Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Dances With Wolves #1

Dances with Wolves

Rate this book
Ordered to hold an abandoned army post, John Dunbar found himself alone, beyond the edge of civilization. Thievery and survival soon forced him into the Indian camp, where he began a dangerous adventure that changed his life forever. Relive the adventure and beauty of the incredible movie, Dances with Wolves.

304 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1988

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Michael Blake

82 books129 followers
The author of several novels, including the New York Times #1 Bestseller Dances With Wolves and winner of the 1991 Academy Award.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
12,642 (47%)
4 stars
8,740 (32%)
3 stars
4,106 (15%)
2 stars
825 (3%)
1 star
310 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 763 reviews
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews56.5k followers
January 3, 2022
Dances with Wolves, Michael Blake, Kevin Costner (Director)

Dances with Wolves is a 1988 novel written by Michael Blake. It was written as a possible source for a screenplay, and was later adapted by the author, and was produced as a film of the same name in 1990 by Kevin Costner, although there were many differences between the novel and film.

The novel is set during the American Civil War. The protagonist of the novel, Lt. John Dunbar, is a white man who ends up in the wilderness and comes to live with a tribe of American Natives, eventually taking on the name Dances with Wolves. The novel and film later came under criticism for their similarity to Elliot Silverstein's A Man Called Horse.

عنوانهای چاپ شده در ایران: «رقص با گرگها»؛ «با گرگها میرقصد»؛ نویسنده: ویلیام بلیک؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: در سال1992میلادی

عنوان: رقص با گرگها؛ نویسنده: ویلیام بلیک؛ مترجم: بهرام نظام آبادی؛ تهران، شقایق، سال1371، در314ص، چاپ دیگر تهران، آبنوس، سال1371، موضوع: داستان سرخپوستان کومانچی امریکا، داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده20م

عنوان: با گرگها میرقصد؛ نویسنده: ویلیام بلیک؛ مترجم: توراندخت تمدن (مالکی)؛ تهران، روشنگران، سال1380، در381ص، شابک9646751504؛

با گرگ‌ها می‌رقصد، نام رمانی اثر «مایکل بلیک» است، که بر پایه آن فیلمی با همین نام در سال1990میلادی توسط «کوین کاستنر» ساخته شد؛ کتاب با گرگ‌ها می‌رقصد فاجعه‌ ای از رویدادهای بشری را مینمایاند، تیره‌ ای که در سرزمین خود زندگی می‌کرده، و دلخوش به کوچ بهاری و پاییزی قبیله بوده، و چشم انتظار گله های «بوفالو»، تا چند راس شکار کنند، بلکه فریاد کودکانشان بر اثر گرسنگی برنخیزد؛ ...؛ ستوان «دانبر» می‌داند که سرخ‌پوستان از سربازان سفید نفرت دارند، و دشمن آن‌ها هستند، اما زمانی که مسئله ی نجات جان انسانی پیش آید، خود را به خطر میاندازد، و به دیدار دشمنانش می‌رود ...؛ در جای جای داستان، «رقص با گرگ‌ها» پیام است، و سخن و «مایکل بلیک» با توانایی کامل از تاریخ سرخ‌پوستان - به ویژه «کومانچی» - مینگارند و زندگی آنان را با واژه های خویش میآرایند و با بیطرفی سخن می‌گویند

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 30/09/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 12/10/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Andy Marr.
Author 2 books708 followers
May 25, 2023
This was a fantastic novel, which was well-enough written to deserve a solid four-star rating. However, I'm awarding five stars because its portrayal of the racist US army made my blood boil, which, given the setting, was completely necessary, if not entirely fun.
Profile Image for Leila.
442 reviews209 followers
June 8, 2020
I enjoyed reading "Dances With Wolves" by Michael Blake the second time around a lot more than the first reading in 2014. The book's title has nothing to do with wolves apart from the main character's friendship in his loneliness with a wolf he names "Two Socks" because of the white colouring on his two front paws and his triumphant dancing in Indian style around his camp fire accompanied by the wolf one evening after a successful buffalo hunt. His Indian friends observe this incident and give him his Indian name - "Dances With Wolves" The book is easy to read yet is an immensely detailed account.

The main character is a soldier... Lieutenant John Dunbar who is sent to a far off outpost on the Western Frontier at his request but finds it deserted when he arrives. Fascinated with the place, he decides to stay there anyway with his only companions, the wolf and Cisco his horse. He settles down to make the place comfortable. His initial meetings with a nearby Comanche Indian tribe helps him to form a growing friendship them. His fascination with the tribe is the beginning of a whole new way of life for him.

The author deals to some extent with the serious conflict between Native American Indians and the American soldiers plus the growing tide of white settlers pouring into the Indian's lands. He describes the Native American Indians side of the issues in a detailed and sensitive manner in an attempt to show not only their growing plight with the influx of white dominance, but also the Indian culture itself, including the Indian way of sometimes carrying off white female children after raids on white settlers. There is a young white woman in the tribe who has been with them from childhood. The author uses her as a means to help to establish communication The Indians are beginning to be forced from their own lands at this time. It is a truly interesting book and unusual in that it tells history from the Indian point of view. It is part fiction mixed with historical fact. It is biased towards the Native American Culture in that the author portrays the American soldiers in a most unwholesome light for the most part. There is romance, humour, sadness, wisdom and contrasting traditions within the story.

