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The Captivity of the Oatman Girls: The History of the Young Sisters Who Were Abducted by Native Americans in the 1850s

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*Includes pictures *Includes Olive Oatman's quotes *Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading *Includes a table of contents "I looked around and saw my poor mother, with her youngest child clasped in her arms, and both of them still, as if the work of death had already been completed; a little distance on the opposite side of the wagon, stood little *Includes pictures *Includes Olive Oatman's quotes *Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading *Includes a table of contents "I looked around and saw my poor mother, with her youngest child clasped in her arms, and both of them still, as if the work of death had already been completed; a little distance on the opposite side of the wagon, stood little Mary Ann, with her face covered with her hands, sobbing aloud, and a huge looking Indian standing over her; the rest were motionless, save a younger brother and my father, all upon the ground dead or dying. At this sight a thrill of icy coldness passed over me; I thought I had been struck; my thoughts began to reel and became irregular and confused; I fainted and sank to the earth, and for a while, I know not how long, I was insensible.” – Olive Oatman On the North American continent, Native American tribes carried out abductions against the new European settlers from the time they first set foot on eastern shores. Some of the women taken in the colonial to early American period went on to become respected figures in their new environments, while others lived out their lives as slaves. Various tribes perceived the historical value of women’s social personalities through different prisms, and even those groups living in the same region often exhibited dissimilar behavior toward them. For some of the more aggressive tribal societies, to commit atrocities against women and their children engaged the same mindset as that adopted for male-to-male warfare. What European sensibilities failed to grasp, despite the home continent’s own lurid history, was that the numerous indigenous cultures of North America were already in the habit of perpetrating such abductions against each other and had for thousands of years. Whether the enemy was European or domestic, old or young, male or female, the deeply embedded cultural habit was the same. To steal women from an enemy often brought the same adulation from the collective as the stealing of horses, and abduction initiated by even a single individual brought honor to that person and his family. In the American wilderness, instances occurred wherein the abduction of either horses or human beings was considered essential to survival, if not to pride and manhood. Abductees were generally adopted into the tribe through a specific ritual. Some were based on “violent hazing,” while for others, entry into the community was a “mere formality.” Children and adolescents were, more often than not, the preferred choice for abduction. In the capturing of slaves, both the strength and docility of the individual taken was of utmost importance. However, in the absence of viable wives, the concept of exogamy, an effort to bring new blood into the tribe, was encouraged. Such a rejuvenation of the community was widely accepted as a convention of war. In the history of abductions among the North American continent’s tribes, a low rate of escape attempts by captured settlers has been the norm from the beginning. This may be largely due to geographical obstacles, with help being so far away as to discourage hope of success. By the same token, relatively few rescue attempts were made by white kinsman to rescue a family member from an indigenous tribe. With no contact available to them, families of lost members taken from the colonial period through the 19th century usually fell into a long-term state of grief, but resigned themselves to never seeing their loved ones again. The Captivity of the Oatman Girls: The History of the Young Sisters Who Were Abducted by Native Americans in the 1850s examines the history of one of the most famous abduction stories of the Old West, the kidnapping of the young Oatman sisters and their subsequent experiences with the Mojave.


