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Captivity of the Oatman Girls (Classics of the Old West)

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The story of the Oatman girls, Olive and Mary Ann, is one of the most famous accounts of the abduction of white women by indigenous Indians in the annals of the history of the American western frontier. The Oatman's, led by their patriarch Royce, were a family of nine. Members of the Mormon faith, they had become dissenters of Brigham Young's leadership and allying themsel The story of the Oatman girls, Olive and Mary Ann, is one of the most famous accounts of the abduction of white women by indigenous Indians in the annals of the history of the American western frontier. The Oatman's, led by their patriarch Royce, were a family of nine. Members of the Mormon faith, they had become dissenters of Brigham Young's leadership and allying themselves with James Brewster and his 'Brewsterites' resolved to move to California in 1850. The original substantial wagon-train they had formed for security split as a result of disagreements within the party and the group to which the Oatman's belonged further fragmented until the family were left travelling alone, against all advice, in hostile Indian territory. On the banks of the Gila River (in present day Arizona) the family were attacked by Indians and all were slaughtered with the exception of two girls, aged 13 and 7 years, who were abducted and a brother. Their brother Lorenzo was felled by a club blow, presumed dead by the assailants, and left among the corpses of his mother, father and siblings, but he regained consciousness and eventually found his way to safety. The girl's captors, Tolkepayas or Yavapais, kept the girls in slavery for a period then sold them to Mohave Apaches. The story of the ordeals of the Oatman girls has inspired fiction and works of history alike. Olive Oatman's face, with its distinctive tattoo has all but become a western icon. Written during the 1850s this book became a bestseller of its day. This Leonaur edition is available in in softcover and hardback with dustjacket or collectors.


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The story of the Oatman girls, Olive and Mary Ann, is one of the most famous accounts of the abduction of white women by indigenous Indians in the annals of the history of the American western frontier. The Oatman's, led by their patriarch Royce, were a family of nine. Members of the Mormon faith, they had become dissenters of Brigham Young's leadership and allying themsel The story of the Oatman girls, Olive and Mary Ann, is one of the most famous accounts of the abduction of white women by indigenous Indians in the annals of the history of the American western frontier. The Oatman's, led by their patriarch Royce, were a family of nine. Members of the Mormon faith, they had become dissenters of Brigham Young's leadership and allying themselves with James Brewster and his 'Brewsterites' resolved to move to California in 1850. The original substantial wagon-train they had formed for security split as a result of disagreements within the party and the group to which the Oatman's belonged further fragmented until the family were left travelling alone, against all advice, in hostile Indian territory. On the banks of the Gila River (in present day Arizona) the family were attacked by Indians and all were slaughtered with the exception of two girls, aged 13 and 7 years, who were abducted and a brother. Their brother Lorenzo was felled by a club blow, presumed dead by the assailants, and left among the corpses of his mother, father and siblings, but he regained consciousness and eventually found his way to safety. The girl's captors, Tolkepayas or Yavapais, kept the girls in slavery for a period then sold them to Mohave Apaches. The story of the ordeals of the Oatman girls has inspired fiction and works of history alike. Olive Oatman's face, with its distinctive tattoo has all but become a western icon. Written during the 1850s this book became a bestseller of its day. This Leonaur edition is available in in softcover and hardback with dustjacket or collectors.

30 review for Captivity of the Oatman Girls (Classics of the Old West)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Faye

    WOW. Do you believe white Christians are the possessors of all virtue and aboriginals are lazy, savage, and useless? Unless you do, you will be highly uncomfortable with this eloquently written piece of racist crap. Normally, one sympathizes with the captives, but I found it impossible in this case. Sure, the narrators have some reasons for being so hateful, but this reads like the anti-Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West. My library's description says "this inc WOW. Do you believe white Christians are the possessors of all virtue and aboriginals are lazy, savage, and useless? Unless you do, you will be highly uncomfortable with this eloquently written piece of racist crap. Normally, one sympathizes with the captives, but I found it impossible in this case. Sure, the narrators have some reasons for being so hateful, but this reads like the anti-Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West. My library's description says "this incredible account of love, perseverance, and determination will thrill any adventure fan, while also appealing to historians and students of Native American culture." NOT! The only appeal this book has is as an shameful description of "what were they thinking?" back in the bad old days. Any students of Native American culture would be horrified to find these insults continue to exist in a modern repository of information and learning without a large-font disclaimer. If there was to be an audio-book burning at my library, I would throw this one at the top of the heap.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Angel