The story came to life for me initially and moved me deeply when I watched Kevin Costner's movie of the same title when it came out, (one of my favourite films) in which he attempts to portray the Native Red Indian Culture as real people, not simply savages; and one American soldier's open heart among the general prejudice of the "whites" After all, the Indians were there first. Anyone with an interest in Native American history may like both the book and the Movie. There is a real depth to the main characters who are well drawn and contrasted in nature. I have watched the colourful and exciting movie several times and prefer it to the book though it is well worth reading. There is a sequel to this book which I want to read as it apparently carries the story on to its inevitable conclusion.
Profile Image for Agir(آگِر).
437 reviews493 followers
June 1, 2021
در واقع چیز خاصی ستوان دانبار را بخود مشغول نکرده بود. اما این نخستین واژه ای بود که به ذهنش خطور کرد: همه چیز درندشت و بی انتها...آسمان بیکران، بی هیچ لکه ابر. اقیانوس مواج سبزه ها و تا آنجا که چشم کار می کرد، دیگر هیچ. نه جاده ای. نه کوره راهی که دلیجان بزرگ آن را پی گیرد. تنها فضای محض، فضای بکر و تهی

با خوندن این متن،آهنگ معروف و زیبای فیلم ناخود آگاه در ذهن آدم نواخته می شود

فیلمش را پنج یا شش بار و شاید بیشتر دیده‌ام
اما یکی از صحنه های فیلم را بارها تماشا کرده ام و سیر نشده‌ام
ستوان دنبار پایش زخمی شده و باید قطع شود ولی او مرگ را به چنین زنده ماندنی ترجیح می‌دهد
با دستانی گشوده و سوار بر اسب، در تیررس تفنگ های دشمن قرار می‌گیرد

ستوان ناگهان لگام اسب را رها کرد و دست های خود را بالا برد.مثل سوارکاران سیرک بنظر می رسید.احساس کرد همه چیز به پایان رسیده است.دست هایش را به عنوان وداع با زندگی ،بالای سرش بلند کرد.اما هرکس او را می دید استنباط دیگری می کرد.تصور می شد دست هایش را به نشانه پیروزی بالا برده است


وقتی داشتم مقدمه مسیح باز مصلوب رو میخواندم به جملاتی از نیکوس کازنتراکیس برخوردم که شباهت جالبی با این صحنه داشت

مردی سالهای سال در مسیر شطی، شناکنان فرود می آمد.
ناگاه احساس کرد که به آبشاری رسیده است
و همین دم است که آب او را به کام خود فرو برد
بازوان خود را صلیب وار درهم انداخت
و به آواز خواندن پرداخت...

این برترین قله ای است که انسان به آن تواند رسید

"نقل از کتاب باغ صخره ها"

یکی دستانش را از هم می گشاید تا تیرها، سیبل بزرگتری برای نشانه روی داشته باشند
و دیگری دست هایش را صلیب وار در هم می اندازد تا زودتر به عمق دره افتد
و این برترین قله ای است که انسان به آن تواند رسید

سرخپوست‌ها آنقدر هم ترسناک نیستند

در سینمای آمریکا همیشه سرخپوستان را وحشی و غیر متمدن نشان می دادند اما این فیلم چیزهای دیگری را که به عمد پنهان شده بود را رو کرد: چهره‌ی انسانی سرخپوست‌ها و هم چهره‌ی بی‌رحم مهاجران انگلیسی
زمانی از جان وین اسطوره فیلمهای وسترن پرسیده شد نظرت درباره کشتار سرخپوستها و تصاحب سرزمینشان چیست؟
وی پاسخ داد: آنها مردمان خودخواهی بودند که تمام این زمینها را برای خودشان میخواستند

در مقابل جان وین، مارلون براندو قرار دارد که بجای اینکه خودش برای دریافت جایزه اسکار بهترین بازیگر مرد در نقش "دون کرلئونه" (پدر خوانده) حاضر شود دختری را با لباس سرخپوستی روی سن فرستاد تا بجای او سخنرانی کند:
امشب به جاي مارلون براندو به اين مراسم آمده ام و او از من خواسته تا به شما بگويم كه او با تمام احترام حاضر به قبول اين جايزه ارزشمند نيست و دليل آن رفتاري است كه صنعت فيلمسازي به ویژه هالیوود با بوميان آمريكا یعنی سرخپوستان داشته است

زندگی سرخپوست ها همیشه برام جالب بوده و در هر کتابی چیزهای تازه و زیبایی از آنان می آموزم. مهم‌ترین نکته اینکه آنها هیچوقت یک حیوان بی‌آزار مثه فیل را برای عاجش نمی کشند ولی انسان متمدن می‌کشد
Profile Image for Francisco.
Author 22 books54.9k followers
October 26, 2013
We all have comfort books, don't we? The kind you read when even reading is an effort. They may not be great literature but they have substance enough to bring you some kind of needed peace and spark some goodness in you for the world, keep a small light flickering, which you need, to make it through. For me, often, books like this one do this. I'm not sure exactly why stories that take place in the West in the mid-19th century bring me this kind of comfort. There's something about horses and landscapes and weather and solitudes and the need for courage. This book is a good comfort book. The movie followed the book very closely (except for the ending and I preferred the book's) but I was still able to follow the images created by the book rather than remember the movie scenes.
Profile Image for Mohsin Maqbool.
85 reviews67 followers
November 26, 2017
Dances With Wolves film poster.

I HAD watched Kevin Costner’s Dances With Wolves in the late ’90s and had loved it. I finally got to read Michael Blake’s novel a few days back and loved it as much. By the way, it is the first Western that I have read after the early seventies when as a schoolboy in Calcutta I loved reading those written by Louis L’Amour and Zane Grey.

Much of Dances with Wolves, which won seven Academy Awards, was filmed in central and western South Dakota.

The novel starts in 1863 during the midst of the Civil War. Its hero, Lieutenant John Dunbar, requests to be posted in the Frontier as he wants to see it in its pristine glory before it all gets wiped out (by civilization or rather invading whites). Various Native American tribes could be found in this region living in tepees which were also known as wigwams. They rode unsaddled horses and hunted buffaloes and deer and caught fishes for a living. They either walked barefoot or wore moccasins which were made of the natural hide of animals, including buffaloes or bison. Each tribe had a chief, a medicine man or witch doctor and many warriors who were good at using bows and arrows, spears and daggers. Some of the tribes like the Lakota were peaceful ones while some like the Pawnee and the Apaches were war-mongers who would raid and kill other tribes for their women, food and horses.

