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444 of 490 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Heart Wrenching Story!
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...
Published on April 18, 2001 by Denise Bentley

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98 of 110 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Stephanie
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...
Published on August 31, 2008 by Stephanie Brown


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444 of 490 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Heart Wrenching Story!, April 18, 2001
By 
Denise Bentley "Kelsana" (The California Redwoods) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd (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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98 of 110 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Stephanie, August 31, 2008
This review is from: One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd (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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251 of 294 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Mixed Medicine Bag (Beware of Spoiler), October 8, 2006
This review is from: One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd (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". I find it hard

to believe that a rambunctious pair of white women could push

their way irreverently into a native sweat lodge and proceed to intimidate the men

and make themselves at home without any consequences. Would they also be the ones to

suddenly take over the bargaining and

bartering negotiations on a trading expedition as the Cheyenne men

passively sit and watch? Would the irrepresible Irish twins become the

sudden masters of a gambling empire? Would our hulking Swiss amazon

be permitted to humiliate her Indian husband to the extent of actually

kicking him across the Cheyenne settlement in public? Maybe in the 21st

century, but I think not even then.

Okay, you might ask, so why'd I give it three stars? Although it did

annoy the hell out of me at times, the story itself (when I could get

past the contrived love affair between May and Capt. Bourke) did engage

me. I found that I generally enjoyed the writing style. Granted the

repetition of "Perhaps I am truly insane" etc. did wear a little thin,

along with the conveniently produced towels, May never running out of pencils

and notebooks (how many can you always carry on your back??),

and the character of Daisy having actually brought with her a 19th

century wedding gown although the women are told at the beginning of their journey (a three hour tour????)

that they cannot bring very much with them. These little nagging details I was willing to overlook, though.

I also enjoyed

the recounting of the travel and the details of native life. The

story moved along at a satisfactory pace and was readable and entertaining.

It didn't require much effort to just let the story carry

me along. There were enough characters to provide a variety of mini, if

scany storylines. Again, there was potential for further development here that unfortunately wasn't explored.

I'll admit that part of the reason that I continued to read was out of

sheer curiosity. Would the author predictably reunite May and the Captain, the long-suffering,

star-crossed lovers?

Would May remain with her Indian husband, Little Wolf? When May becomes pregnant, it didn't

take much imagination to figure out that the baby would belong to Bourke

(Oh,spare me...) Bourke one, Little Wolf zero. By now I felt sure that

May and the Captain would live happily ever after, but I doggedly read on.

One of the stars I therefore award because the author had the

courage not to tie all the stories into a neat package at the end. Life

is not a neat package, and that may have been the most realistic part of

the book.

In conclusion, One Thousand White Women was predictable at times, and tends to put a 21st century spin

on 19th century people, but on the whole it was an entertaining, and readable yarn, and even though I thought

