My friend Christie loaned me this book right before we left for our road trip and the timing could not have been more perfect. We were spending time around Wyoming and actually visiting or driving by places this book talks about.
My book-loving heart could hardly handle it.
One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus is a fictional account of May Dodd and her story as one of a handful of woman traded to the Cheyenne Indians in hopes of helping them acclimate to white society. During a time when white people were claiming land as their own, our government had to do something with the “Indian problem” and President Grant secretly accepted a deal with a Cheyenne chief to trade women for horses to help the Indians become more civilized. (The offer from the Cheyenne chief is historically accurate, but the deal was, obviously, denied. This book takes up the story as if it was accepted.)
One Thousand White Women is SO engaging and interesting. Fergus is a beautiful writer and vividly captures the setting and tells a powerful story. I could not stop reading this book and if you’re looking for your next book club read that will give you approximately one million things to talk about, this would be a good one.
The ending breaks your heart and makes you question so many ways our government and early settlers treated Native Americans. I already had some struggles with that part of our history, but this book brings up even more hard realities. If you could read One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus while traveling the west, I highly recommend it. Or just stay on the couch, you’ll love it either way.