Michael Blake (left) and Kevin Costner: This is how true friendship looks like.

Here is what an edition of Reader’s Digest Condensed Books in which I read Dances With Wolves says about the author: “Blake’s sympathy for the period is such that he feels that he was born a hundred years too late. ‘Everything was so unspoilt in eighteen sixty-three, the year the novel is set, but I missed it all,’ says Blake. ‘By reading history I could imagine it, up to a point. By creating John Dunbar, I could actually “live” it.
“Blake tried in vain in the seventies and eighties to establish himself as a film scriptwriter in Los Angeles and survived only by doing all kinds of odd jobs. By 1986 his fortunes had fallen so low that he had to live and work in his old Chrysler car. He moved to Arizona where he worked at a Chinese restaurant as a dishwasher. One year later a call from a friend, the actor Kevin Costner, turned his life around. Costner was so enthusiastic about the Dances With Wolves manuscript, which Blake had given him, that he asked for a film script based on it. Then the Oscar-winning film Dances With Wolves was born.
“The book became a best seller, and a Golden Globe and Oscar for the script followed. The proceeds from Dances With Wolves enabled Blake to say farewell to his Chrysler home.”

A horse called Little Boy shows a loving gesture to Michael Blake. Who says man and beast can't be the best of friends!?

Most Native American tribes gave names to people that were somehow associated with nature or by something which a tribeswoman or tribesman did or made her/him popular. The heroine of the book is called “Stands With A Fist” as she was good at attacking with her fist if tribeswomen said something negative about her. The hero Dunbar was called “Dances With Wolves” as he was once seen prancing with his pet wolf by several Comanches. For a long time I used to think that the ’70s film The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing (1973) was about some man who loved a form of dancing called ‘Cat Dancing’. I only realised how wrong I was when I finally got to see the film in the late ’80s. Its hero Burt Reynolds, who is white, falls in love with a Native American woman called Cat Dancing, played by Sarah Miles. Hence, the film’s title The Man who loved Cat Dancing.

Cat Dancing (Sarah Miles) loved by her mustachioed macho Man (Burt Reynolds).

Here is an extract from Dances With Wolves which sheds some light on the Comanche culture during a wedding ceremony: “She came with her head still bowed, and Kicking Bird took her hand. He passed it to Dances With Wolves and told him to take her inside. The marriage was made as they passed through the doorway. After it was done the villagers broke up quietly and drifted back to their homes.
“All afternoon the people of Ten Bears’s camp came in little groups to lay presents on the newlyweds’ doorstep, staying only long enough to drop off gifts. By sunset an impressive array of offerings was piled outside the lodge.
“This beautiful community gesture went unnoticed by the new couple. On the day of their wedding they saw neither people nor their offerings. On the day of their wedding they stayed home. And the lodge flap stayed closed.”

A poster for the film "Dances with Wolves" in German.

Here is another extract which describes in vivid detail how the white man, who considered himself to be the civilised one, went about destroying nature and the untamed American West: “They started their ponies forward and, as they did, Dances With Wolves was aware of an eerie buzzing sound. It was being made by the wing beats of uncounted thousands of feasting flies.
“Everywhere he looked the ground held bodies or pieces of bodies. There were small animals, badgers and skunks and squirrels. Most of these were intact. Some were missing their tails. They lay rotting where they had been shot, for no apparent reason other than target practice. The primary objects of the genocide were deer. A few of the bodies were whole, most were mutilated. Dull, dead eyes stared up at him from the exquisite heads that had been chopped off raggedly at the neck. In one spot the severed heads had been arranged nose to nose, as if they were having a conversation. It was supposed to be humorous.”
The mention of “skunks” reminds me of an incident during a trip I made with a friends’ family from Dallas to Houston in July 1982. When his car passed on the highway near a forest, we were hit by the most obnoxious odour as if a 350 lb sumo wrestler had farted right in front of our faces. The stinking smell stayed for at least several minutes. I almost puked. It was the first, last and only time that I had experienced the body odour of a skunk. Nothing ever could be worse than that!

Striped skunk sprays.

In the following extract the protagonist expresses his fear of the intended invasion of the white man: “‘When Kicking Bird and I first began to talk,’ Dances With Wolves started, ‘Kicking Bird would ask, “How many white people are coming?”’ and I would say, “I don’t know. That is true I do not know how many people will come. But I can tell you this. I believe there will be a lot. The white people are many, more than any of us could ever count. If they want to make war on you, they will do it with thousands of soldiers. The soldiers will have big war guns that can shoot into a camp like ours and destroy everything in it. It makes me afraid. I cannot say what must be done. But I come from the white race and I know them now in ways I did not know them before. I’m afraid for all the Comanches.”’
This edition of the book contains several beautiful illustrations by Horst Maurmann.

Pages from True West magazine pay tribute to Michael Blake.

The book is highly recommended for everybody who loves reading about nature and the environment and Native American tribes and what the United States of America once was and how it has changed for the worse with the passing of time.

The magnificent buffalo hunt.
Profile Image for Tea Jovanović.
Author 410 books673 followers
March 24, 2013
Ples s vukovima je jedna od retkih knjiga koja je pretočena u film gde bukvalno nije promenjena nijedna reč iz knjige... Knjiga je ostavila dubok utisak na mene iako nije "my cup of tea"...
Profile Image for Chrissie.
2,734 reviews1,469 followers
June 23, 2020
I dimly remember being carried away by the film, starring, directed and produced by Kevin Costner. The book is a total disappointment. The prose reads as an outline for a screenplay. Michael Blake, the author, in fact intended it as such. My one-star rating directly reflects my dislike of the prose. The metaphors are terrible. The words chosen jarr. They do not fit the atmosphere of the scene drawn, the sentiment being expressed nor the action that takes place.

The love affair is blah. The book fails to accurately draw the Native American people. There is a cartoon figure of a wolf behaving as a dog. The end is both anticlimactic and soppy at the same time. The story simply fizzles out.