I'd toss it a couple of times, it did keep me reading. Take it to the beach, turn off your critical brain, and enjoy.
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189 of 226 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars How did this book manage to get in print!, December 16, 2002
By 
Pamela Richardson (Northport, AL United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd (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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60 of 71 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Extremely disappointing, February 9, 2002
This review is from: One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd (Paperback)
After reading many reviews and hearing nothing but positive things about this novel, I was extremely disappointed when I finally read it and realized that it was boring, ridiculous, and poorly written.
The proposition is an interesting one, and in the hands of a better writer it might have made an excellent story. Fergus turns the fictional tale of a white woman living with Cheyenne Indians into a series of sexual escapades. All the characters in the book are stereotypes: red-headed, green-eyes Irish twins; the strong and noble ex-slave; the adventerous naturalist, living life to the fullest; the earthy, boisterous German...the list goes on. Not only are these characters dull as all get out, but the reader never sees many of them fully or artfully developed past their initial introduction.
The format of the novel is also a wonderful idea, that of a series of letters and journal entries written by one of the women. Fergus manages to take this aspect of the book and make it as tedious as the rest. As I read the book I realized that no one, not even a "civilized" woman of the 1860s and 1870s, would write in their journal in such a stilted, formal, disconnected manner.
This reader was never able to "get into" the novel or connect with any of the characters. Once again, this novel could have been much better written, perhaps by a different and more talented author.
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71 of 86 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars among the worst books I have ever read, May 30, 2003
This review is from: One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd (Paperback)
May Dodd is unconvincing, both in her attitude and in her language. Since Fergus has her the narrator for the bulk of the novel means that we have to be reminded of her anachronistic nature on every page. The novel has all the soft-hearted liberal elements: a gender-bending lesbian mule-skinner, the free-spirited and strong-willed heroine whose true nobility is immediately recognized by the Chief and all the women in her group (even those who initially dislike her single her out as the important one to hate); a noble and free-spirited freed-slave who overpowers all; a heart-wrenching but ill-fated love affair with, again the leader of the military regiment. The novel should have had a boddice-ripping cover to indicate the kind of novel we are entering. I admire the attempt to reveal the oppressive history of our culture, I admire the novel's refusal to romanticize the Cheyenne--while showing the dignity of their culture, but the novel is horribly written. Horribly.
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71 of 86 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars clueless!, February 24, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd (Paperback)
I simply cannot fathom how this book has gotten so much positive press. The writer(male) is woefully ignorant of the landscape of a woman's heart. The idea that the men of the Cheyenne tribe would tolerate some of the behaviors of the women is ridiculous. Like others have mentioned, the idea of the journal was a good one, but the way she wrote it was far beyond the reach of credibility. The characters were undeveloped- cartoonish. I really hate being so negative, but in this case, I can only give the author 1 star for a creative idea.
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94 of 115 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The premise on which this book is based offers promise., October 29, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd (Paperback)
The idea of basing a novel around an interesting but little-known fact - that Cheyenne Chief Little Wolf traveled East to Washington, D.C. to ask President Grant for "one thousand white women" to intermarry with members of his tribe - was a stroke of genius on the part of author, Jim Fergus. It is historical fact that the offer was made and whether the women's trip West actually happened does not detract from the novel. Jim Fergus is quite clear, from the outset, that the story is fictionalized. What does detract, however, is the fact that Mr. Fergus has not done his homework on Women's Issues. May Dodd is a contemporary, 1990's, woman plunked down in the 1880's. Even the language of her journal entries does not ring true as the language of the times. Scholars and historians have been looking to journals and letters of women in order to understand their place in a particular time period, rather than viewing their thoughts and feelings through the lens of an author or historian who may have been biased. Therefore,it seems ironic that Mr. Fergus would chose this format for his novel - the format of what is true - and then bend it to his will. If I were to use thisbook for a class reading, I would dub it "fantasy", and not historical fiction, the genre Mr. Fergus probably intended. There is a Paul Bunyan-esque quality to May. She is not only larger than life but so one-dimensional there is no space for the reader to develop his/her impressions about the character. We are constantly being pushed to embrace the author's point of view, that point of view being: "Isn't she wonderful?!". Coincidences occur which defy belief, frequently coincidences meant to bolster May's credibility and strength in the readers' eyes. Before the story even begins, we learn the extremely wealthy and well-positioned Chicago family, which dared to disown May, goes bankrupt. However,the young male family member, clearly smitten with her(what man isn't?)and wanting to learn about her life, is a highly successful magazine editor...and May Dodd's journals are considered "sacred tribal treasures" among the Cheyenne. These events continue(such as twins marrying twins, and both giving birth to twins)throughout the novel, and rather than giving credibility to the character or events, wear the reader down to the point of numbness. Most of the characters are, in fact, stereotyped and "cartoonish", which seems a shame when the relationships unfolding on the early train journey could have broadened as the novel unfolds. Mr. Fergus' depiction of the Cheyenne way of life seems accurate, and indeed, the passages relating the way they lived are among the most pleasing and vivid. Mr. Fergus' characterization of Little Wolf was one of his best. Unfortunately, he loses some of our respect as he develops too much patience for May - her lectures on war, how his tribe should not go to war. War was the way of life for the Plains Indians. Among the reviews listed on the book jacket and inside, none appears to be written by a Cheyenne. Their input is important.It is certainly possible to take some historic events, built a framework, and make up (or fictionalize) a story within those limits. Mr. Fergus, though, has really tried our patience.
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57 of 69 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars 1000 White Women, March 2, 2002
By 
Mafa (California) - See all my reviews
This review is from: One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd (Paperback)
A male writer for sports and outdoor magazines has written a piece of historical fiction from a woman's point of view.... However, the writing is amateur, the point of view 21st century p.c., and the characters [typical]. When heroine & protagonist May Dodd, daughter of a wealthy, socially prominent Chicago family, is forced to go to work in a chicken factory, she claims it was "oddly liberating to be out in the real world."... Definitely a 19th century expression... The characters she meets on the train west include a black well-spoken ex-slave, a manly Englishwoman who has a feeling that they will be "spiffy good friends," a pair of Irish sisters who are, what else, "redheaded, freckle-faced identical twin [girls]," and a "large, boisterous, buxom rosy-cheeked [woman]" who likes to sing folksongs in a robust voice... This pseudo-historic pulp fiction western romance seems to have been written to cash in on the voracious reading appetites of women's book clubs.
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45 of 54 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Truely a one-star., March 18, 2006
This review is from: One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd (Paperback)
This novel was stunningly disappointing from the very beginning. Historical fiction is one my favorite genres. I find that well-written, well-researched historical fiction frequently fills in many of the gaps in my understanding of events and their periods. I often read general audience history books. From a purely reading-for-pleasure perspective I usually find historical novels enjoyable. Maybe all of this set my expectations unreasonably high.

I recently finished reading Robert Remini's "Andrew Jackson and His Indian Wars", a book with scores of pages describing General Jackson's treaty negotiations with Native Americans. Perhaps this was part of the reason that I found the opening scene of this book, a description of a treaty proposal from a Cheyenne chief to President Grant, bereft of any hint of authenticity. I pressed on through the first journal entry. The description of the heroine's experience in an eighteenth century mental hospital, as well as the initial development of the Mary Dodd character, while imaginative (thus earning the one star), are beyond my ability to suspend my disbelief.

Dismayed, I paged ahead to read other portions of the book, hoping to find a reason to read on. It only got worse with flat characterization and behaviors without credible motive. This novel jumps the shark on the first page and degenerates from there. Don't waste your time.
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One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd
One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd by Jim Fergus (Paperback - February 15, 1999)
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