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*Includes pictures *Includes Olive Oatman's quotes *Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading *Includes a table of contents "I looked around and saw my poor mother, with her youngest child clasped in her arms, and both of them still, as if the work of death had already been completed; a little distance on the opposite side of the wagon, stood little *Includes pictures *Includes Olive Oatman's quotes *Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading *Includes a table of contents "I looked around and saw my poor mother, with her youngest child clasped in her arms, and both of them still, as if the work of death had already been completed; a little distance on the opposite side of the wagon, stood little Mary Ann, with her face covered with her hands, sobbing aloud, and a huge looking Indian standing over her; the rest were motionless, save a younger brother and my father, all upon the ground dead or dying. At this sight a thrill of icy coldness passed over me; I thought I had been struck; my thoughts began to reel and became irregular and confused; I fainted and sank to the earth, and for a while, I know not how long, I was insensible.” – Olive Oatman On the North American continent, Native American tribes carried out abductions against the new European settlers from the time they first set foot on eastern shores. Some of the women taken in the colonial to early American period went on to become respected figures in their new environments, while others lived out their lives as slaves. Various tribes perceived the historical value of women’s social personalities through different prisms, and even those groups living in the same region often exhibited dissimilar behavior toward them. For some of the more aggressive tribal societies, to commit atrocities against women and their children engaged the same mindset as that adopted for male-to-male warfare. What European sensibilities failed to grasp, despite the home continent’s own lurid history, was that the numerous indigenous cultures of North America were already in the habit of perpetrating such abductions against each other and had for thousands of years. Whether the enemy was European or domestic, old or young, male or female, the deeply embedded cultural habit was the same. To steal women from an enemy often brought the same adulation from the collective as the stealing of horses, and abduction initiated by even a single individual brought honor to that person and his family. In the American wilderness, instances occurred wherein the abduction of either horses or human beings was considered essential to survival, if not to pride and manhood. Abductees were generally adopted into the tribe through a specific ritual. Some were based on “violent hazing,” while for others, entry into the community was a “mere formality.” Children and adolescents were, more often than not, the preferred choice for abduction. In the capturing of slaves, both the strength and docility of the individual taken was of utmost importance. However, in the absence of viable wives, the concept of exogamy, an effort to bring new blood into the tribe, was encouraged. Such a rejuvenation of the community was widely accepted as a convention of war. In the history of abductions among the North American continent’s tribes, a low rate of escape attempts by captured settlers has been the norm from the beginning. This may be largely due to geographical obstacles, with help being so far away as to discourage hope of success. By the same token, relatively few rescue attempts were made by white kinsman to rescue a family member from an indigenous tribe. With no contact available to them, families of lost members taken from the colonial period through the 19th century usually fell into a long-term state of grief, but resigned themselves to never seeing their loved ones again. The Captivity of the Oatman Girls: The History of the Young Sisters Who Were Abducted by Native Americans in the 1850s examines the history of one of the most famous abduction stories of the Old West, the kidnapping of the young Oatman sisters and their subsequent experiences with the Mojave.

30 review for The Captivity of the Oatman Girls: The History of the Young Sisters Who Were Abducted by Native Americans in the 1850s

  1. 4 out of 5

    Montzalee Wittmann

    The Captivity of the Oatman Girls: The History of the Young Sisters Who Were Abducted by Native Americans in the 1850s by Charles River Editors is an excellent book on this subject. I learned a lot and enjoyed all the pictures in here. It made me really feel for this family esp. Olive. It only told the facts and didn't add conjecture but just the facts a reader could read between the lines at what Olive might be feeling. It must have been so difficult for her to be bounced between worlds. I wis The Captivity of the Oatman Girls: The History of the Young Sisters Who Were Abducted by Native Americans in the 1850s by Charles River Editors is an excellent book on this subject. I learned a lot and enjoyed all the pictures in here. It made me really feel for this family esp. Olive. It only told the facts and didn't add conjecture but just the facts a reader could read between the lines at what Olive might be feeling. It must have been so difficult for her to be bounced between worlds. I wish she could have stayed with the last tribe she was with since she was part of a family there and treated so well. I am sure she was treated better there than in a white world with facial tattoos. A sad story either way. Great book.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mary Eve

    This is a fascinating piece of history, but lacks real depth. In order to fully understand the Oatman massacre and the sisters captivity, I'll have to read a book that contains more facts. A lot of the information included here is based on bended truth from Royal B.Stratton, a California clergymen that Olive Oatman shared her story with. Charles Rivers Editors does point out Stratton's tendency to spin a tale. However, this being Olive's story, I feel like much of the provided history focused on This is a fascinating piece of history, but lacks real depth. In order to fully understand the Oatman massacre and the sisters captivity, I'll have to read a book that contains more facts. A lot of the information included here is based on bended truth from Royal B.Stratton, a California clergymen that Olive Oatman shared her story with. Charles Rivers Editors does point out Stratton's tendency to spin a tale. However, this being Olive's story, I feel like much of the provided history focused on Stratton's findings. I need to know more about Olive, her family, and the aftermath.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Base on a true story of The Captivity of the Oatman Girls by Charles River Editors. Olivia was captured by the Mojave Indian tribe in the 1850's and was rescued she bored a tattoo on her chin so when she got to the other side the Mojave Indians would recognize her. She dies in 1903. Was disappointed in the e-book story was really short. Do not recommend Base on a true story of The Captivity of the Oatman Girls by Charles River Editors. Olivia was captured by the Mojave Indian tribe in the 1850's and was rescued she bored a tattoo on her chin so when she got to the other side the Mojave Indians would recognize her. She dies in 1903. Was disappointed in the e-book story was really short. Do not recommend

