Friday, August 22, 2014

"One Thousand White Women," by Jim Fergus

"One Thousand White Women," by Jim Fergus
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 into the white man's world. Toward that end May and her friends embark upon the adventure of their lifetime. Jim Fergus has so vividly depicted the American West that it is as if these diaries are a capsule in time.

I think my one big regret for this book is it is fiction and therefore Mary Dodd's journal's are not real.  I so wanted Mary and her friends to be actual people who actually lived in the late 1800's, as each one of them felt like "real" people that you would want to know and love.  I enjoyed the way the author brought each character to life, and if I had to chose a favourite it would have to be the English woman Helen Elizabeth Flight.  However each and every one of those women were so strong and courageous it would have been an honour to have known them.

I personally do not know much about the Cheyenne Indians, so this touched upon some things that taught me something.  I would love to read more about this era and this area of the world.  It is suggested in the book that the Cheyenne Indian men treat their women a lot better than other tribes?  Was this true?  Regardless the women worked so hard to keep them all "afloat," during these hard times.  This book also touches on how the American Government promised the Indians one thing then did another.  I know indigenous people all over the world have been through the same situation; glad it was mentioned here.

Stars out of 5 : 5 I loved this book and couldn't put it down.  I had to know what happened next.  If you do decide to read this book; and I hope you do, please read it all including the epilogue, and the Reading Group Gold Selection.  All very interesting what is written there.

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