    Olive Oatman and her younger sister were young Mormon girls that were captured by Apache Indians and later given to the Mohaves. Olive is strong and is the first recorded woman that is tattooed by her tribe. In her narrative, she speaks of the good and the bad of living with Indians and eventually becoming part of the tribe. Eventually, she is reunited with her brother whom she thought was dead and is traded back to her white civilization. After her ordeal of 5 years in captivity, she narrates t Olive Oatman and her younger sister were young Mormon girls that were captured by Apache Indians and later given to the Mohaves. Olive is strong and is the first recorded woman that is tattooed by her tribe. In her narrative, she speaks of the good and the bad of living with Indians and eventually becoming part of the tribe. Eventually, she is reunited with her brother whom she thought was dead and is traded back to her white civilization. After her ordeal of 5 years in captivity, she narrates this book along with going on a US tour of telling her story. While this is supposed to be a personal narrative,the author, Stratton, filters out any reference to her religion and in fact, her family had left the Mormon church due to her parents decision that Brigham Young was not the prophet and that they should venture to CA instead. This story takes on a very non denominational Christian feel so that possibly more people could relate? It is in the series of Captivity Narratives where Indians were all heathens and white Christians were all god fearing and pious. For a balanced view of this book, red Emigrant Song by Margot Mifflin.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Darrell

