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News of the World

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In the aftermath of the Civil War, an aging itinerant news reader agrees to transport a young captive of the Kiowa back to her people in this exquisitely rendered, morally complex, multilayered novel of historical fiction from the author of Enemy Women that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust.

In the wake of the Civil War, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels through northern Texas, giving live readings from newspapers to paying audiences hungry for news of the world. An elderly widower who has lived through three wars and fought in two of them, the captain enjoys his rootless, solitary existence.

In Wichita Falls, he is offered a $50 gold piece to deliver a young orphan to her relatives in San Antonio. Four years earlier, a band of Kiowa raiders killed Johanna’s parents and sister; sparing the little girl, they raised her as one of their own. Recently rescued by the U.S. army, the ten-year-old has once again been torn away from the only home she knows.

Their 400-mile journey south through unsettled territory and unforgiving terrain proves difficult and at times dangerous. Johanna has forgotten the English language, tries to escape at every opportunity, throws away her shoes, and refuses to act “civilized.” Yet as the miles pass, the two lonely survivors tentatively begin to trust each other, forming a bond that marks the difference between life and death in this treacherous land.

Arriving in San Antonio, the reunion is neither happy nor welcome. The captain must hand Johanna over to an aunt and uncle she does not remember—strangers who regard her as an unwanted burden. A respectable man, Captain Kidd is faced with a terrible choice: abandon the girl to her fate or become—in the eyes of the law—a kidnapper himself.

209 pages, Hardcover

First published October 4, 2016

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About the author

Paulette Jiles

21 books1,951 followers
Paulette Jiles is an American poet and novelist. Born in Salem, Missouri, she was educated at the University of Missouri with a degree in Romance Lanugages. Jiles lives in the Texas Hill Country on a small ranch.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 13,672 reviews
Profile Image for Angela M .
1,286 reviews2,204 followers
May 2, 2017
I don't know why I didn't give this 5 stars to begin with but I have now . Every once in a while a character comes along that leaves that indelible mark on my heart that will make me think about them for a long time and think that if this were a real person, I'd want them in my life. Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd (Kep-den) is one of those characters as is Johanna (Chohenna). It's 1870 in Texas and after his service in the wars, he's a News a Reader going from town to town reading the news of the day to anyone who will pay a dime to hear it. A widower with two grown daughters, this is his life until he takes on the challenge of escorting ten year old Johanna to her surviving relatives 600 miles away. Johanna has lived with the Kiowa Indians for four years after they kidnapped her and murdered her family . So this becomes an arduous journey with this little girl who speaks no English and is defiant in keeping her identity as a Kiowa.

It becomes more than just a journey of the miles but one of emotions from Johann's fear and the Captain's doubts until a bond forms and they become friends, then like a grandfather and granddaughter, and partners against the loathsome men they meet along the way. I held my breath at times , cried and laughed as it becomes a journey of the heart. I really don't want to say much more because I urge you to read this beautiful story yourself. The writing and the story held me from the beginning to the end. This will most certainly be one of my favorites for the year and once you read this book it will become clear why it has been nominated for The National Book Award. Kudos to Paulette Jiles.

Thanks to William Morrow/HarperCollins and Edelweiss.
Profile Image for Will Byrnes.
1,296 reviews120k followers
December 24, 2020
The Latest News and Articles from the Major Journals
Of The Civilized Word
Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd Will Read a Compendium
From Selected Newspapers
At 8: 00 P.M. At The Broadway Playhouse
Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd is in his early 70s. He sports a shock of white hair as evidence, but possesses a commanding stature and presence that make him seem years younger. Kidd makes a living as an itinerant newsreader. He visits places far removed from civilization, in this instance northern Texas, and reads to the locals newspaper items from around the world. No internet in 1870. Just as the news today has to take care about stepping on toes, Kidd must employ a keen sense of the crowds who come to hear him for ten cents a pop, informing his decisions on what stories might delight and educate and which ones might prompt a riot. He has begun to find his life thin and sour, a bit spoiled. While making his rounds he is approached by Britt Johnson, a freighter (materials hauler), and his crew. Britt (who appears in other Jiles work) leads him to a ten-year-old girl. She is unnervingly still. I am astonished, he said. The child seems artificial as well as malign. And thus begins a beautiful friendship.

