate the Indians into white culture through the offspring of these unions. May's personal journals, loaded with humor and intelligent reflection, describe the adventures of some very colorful white brides (including one black one), their marriages to Cheyenne warriors, and the natural abundance of life on the prairie before the final press of the white man's civilization. Fergus is gifted in his ability to portray the perceptions and emotions of women. He writes with tremendous insight and sensitivity about the individual community and the political and religious issues of the time, many of which are still relevant today. This book is artistically rendered with meticulous attention to small details that bring to life the daily concerns of a group of hardy souls at a pivotal time in U.S. history. Grace Fill

From Kirkus Reviews

Long, brisk, charming first novel about an 1875 treaty between Ulysses S. Grant and Little Wolf, chief of the Cheyenne nation, by the sports reporter and author of the memoir A Hunter's Road (1992). Little Wolf comes to Washington and suggests to President Grant that peace between the Whites and Cheyenne could be established if the Cheyenne were given white women as wives, and that the tribe would agree to raise the children from such unions. The thought of miscegenation naturally enough astounds Grant, but he sees a certain wisdom in trading 1,000 white women for 1,000 horses, and he secretly approves the Brides For Indians treaty. He recruits women from jails, penitentiaries, debtors' prisons, and mental institutionsoffering full pardons or unconditional release. May Dodd, born to wealth in Chicago in 1850, had left home in her teens and become the mistress of her father's grain-elevator foreman. Her outraged father had her kidnaped, imprisoning her in a monstrous lunatic asylum. When Grant's offer arrives, she leaps at it and soon finds herself traveling west with hundreds of white and black would-be brides. All are indentured to the Cheyenne for two years, must produce children, and then will have the option of leaving. May, who keeps the journal we read, marries Little Wolf and lives in a crowded tipi with his two other wives, their children, and an old crone who enforces the rules. Reading about life among the Cheyenne is spellbinding, especially when the women show up the braves at arm-wrestling, foot-racing, bow-shooting, and gambling. Liquor raises its evil head, as it will, and reduces the braves to savagery. But the women recover, go out on the winter kill with their husbands, and accompany them to a trading post where they drive hard bargains and stop the usual cheating of the braves. Eventually, when the cavalry attacks the Cheyenne, mistakenly thinking they're Crazy Horse's Sioux, May is killed. An impressive historical, terse, convincing, and affecting. -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • File Size: 964 KB
  • Print Length: 324 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1st edition (April 1, 2010)
  • Publication Date: April 1, 2010
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0042XA3OE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,980 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Jim Fergus is a former freelance writer who has published hundreds of articles in dozens of regional and national magazines and newspapers. He is the author of four novels, and two books of nonfiction. His bestselling novel, ONE THOUSAND WHITE WOMEN, won the Mountain and Plains Booksellers association Fiction of the Year Award, and continues to be a favorite selection of book clubs and reading groups across the country. The French translation - MILLE FEMMES BLANCHES - won the "Best First Foreign Novel" award in France, and has sold over 400,000 copies in that country. Fergus's most recent novel, THE MEMORY OF LOVE was published in November, 2013.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

474 of 522 people found the following review helpful By Denise Bentley on April 18, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is so well written you will believe it is true. I have never read anything quite like it. The premise is based on an honest request made at a peace conference by a Cheyenne Indian Chief in the year 1854 to trade white women for horses. The women would become brides and the children of these unions would make assimilation into the white mans society easier for the Indians who astutely saw the future at hand, and were looking for a peaceful solution. The author assures us that in real life this never took place, but in this book it does, and the story that follows is nothing but magnificent.
May Dodd has been locked away in an insane asylum for her so called indecent behavior, a bright and cultured woman who has taken up with a common factory worker her parents will not accept, followed by two children born out of wed lock. It is May, who through an act of desperation, manipulates her way into the "Brides for Horses" campaign. The journals that she keeps throughout her adventure are the making of this story. Articulate and interesting in her views of life on the plains among the so-called savages, she starts to realize just how warm and accepting a people they are. There is so much more to this book but I will let the author tell the story. I am re-reading it for a second time and I know it won't be the last. This is an incredible work of fiction, to be enjoyed for many years to come. Kelsana 4/18/01
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285 of 335 people found the following review helpful By Amber Waves on October 8, 2006
Format: Paperback
I came close to tossing this book fairly early on. By page 64, May Dodd,