George Guidall narrates the audiobook. His performance is nothing special. Although he mumbles words, most you can still hear. The narration I have given two stars. It's OK.

If you loved the movie, don't read the book. Your good memories will be wrecked.
Profile Image for Supratim.
233 reviews443 followers
April 8, 2021
Giving the novel a rating of 4.5!

What a wonderful book and please bear in mind that this a debut novel! Though it can be classified as a Western adventure, it got me thinking about many things particularly the barbaric side of "civilization." I need time to compose my thoughts.\

Full review to come!
Profile Image for Estelle.
168 reviews98 followers
July 1, 2015
I'm keeping my rating at 4 big stars.
This is a great novel and I recommend it to any fans of the movie, or to anyone looking for a beautiful adventure.
There's something about this story and its characters that really moves me (whether I'm reading the book or watching the movie). Every time.
Profile Image for Baz MW.
117 reviews17 followers
August 23, 2017
I never ever read this sort of thing. I usually stick to horror and crime and all that strange dark stuff.
This was probably the easiest book I've read this year.
I know very little (or nothing) about Native American history or American modern history but this has been a great story to read, set in a colonised country's most turbulent time without all that military "Team America" style fanfare.

Plenty of action and some characters you'll fall in love with.
Profile Image for Edward.
361 reviews909 followers
April 5, 2022
Must watch the film again soon as it's truly been years since I last saw it - I can't remember if it was different to the book or not. The book's strong suit is it's researched study into Comanche life.
Profile Image for Brad.
Author 2 books1,688 followers
July 1, 2021
Having finished listening to Dances with Wolves and sitting with it in my brain for a while, I have three paths of thought I want to share with you.

The First Path -- this path is a path of screenplay as novel. I have read (or listened to) few novels that were so clearly written with the screen in mind. I would venture a guess, actually, that the first draft of this novel is, in fact, the screenplay itself, with Michael Blake adapting Dances with Wolves into a novel next, then going back to the screenplay and polishing it for the screen. I don't know if this is so, but it feels like the process, and part of that feeling is connected, I think, to the fact that Dances with Wolves is better as a movie than as a novel. Not that it is bad as a novel. It is well-paced, somewhat compelling, and emotionally approachable; it is also cinematic, archetypal, and emotionally shallow. The film, however, enables Blake's archetypes to gain depth in the talent of Kevin Costner's cast (yes, himself included). Glances, trembles, smiles, passions, angers, joys, camaraderies all add dimension to characters who sit flat on the page, which is precisely what one would expect from characters in a screenplay -- well drawn characters who need performances to make them sing. Moreover, the story benefits from the screen's focus on action, which is the novel's greatest strength, and the forced removal of an author's omniscient narration.

Whether any of the aforementioned was Blake's process or his intention, it is pretty clear that Blake's writing was more suited to the screen, and that Costner's version of Dances with Wolves is better than the book.

The Second Path -- this path is the path of reading Dances with Wolves during a time when the discourse surrounding cultural appropriation and racism is ubiquitous.

Dances with Wolves was written by a white man in the mid to late-eighties, and our current debates surrounding "cultural appropriation" tell us that a white man has no business writing about a Comanche community during the U.S. Civil War. But this isn't new ... I remember reading criticisms of Michael Blake's work from this direction for years. It could be true that those with white privilege have no business writing about those without privilege (though I am far from convinced that it is true), but it becomes important to note that in the case of Dances with Wolves the book isn't really about a Comanche community. It is a book written about a white man, in this case Lt. John J. Dunbar, discovering that what he has been led to believe about "Other" people and his own people is far more complex than he ever thought possible.

Unfortunately, this is problematized when Michael Blake occasionally uses the narrative perspective of the Comanche men, Kicking Bird and Ten Bears, which certainly suggests that some cultural appropriation is happening, so charges of Blake engaging in cultural appropriation are not entirely off the mark. Yet the bulk of the book is from the perspective of a white man coming to terms with his place caught between two societies, and it is in these moments that Dances with Wolves reveals itself as an important text: not as an important text of Indigenous culture but as an important text of a man undergoing change and finding empathy for another culture and another people, and it is hard for me to see how that isn't an important enough occurrence to validate an undertaking like Dances with Wolves, which, I know, flies in the face of much of today's opinion on the subject.

The Third Path -- this path is a path that criss-crosses both of my previous paths. Cultural appropriation aside, there is a genuine problem of race at the heart of Dances with Wolves. It is not an overt racism, but an insidious, subconscious racism that engages in a late-twentieth century version of the Noble Savage trope while simultaneously engaging in a passive form of white supremacy.

Now before anyone accuses me of calling Michael Blake a racist, I want to be clear that I think nothing of the kind. Were he alive and writing Dances with Wolves today, I am confident that his approach to the story would be different, and that he himself would notice the subconscious racism and would fix it. Sadly, however, Dances with Wolves is fixed in time and all we have is what is there on the page and the problems do exist.

Although some may argue that because the Pawnee are portrayed as severely bellicose Dances with Wolves provides real balance in its portrayal of Native Americans, this is nowhere near enough to shift Blake's portrayal of the Comanche away from Noble Savagery. There is nothing even approaching balance. The Pawnee are bogeyman on the periphery of the story, one-dimensional, brutal, murderous. The Comanche, on the other hand, are benevolent, welcoming, noble, and they appear as a sort of perfect people on the verge of extinction, yet Dunbar, for all his love for them and his embracing of their ways, never quite gives up his feeling that they are "savages" -- noble, yes, but savages all the same.

Much worse, though, is that Lt. Dunbar is perceived by the Comanche -- or so we are told by Blake's shifts into third person, omniscient narration -- as a sort of god. This feeling eventually dies out when they come to know Dunbar as a man, but his supernatural superiority is replaced by a "great man" superiority. Dunbar is accepted as "great" by the entire community, and this feeling is never sufficiently tempered, nor is it presented with sufficient motivation on the Indigenous side of the equation beyond fitting into Blake's narrative.