Paulette Jiles - from Harper

Johanna Leonberger had been abducted four years earlier, at age six, when a Kiowa raiding party slaughtered her parents and sister. She had been taken in by Turning Water and Three Spotted, regarding them as her real parents. She speaks Kiowa but no English. Her aunt and uncle had offered a considerable sum for her to be found and returned. Britt took care of the obtaining part, but a black man transporting a young white girl to southern Texas, where the end of slavery was not entirely accepted, seemed a risk too far. Kidd obliges and takes on the task of restoring the girl who calls herself Cicada to her biological family.

This is a road trip of self-discovery, or some sort of discovery. Kidd slowly tries to gain Johanna’s trust, no mean feat, and see her safely home. There are challenges along the route, of course, brigands, morons, white slavers, unfriendly natural elements, the usual. What is magical here, and I do mean magical, is the growth in friendship between the old man and the young girl, as she slowly sees his kindness and wisdom and he sees her strength, intelligence and character. The language Jiles uses for expressing Johanna’s growing grasp of English is distilled delight.

The other great treasure to be found here is the portrait of a time and a place. A frontier with an actual front, during the transition from Native American control to ouster by Europeans. Jiles offers a compelling look at the challenges faced by the invading whites (hostile locals, for one), without turning a blind eye to the challenges faced by the dispossessed people. She also offers appreciation for the culture from which Johanna had been taken. Jiles uses a few methods to mark the trail the unlikely pair follows. Birds are used liberally, as are descriptions of local landscape and fauna. You are there. The color blue is applied frequently, but I do not know if that is for a particular purpose.

Tom Hanks as Kidd and Helena Zengel as Johanna from the film - Image from Diversions

You’d better call United Van Lines. You will be moved. It was all I could do to keep from sobbing aloud on the G train on an autumnal (finally) early morning in November. Maybe I could pretend it was the cool air that raided the car whenever doors opened at each station that was making my eyes leak. Yeah, I’m gonna go with that. But for those of you short on ready excuses, you might want to finish this book at home. Tissue box locked and loaded.

So, not only is this book information-laden with period detail, not only is this book incredibly moving, but it is written with surpassing beauty and sensitivity. It is truly amazing that News of the World weighs in at only a little more than 200 pages, at a word count of about 56K. Don’t be fooled. This is definitely a case where size does not matter. I have no doubt that NotW will find its way onto 2016 top ten lists aplenty, meriting consideration for major awards, and deservedly so. For me, at least, this is the first GREAT book of 2016. Don’t miss it!

Publication Dates
----- 10/4/16 - hard cover
-----6/20/2017 - trade paper
-----12/25/2020 - film release

Review first posted - 12/3/15

=============================EXTRA STUFF

The author’s personal website

A Wiki page on the Kiowa

Jiles recommends The Captured by Scott Zesch for a closer look at the experience of returned captives

September 15, 2016 - News of the World is named to the long list for the National Book Award. Congratulations!

October 6, 2016 - News of the World is named to the short list for the 2016 National Book Award for Fiction - Brava!

October 12, 2016 - a dazzling review by Janet Maslin in the NY Times

November 14, 2016 - News of the World is named to the KIRKUS list of the Best Historical Novels of 2016

An Aside – As with Sweet Girl and True Grit this book features an older man trying to help out a young girl. I am aware of no particular category for this, so will offer up a suggestion. SMYF, pronounced “smiff” (cockney for Smith?) for Senior Male Young Female. I know it might conjure inappropriate associations with other acronyms of a sexual nature, but it was the best I could come up with. Sometimes words fail me. I am open, very open, to something better. It wouldn’t take much. Help me out here, folks. Please. If there isn’t a better title for what is certainly a sub-genre of the road-of-self-discovery type, or the bildungsroman, I’m not an oversized Mic.

SMYF no more. With Sandra's rec in comment #1, I am throwing my support behind OMYG, unless someone comes with something even better.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Brina.
904 reviews4 followers
February 10, 2017
It is 1870. Reconstruction era Texas is governed by a combination of outlaws and bandits and bordered on by Native Americans. Enter Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd. A veteran of three wars, he uses both his position as a war hero and Texas' isolation from the rest of the country to travel around the state giving readings of the News of the World. Such commences Paulette Jiles short yet poignant novel.

While giving one of his readings in Witchita Falls, Kidd encounters Britt Johnson, a freed slave. Johnson has with him ten-year-old Johanna Leonberger who had been held captive by the Kiowa tribe for the past four years. The puppet government issued a fifty silver piece for whoever returns her to her family near San Antonio. Johnson suggests Kidd because he is familiar with terrain and because he raised daughters. Although content as a widower, Kidd could use the money and after little deliberation agrees to transport Johanna home.

