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Showing 1-10 of 2,196 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 2,799 reviews
I bought this book at the suggestion of a friend. I've read many historical and fictional books about the Old West and settlers, and many other about Native Americans (I am Cherokee). I realize this was a fictional journal before I started reading, and thought the concept was interesting - a sort of mail-order bride goes to live among the Cheyenne as a cultural ambassador.

I did enjoy the descriptions of the prairie, daily life among the Cheyenne, and the sisterhood that formed among the other brides and the main character. What I didn't enjoy was the stereotypes of the characters. The women were all ethnic cliches: the large, lumbering Swiss woman; the African warrior princess; the haughty, racist Southern belle; the lesbian muleskinner; the redheaded, Irish criminal twins; etc. The main character, May Dodd, was tall, beautiful, smart, determined, strong, unflappable, supportive, a natural leader, and basically unbelievably perfect. She has a brief fling with a handsome, influential Army officer, then marries the chief of the village. The one character I really did like and find believable was the Catholic priest who lived in the village.

She and her fellow brides run roughshod over the village, breaking cultural taboos and even beating and shaming their men in public. From what I know of Native American culture, the older wives ran the tipi and the younger ones were meek and obedient. The men were not likely to tolerate a disobedient wife, especially one who barges into their sweat lodge and refuses to leave.

I was also distracted by the difficult-to-read font used for the non-English words and the accents of the non-American brides. The Swiss lady says "I vill go der yah You kom vid me!" Sometimes the curly font made it almost impossible to detect what was being said.

I thought the end of the book was a little rushed too. I wanted to know more about Wren, May's daughter, and about the years on the reservation. I will say that I'm glad the author didn't give us a romance novel happy ending. I was so afraid May was going to run away with the Army officer and live happily ever after. What happened was tragic but more true to our Pioneer history.

Overall it wasn't horrible, and I'm glad I read it, but I can't honestly recommend it to anyone who loves books with deep, complex characters or who want their historical fiction to be somewhat realistic. If you want a quick read in the vein of a romance novel, this isn't a bad one.
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on October 8, 2016
This book was just SO very wonderful. It is sort of an alternate history...a 'what if'... Fact, a Cheyenne chief in 1854, requested that the U.S. present the tribe with 1000 white women to be brides. Since Cheyenne children belong to the mother's tribe, this would enable children of the Cheyenne to become part of the White Man's world. The conference when this idea was present fell apart and NO wives were sent. But what if?
Women in that time in had little way to be independent Without a husband or family to support them... not much of a life. What if the proposal was secretly accepted and the gov't asked, secretly, for volunteers?
Now the story with characters so real, so rich, begins.
The main character, May Dodd, was one of the volunteers and kept a journal. She volunteered to escape life in an insane asylum...as did others. Many women were sent to asylums for reasons hard... nearly impossible... to believe today. Others were widows, former slaves, prisoners, adventure seekers, poor. Each one became totally, real to me - and I could not help but love each of them. I am stunned by Jim Fergus' ability to create so many women, each so very different from eachother, each so complete and detailed. Without effort, I came to know each of the women.

