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One Thousand White Women – Jim Fergus

Title: One Thousand White Women: The Journals of Mary Dodd

Author: Jim Fergus

Genre: Historical Fiction

Plot: Mary Dodd has been sent to the asylum in 1875 after being found with a man before she was married. She loved the man and had children with him. During this time, the government is setting up a deal with the Cherokee Native Americans. They hope for peace and want to send 1,000 women in exchange for that. A friend of Mary’s in the asylum, a nurse, helps Mary forge a letter supposedly written by her father and another by her doctor. The letters say Mary is a fit candidate for the program. Mary is accepted into the deal and is set to leave some time later. Mary sets out with a small portion of the other women under the protection of the US Army. Along the way, Mary befriends a captain and begin to fall in love. They part ways after a night of passion. The Cherokee meet them and the men want to see which ones they like the best. The women are prepared for a night of ceremony. Mary is chosen by the Cherokee chief and spend the night together. Slowly, the women grow accustomed to Cherokee life. They learn the language and customs. The women help translate for the Cherokee when they meet with the US Army. The longer the women stay there, the clearer it becomes that the US government doesn’t plan on completing their deal. As the women’s due date draw near, the Cherokee move to their winter grounds. They prepare a house for the women to give birth. But not long after the women, the US Army comes. They attack the Cherokee. Who will survive? Will anyone escape?

Rating: 3.5 – a good book about the US, Native American dealings during the westward expansion

Opinion: Overall, I enjoyed this book. I felt like it was well researched. Mary is a great leader and is sent away for being seemingly ahead of her time. She is kind and very willing to help others. Mary is allowed to help translate translations between men. She finds a high place among the Cherokee. I have always been intrigued by the differences between the lives of the white people and Native Americans. Women are allowed to do more and are held in a higher regard among the Native Americans than their white counterparts. In this way, Mary seems more adapted. She is annoyed by the ways of men after spending time among the Cherokee. She works hard to become integrated into the tribe. She learns the language quickly and does well. She seems like someone to aspire, too. The one thing I din’t love about this book was that the ending felt a little rushed. Everything went along at a steady pace until the end. The ending was a little confusing for me and confusing. Though what was happening was confusing, it can make sense from that point of view. It could’ve set up for the sequel, which I have yet to read. I enjoyed the book overall, so I plan on reading the sequel soon. This is a good historical fiction book about the clashes between the US Army and Native Americans. It’s a good read for those who enjoy historical fictions and learning about different parts of history.

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