Which leads me to Costner's version of Dances with Wolves. The film does much better with these issues (even if it isn't perfect itself) because it has living, breathing people adding the depth of their own experience and feeling to the characters they are portraying. Yes there is still a version of Noble Savage thinking at work, but the Lakota Sioux (who replace the Comanche in Costner's film) have less of the "savage" and more of the "noble" than the novel. And yes there is still a version of Dunbar as a "great man," but this is delivered without an omniscient narrator telling us how something is -- we are able to form our own opinions from the action on the screen.

I feel like this has rambled on long enough, and I fear that I am still figuring out how I feel about my experiences with Dances with Wolves. But I want to finish by saying that whatever its problems, Dances with Wolves does show a journey towards betterment of an individual. Flaws and all, that journey is a story worth telling, and shutting down stories of such a journey because of their flaws might just make it harder for some privileged white child in the future to begin that journey themselves. If they can read it and see it in works like Dances with Wolves they can imagine it in their lives, and surely that is an important step for change -- especially if they are able to see the flaws in the stories that put them on their path in the first place.
Profile Image for Natalie.
662 reviews183 followers
October 6, 2014
This book.


It is so rare for me to come across a book that becomes an instant favorite, a book that I can't find one thing to pick apart (or maybe just wouldn't want to even if I could).

I am among the those who saw the movie prior to reading the book. I recall liking the movie and thinking it was beautiful, but it didn't truly stick with me the way the book will. This may not seem like anything special, as the book is usually better than the movie. This movie, however, had some of the most gorgeous, sweeping scenery that I've come across. I didn't imagine the book could compete with that.

I will stop the aimless gushing now (believe that this is very difficult for me to do) and actually explain what contributed to me loving this book so much.

1. Meet Kevin Costner Lieutenant Dunbar.

I am apologizing in advance for how long the following description is, but it really cemented my impression of Lieutenant Dunbar and is one of the most striking descriptions of a character I've ever encountered.

Lieutenant Dunbar was not a pup. He was gentle and dutiful, and at times he was sweet. But he was not a pup. He had seen combat nearly all his life. And he had been successful in combat because he possessed a rare trait. Dunbar had an inborn sense, a kind of sixth sense, that told him when to be tough. And when this critical moment was upon him, something tangible kicked into his psyche and Lieutenant Dunbar became a mindless, lethal machine that couldn't be turned off. Not until it had accomplished its objective. When push came to shove, the lieutenant pushed first. And those that shoved back regretted doing so. The words "Are you crazy, boy?" had tripped the mechanism of the machine, and Timmon's smile began a slow fade as he watched Lieutenant Dunbar's eyes turn black. A moment later Timmons saw the lieutenant's right hand lift, slowly and deliberately. He saw the heel of Dunbar's hand light softly on the handle of the big Navy revolver he wore on his hip. He saw the Lieutenant's index finger slip smoothly through the trigger guard. "Get your ass off that wagon and help me unload." The tone of these words had a profound effect on Timmons. The tone told him that death had suddenly appeared on the scene. His own death.

Seriously. Goosebumps.

If you are interested in how Dunbar comes to be assigned to the post or meet the Comanches, don't look here. Read the book.

2. Meet Kevin Costner in a different costume Dances With Wolves.

Until Dunbar receives his Comanche name, I would say dances (from the title) as a noun and not a verb. This may not seem like a huge difference, but for me it made the book take on a whole new meaning. I truly cried over this part:

Lieutenant Dunbar went to one knee and wrote the name at the bottom of his bark grammar book. His eyes lingered on the way it looked in English. It seemed bigger than just a name. The more he looked at it, the more he liked it. He said it to himself. Dances With Wolves. The lieutenant came to his feet, bowed shortly in Kicking Bird's direction, and, as a butler might announce the arrival of a dinner guest, humbly and without fanfare, he said the name once more. This time he said it in Comanche. "Dances With Wolves."

I won't go through everything that brought him to this point. If you want to know, don't look here. Read the book.

3. Meet Dirty Faced Woman With Messy Hair Stands With a Fist

There is little to dislike about Stands With a Fist. She is a white woman who was taken when she was a young girl. She has been with the Comanches so long that she has almost completely forgotten the English language. I could not remember who played her in the movie (to this comment I received a huge TSK from a co-worker), but I thought it was better this way. I waited until I finished the book to look it up because she was one character that I really wanted to be made up of the words and my mind only.

Her eyes were the eyes of a soulful person, filled with a beauty few men could know. They were eternal. Dances With Wolves fell in love when he saw this.


I will tell you that this is a woman I could stand behind. This is a woman who is so respectful of those around her that I was practically forced to respect her. And I didn't even mind being forced! I won't tell you the ways in which she was respectful. If you are looking to learn of her past or her present or make predictions of her future, don't look here. Read the book.

Oh yeah. I went there.

-The other Comanche characters
-Cisco (this amazing horse should honestly get his own number and paragraph)
-The wolf
-The WRITING. I just...can't....even. I needed this book so badly. I will find myself discouraged by a long string of mediocre books. I will find myself giving a three star book four stars out of sympathy. This is not a sympathy vote. Dances With Wolves RESTORED MY FAITH IN BOOKS. This is a book where there are not a lot of huge events happening. There is not a cliffhanger at the end of each chapter. I was not "on the edge of my seat." And yet I could not put this book down. There were several times that I complained out loud that this was not on the read or to-read list of everyone that I know.

I give this 5 solid stars. I'd give it more if it would let me.
Read this. I want you to read this.

There are times when a person wants something so badly that price or condition cease to be obstacles.
Profile Image for JS.
369 reviews5 followers
May 22, 2022
I feel like this book might be better than the three stars I gave it, but I read it after a friend compared it to Lonesome Dove. Come on, man. The first rule of talking to me about books is:

1- do not compare anything to Lonesome Dove

I mean, the sequels and prequels of Lonesome Dove couldn’t even compare to Lonesome Dove.

