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One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd
One Thousand White Women The Journals of May Dodd
Author: Jim Fergus
In 1874 the great Cheyenne chief, Little Wolf, had an idea to help his people assimilate into the new white culture. He asked President Ulysses S. Grant for "the gift of 1000 white women as wives." Since all children born in the Cheyenne culture become members of their mother's tribe, Little Wolf reasoned that as a result of these ...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780312199432
ISBN-10: 0312199430
Pages: 320
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.

3.9 stars, based on 690 ratings
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd on + 450 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 36
One of the best books I have read in a very long time. It was hard at times to remember that it is a work of fiction. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical works.
Set against the true historical facts of what the government under President Grant was doing to the native populations (broken treaties, half fulfilled or non fulfillment of promises and the discovery of gold in the sacred Black Hills) and the willingness of Generals like Crook and Custer to annihilate any "savage" who would not move to a reservation, a fictional story is told.
In the words of May Dodd, the black sheep daughter of a wealthy Chicago family who was in an insane asylum as a result of what her family called a perverted personality, the story is told of what might have happened if white women had been asked to marry with the native population in an effort to make peace. This is a compelling story and plays out very well against the historical facts of the years 1874-1876 in the Indian Territories of NE, WY and SD.
extensivereading avatar reviewed One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd on + 5 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 27
The sign of an amazing novel is that its content can address harsh topics such as rape, murder, infanticide and betrayal yet still be remembered fondly and soberly. It was difficult to read, true, but I could not put it down - the unfailing courage and difficult choices continued to surprise and capture me.

All the characters were highly satisfactory - none were god-like in quality but the evil were evil and the good simply humans with real, understandable faults. By focusing much of the perspective on May, the struggles between the Cheyenne and the "whites" were truly portrayed without bias. Fergus sugarcoats nothing, preferring to illustrate each civilization as fully as possible, and leave it to the reader to lay or reserve judgment.

I picked this book up without knowing what its subject matter would be - there was no summary on the back - but it immediately stole my attention, keeping me engrossed until its end.

If you choose to read this, be prepared for a heavy but extremely memorable read.

Highly recommended.
bothrootes avatar reviewed One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd on + 207 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 22
I found this book to be extremely interesting. In May Dodd's words, in referring to her wedding night to an Indian chief "Yes, I think that's a fine way of putting it. Like this whole adventure, a dream that's actually happening." May, a socialite from Chicogo, finds herself institutionalized by her family for promiscuity for marrying and having children with a man "below her status". At the same time a deal has been struck by the U.S. government to civilize the Indian population through trading 1,000 white women for 1,000 horses so that the Indian population, through having children with white women will be tamed and become civilized. May agrees to become an Indian bride to escape the horrors of the asylum. Her optimizim through it all gives us a unique insight into the Indian culture of the late 1800s. I enjoyed the book and recommend it highly.
paigu avatar reviewed One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd on + 120 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 14
Am I the only one who absolutely HATED this book? I would give it negative stars if possible. No surprise this was written by a man because his female protagonist is such a cliche...the rebellious, "modern" woman who is shunned by early 20th century society because she LOVES the wrong man. Not to mention the other cliched women featured in this book, including the proud black Amazon-like former slave (who becomes a proud black Amazon-like warrior among the Indian braves), and the battered and abused girl-child who thrives out West (and of course is the first to die).
This is an unbelievably, soft and fuzzy harlequin version of the American Indians. I cannot believe the men of the tribe would tolerate some of the behaviour of the white women (in one chapter, May Dodd bursts into a tentful of naked Indian males in their traditional males-only steam tent, just to show "she can"). Also, after May gives birth to a clearly Caucasian baby (she had an affair with one of the soldiers) her Indian chief husband is absurdly HAPPY??? and acts like he doesn't know he's been cuckolded.
I wish I'd passed on reading this book.
taaza avatar reviewed One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd on + 56 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 9
This story was interesting and easy to get into, however, I have read several other books on this locale and time period (including The Captured by Scott Zesch) and I often found parts of the white women's freedom and goddess-like treatment by the Cheyenne unrealistic. That being said, the originality of this story, the touching ending and May's strength of character and quick intelligence made this a worthwhile, memorable novel. I'm rating this down a point for the hard-to-believe passages.
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smileen avatar reviewed One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd on + 215 more book reviews
Just finished reading this for book club. What a fascinating story. It was hard to believe this book, based on the journals of a white woman who volunteered for a government program to marry within the Cheyenne Indian community and have their children, was a work of fiction. The list of characters in this story was simply amazing! Each one with their own story and personality. I loved every minute of the book!!
reviewed One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd on
Loved. Was immediately intrigued, and hated to put it down. Our bookclub read it, we all enjoyed it.
reviewed One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd on + 3 more book reviews
Great book about a part of American History that I did not know about. Even though the story is fictional the basis of it showed how the American Indian was badly mistreated by the US Government.
reviewed One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd on + 1406 more book reviews
May Dodd is a fictional heroine who has been put into an asylum because she chose to live with a man she loved without marriage. Employed by her father, he was viewed by her family as beneath their status. Her life changes when in the middle of the night men swoop down on her, kidnap her and her two children, and put May into the asylum for her behavior. When the government offers her freedom if she signs up for a program to become wives of Cheyenne Indians, she leaps at the chance. It is apparently true that this suggestion came from the tribe to help assimilate them into white culture but it was never accepted. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the author's take on "what if."

I did find the means by which May is freed hard to believe when she forges a note from her father for her release. Yes, May is depicted as a larger than life individualist who leads the group of women participating in the program. Her human failings seem to be few but her sense of fairness and commitment are admired by all she meets. Why not? After all this is fiction.

The attitude of people about Indians, warped by tall tales of their more gruesome activities, is demonstrated by settlers and military men alike. It is generally assumed that all Indians are alike without respect to tribal differences. The author does a marvelous job of depicting prairie scenery and goes in depth about life within the Cheyenne tribe, differences between genders and the nomadic life they led. It's a most interesting read and I found the ending quite appropriate for a novel written about this period in our history.
reviewed One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd on
Great book! Better than i would have ever expected, and highly recommend!
MSW2b avatar reviewed One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd on
I anticipated this book and was disappointed. There I liked about the book a lot and things that I found hard to get past. Disliked--stereotypes ie: southerners name Daisy Lovelace, woman that studied birds : Helen Flight, Christian bigot Narcissa White. Main character appeared to be a very modern 21st century woman versus a woman of the 1870's. Her language was not vastly different than mine. Liked: general writing style, discussion of Native American culture and American history.

I enjoyed the book overall- but had a hard time with May's attitude. Wish her verbiage was more reflective of the time.


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