One Thousand White Women door Jim Fergus


Wat is er zo bijzonder aan dit boek? Dat het door een man geschreven is, is niet bijzonder. Veel boeken zijn door een man geschreven. Dit boek is geen liefdesroman. Je zou het een geschiedenisroman kunnen noemen. En een opmerkelijk boek want het is een verzonnen verhaal. Echter zo goed en levensecht beschreven dat er mensen zijn die niet kunnen geloven dat het niet echt gebeurd is. Nu is het wel zo dat Jim Fergus heel veel levensechte feiten uit de geschiedenis in dit boek verwerkt heeft. Maar het verhaal van May Dodd, gebaseerd op haar dagboeken (die nooit bestaan hebben) is dus wel degelijk verzonnen. Het boek is al uit 1998 maar wordt nog steeds opnieuw uitgegeven.

Dan zie je ook hoe belangrijk recensies kunnen zijn want de twee recensies die ik over dit boek las maken dat ik het direct wil lezen. Ik zet ze hieronder. Ze komen bij Amazon vandaan.

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.

This book is so well written you will believe it is true. I have never read anything quite like it. The premise is based on an honest request made at a peace conference by a Cheyenne Indian Chief in the year 1854 to trade white women for horses. The women would become brides and the children of these unions would make assimilation into the white mans society easier for the Indians who astutely saw the future at hand, and were looking for a peaceful solution. The author assures us that in real life this never took place, but in this book it does, and the story that follows is nothing but magnificent.
May Dodd has been locked away in an insane asylum for her so called indecent behavior, a bright and cultured woman who has taken up with a common factory worker her parents will not accept, followed by two children born out of wed lock. It is May, who through an act of desperation, manipulates her way into the “Brides for Horses” campaign. The journals that she keeps throughout her adventure are the making of this story. Articulate and interesting in her views of life on the plains among the so-called savages, she starts to realize just how warm and accepting a people they are.

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