    "Just as the sun was gladdening the clear west, and throwing its golden farewells upon the innumerable peaks that stretched into a forest of mountains gradually rising until they seemed to lean against the sun clad shoulders of the Rocky Range, imparadising the whole plain and mountain country in its radiant embrace, [etc., etc.]" (page 2) Captivity of the Oatman Girls: Being an Interesting Narrative of Life Among the Apache and Mohave Indians by R. B. Stratton was originally published in 1857 an "Just as the sun was gladdening the clear west, and throwing its golden farewells upon the innumerable peaks that stretched into a forest of mountains gradually rising until they seemed to lean against the sun clad shoulders of the Rocky Range, imparadising the whole plain and mountain country in its radiant embrace, [etc., etc.]" (page 2) Captivity of the Oatman Girls: Being an Interesting Narrative of Life Among the Apache and Mohave Indians by R. B. Stratton was originally published in 1857 and it was a best seller for its time. Something I love about reading books from earlier eras is the different language they used back then. This book hits you with a lot of flowery language at the outset, however, Stratton doesn't try as hard as the book progresses. A large part of the book is comprised of extensive quotations from the surviving Oatmans, Olive and Lorenzo. It was nice to hear most of the story in the survivors' own words. Another common practice from back when this book was written is quoting without providing the source of the quote. Without the help of Google, I'd never know that a couple great lines of poetry quoted by Stratton were from "Lays of Women" by Mrs. Cornwell Baron Wilson and "Of Truth in Things False" by Martin Farquhar Tupper. Also common to the time period is very long chapter headings which give away spoilers for everything that will happen later in that chapter. Something I don't like about books written in earlier eras is the racism, and this book is chock full of it. We're told "Mexicans are an imbecile, frail, cowardly, and fast declining race" (page 19). Apache are likened to an infestation and various other Native American tribes are denigrated throughout. Since the book is about a family being massacred by Apache with two of the girls being kept as slaves for five years, the racism is understandable, but it's still unfortunate. The book at least acknowledges that whites can act just as savagely in the conclusion. We start our story with the patriarch of the Oatman family, Roys. He never seemed to be satisfied staying in one place. He supported his family both by physical labor and as a school teacher. However, he injured his back once while digging a well for a neighbor and never fully recovered. He kept doing physical labor even though it was extremely painful for him, especially when it was cold. Eventually, he meets a group of families intending to travel to California in order to create a utopian society free from prejudice, pride, arrogance, and caste. (The book doesn't tell us this, but they're a splinter Mormon group known as the Brewsterites.) He decides to go with them because he likes their ideals, but also because he hopes the climate will be easier on his injury. His innate wanderlust probably played a part as well. We aren't told much about his wife, Mary Ann, other than she was pious and devoted to her husband. Also, while we're given the names of the other family patriarchs going on the journey, we aren't told the names of their wives. Because, you know, this was published in 1857. "Mutual perils and mutual adventures have a power to cement worthy hearts that is not found in unmingled prosperity." (page 9) The party encounter several hardships on their journey including hostile Indians, mountain fever, rough terrain, and extreme conditions. It's not all depressing, though. A couple humorous interludes are recounted. At one point in the journey, a "Mrs. M." makes dumplings and hides them in her wagon, however a certain "Mr. A. P." sees where they are hidden. "Now this A. P. had started out sick, and since his restoration had been constantly beleaguered by one of those dubious blessings, common as vultures upon the plains, a voracious appetite, an appetite that, like the grave, was constantly receiving yet never found a place to say, 'Enough.' [...] He deliberately emptied almost the entire contents of this huge dumpling pan into his ever-craving interior." (page 14) When Mrs. M. discovers what he did, she "seized a stake, and thoroughly caned him through the camp, until dumpling strength was low, very low in the market." In another humorous interlude, Mrs. M. falls into a covered up well and there's another point at which two grown men run away from their own children, supposing them "Injins." I don't think any of would necessarily be considered funny by today's standards, but it gives an insight into the time period. The party ends up splitting up due to a disagreement. The families that traveled with the Oatmans stay for a time in a Mexican village where the Mexicans implore them not to leave, fearing Indian attack. Some of the families stay, while others continue on to a Pimole village. Some more families decide to stay here and the Oatman family ends up proceeding by themselves. "Though no pleasant task to bring this sad after part to the notice of the reader, it is nevertheless a tale that may be interesting for him to ponder; and instructive, as affording matter for the employment of reflection, and instituting a heartier sympathy with those upon whose life the clouds and pangs of severe reverses and misfortunes have rested." (page 10) One night, fearing an Apache attack, Olive vows to kill herself rather than be taken captive. Her father seems to have a presentiment of what's about to happen: "There seemed to be a dark picture hung up before him, upon which the eye of his thought rested with a monomaniac