the main character, had begun to annoy me. She is just the perfect human

being: intelligent, practical, fearless, a born leader, irresistible to

men, ingenious, passionate, blah, blah, blah. In contrast, her companions

are for the most part a flawed, inferior group: a racist, drunken

southern belle, a nervous, sheltered old maid, the thieving, amoral,

joined-at-the hip Irish twins, a pinch faced, mean-spirited religious

fanatic, and the pathetically ugly amazon with the heart of gold. The

only two that can even vaguely approach our heroine in nobility are the

regal, courageous Black woman and the mannish, freespirited English

artist. Why it's no wonder that the handsome, sensitive Captain and the

brave Cheyenne leader both sucumb to her charms, and lo and behold they both

become her love interests! Her inferior companions of course merit inferior or

inconsequential partners. So much for character development.

There are a variety of personalities that could have provided much in the way of

emotional interaction and growth, but this is not examined. Characters go through intense

experiences, but there is little hint given

as to their mental state, perhaps because the story is written in the form

of one woman's journal. There is, however, no self reflection on May's

part either. She mostly reports what she sees and what is around her.

Another main peeve is the far-fetched attitude of the Cheyenne braves to

their outspoken, free-thinking, culture-bending "wives".
Read more ›
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226 of 269 people found the following review helpful By Pamela Richardson on December 16, 2002
Format: Paperback
If I could rate this below one star I would. This book covered every stereotype possible: the boozy, trashy, red-headed Irish twins; the big, homely, muscular, Swede; the racist, phony, southern belle; the filthy, rotted-tooth little Frenchman, etc. Of course, the heroine is "chosen" by the most well-respected and good looking brave. The author made sure there was a mate for every one of his characters, there even "happened" to be one Black brave to be paired with the regal, non-conformist, former slave woman.
The premise to this novel is original but everything else was so cliche' it was embarrassing.
The only part of the book the author seemed to put any effort into were the elaborate, porn-like, sex encounters. I'm no prude but these scenes were thrown in helter-skelter and added nothing to the story line what-so-ever.
Don't waste your money or your time on this book.
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144 of 171 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie Brown on August 31, 2008
Format: Paperback
Wow, this book was so bad I actually feel angry at the friend who recommended it. As other reviewers here have said, the book is poorly written (full of cliches, uses a format that is unconvincing), the characters are one-dimensional (embarrassing stereotypes, unconvincing motivations), and the dialogue and plot read like a third-rate romance novel. I am stunned by 1) the terribly shallow presumptions about women's interior lives, thoughts, and motivations; 2) the corny treatment of love and sex; 3) the voluminous, vicarious depictions of rape and; 4) the insanely retrograde ethnic stereotypes, not only of the "brides" but of the Indians (noble savages to drunken savages). Finally, the motivations of the main character just do not ring true, and she is the only character who is flushed out enough to have any interior life. I can't help but think that the author just lacks imagination (including the ability to imagine another person's motivations, but also an ability to create a world outside of stale, rehashed tropes). I'm actually mad at myself for wasting the time to finish the book.
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Does One Thousand White Women suck all the way through?
This is a book club choice, so I'm stuck. Cannot believe the stuff May thinks and says and does--which century is she from?? On the other hand, every page seems to contain a plum sentence. Ex: "Harry, my Harry, love of my life, father of my children, did Father reward you with pieces of gold... Read More
Oct 5, 2011 by Christina Dudley |  See all 9 posts
What's true???
As you have actually Spoken to the author, I thank you for your reply. The book is so fascinating, I wish it were true.
Jun 19, 2012 by Laurel Mellon |  See all 9 posts
You don't need to finish reading a bad book Be the first to reply
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