One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd

Cover for One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Doddby Jim Fergus

United States. 320 pages. 1998.

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.

Click here for the reading group guide for One Thousand White Women.

About the Author:

Jim Fergus (born March 23, 1950; Chicago) is an American author and journalist.

He attended high school in Massachusetts and graduated as an English major from Colorado College in 1971. In 1980, he moved to the tiny town of Rand, Colorado (pop. 13), to begin his career as a full-time freelance writer. He was a contributing editor of Rocky Mountain Magazine, as well as a correspondent of Outside magazine. His articles, essays, interviews and profiles have appeared in a wide variety of national magazines and newspapers, including Newsweek, Newsday, The Denver Post, The Paris Review, Texas Monthly, Esquire, Fly Fisherman, Outdoor Life, and Field & Stream.

Fergus is the author of several works of nonfiction and two novels. One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd, his first, won the 1999 Fiction of the Year Award from the Mountains & Plains Booksellers Association.

He lives presently in southern Arizona.