intensity; and written thereon he seemed to behold a sad after part for himself, as if some terrible event had loomed suddenly upon the field of his mental vision, and though unprophesized and unheralded by any palpable notice, yet gradually wrapping its fold about him, and coming in, as it were, to fill his cup of anguish to the brim." (page 30) The Apaches appear the next day and act friendly at first, then "suddenly, as a clap of thunder from a clear sky (p.35)" they attack, killing most of the Oatmans. They take Olive and her little sister Mary Ann captive and leave the fourteen-year-old Lorenzo for dead. After being clubbed in the head, Lorenzo was unable to move, unable to see, and thought himself dead. He had a remarkable near death experience: "There seemed a light spot directly over my head, which was gradually growing smaller, dwindling to a point. During this time I was conscious of emotions and thoughts peculiar and singular, aside from their relation to the horrors about me. At one time (and it seemed hours) I was ranging through undefined, open space, with paintings and pictures of all imaginable sizes and shapes hung about me, as if at an immense distance, and suspended upon walls of ether. At another, strange and discordant sounds would grate on my ear, so unlike any that my ear ever caught, that it would be useless endeavoring to give a description of them. Then these would gradually die away, and there rolled upon my ear such strains of sweet music as completely ravished all my thoughts, and I was perfectly happy. And in all this I could not define myself; I knew not who I was, save that I knew, or supposed I knew, I had come from some far-off region, only a faint remembrance of which was borne along with me. But to attempt to depict all of what seemed a strange, actual experience, and that I now know to have been crowded into a few hours, would only excite ridicule; though there was something so fascinating and absorbing to my engaged mind that I frequently long to reproduce its unearthly music and sights. (p.38)" When he came to, he thought he was blindfolded, but it turned out his eyelids were closed by clotted blood. Being partly delirious, he thought his brain was loose and rattling about in his head. He sees old friends and calls to them for help. As he makes his way back to the Pimole village, coyotes and gray wolves (he calls them "unprincipled gormandizers (p.42)") try to eat him. He grows so hungry, he considers eating the flesh from his own arm. Olive, meanwhile, decides not to commit suicide for her sister's sake. She's taken on a long march to the Apache village where she is made a slave. Olive shows a sense of humor in her recounting: "The breakfast was served up, consisting of beef, burned dough, and beans, instead of beans, burned dough, and beef, as usual (p.55)" She also says the Apache seemed to live in a constant state of fear for their own personal safety. Olive and Mary Ann eventually become jaded to their ill-treatment. "Indeed, indifference is the last retreat of desperation (p.56)." After a year, the Apache sell her to the Mohave. Olive and Mary Ann are treated better here. They are taken into the household of the chief, Espaniole and are treated well by his wife, Aespaneo, and daughter, Topeka. They're even given land to farm for themselves. Olive describes them as still being treated as slaves and claims the distinctive blue chin tattoo she received (the Ki-e-chook) was to mark her as a slave (According to Wikipedia, the tattoo more likely meant she was a member of their tribe). Mary Ann, 7 years old when captured, is described as being the favorite child of the family, quickest to learn, but often sick. We're told she read the Bible at five and half years of age. She dies during a famine along with several of the Mohave and Olive is left alone. At one point, the Mohaves take Cochopa captives, including a 25-year-old woman named Nowereha. She escapes, but is recaptured. As punishment for trying to escape, the Mohave crucify her, including tying her head with pieces of bark stuck with thorns and nailing her hands and feet to a crossbeam. They leave her like this for a while, then shot her full of arrows, mocking her the whole time. After seeing this, Olive gives up any thought of trying to escape, although she was eventually rescued. I liked many details of daily life that are thrown in. The Apache make fire using flint and wild cotton. The Mohave have an autumn feast with food consisting of "wheat, corn, pumpkins, beans, etc. These were boiled, and portions of them mixed with ground seed, such as serececa, (seed of a weed) moeroco (of pumpkins.) On the day of the feast the Indians masked themselves, some with bark, some with paint, some with skins (p.93)." In another part, Olive gathers leka, a small ground-nut the size of the hazelnut. I liked a bit where they look for a streak on the mountain where trees don't grow because this indicates a river might be there. I loved a lot of the lines in this book such as "We were lengthening out a toilsome journey for an object and destination quite foreign to the one that had pushed us upon the wild scheme at first (p.24)." Blood rushing to someone's face is described as "his face would burn and flash as it crimsoned with the tide from within (p.33)." A dirt floor is called "a floor made when all terra firma was created (p.73)." When a cake is divided, the biggest piece is called "the Benjamin portion." False tales are called "India rubber stories." Wikipedia doubts the truthfulness of this account, which leaves me wondering how much of it is true and how much isn't. The group called Apaches may have been a different tribe altogether, and the Mohave may have treated Olive better than she recounts. She may have even married a Mohave and given birth to two boys. So this is definitely a book to take with a grain of salt.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Muriel