Anyway, I feel like I went in with huge expectations and it was quite a letdown. It seemed like a book that struggled to find its rhythm. The voice of each POV seemed strange and uneven. I did however like the concept, the story and the succinct writing style
Profile Image for holden.
440 reviews10 followers
June 27, 2021

Postoji dosta prijatelja za koje se potrudimo da nađemo način da im pomognemo. Sećam se, jedan od mojih prijatelja je bio pisac, i puno puta sam pokušao da mu nađem posao, međutim uvek bi se vratio iznerviran.
Jednog dana došao je i rekao: "Znaš, mrzim Holivud! Mrzim sve vas ljude ovde!"
Na šta sam mu odgovorio: "Pazi, pokušavao sam da ti pomognem, čoveče, neki od ovih ljudi o kojima pričaš loše su moji prijatelji, i ne razumem celu tu priču oko Holivuda, možda (iako pisci misle da je poslednje što napišu uvek nešto najbolje što su napisali) jednostavno to što pišeš nije dovoljno dobro."
Onda mi je rekao samo još jednu stvar koja je skoro prešla svaku granicu, a on je klinac iz šezdesetih, protesti i sve, jako mu je lako da priča loše o Holivudu, ali je prešao granicu o jednom mom prijatelju i ne znam kako se to desilo, ali sam ga uhvatio i digao uza zid i rekao: "Hoćeš li prestati da pričaš loše o svima, već jednom, prestani da pišeš stvari koje su duge 120 stranica (što bi značilo da je to scenario), ako stvarno želiš da pišeš, piši nešto što je dugačko 88 stranica ili 888 stranica."
Shvatio sam da i dalje držim ruke na njemu i da ćemo verovatno prestati da budemo prijatelji, međutim nedelju dana kasnije mi se javio i rekao da nema gde da prespava i pitao me da li može da prespava kod mene. I tako on ostaje kod mene nekoliko meseci, piše svake večeri... Pita me da li želim da pročitam ono što je pisao tog dana na šta odgovaram: „Jebeno, NE!“. Međutim to se nastavilo i on je svake večeri počeo da čita mojoj ćerki koja je imala tri godine, sve dok mi jednom žena nije rekla da jednostavno mora da nas napusti. Na to sam se složio sa njom, tako da je otišao... Ostavio je ono što je napisao, otišao u Arizonu i radio u kineskom restoranu, a ako ste ikad radili u kineskom restoranu i prali suđe znate da suđa ima mnogo... Pozvao me je i pitao da li sam pročitao ono što je pisao, na šta sam mu rekao, „Ne, ne znam čak ni da li te gotivim više“. Rekao mi je da mu je hladno, da radi u kineskom restoranu i da mora da ubija rakune, pa sam mu poslao vreću za spavanje, poslao sam mu svakave stvari, i opet me je pitao da li sam pročitao...
Konačno sam pročitao, a to je bio „Ples s vukovima“.
Kada imate takvu situaciju, kada na taj način počnete sa nekim, jednostavno osećate ponos, i rekao sam mu da je uradio odličan posao i da ne znam kako ću ja uspeti, ali da ću napraviti film po njegovom materijalu.


Film „Ples s vukovima“ osvojio je sedam Oskara, uključujući i Oskare za najbolji film i za najbolji adaptirani scenario. Adaptaciju romana pisao je Majkl Blejk, pisac istog. Na dodeli Oskara sa sobom je poveo svoju prijateljicu Doris, koja je njegove reči prevodila na indijanski jezik. Nakon dodele Oskara više nikada nije radio u Holivudu, ostatak svog života proveo je živeći sa svojom ženom i porodicom u Arizoni. Bavio se humanitarnim radom. Umro je drugog maja 2015. godine.

“He had fallen in love with this wild, beautiful country and everything it contained. It was the kind of love people dream of having with other people: selfless and free of doubt, reverent and everlasting.” Michael Blake
691 reviews2 followers
October 3, 2011
I saw the movie first, and then decided to read the book. The book answers many questions the movie leaves, some of which I hadn't even considered.

For instance, why are there no soldiers at the fort? The book explains it.

Why was he even offered the position? The book tells all.

One of the things I wondered was why he spent the night outside the camp after they found the buffalo. Again, the book details why that was.

The book is very good, much better than the movie. Even though the movie was three hours long, they had to leave out certain material to fit it into that amount of time.
Profile Image for Gearóid.
303 reviews126 followers
August 21, 2020
Really enjoyable book to read.
Loved the descriptions of the prairies and the herds of buffalo.
I have seen the movie which I liked also.
The descriptions were almost cinematic in the book also.
Profile Image for Çimen.
54 reviews2 followers
September 25, 2015
This was a book very close to my heart. The first time I read it, I sat down on the big comfy rocking chair of my grandfather and read it till the end. Then, remained in my seat for a little longer, I was really moved by the story. The lives of the Comanche, the days out on the prairie, the buffalo, Cisco the brilliant horse, the wolf...it all combined together and created a wonderful read. To be honest, I didn't have the heart to read the sequel. I certainly didn't want to see the story take on a much darker and depressing tone. I was quite content to leave it at that and maintain hope for the future. I watched the movie much later, which I also like a lot, but the book is something else.
Profile Image for Milan.
Author 10 books99 followers
December 17, 2021
Kakva knjiga! Kako očaravajuća knjiga!

Ali, pre svega, odmah da se zna da film nisam gledao. Znam o čemu se radi, video sam pojedine scene, ali ceo film nikada nisam odgledao.

I onda, kao, hajde makar da pročitam knjigu. Bio sam prilično skeptičan, ali knjiga me je od prve stranice kupila, zaokupila i oduvala. Od samog starta te uvuče u taj neki duh priče, u neku atmosferu koju stvara odmah na početku.