Then, on their travels, I saw the country in the 1860s and met soldiers, women passing as men, good and bad people, and saw the casual shooting of the 'endless' buffalo and other animals. Finally, they and I met the Cheyenne. I learned how they lived. Their lifestyle was described with rich detail - not as a 'noble savage' picture or as 'evil savage' - but as a complete way of life. With the women, I was able to grow in understanding - sometimes approval - sometimes anger.
Fergus tells the story of the wives, the husbands, love, sex, religion, danger, and politics. The discovery of gold in the Black Hills - land that the Cheyenne and other tribes had been promised would belong to them forever - changes everything.
Despite Jim Fergus making it clear that "One Thousand White Women" is a work of fiction - but the characters - they will become 100% real to you. They certainly did to me.
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on July 18, 2017
The writing is exceptional. I was greatly disappointed when I got to the end of the "novel" that this whole story was fiction. Perhaps I missed that in the beginning but I ordered the book thinking it was a true story. I wasted a lot of time researching varies treaties and other information because I really wanted to know the true history. Oh Well, it is a great read but I have since ordered an actual history of the Native Americans.
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on July 27, 2017
I walked into this one thinking the premise was legit. It took me like three pages to snap to the "fictional history" construct (alternate facts..?). But then I bought back in... It was just plausible enough and May Dodd was just appealing enough that I stepped onto the stage and played along with it. It was like The Underground Railroad in that there is just enough historical fact to make it feel authentic; and like the Handmaid's Tale it had enough realistic human drama and emotion to make it a good story independent of historical time. I had been delving into the classics and needed a break so I looked for something light and likable. This filled that bill and gave me change. Hey, I recommended it to my wife. What more you want?
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on December 30, 2016
I thought this was a real journal but it was a novel with some historical content. At the beginning, I wondered how a male could write in feminine voice but Mr. Fergus carried the narrative of the main character and her friends well. Read it with a open mind as I did and you may be walking in her shoes quickly and with awe at her adventures.
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on October 27, 2014
This is a fascinating story. IT IS A WORK OF FICTION! I honestly believed at first that it was true...so be aware up front. It is, however, a "what if" book, based on a real treaty request that was denied. What if one thousand white women were sent to live with and marry among the Cheyenne to promote better understanding between the US and the plains tribe?

The book is written in the form of a journal; May Dodd is chosen as one of the volunteers to participate in the US government's social experiment. These women volunteer for many reasons - to avoid prison, to leave asylums, for adventure, to escape spinsterhood. May records the experiences of this small, diverse group of completely unprepared group of women as they travel across the plains by train, meet their Cheyenne families, and live the harsh nomadic life of Plains Indians.

The author skillfully introduces the women and follows their stories of joy, pain, struggle, and growth through May Dodd's journaling. Simultaneously, he describes Plains Indian life of the 1800s with grace and realism. Adventure, suspense, mystery, and romance are interwoven smoothly into an unforgettable novel.

I was enthralled by this story, reading at every opportunity and sharing with my husband as I went along. It is an outstanding work, certainly should be classified as literature.
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on September 7, 2017
This historical novel is full of interesting and compelling details about life in the American west of the 1840s. It was at times gripping, painful, moving and thoroughly enjoyable. The author's comments at the end are surprising and further evidence of the talented writing and story telling he offers the reader. Aside from the predictable white man bashing, the depiction of events are engaging and provocative. The descriptions of Cheyenne values and behavior are sometimes shocking and somewhat stereotypical, but the reader quickly forgives this indulgence because the story is sufficiently fascinating and very entertaining. A good read and I highly recommend.
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on August 22, 2017
Read this quicker than many recent books as I was so intrigued. Although I had a few question marks pop up about how this happened and how May could have had the opportunity to write some of this, I totally believed it to have actually happened! Reading on my kindle, it wasn't til the end, that I found out it was all fiction. Somewhat relieved, but knowing darn well it may as well have been based on truth. This had been recommended to me in the past by a couple of people. I'm so glad I finally bought and read it. Just another insight to how Native Americans were lied to, disrespected, robbed and massacred by the glorious and righteous white man. Can't wait to get the sequel!
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on July 31, 2017
Many times in history leaders have to make decisions. Sometimes those decisions might seem obvious at the time, but with the passage of time it can be interesting to go back and explore what if a different decision had been made. How might things have turned out is what Mr. Fergus does in One Thousand White Women. A decision was made against the government providing white women to marry Cheyenne warriors, but what if the decision had been made in favor of that experiment? How might the white women have assimilated into the Native American culture? Today we may not think much about such interracial relationships, but in 19th-century America where the Indian wars were still prominent on the frontier, and Indians were regarded as heathen savages, the attitudes would've been very different. Mr. Fergus has really done some good research and made an interesting study with this book.
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on August 4, 2017
One Thousand White Women was a good book. Jim Fergus held my interest and well written. The story of Mae Dodd and her leaving a mental instution to marry a Cherokee Indian and have his children. The white women had a good bond, but worked hard. The Indian women does all the household chores and more. The Indian males job is to hunt for food. This arrangement was to set up by Presidnet Grant and traded 1000 White Women for a 1000 horses. Having children with these women was make the Cherokee tribe a mixed ethic nation. Mae Dodd kept a journal and wrote daily. Did this really happen? Read the book and find out.
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