    I am currently near the area where this event happened. This book was originally written in 1857, and that would explain the writing style, which can be a little difficult to read at times. It can be pretty wordy and pious, and the native peoples are portrayed as horrible heathens, and there is much attempt made to preserve the chastity of the girls. This would be pretty important in the mid 1800's. I found the book interesting to read for the historical details of the massacre and the captiviti I am currently near the area where this event happened. This book was originally written in 1857, and that would explain the writing style, which can be a little difficult to read at times. It can be pretty wordy and pious, and the native peoples are portrayed as horrible heathens, and there is much attempt made to preserve the chastity of the girls. This would be pretty important in the mid 1800's. I found the book interesting to read for the historical details of the massacre and the captivities, and just glossed over the obvious bias of the times toward the 'degraded savages'..

  5. 4 out of 5

    Doug Hocking

    The information in this book is essential. This is the true story of the Oatman family. Unfortunately, it is written in a cumbersome 19th century style by a writer with little skill and a great deal of wind.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Connie J Wilson

    This story... I apologize. I tried to read this and I did read the main story minus all the preacher's fluff! The Oatman Family did suffer immensely. Lorenzo, Olive, Sweet Mary Ann. I'm sad and sorry for your losses and pain. Now. This was absolutely a Preacher-mounted on his pulpit at an old fashioned, outdoor church revival, preaching this story with "hell and damnation"! The story would have been so much better without his blustering, racist, hate-filled, unholy rantings to boost sales of "his" This story... I apologize. I tried to read this and I did read the main story minus all the preacher's fluff! The Oatman Family did suffer immensely. Lorenzo, Olive, Sweet Mary Ann. I'm sad and sorry for your losses and pain. Now. This was absolutely a Preacher-mounted on his pulpit at an old fashioned, outdoor church revival, preaching this story with "hell and damnation"! The story would have been so much better without his blustering, racist, hate-filled, unholy rantings to boost sales of "his" book. I know that cultures vary, but to portray the "Indians" in such a dark, evil, lazy, uneducated, wanton light... I don't believe the Indian tribes would have survived even another decade without succumbing to starvation, disease, war or incest per the author/preacher. I know with all the junk preaching wrapped around The Oatman's story detracted for me 100% of reading about Olive, Mary Ann and Lorenzo's survival. I did cry when little Sister passed. I think I read the profits were put towards the education of Lorenzo and Olive. Whereas the preacher wrote of the Indians lust and wanton animal- like behaviors, I expected that Olive might have had a baby during her captivity. The time this book was published probably left out that abuse because of protecting Olive's reputation. Omg. The white captives brought into the village; the young mother escaped, trying to return to her 2 month old baby and husband. She was recaptured. Who in the holy hell decided crucifying this poor woman and adding a crown of thorns to her head!! The parts of the Indians asking Olive about Heaven and her belief... wow. I really doubt that in that era with no missionaries or priests in the Indian villages... how would the heathens know how to crucify her? The actual formatted version of the book was horrid. And I was surprised at the advanced language and scholarly wording of some of the writing. Remind me... the Dad was a teacher, but I doubt that there was that higher education available on the trail or during captivity. I'm sorry I bought this book. I wish Lorenzo and Olive had let someone else assist in writing their story.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jimmy Lee

    There are plenty of books about Native American captives during the western expansion. White children were taken and kept alive during this period of our history for a variety of reasons, and we're lucky to have quite a bit of documentation about their lives. This, however, is truly one of the books I could have skipped instead of mistakenly purchasing sight unseen. I've read many contemporary works, but the writing in this at times was unintelligible. With commas and semicolons tossed at random There are plenty of books about Native American captives during the western expansion. White children were taken and kept alive during this period of our history for a variety of reasons, and we're lucky to have quite a bit of documentation about their lives. This, however, is truly one of the books I could have skipped instead of mistakenly purchasing sight unseen. I've read many contemporary works, but the writing in this at times was unintelligible. With commas and semicolons tossed at random, I was regularly rereading sentences to find the subject. Here's a sample: "It is true that less of barbarity had marked the few days of their dependence upon their new owners, than their Apache hardships; but they had sadly learned already that under friendly guises, their possible treachery might be wrapping and nursing some foul and murderous doings." The author indicated, repeatedly, that there is "much that could be written but would swell this book beyond due bounds." More details would have been helpful - why, for example, the families were traveling slower and slower, in increasingly smaller numbers, through known hostile Apache territory - so many mistakes that clearly resulted in heartbreak. And a clear explanation of the family members and their relationships, which I had to get from Wikipedia. In short, I found no narrative of factual value from the book - the author had no insight to add other than comment in every chapter "let the mind of the reader pause and ponder on the situation of the forlorn." For those who are familiar with old west narratives, reading McGlashen's Donnor Party Tragedy was better than this. (Admittedly, McGlashen rarely allowed us to ponder - he gave us hysterical detail.) Without even a preface to add insight, Wikipedia gave me better information.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Katherine Basto

