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

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3.87  ·  Rating Details  ·  79,194 Ratings  ·  6,348 Reviews
This is an ACE for ISBN 0312199430.
Paperback, 302 pages
Published 1998 by St Martin's Griffin
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Elizabeth Ulysses S. Grant was a president, but he wasn't a drunk like the book portrays him. Andrew Jackson was the Indian killer (Trail of Tears). Actually,…moreUlysses S. Grant was a president, but he wasn't a drunk like the book portrays him. Andrew Jackson was the Indian killer (Trail of Tears). Actually, Grant suffered from severe migraines, but the troops chalked it up to hangovers. Those closest to Grant said he was a sober man and didn't drink. Grant did try to initiate Peace Policies with tribes, and replaced cruel Indian Agents with Christian Missionaries. Not that it was a major improvement, but he wasn't quite as horrible as the book would have the reader believe.(less)
Karen McCready The plan was actually true...but went no further beyond early discussions. Public too horrified.
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Daniel
Jan 12, 2009 Daniel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club, 2009
Dear May Dodd,

I received your letter of 20 January 1876, accompanied by portions of your journal, and, in short, I'm not falling for it. They sound like they were written sometime in the 1990s, and probably by a man. While I found many reasons to come to this conclusion, the biggest giveaways were your obsession with penis size and the fact that your signature was followed by an AOL e-mail address.

Sincerely,
Disgruntled Reader

OK, that was a bit harsh and if for some reason Mr. Fergus is reading t
...more
Sara
This is somewhat erroneously in my "read" shelf. I did not finish reading it, so keep that in mind as far as this review goes. I applaud the author's project - historical fiction disguised as history proper (I tend to love things like that), it is a well-researched story told via the faux journals of a 19th-century white woman who went to live among the Cheyenne. My problem with this book is essentially that I did not ever buy the voice in which it is told - this problem has two tiers: First, it ...more
Hazel
I like historical fiction. I appreciate writers who take the time to research their stories well. I like to think that I'm catching up on some of the history I missed as the same time as enjoying a good read. I like journals and memoirs. And I jump at the chance to see history from the perspective of those who are usually written out of the history books. So I was quite enthusiastic when I heard about this novel which is written in the form of the journal of a nineteenth-century Yankee woman liv ...more
Jessica
Dec 22, 2010 Jessica rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2010, fiction
Author: I have this book I want to publish.
Publisher: Okay, let me make sure it has what we are looking for in a book. After all, the bulk of your previous writing experience appears to be for an outdoors magazine. Correct?
Author: Yes that is correct.
Publisher: Okay, is your book an attempt to write from a woman’s point of view?
Author: Yes!
Publisher: Fantastic, do you have the slightest clue or insight into women’s thoughts or emotions?
Author: Nope.
Publisher: Great! Is your book riddled with wom
...more
Chaybyrd
Jan 16, 2012 Chaybyrd rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2012
First let me say, it seems among GR readers that this book stinks. And I get the criticism, I do. However, I have to say that I found this an enjoyable read.

Yes, the voice of Ms. Dodd, our heroine, protagonist, would be feminist (well sort of pseudo feminist) - does sound more 20th Century and less like a believable 19th Century even 'modern' woman but honestly, it kind of made the book more readable to me. I have no interest in hearing a modern writer trying to trifle through old English in a
...more
Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~*
At a peace conference at Fort Laramie in 1854,a prominet northern Cheyenne Chief requested of the US army the gift of one thousand white women as brides for his young warriors. Although this was an actual historical event,the story of May Dodd and her journals is entirely a work of fiction by the author. The Cheyenne's request was not well received by the white authorities,and the peace conference collapsed and the Cheyenne's were actually sent home. The white women did not go. But in this novel ...more
Caroline
Once upon a time, there was an Cheyenne chief called Little Wolf and a drunken US President named Ulysses S. Grant. After Grant made a horrible fool of himself by being a white guy, Little Wolf was like, "Look, we're matrilineal, so why not just let us have some white ladies to marry and procreate with? We don't even need cool white ladies. You can give us the nice ugly ones. And the pretty crazy ones. But not the crazy ugly ones because that seems like a bit much." And thus the Brides for India ...more
MacDuff
Sep 13, 2007 MacDuff rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who can overlook history
Shelves: booksreadin2007
This book was really disappointing.

The premise begins with a re-telling of the proposed "Brides for Indians" pact that went on in 1854, when a whole host of Cheyenne Native Americans came into DC and asked for 1000 white women to take back to the prairie. Their idea was that by impregnating the women, they'd put the Native American seed into Caucasian culture and thus assimilate it.

Ok, so that never happened. But for Jim Fergus, he lets his imagination roll with the idea that it did. Enter May
...more
cherishwit
Jul 23, 2008 cherishwit rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite a good read.