  4. 5 out of 5

    Vali Benson

    A brilliant encapsulation of a haunting event. Especially since it really happened.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

    Fascinating bit of History I had seen the picture on the cover of this book a long time ago. Curiosity chose me to download. Fast, fast reading....History at it's best! As I inch up to my 70th year on earth, I find myself looking back on historical books of all types. This was interesting. Leaves many questions that we will never know. Fascinating bit of History I had seen the picture on the cover of this book a long time ago. Curiosity chose me to download. Fast, fast reading....History at it's best! As I inch up to my 70th year on earth, I find myself looking back on historical books of all types. This was interesting. Leaves many questions that we will never know.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kristin

    Incredible story, terrible writing.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kasey

    Fascinating piece of American history and the real wild west Interesting story. I had thought this would be a fictional story based upon what little is known about the true historical events. This is not the case, and reads more like a research paper complete with citations. Still a quick and interesting read.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    The extensive background about the Mormon journey to Utah was more of a chronicle of Royce Oatman, his gullible following of this newly created religion, and his disastrous decisions. He foolishly set his family up for slaughter. There is only a minimum section devoted to the captivity of the girls. That said, it was interesting but I am glad the book was short.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Carrie L. Allen

    Interesting Historical story of Captivity by Native Americans I thought it was very interesting to read the various stories and reports from Olive and the military personnel who helped to rescue her. The difference between the tribes described by Olive is shocking.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Henrique Henriques

    An interesting story (and the “story about the story”) albeit at times I felt it was a bit short on detail. We don’t get to know much about how the girls lived with their Native American captors/adopters.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jayme Cook

    Synopsis of the incident The book is interesting,. But it creates more questions than it answers. A fascinating subject, but mostly taken from other books on the subject. Makes you want to delve deeper.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Laura L. Haveran

    I wasn’t exactly sure what to make of this. There seemed to be so many conflicting stories/theories.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Teresa Crancer

    This book is factual and interesting. The story of Olive Oatman is interesting. This book is a short read, full of information. I would have liked more detail of her life.

  14. 5 out of 5

    L. L.

    holy shit! the fact that this really happened is extremely upsetting. wow!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Billie Szablewski

    Good read It keep me very interested. I'm still pondering what really happened. I read it to my family and they loved it too. Good read It keep me very interested. I'm still pondering what really happened. I read it to my family and they loved it too.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    Quick overview of the Oatman Massacre and Olive's captivity. Quick overview of the Oatman Massacre and Olive's captivity.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mabi

    This is more of a summary, but I did enjoy it. It covered the main facts, and also described the horrors of what happened to this family.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Julie Hamilton

    Nice piece of history but the narration was awful. The narrator was monotone and without any type of emphasis. Made the book boring.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Eagle

    This was a fascinating story, but lacked much details. At times, it read much like a high school history paper. Entirely too much use of the phrase “to this very day.”

  20. 5 out of 5

    Laurel Faulk

    Very short read but interesting non the less, looking for more on the topic

  21. 5 out of 5

    marilyn foutes

    Good but not great Not as much detail as I would expect. No understanding of what happened to sister. Easy a s fast read it interested.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Gillian Howcroft

    Fascinating. Inspired to read after The Removes’

  23. 5 out of 5

    Micheline

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tricia Camp

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sherry

  26. 4 out of 5

    Heather Andrews

  27. 4 out of 5

    Aaron McNeil

  28. 5 out of 5

    Janice Platt

  29. 4 out of 5

    John Rowe

  30. 5 out of 5

    Dana

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