    This book, although somewhat informative, was a challenge to read. The author left out many critical details in the narrative such as the fact the Oatman family were Mormons and neglected to give background information and historical context. The narrative switches constantly from Royal Stratton's writing to the words of Olive Oatman. This can get confusing at times because the tense changes and often the reader is unaware this is happening. The author's biased racism comes through as well, and t This book, although somewhat informative, was a challenge to read. The author left out many critical details in the narrative such as the fact the Oatman family were Mormons and neglected to give background information and historical context. The narrative switches constantly from Royal Stratton's writing to the words of Olive Oatman. This can get confusing at times because the tense changes and often the reader is unaware this is happening. The author's biased racism comes through as well, and typical of some 19th century style writing, he describes the "savages" in rather overblown, florid writing that gets a bit redundant. Also, the descriptions such as food sources can continue on for several paragraphs. Although this book has quite a bit of information and the Reverend Stratton has Olive and Lorenzo's quotes throughout, I believe there are other books on the subject that are more objective, thorough , comprehensive and less biased.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tom

    Certainly this is a tragic and true story. The young Oatman family with seven children are moving by themselves across New Mexico in 1850 toward Fort Yuma and are attacked by small band of Yavapais Apaches. Seven of the family are left for dead, although a teenage boy survives and two young girls are taken captive. Five years later the older of the two captive girls, now 18 or 19, is released and her story becomes news and with the aid of R. B. Stratton a book is produced. As written by the auth Certainly this is a tragic and true story. The young Oatman family with seven children are moving by themselves across New Mexico in 1850 toward Fort Yuma and are attacked by small band of Yavapais Apaches. Seven of the family are left for dead, although a teenage boy survives and two young girls are taken captive. Five years later the older of the two captive girls, now 18 or 19, is released and her story becomes news and with the aid of R. B. Stratton a book is produced. As written by the author the story is leaden, wordy, novelized and racist. Exceptions are with the brief sections provided by Lorenzo (the surviving Oatman youth) and Olive Oatman's description of her life as a slave with the Indian bands. These two young people provide good clear testimony without the flowery wordsmithing that the author seemed to feel was required. There are other books on the very tragic story. Pick one of those.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Trudy

    If you're interested in Arizona history... This is a reissued copy of a book originally published in the 1850s, so it may be a difficult proposition for the modern reader. The narrative contains many melodramatic passages, verging on hysteria that tend to obscure the facts of what was really happening. That was the way books were written at the time. If you can get through all the excess and wordiness, it's a fairly accurate account of what today is referred to as "The Oatman Massacre." Don't ski If you're interested in Arizona history... This is a reissued copy of a book originally published in the 1850s, so it may be a difficult proposition for the modern reader. The narrative contains many melodramatic passages, verging on hysteria that tend to obscure the facts of what was really happening. That was the way books were written at the time. If you can get through all the excess and wordiness, it's a fairly accurate account of what today is referred to as "The Oatman Massacre." Don't skip the quotes from contemporary newspaper articles about the book, which I think provides some insight into what people of that time were thinking about it, as objectionable as it may seem today.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Greg

    I found this a difficult read, in particular the style of writing which may have been common for when the book was written. The author's embellishment and blatant racism was too much for me. The continual bemoaning the Indians' treatment of their captives as slaves as something the superior Anglo-Saxon would not do, failed to consider the fate of the southern slaves during the same time period the book was written. It would have been an interesting read if written by the Oatman children. Reading I found this a difficult read, in particular the style of writing which may have been common for when the book was written. The author's embellishment and blatant racism was too much for me. The continual bemoaning the Indians' treatment of their captives as slaves as something the superior Anglo-Saxon would not do, failed to consider the fate of the southern slaves during the same time period the book was written. It would have been an interesting read if written by the Oatman children. Reading it now, I would have appreciated more background as to why Indians were was attacking the immigrant settlers, and why they took only the female children.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    Was drawn to this story because a character on the tv show Hell On Wheels was loosely based on Olive Oatman. "Four blankets and a horse" will sound familiar to those who watched the show. It was an interesting read, but I feel like there could have been more, but I guess it was normal literature for its time? Was drawn to this story because a character on the tv show Hell On Wheels was loosely based on Olive Oatman. "Four blankets and a horse" will sound familiar to those who watched the show. It was an interesting read, but I feel like there could have been more, but I guess it was normal literature for its time?