Kao su stranice odmicale, moje putovanje sa poručnikom Danbarom je počelo da me vraća u vreme kada sam kroz preriju jahao sa Kožnom Čarapom Fenimora Kupera. Svi ti prizori su mi već bili dopro poznati. Ta prerija, bizoni, retko drveće, rečice, beskrajno plavo nebo i bizoni kao duša čitave zemlje. Sjajan vremeplov u vreme, u onaj trenutak u vremenu, u kome samo što se nisu sudarili industrijska civilizacija u nadiranju i društvo lovaca-skupljača u povlačenju. Poručnik Danbar se igrom slučaja našao negde na toj granici, dvojno blizu da nasluti kakav je svet bio pre nego što nas je progres otrgnuo od prirode.

„Izmislio sam poručnika Džona Danbara kako bih mogao da vidim bizone“, kazao je autor ove knjige. „Kako bih mogao da budem prijatelj sa vukovima. Kako bih mogao da imam konja kojeg volim.“

I zaista.

Ipak, malo je falilo da ni knjiga ne bude napisana, a film snimljen.

Trideset izdavača je odbilo knjigu, producenti nisu želeli da investiraju u film, režiseri da ga snime… Haos!

Više o tome kako je knjiga ipak napisana, a film snimljen, ali i o samoj knjizi možete pročitati u malo dužem tekstu na ovom linku: http://www.bookvar.rs/doba-kada-smo-s...
Profile Image for Igor Witch.
106 reviews39 followers
August 10, 2021
Jedan od retkih slučajeva gde većina ljudi misli da je film bolji od knjige. Film u trajanju od skoro 04h. Knjiga ovenčana sa sedam Oskara, mnogo nagrada, priznanja, kao i sam film, u glavnoj ulozi sa legendarnim Kevinom Kostnerom.

Glavni narator priče ne poručnik Džon Danbar, usamljeni čovek željan društva i promene. Autor je toliko dobro izgradio njegov lik, karakteristike, verujte da sam nekako na svojoj koži osećao svu njegovu bol, patnju i usamljenost. Na sopstvenu inicijativu biva premešten na dalekom mestu, utvrđenju na Divljem zapadu. Biva fasciniram tim mestom, mirom, spokojstvu koje tu obitava. Naslov knjige nema baš toliko veze sa radnjom, već glavnim junakom. Danbar postaje bogatiji sa par prijatelja, postepeno zbližavanje sa vukom Belom Šapom, i inteligentim konjem Ciskom. Njegov život se drastično menja kada upozna pripadnike plemena Komanči, najmoćnijeg indijanskog plemena u američkoj istoriji.

Iznenadilo me je koliko se ova knjiga zapravo lako čita, iako autorev stil pisanja ne pripada onim jednostavim, baš naprotiv. Detaljni opisi likova, odevnih kombinacija, mesta dešavanja radnje, je još više doprinelo da moje uživanje u čitanju bude upotpunjeno. Knjiga je prava avantura, prava poslastica za ljubitelje vesterna. U mnogim slučajevima se Indijanci predstavljaju kao divljaci, bezdušni i oholi ljudi. Ima potresnih scena, ali mi je drago što ih je Majkl predstavio i u drugom svetlu. Samo zbližavanje Danbara sa njima je jako interesantno i na trenutke komično. Negde pred sam kraj mi je iskreno radnja postala malkice predvidiva, falilo je tu nečega. Očekivao sam i dosta mudrih rečenica, izreka, citata. Sve u svemu knjigu od srca preporučujem.
Za kraj, dodao bih sledeće.
Jedno je pisati srcem, drugo novcem. Ko razume, shvatiće.

Profile Image for Rachel Jackson.
Author 2 books16 followers
June 19, 2015
I don't know what I was expecting when I began Dances With Wolves, perhaps the naive idea that an author could actually make Native American sound realistic and not entirely a white-centered point of view. But when I finished the book, I was more irritated than anything.

More well known in its screen version, which has some changes from the book, Dances With Wolves by Michael Blake is the story of Lt. John Dunbar, who gets assigned to an army post in Indian Country and his life becomes entangled with the Comanche people who live in the area. He learns the tribe's customs and lifestyle and eventually discovers that he has been accepted by the tribe, and adventures ensue. It's a pretty predictable Western type of story, where an American gets put in a strange position and must learn to survive.

But it's so irritating to read it and realize that in spite of Dunbar's (and Blake's by default) openness to Comanche culture, he doesn't actually observe anything about it. Most of the character's observations are about himself and not the actual customs of the tribe — and of course, the other white person within it. Clearly Blake didn't do much research going into the novel and only wanted to use the romanticized Native American point of note for some of the scenes. Plus, of course the main characters were Dunbar, a white man, and Stands With a Fist, a white woman, because having any real involvement from Native characters would be too much; they can't be the heroes of any stories.

Plus, it was utterly stupid to have a book about the Comanche people, discussing how Dunbar learned the language and began to speak it, and not even include a single Comanche word in it. That kind of defeats the purpose.

It's been a long time since I've seen the movie, but apparently it was very well acclaimed. But after reading the book, I can't even grasp how it could be that great.
Profile Image for Nandakishore Mridula.
1,242 reviews2,256 followers
May 16, 2022
This is one of those rare books which I read because I had watched the film.

In the eighties and nineties, I used to follow the Oscars religiously, and watch all the award winners. With six Oscars (including best director, best screenplay and best film) under its belt, Dances with Wolves was the star of 1990; and it also became one of my favourites, because of its sympathetic portrayal of Native Americans. I was just waking up from my delusional understanding of the American West as reflected in the popular westerns, and understanding the white man's conquest of America as one long tale of cheating and slaughter.

It was years later, in 2005, that I chanced upon an article pointing out the problems in the film's simplistic narrative. The Lakota Sioux are the "good" Indians (the "noble savage" trope) and the Pawnee are the "bad" ones. Similarly, Lt. John Dunbar is the "noble" white man who stands up for the rights of the natives, against Big Bad Uncle Sam. While Dunbar comes across as a rather rounded character, most others are rather flat. But the biggest flaw is the privileged white point of view in the tale's narration: the experience of being a Native American which the Anglo-Saxon invaders can never understand.