Johanna, however, believes she is a Kiowa. Having lived with them for the past four years, she has adopted their way of life and forgotten the English and German she was raised with. On their journey, Kidd is entrusted with teaching Johanna how to live like a proper white girl all over again. It is through these interactions and traveling in close quarters in a covered wagon that their relationship grows. Johanna little by little learns to trust Kidd, earning him the title of Kontah (grandfather). Over the course of their trip, she even attempts to speak a rudimentary English.

Jiles is a new author for me, but in this novel she has reminded me why I love historical fiction. She has taken a little talked about time period- post reconstruction Texas- and created memorable characters within that framework who I will think about for awhile. Additionally, through Kidd's readings and their encounters on the road, we are given the important news stories of the time, allowing this story to contain a larger historical framework.

Although Jiles may be a new author for me, she has written other novels and a memoir, mainly about post Civil War Texas. News of the World has been short listed for the National Book Award and is deserving of the honor. I have read many powerful novels which came out this year, and News of the World is in the upper echelon. A powerful story with memorable characters, I highly recommend this novel to those looking for a good story.
Profile Image for PirateSteve.
90 reviews330 followers
April 27, 2017
Try not to mourn the demise of Penelope and Amelia. "Iss the song and the sigh of the willy" and laff-ter is so good for the soul.

Weather you measure time with a gold watch or the click, click, click sound of a broken wheel...
Spend as much time as possible with someone that you love, someone that you trust, someone that you can trust with your love.
And that's what Captain Kidd and Johanna the savage have done. If we are lucky, it all comes quickly between those people so deserving of it.

May it be that way with you.
Profile Image for Jen CAN.
487 reviews1,366 followers
February 6, 2017
Magnificent. I was rendered speechless upon finishing. Needed time to dry my tears and gather my thoughts.

What an adventure this was to read.
Captain Kidd is a seasoned man who reads the world news to towns and village folk in 1870. An ambitious illusion he has created in the hopes of bringing peace - at least for a few minutes - to the civil war torn Texans.
Now at the ripe age of 72, he has been given the daunting challenge of returning a 10 year old girl to her family after having been kidnapped for 7 years by the Indians. What transpires is a journey through Texas and an endearing relationship that develops between Kidd and Jo-Hanna.

Thank you GoodReads for this terrific win in GR Giveaways. It's a beautiful hard copy with deckled edges. 5*****

Profile Image for MarilynW.
1,114 reviews2,808 followers
July 7, 2022
News of the World by Paulette Jiles (Author), Grover Gardner (narrator)

I've been along the route of this story (running, hiking, horseback riding, kayaking) and I could see the journey of Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd and Johanna as if I was there with them, on their 400 mile trek from Wichita Falls to San Antonio. The year is 1870 and Captain Kidd has been tasked with returning a white ten year old former captive of the Kiowa, to relatives. During her capture four years ago, Johanna's parents and sister's were slaughtered but the Kiowa raised her as one of their own. Now Johanna no longer remembers the English language and is determined to find her way back to her Kiowa people. 

In his early days Kidd was a runner, carrying war secrets from one place to another, spending two years in this solitary and dangerous life. Later he owned and operated a printing press but lost everything to the last war. He's also mourning the loss of his wife, a mourning that will never end. He tries to comfort himself with the good memories of his life with his wife and two daughters but his heart is hollow still. Now Kidd travels the area, making a living by reading the news to news starved folks from the towns and surrounding areas. He's content with this life, hoping to someday bring his two daughters back to Texas, from the east where they now reside. 

Johanna is thrust upon him by the black man who rescued him because a black man would have even less success in getting her through dangerous territory to her remaining family. And this is our story, this weathered, weary, lonely old man, taking in and taking on a feral young girl who has lost everything she's ever known, twice. But Kidd is up to the task, he's a good man who has raised two daughters and he's sensitive to this little girl with her fears and her anger. This is a wonderful story, as two people come together to be everything to each other. When it comes time to leave Johanna with people who obviously won't attempt to understand her but also who will likely abuse her, Kidd has a decision to make and he's going to let his heart lead him. 

Pub October 4, 2016
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,010 reviews34 followers
September 26, 2016
The year is 1870. The Civil War has ended.
"News of the World" is a heartfelt story.
A young 10 year girl, Johanna, gets introduced to Captain Kidd, in Wichita Falls.
Their relationship together - and their journey together is genuinely beautiful!
The author, Paulette Jiles wrote this story with so much depth, and passion, it takes your breath away.
This story will restore your faith in historical fiction - should you ever have had any doubt about this genre.