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ernest Hogan

    The first accounting of a real clash of cultures, though the author's agenda intrudes into the primary source narratives. The conclusion, justifying genocide, is just an disturbing as anything the Indians are reported as doing to their captives. Maybe it's more disturbing, since it's seen as part of the process of "civilization." The first accounting of a real clash of cultures, though the author's agenda intrudes into the primary source narratives. The conclusion, justifying genocide, is just an disturbing as anything the Indians are reported as doing to their captives. Maybe it's more disturbing, since it's seen as part of the process of "civilization."

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lida

    Superfluous writing style, yet interesting story overall. The story is fascinating but the writer takes many overdramatic detours between the victims tellings. This makes the story twice as long to tell as needed. Of course, the reader should bear in mind who and when wrote the book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Michele Lawson

    It was a very interesting account of this event and the survival of Olive Oatman in captivity. However, it lacked the true account of her daily struggles as it was wrapped in so much flowing prose and speech it was difficult to really "feel" the struggle she endured. Historically interesting, but lacks depth. It was a very interesting account of this event and the survival of Olive Oatman in captivity. However, it lacked the true account of her daily struggles as it was wrapped in so much flowing prose and speech it was difficult to really "feel" the struggle she endured. Historically interesting, but lacks depth.

  16. 4 out of 5

    David Rice

    Nearly 100% of this book are lies told for religious piety "reasons." Almost none of the narrative actually happened. A tiny few of the lies corrected: The Mojaves did not crucify people on crosses. The Mojave did not enslave the Oatman girls: they rescued them from the Yavapai. Olive Oatman was adopted as a family member into a family, and treated as family. Nearly 100% of this book are lies told for religious piety "reasons." Almost none of the narrative actually happened. A tiny few of the lies corrected: The Mojaves did not crucify people on crosses. The Mojave did not enslave the Oatman girls: they rescued them from the Yavapai. Olive Oatman was adopted as a family member into a family, and treated as family.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sherry

    The writing style was a bit difficult because of when it was written. The story itself was very sad For those who say it makes American Indians look bad, remember who wrote this, the time period and for goodness sakes....what these two LITTLE girls went through!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Bruce D.

    The travails of Olive and Mary Ann Oatman This was a pretty good story about the Batman family, and particularly Olive and Mary Ann. The trials they went through with their Indian captors was horrendous. Interesting story, but rather wordy.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Iweeding

    Book too long on my list of reading...

  20. 5 out of 5

    Denae

    Wow! What they went through, very hard stuff!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Margarette Henderson

    Poorly written, it has some one sided historical significance but not sure of the accuracy. I also read the Girl with the blue tattoo which is much better and covers more true historical insights.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Crista Huff

    A sad and interesting account of a pioneer family's encounter with American indians. A sad and interesting account of a pioneer family's encounter with American indians.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ellen Spes

    I am very skeptical about the story as told by a Methodist preacher. Manner of telling was boring.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Alice

    A little dry, but a very interesting look into the life of the Wild West.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Pretentious and dry . I couldn’t finish this book and and it’s a shame because the subject is interesting.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Erin Lindsay McCabe

