Thursday, May 1, 2008
Book Review: 1000 White Women by Jim Fergus
*It's my goal to keep my reader's updated on books I've read, so I plan to make this the first of many reviews. Please share any opinions or suggestions for future reads.
Page count: 320 pages
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It took me awhile to actually pick this up, and I was uncharacteristically slow to read it, but I did enjoy it! It's written in the form of journal entries, by an unconventional young woman in the mid-1800s who has been committed to an insane asylum by her parents due to her choice to have two children out of wedlock. The narrator, May Dodd, chooses to participate in the Brides for Indians program, an agreement between the US Government under President Grant and the Cheyenne Indians, with the understanding that 1000 white US woman will be traded for 1000 horses. These women are expected to marry and conceive children with the Indian men. Obviously, it would difficult, especially considering the reputation of the "savages" at the time, to convince women to volunteer for the program. Therefore, the government offers freedom from asylums and jail to any woman interested in a Cheyenne husband. Jim Fergus, the author, writes a sensitive, poignant, harrowing account - so realistic that I had to continually remind myself that it was fiction! I recommend this novel to anyone interested in a woman's psyche, historical fiction, disenfranchised people, or nature.