From Booklist, by Grace Fill

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, de
...more
Chellis
Jan 10, 2009 Chellis rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
If this book was not assigned to me for my book club, I wouldn't have wasted my time to read it. Not only is Fergus' novel, overly sentimental, historically inaccurate, misogynistic, it is racist towards Native Americans. AND it's all told in my least favorite method of narration: the journal entry. Chapters will often begin with, "So much has happened since my last entry, I don't know where to begin...." This is an easy tool to push time forward, and overdone in poorly written novels.

Fergus' n
...more
Elizabeth
Aug 21, 2008 Elizabeth rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Elizabeth by: Book Club
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michelle
Nov 25, 2007 Michelle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookclub
I have to agree with several of the previous reviewers... GREAT premise (exchange of 1,000 white women for peace - an offer actually made, but declined by Grant) and interesting insight into Native American culture. However, I had some of the same gripes as previous reviewers. For one, I thought the writing was very mediocre, it was abound with cliches. If the narrator referred to one more person being "rough around the edges" I was going to scream. Not to mention "he made my skin crawl." And, a ...more
Kkop12
Mar 31, 2012 Kkop12 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookclub
So I liked the entire book, especially the main character. However, I was a bit bummed by the end. And I even had a little trouble figuring out who the characters were in the final pages (lineage). But what a well written book. I had never read a book about Indians, and while I am sure it only scratched the surface of their customs and way of life, it did present a lot of information about them. In the end though, it was ironic that the main character was unable to identify with either the India ...more
Jennifer
The friend who loaned me this book raved about it, and I really trust her opinion. However, I just couldn't love this book. It is an interesting topic-it's based on a true bit of history, when the Native Americans and the U.S. were trying to integrate, and the Native Americans requested 1000 of American white women to help the process and have their children. Of course, Grant turned it down, but this book is a fictional account of what might have been. It was an extremely interesting idea, and I ...more
Mary Helene
Nov 13, 2007 Mary Helene rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It's a bodice-ripper! It took me to page 80 to figure that out and then I laughed aloud. Tana recommended it to me, and I usually value her recommendations, but I forgot that this is a genre she finds fun. I was just so disappointed. This book would appeal to those who like the "Outlander" series. There is the heroine who has no faults or failings but who is consistently misunderstood. There are evil characters lurking on the edges, but she feels safe in the arms of a series of fantastic heroes ...more
Erica
Apr 12, 2008 Erica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Why did I read this book? Two words: book club.

Yes, after a lifetime of avoiding book clubs, perhaps its fitting that in my latest job one of my tasks is to lead a book club. And guess what the first title is?

On the plus side, it was a quick read. An amalgamation of cliches and trite characters (Noble Native Americans, uptight white people, a former slave who not only sings and dances good but is also the fastest runner in the tribe!), this is a basic tale of 1875, as the last Native Americans w
...more
Christa
Jan 11, 2009 Christa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd is a very interesting and original book. In 1854 a Cheyenne chief proposed a plan to exchange 1000 horses for 1000 white brides for his warriors. The plan was rejected, but Fergus basis his fictional novel on a similar situation set in 1875. In the novel, the Cheyenne are promised 1000 white brides, and May Dodd, resident of an insane asylum, is one of the women selected. The character May Dodd was a strong woman and her story was compelling.

187
...more
Amy Sheridan
Sep 14, 2011 Amy Sheridan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
If I were a member of the Cheyenne tribe featured in this book, my Indian name would be Couldn't-Finish-The-Book. If Jim Fergus were a member of the tribe, his Indian name would be Has-Never-Spoken-To-A-Woman-For-Any-Amount-Of-Time because... really. Oh, and the Indian name of this book would be Fail-Order-Brides.

I will start off by saying that I've never been a fan of historical fiction or books written as journals, but the premise of this book piqued my interest. I wasn't even slightly put off
...more
Rachel
Jul 23, 2008 Rachel rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
I fear I'm going to be overly harsh on this book. First, this book took me 3 months to read, which is nearly unheard of, especially for ~300 pages. I kept wanting to just stop reading, but I wanted to finish it so I could say I finished it.
The basic story of the book I think is intriguing and could be the basis for a really good book if done correctly. I just think the author missed terribly here. The book is bogged down by dialogue, and crappy dialogue at that. He felt it necessary to write con
...more
Tania
3.5 stars.
In 1874 The Cheyenne Chief Little Wolf approached President Ulysses Grant with the proposal to trade 1000 white women for 1000 horses, an offer refused by the government. The premise in Jim Fergus' book is that the government decided to secretly send these women.
Initially I didn't like May, I found her behaviour very unlikely for the time, but as I read further I realized that to accept the offer and live the life she did, she would have to be someone that didn't tow the line. This was
...more
MAP
1.5 stars.