Captain Kidd, an aging war veteran - of several wars, sold his printing business in San Antonio, Texas, after his wife died, bought a horse to use as his transportation....then travels around the state of in Texas. He reads the the newspapers from city to city -- for a dime. The towns are small...news travels slow.
He is offered $50 to bring Johanna to her only remaining family near San Antonio. ( an aunt an uncle).

Johanna has already seen extreme malice in her young life. The Kiowa tribe killed her parents, and sister, when she was 6 years old, then captured her. Johanna's pulled away to live with the Kiowa tribe - knows no English and only speaks Kiowa.
In her own way..this lost child, and somewhat a wild rebellious child, needs to find a way to survive - rebuild a life and find her own place in the world. Captain Kidd is wants to keep her safe. Their travels are rough...even dangerous..traveling 400 miles south. I worried for both Johanna and Captain Kidd, and not only because of the difficulty they faced, but emotionally. They were both brave and humble, and impossible not to love them both!

A vibrant beautiful story -real characters of the old west...exquisitely written.

Thank You very much to the HarperCollins Publishers for mailing me a copy of this novel. The physical book -size in my hands- and gorgeous book cover completes the experience of the words within. Lovely!
Profile Image for Candi.
614 reviews4,644 followers
February 6, 2017
"He had the appearance of wisdom and age and authority, which was why his readings were popular and the reason the dimes rang into his coffee can. When they read his handbills men abandoned the saloon, they slipped out of various unnamed establishments, they ran through the rain from their firelit homes, they left the cattle circled and bedded beside the flooding Red to come and hear the news of the distant world."

Seasoned war veteran Captain Jefferson Kidd traverses post-Civil War north Texas reading the news to a people eager for communication with a world from which they seem so far removed. 1870s Texas is a land of outlaws, tribal warfare and governmental instability. Once a spirited husband, father and contented owner of a printing press, Captain Kidd is lately feeling a bit dissatisfied with life perhaps. "A slow dullness had seeped into him like coal gas and he did not know what to do about it except seek out quiet and solitude." All that changes when he is given a $50 gold piece in exchange for returning a Kiowa captive to her San Antonio relatives.

Life becomes anything but peaceful and solitary as Captain Kidd begins a 400-mile journey through Texas with Johanna, his ten-year-old charge. This will be no easy task as Johanna, who was orphaned and kidnapped by the Kiowa at the age of six, remembers nothing of her former family, her language or her culture. She is now wholly Kiowa. My heart ached for this little girl who had been torn from those she considered family not just once, but now twice in her short lifetime. She yearns to return to her people, the Kiowa. She cares not at all for the white man’s world. "She was shouting for her mother, for her father and her sisters and brothers, for the life on the Plains, traveling wherever the buffalo took them, she was calling for her people who followed water, lived with every contingency, were brave in the face of enemies, who could go without food or water or money or shoes or hats and did not care that they had neither mattresses nor chairs nor oil lamps."

Not one to shirk responsibility, despite any misgivings he may have, Captain Kidd meets the challenge head-on and what follows is a journey that will make you laugh and cry, and will set you on the edge of your seat with apprehension for the dangers these two may encounter along the way. We learn so much about the Captain as he muses on his life as a soldier, as a husband, and as a father to his now-grown daughters. I admired this man as he tried to overcome the language barrier and develop his own special communication with Johanna. Their interactions with one another are so very touching. Johanna will need to place her trust in this man who is now all that she has in this world as she travels through this treacherous landscape without the protection of her tribe. Much is revealed about the truly honorable character of the Captain as we read about his interactions with the various people he meets along the way and as he continues to deliver the news in order to earn a dime-a-head.

News of the World is historical fiction at its finest. Learning about the condition of Texas after the Civil War and getting a glimpse of the world at large through the Captain’s readings are just two reasons why I enjoyed this so much. I loved this book for the excellent storytelling ability of Paulette Jiles, for the sense of adventure, for the feisty spirit of Johanna, and most of all for the truly memorable and endearing Captain Kidd. I highly recommend this one!