    I really wanted to read this account, supposedly recounted by Olive Oatman herself, to get a sense of how she described her captivity. There is some of that here, but unfortunately in between, Royal B. Stratton inserts his own (verbose) opinion of the American Indians. This is predictably exaggerated and skewed and inaccurate. I suppose this shouldn't have surprised me, but I was still disappointed. Likewise, it's clear that, given both the sentiments of the time and of her co-authors, there's j I really wanted to read this account, supposedly recounted by Olive Oatman herself, to get a sense of how she described her captivity. There is some of that here, but unfortunately in between, Royal B. Stratton inserts his own (verbose) opinion of the American Indians. This is predictably exaggerated and skewed and inaccurate. I suppose this shouldn't have surprised me, but I was still disappointed. Likewise, it's clear that, given both the sentiments of the time and of her co-authors, there's just no way to know what Olive really thought or felt about her captivity-- if she even still viewed it that way at the end. What we know from accounts of her behavior afterward is that she must have been very conflicted and must have had real regard for at least some of the people she'd lived with during those 5 years. I wish there were some way to know *that* story. I guess what I'm saying is this account raises more questions than it addresses about Olive herself and is mostly useful if you want an understanding of the way many viewed the American Indians during the 1850s.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    This is the memoir of a young girl facing and surviving unimaginably grievous circumstances, and except for some of the hyperbolic language of the times, which is a little hard to follow (flowery language, run-on sentences, and so forth), I thought it was both heart-wrenching and fascinating. If you are interested in this period of history or similar events, the book is a worthwhile read. That said, apparently one should take it with a grain of salt and do further research into the Oatman girls' This is the memoir of a young girl facing and surviving unimaginably grievous circumstances, and except for some of the hyperbolic language of the times, which is a little hard to follow (flowery language, run-on sentences, and so forth), I thought it was both heart-wrenching and fascinating. If you are interested in this period of history or similar events, the book is a worthwhile read. That said, apparently one should take it with a grain of salt and do further research into the Oatman girls' captivity as other authors have written about it differently than Stratton portrays it. One thing upon which everyone can agree: the mid-1800's were brutal times to live in and survive.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    This book was written in 1857 and recently republished with notes by University of Nebraska Press. It is the true story of an incident happening to a family on the way to California. They were most likely members of a splinter group of the LDS Church. The story is told with pathos and romanticism--typical of the era, moreover in the spirit of Manifest Destiny. The horrific events are a platform for the disregard of the Native Americans and the quest this era had for their removal. No side of the This book was written in 1857 and recently republished with notes by University of Nebraska Press. It is the true story of an incident happening to a family on the way to California. They were most likely members of a splinter group of the LDS Church. The story is told with pathos and romanticism--typical of the era, moreover in the spirit of Manifest Destiny. The horrific events are a platform for the disregard of the Native Americans and the quest this era had for their removal. No side of their story is told here. However, I enjoyed reading this book for its historical context.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Gail

    i loved reading this book, especially knowing it was a true story, an involve my family line, it tells of courage, hope, love and pain, olive ann buried her litle sister after she starved to eath, courage-- brave, being found when you have given up hope-- the love of the brother ,his searching for his sister. the heartbrake of fining her only to hear his younger sister had passed away.-- also the brother an sister traveled to new youk to try for help in emoving her scars from the blue dye on her i loved reading this book, especially knowing it was a true story, an involve my family line, it tells of courage, hope, love and pain, olive ann buried her litle sister after she starved to eath, courage-- brave, being found when you have given up hope-- the love of the brother ,his searching for his sister. the heartbrake of fining her only to hear his younger sister had passed away.-- also the brother an sister traveled to new youk to try for help in emoving her scars from the blue dye on her face an chin. a good story of love for family.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Dee Toomey

    Historical nonfiction is not usually a genre I read, but I found the story of this brother and sister survivor very interesting. It was a hard book to read, as the publisher made no changes to the original transcript written in 1857. Their way of speaking and writing are difficult at times to follow, and I found myself re-reading occasional passages in order to grasp the meaning. I feel that "slogging" through this book was a worth while endeavor. To get the first-hand account of victims and cap Historical nonfiction is not usually a genre I read, but I found the story of this brother and sister survivor very interesting. It was a hard book to read, as the publisher made no changes to the original transcript written in 1857. Their way of speaking and writing are difficult at times to follow, and I found myself re-reading occasional passages in order to grasp the meaning. I feel that "slogging" through this book was a worth while endeavor. To get the first-hand account of victims and captives of the Apache in those days was very interesting.

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