This is another one of those disappointing books where the idea is really neat and the execution is incredibly bad. The main issue is how flawed the writing of the characters is. For one thing, he seems to confuse people having accents for people having personalities. There are Irish accents, southern accents, German accents. And he WRITES OUT the accents, which is supremely annoying. (He also sporadically writes things in French and then doesn't translate them.) On top of that, there'
...more
Kiri
A well written and lively "alter-verse" (if you will) Historical Fiction re-telling of the proposed "Brides for Indians" pact of September 1874, when the heads of the Cheyenne tribes, including Chief Little Wolf (the Sweet Medicine Chief) and others, journeyed to Washington D.C. with a proposal for President Ulysses S. Grant. They presented their plan to give the government one thousand horses in exchange for one thousand white women. Hoping to end the fighting between the white man and Indians ...more
Lois
Jun 20, 2008 Lois rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating look at life among the Cheyenne Indians in 1874 from the perspective of a white woman who is part of a US govt. program to assimilate the natives. The landscape is perfectly described and family and communal life is portrayed in great detail in a supposed journal with accompanying letters and bibliography. It appears to be well researched, but my problem with this kind of historical fiction is always wondering just how much IS true (were the Indians really THAT brutal?) The too-goo ...more
Melodie
An actual event is the premise for this story set in the late 1800s. But what actually happened doesn't at all resemble what the author puts forth.As the white man encroached on the land of the native people, treaty after treaty was made and broken. A delegation led by Cheyenne leader, Little Wolf met with then President Grant to try to once again come to an understanding that would allow the native people to maintain their land and lifestyle. Basically, in exchange for residing on a specified ...more
Sharon
5* Rating

If I didn’t know before hand that this book was a work of fiction, it would have been easy to think otherwise.

The Intro:

(1996) by J. Will Dodd, editor in chief of Chicago’s city magazine and great-grandson of the (h) May Dodd, writes very convincingly. Thru the years rumors had circulated within the ‘family’ about the “crazy woman”, born 1850, hospitalized at 23 for a nervous disorder, then died in the asylum in 1876. Ancestral insanity, an embarrassment, was a well kept hidden little
...more
Jenni
Apr 14, 2011 Jenni rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I honestly enjoyed this interesting take on history and think the main point of the book was missed by many of the reviewers. Yes the main character, May Dodd, is a strong woman ahead of her times in certain cultural areas. But the book is a wonderful account of and tribute to the Cheyenne people before they were forced to live on a reservation. It is a captivating read of their daily life, connection to their surroundings, and in many case, higher moral standards than their white "civilized" co ...more
Jen

Deep Breath. This book, which was a selection for my local women's book club, was a real disappointment.



The premise was great, as many other reviews have stated, creative and fascinating. "Primitive"/ "civilized", matriarchy/patriarchy/fraternity...all these concepts interested me. My expectations rose accordingly and then nose dived after a dozen or so journaled entries. Although I am not a historical fiction snob where everything has to be just right, this book stuck me as very Louis L'Amour f

...more
Rebecca
I keep forgetting to review this book. I think because I'm not quite sure what to make of it. The next time you're browsing in a bookstore pick it up just to read the kick-ass premise in the prologue. You probably don't need to bother with the rest. I didn't find it as trite or cliche as other readers. It's just that you can tell the experiment is doomed from the beginning and the storytelling isn't so revelatory that it's worth investing yourself in the poor characters.

Other thoughts.

1. I did l
...more
Lewis Weinstein
This book was a delight.

The premise for the novel is based on an actual historical event: The chief of the Cheyenne Indians asks President Grant to provide 1,000 white brides to produce children who will help integrate the Indians into their changing world (1875). In real life, this request is denied; in the book, it is accepted.

Granted that the premise is fragile, but once you accept it, the story follows the consequences with intelligence, humor and pathos, portraying a variety of women who r
...more
Debbie
Apr 28, 2008 Debbie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Debbie by: Emily Robidart
One of my favorite books of all time. Its basically a fictional account if the true story of an offer from the indians to the US government had actually occurred. The deal was to trade 1,000 white women for horses. Getting these women of course meant going to prisons, brothels, insane asylums and more, so the characters are varied, and quite interesting. It is told through the main character May and takes you through the experiences of these women living with the Indians, who of course cannot co ...more
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18854
Jim Fergus was born in Chicago on March 23, 1950. He attended high school in Massachusetts and graduated as an English major from Colorado College in 1971. He has traveled extensively and lived over the years in Colorado, Florida, the French West Indies, Idaho, France, and Arizona. For ten years he worked as a teaching tennis professional in Colorado and Florida, and in 1980 moved to the tiny town ...more
More about Jim Fergus...

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“Don't you know that I laugh because it is my last defense against tears?
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“...how odd to think of one's life not as chapters in a book but as complete volumes, separate and distinct.
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