"Maybe we just have one message, and it is delivered to us when we are born and we are never sure what it says; it may have nothing to do with us personally but it must be carried by hand through a life, all the way, and at the end handed over, sealed."
Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,738 reviews14.1k followers
July 27, 2016
This book dang near broke my heart...... but in a good way and solely due to the authors expertise in creating two wonderful characters with a unique relationship. captain Kidd, travels Northern Texas as a news reader, in post Civil War, Texas. He is offered a tidy sum to deliver a young girl who was captured by the Kiowa Indians when she was six, the rest of her immediate family killed in the raid.. Now ten she is traded back and needs to be returned to her aunt and uncle, her only surviving relatives. Johanna, wants only to be returned to her Indian tribe, her adopted Indian parents and remembers little about her early life.

So they travel together, four hundred miles, and a relationship unlike any other is formed. Endearing, adventurous, descriptive writing, amazing dialogue, much humor, all the things that make a novel so good. The Captain doubts the wisdom of returning Johanna, but he is an honorable man and this is his charged duty. But is that the wisest decision? So this is what we keep reading to find out and along the way we meet many scoundrels, heroes and people who judge without understanding. Just one of those fantastic stories that the reader can't help but take to heart and have a great time along the way.

ARC from William Morrow publishers.
Profile Image for Annet.
570 reviews723 followers
March 13, 2019
To comfort himself and slow down his mind he thought of his time as a courier, a runner, and Maria Luisa and his daughters. Maybe life is just carrying news. Surviving to carry the news. Maybe we have just one message, and it is delivered to us when we are born and we are never sure what it says; it may have nothing to do with us personally but it must be carried by hand through a life, all the way, and at the end handed over, sealed.

Beautiful, beautiful book! Tender and poetic, emotional. Great story, beautifully written, great characters, Captain Kidd ('Kep-dun'/Kontah) and the young girl Johanna, captured by the Kiowa Indians and freed, and their trip through the dangerous territories of US after the Civil War to return Johanna to her relatives, and being witness to the growing and loving bond between the old man and the young girl, it deserves a big 5 stars. Brought tears to my eyes and yes... when that happens.... it's almost certainly a five star ;-). More to follow and... highly recommended. Deserves book of the year title of Goodreads in the history category for sure!
Note: just went in to vote and see it isn't in the shortlist history any more, such a pity, bit sad about it actually....
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,470 reviews9,635 followers
November 29, 2017
I would never have read this book if it wasn't for one of my groups pick for a badge.

I thought it was really sweet.

The story of a man and a little girl. Bittersweet and brought a tear to my eye. A happy tear. Enough said.

Mel 💕
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,868 reviews16.5k followers
November 7, 2019
A very good book.

Paulette Jiles 2016 novel about a traveling news reader in 1870 who comes across a child needing to be brought home to her family in the semi-wilds of northern Texas was a gem. Good enough to garner a National Book Award nomination and five stars from this very stingy reviewer.

Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, a septuagenarian veteran of three wars in the 1800s, is living out the last years of his life traveling from town to town reading from newspapers to dime paying audiences on the frontier. Many of his listeners have never been to far off places like Boston or London or Rome but they can hear more or less current news from Kidd and can envision the places he describes in his rich and cultured narration. Kidd eschews reading from local papers and purposely avoids being dragged into parochial politics; his readings are of an escapist quality but are nonetheless journalistic and true.

Kidd is approached by freed black men who have been tasked with returning a ten year old who was recently freed herself from captivity by the Kiowa. When the Captain asks why they do not themselves make the trip south and claim the reward money, he is given the explanation that a young white girl in the company of black men would invite more trouble than the promised gold.

Thus begins a journey for the two lost souls – the elderly but dignified and still very capable Kidd and the young Johanna, who was taken from her German immigrant parents as they were killed by her captors and then four years later taken from this home. Jiles uses the psychology of the Native American captive to bind her readers into empathy with the girl and with Kidd, and with the unusual but inseparable pair they become.

Jiles’ narration is crisp and erudite and there is no surprise to learn that she was first a poet before she took to expanding her prose into novel length (though this is a bantam weight 209 pages and sparingly composed). Jiles has crafted this journey for the two, ostensibly to return Johanna to her aunt and uncle, into a morality play about friendship, society, civilization and loyalty. One of the most poignant scenes is when Johanna picks up a knife and appears likely to scalp a fallen combatant but is gently admonished by Kidd citing that such acts are impolite and not done.

With a setting and themes that will invite comparisons with Charles Portis’ 1968 novel True Grit and John Fords 1956 film The Searchers starring John Wayne, Jiles has given us a modern classic and a demonstration of the lean and hungry power of the literary western.