I wanted to check out whether the novel was any different. It isn't. In fact, it's worse. Lacking the visual spectacle of the movie, the weakness of the tale is painfully obvious - and Michael Blake is an author who seems to love telling, rather than showing. The book read rather like YA literature for kids born in the nineties in many places.

This is the story of Lieutenant John Dunbar, the lone soldier left at the abandoned outpost of Fort Sedgewick. Being alone, Dunbar slowly "goes native"; he befriends a wolf, gets himself accepted into the tribe of Comanche Indians (in place of the Sioux in the movie) located nearby, becomes a warrior of repute, and marries a white captive girl from among them who has grown up as a Comanche. In the end, when he realises that there is no chance of peaceful coexistence between the whites and the natives, Dunbar decides to sever his ties to Anglo-Saxon race permanently and becomes "Dances with Wolves" in body and spirit.

The story is told in insipid prose. The main characters are all well-delineated, but the author tells you about them than letting them grow organically within the context of the tale, so ultimately they all become pasteboard. There are one or two interesting passages (Dunbar's dream, for example), but they can't redeem the pedestrian language of the novel as a whole.

This book can be safely given a miss (especially if you have seen the movie).
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Donna Craig.
905 reviews39 followers
July 8, 2022
Dances With Wolves was enjoyable enough. However, it was honestly not as good as the movie. That’s rare!
The main thing I noticed was that the heart-wrenching scenes from the movie weren’t as heart-wrenching in the book.
Overall, I enjoyed the book and am glad I read it.
Profile Image for Olethros.
2,617 reviews428 followers
February 22, 2016
-Otro ejemplo (más) de que el Best Seller puede ser también interesante.-

Género. Novela (pero no Novela histórica en su acepción más purista, por mucho que esté localizada en unos tiempos, lugares y circunstancias muy concretas).

Lo que nos cuenta. El teniente John J. Dumbar, veterano de la Guerra de Secesión harto de la misma, termina destinado en un puesto avanzado y aislado en la nueva frontera de su país, el Lejano Oeste. Cuando llega a fuerte Sedgewick descubre que está desierto pero todavía con suministros, por lo que decide continuar su misión mientras comienza a interaccionar con su entorno, una pradera infinita, y sus habitantes, un lobo lleno de curiosidad e indígenas americanos.

¿Quiere saber más de este libro, sin spoilers? Visite:

Profile Image for Ali.
862 reviews16 followers
October 3, 2016
It was impossible for me to separate the movie from the book in this case. And, it's not just because I saw the movie before reading the book, it's because I've seen this movie almost a dozen times and it's one of my all-time favorites. I appreciate the details given in the book that help fill in some of the holes in the screenplay. I think Lieutenant Dunbar is more engaging and charming and likable in the movie, or is that simply because I really like Kevin Costner and the way he portrayed the character? It's impossible for me to tell but I think what I love about this story is the simplicity of it, his appreciation of nature and his gratitude for the genuine relationships he builds with a group of people so different from his own. I love how he revels in solitude, is a tolerant and accepting individual and finds his identity in a most unlikely place. A quiet yet powerful story!
Profile Image for Hudson.
181 reviews45 followers
October 19, 2014

(standing on cliff, wind ruffling my two inch long Boy's Regular haircut)

Readers! I am Hudson Street! Do you see that this is a good book? Can you see that I will always like this book??

Interesting to note that this scene (where Wind in His Hair is shouting good-bye to Dances With Wolves) was not in the book. All in all the movie stayed very true to the book which I found to be a great read.

Also interesting to note that Kevin Costner was a friend of the author and played a role in getting it published and also made in to a movie.

I think anyone who liked the movie would enjoy this book. Fun read!
Profile Image for Gina.
287 reviews7 followers
September 20, 2022
The movie adaptation certainly cut out some unnecessary pieces, but the two stories are remarkably close, and it was nice to get a little more context in some spots.

While I don't know about accuracy, I'd say the biggest triumph here is the portrayal of both women and indigenous peoples who are very human.
Profile Image for Vanessa.
6 reviews19 followers
February 9, 2018
STANDS WITH A FIST!!!!!!!!! [hearteyes emoji]

Let me get this out of the way. Some people have Kevin Costner phases. It's legitimate, I get it. Others, like me, have Mary McDonnell phases. Basically it's one big phase that started back in 2007. Yes, it has been a wild ride but nevermind that. The point is (there is one), the reason why I'm reading Dances With Wolves is directly connected to the existence of that person, if the capslocking of her character's name wasn't clear enough, which in turn means the rating is biased. Get it? Ok, let's continue.

During a DWW documentary, Kevin Costner said Michael Blake had pitched him an idea for a movie, who, in turn, told Blake to write the book and then they would go on with the adaptation. So, not only this brings forward the idea that this is not a typical adaptation book-to-movie as being two completely separate identities, because the goal of the source text was to be turned into a cinematic piece from the beginning; but also that I can pay attention to what other actors say while waiting for the most eloquent of them with the most magnificent hair to show up and amaze me with her whole self. But again, I digress.

Considering the way the movie came into being, it's no surprise to see it followed the book almost word for word. The changes are next to none, with the exception of the tribes in question (book: Comanche/movie: Sioux) and other small scenes, which means we can safely say if you've watched one you basically read the other and if you liked one... hm, yes. And considering the way the book came into being, no one will be surprised to notice that it's not the best piece of literature or that its cinematic equivalent is better, if only because its cinematography is close to masterpiece (and I'm not referring to Mary McDonnell's face, even though it's also a masterpiece). Nevertheless, it's still an easy and pleasant read with the same themes and tropes we have all become accustomed to, like white male discovers that the whole country is wrong about the indians, saviour complex and all those shenanigans.

Displaying 1 - 30 of 763 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.