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One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd

(One Thousand White Women #1)

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  118,051 ratings  ·  9,050 reviews
One Thousand White Women is the story of May Dodd and a colorful assembly of pioneer women who, under the auspices of the U.S. government, travel to the western prairies in 1875 to intermarry among the Cheyenne Indians. The covert and controversial "Brides for Indians" program, launched by the administration of Ulysses S. Grant, is intended to help assimilate the Indians i ...more
Paperback, 434 pages
Published February 15th 1999 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published March 15th 1998)
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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, G…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 The plan was actually true...but went no further beyond early discussions. Public too horrified.
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Start your review of One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd (One Thousand White Women, #1)
Dec 21, 2008 rated it it was ok
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.

Disgruntled Reader

OK, that was a bit harsh and if for some reason Mr. Fergus is reading t
Dec 07, 2010 rated it did not like it
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
Elyse  Walters
Mary Dodd's crime was falling in love with a common man. After being committed to an insane asylum...she was given the opportunity to "escape" by enlisting in the BFI program. [Brides for Indians].... a secret government program.

This program NEVER REALLY HAPPENED IN OUR HISTORY.....the idea was tossed around and tossed out. FOR DAMN GOOD REASONS!!!

So... the MAJORITY of this book is FICTION. I read 98 pages --then skipped around reading - then jumped ahead and read the last 50 pages which includ
Dec 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 25, 2009 rated it did not like it
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
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
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
Dec 23, 2008 rated it did not like it
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
Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~*
At a peace conference at Fort Laramie in 1854, a prominent 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 nove
Amy Sheridan
Sep 11, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Aug 28, 2007 rated it it was ok
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
If you read the top reviews, however good the total rating is, you'll see the book has kinda bad reputation, and lemme tell you : it earned it. All of it. What a fuckin sham this book is.

I think this is the book I hated the most this year. Actually, more than that, it angered me until I couldn't take it anymore and basically threw it across the room. I want to burn the piece of garbage.

The plot promised me strong and independent women, I got a bunch of clichés :
-the swiss shehulk with bowling ba
Aug 21, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommended to Elizabeth by: Book Club
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 11, 2012 rated it really liked it

This is an excellent novel about an 1800's government program to send 1000 white women to marry into the Cheyenne Indian tribe in exchange for 1000 horses.

The plan is for the Caucasian-Indian couples to have children, which will theoretically promote peace between Indians and settlers.

Most of the women in the program are volunteers from prisons and insane asylums, though the dozen or so females in the story are 'nice girls' who got locked up due to unfortunate circumstances.

The novel is compo
Nov 20, 2007 rated it liked it
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
May 08, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
Loved the is in journal form and tells of how the government asked the American Indians to trade one thousand white women for horses...their main reason was to "civilize" the Indians and make them aware of and become familiar with the white people's way of life.

Very interesting book...topic not as bad as it sounds.
May 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommended to TL by: Paperbackswap
3.5 stars... an interesting look at "what could have happened" if history had gone a little differently .

Hard to get fully into at first, but still fascinating. When it did pull me in, I was hooked.. dragged a bit near the end but was never boring (part of that may have been me having an idea or two of what was happening and dreading it too)

The way May's journal entries are written, it feels like you have gone back in time and catching a glimpse of a forgotten past. It feels like I could have b
Mary Helene
Aug 17, 2007 rated it did not like it
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
Oct 14, 2018 rated it did not like it
DNF- Page 200... I have to stop reading this book. I can be away from it for months and not think about it.... I am sure that is a bad sign to any book... I've been skimming it and have not missed a single thing going on... I really really wanted to like this book. The title and cover were interesting to me & May Dodd was a real life relative to the author; yet Fergus couldn't get the story to be cohesive. I would have liked that May Dodd had her own personal story instead of the gov't sending 1 ...more
Mar 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.

Nov 10, 2012 rated it it was ok
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'
Jul 18, 2007 rated it did not like it
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
Apr 11, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Mar 12, 2019 rated it really liked it

“I, personally, have resolved never to display weakness, to be always strong and firm and forthright, to show neither fear nor uncertainty-- no matter how fearful and uncertain I may be inside; I see no other way to survive this ordeal.”

I really enjoyed this book. I have been meaning to read it for years. It is a fictional story written in the form of a series of journals about a true event that occurred in 1854, when Chief Little Wolf, of the Cheyenne Tribe met with US President Uly
Jennifer Love
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
Jun 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Katie B
According to the author, at a peace conference in 1854, a Cheyenne Indian chief asked U.S. Army authorities for the gift of 1000 women. The idea was these women would become the brides of young Indian warriors and produce offspring which would lead to assimilation into the white man's world. This request was not well received and declined. In this fictional book however, President Ulysses S. Grant agrees to the proposal and women from different backgrounds are sent out west to become wives. The ...more
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
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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

Other books in the series

One Thousand White Women (3 books)
  • The Vengeance of Mothers (One Thousand White Women #2)
  • Strongheart: The Lost Journals of May Dodd and Molly McGill (One Thousand White Women, #3)

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