Title: One Thousand White Women
Author: Jim Fergus
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
# of Pages: 320
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, describe the adventures of some very colorful white brides (including one black one), their marriages to Cheyenne warriors, and the natural abundance of life on the prairie before the final press of the white man's civilization. Fergus is gifted in his ability to portray the perceptions and emotions of women. He writes with tremendous insight and sensitivity about the individual community and the political and religious issues of the time, many of which are still relevant today. This book is artistically rendered with meticulous attention to small details that bring to life the daily concerns of a group of hardy souls at a pivotal time in U.S. history. Grace Fill
I did not like this book. I don't know why I have this tendency to dislike books that everyone else seems to like! I thought that May Dodd was a "Mary Sue" character- one who apparently had no flaws, so that every guy fell in love with her and every woman wanted to be her (how annoying. I don't want to be her.) I also found the rest of the characters to be stereotypical and dull.
And the many, many racist comments made were very hard for me to swallow. I'm all about historical accuracy in a novel. I understand that it is important. However, it is one thing to have horrible words come out of people's mouths, and another entirely to consistently portray groups of people in keeping with these horrible words. It just seemed that Fergus created people to get across a somewhat vague premise, and I don't think it worked well at all. After 150 pages of hearing Native Americans referred to repeatedly as savages and in even more derogatory ways, with no discernible impact on the plot or the people, I just couldn't handle it any more and just had to put the book down.