Highly recommended.

** 2019 addendum - it is a testament to great literature that a reader recalls the work years later and this is a book about which I frequently think.

Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,228 reviews2,058 followers
March 10, 2021
Firstly thank you to a number of Goodreads friends who recommended this beautiful book. I am so glad you did and so glad that I followed your recommendations and read it myself.

As far as I am concerned this book is as near perfect as you can get. I loved Johanna to bits, Captain Kidd too, as they travelled together through the wild west, dealing with all the many threats that came to bear on them. And then that ending - how can you get better than that!

The book is short but very, very sweet. The characters are the kind who get into your head and stay there. The writing is magical. The story is delightful.

Just read it yourself! You will not be sorry.
Profile Image for Jaline.
444 reviews1,608 followers
August 11, 2019
Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd was born in 1798 and over the decades of his life he experienced many wars. In the year 1870 when our story begins just the month before his 72nd birthday, he is in Wichita Falls, Texas, preparing to give one of his readings.

After losing his wife and his livelihood in the last of the wars he fought in, he made his living traveling from town to town bringing the news of the world to the townsfolk at evening gatherings by giving readings from several newspapers.

It was a hand-to-mouth existence, but he had a very good horse, fine boots, and his reading outfit, his presence, and his voice gave him an air of worldliness and wisdom.

Then he was presented with a well-paying proposition: deliver a young girl of 10 to her aunt and uncle nearly 400 miles away in southwest Texas. The girl, Johanna, had been rescued from the tribe of Kiowa who captured her at the age of 6 after they had killed her parents and younger sister.

This story is heartwarming, filled with mystery and peril, and overflowing with beautiful, sometimes desolate scenery. Yet, it is the characters – Captain Kidd and Johanna – whose personalities and mannerisms captured my heart.

Nostalgia’s touch
Opened my heart and my soul;
Then the book opened.

When I first saw the cover of this novel, something told me this would be a novel that would remind me of how good stories held me intent and involved from childhood onward. This story captured my imagination. It enabled me to see places and people I had never before seen or experienced. There are bits of wisdom and puzzles to reflect on long after the reading is over. Everything I have always loved about stories is here – and I want more.
Profile Image for Susan's Reviews.
1,079 reviews494 followers
January 17, 2023
This book is a lyrical treasure. EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS BEAUTIFUL BOOK!

The incredible story is told from the point of view of Captain Kidd: a "good, honourable man" and one of the last few true gentlemen left in a world destroyed by war (in this case, the Civil War).

Kidd has been entrusted with returning a young German girl, who had been captured and raised by raiding Kiowa Indians, to her remaining family. Kidd has daughters of his own. Perhaps this is how he knew to gain young Johanna's trust and admiration. He taught her to trust again when all she had ever known was brutal hardship and loss. There is much wisdom and keen observation in this book.

One of my favourite passages, describing Johanna -the young captive girl, exemplifies the noble spirit of this fine novel:

"...She never learned to value those things that white people valued.
The greatest pride of the Kiowa was to do without, to make use of anything at hand; they were almost vain of their ability to go without water, food, and shelter.
Life was not safe and nothing could make it so, neither fashionable dresses nor bank accounts. The baseline of human life was courage....."

A beautiful, well written story of endurance and the will to survive, with two very strong and courageous characters.
(Audiobook is on sale today 1/16/2023) - just got the alert: $4.99.
Profile Image for Iris P.
171 reviews205 followers
April 6, 2019
News of the World

★★★★★ 5 Stars!


Once in a while readers of fiction can hope to experience this series of fortunate events:
A friend recommends a great book ➜ Your mindset happens to be ideal for said book ➜ You love the story = Literary bliss ensues!!
It is a little hard to admit that I almost allowed my preconceived notions get in the way of discovering this remarkable novel. Let's just say that News Of The Word, a novel marketed as a "western", was definitely not at the top of my TR pile this year. So first of all, allow me to humbly acknowledge how very mistaken I was!
(On that note, I big shout-out to GR friend Karen for persuading me to read this, thanks Karen!)

It is undeniable that we are currently living in deeply divided political times in America, but Reconstruction Texas, the historical setting of this novel, certainly helps to put that notion in context. Texas in the 1870's is a place of anarchy, the state is once again out of the Union as the old quarrels between former Confederates and Yankee Republicans rage on.

The place is not only divided but pretty much lawless. If you are traveling in one of the state's treacherous roads is difficult to know for sure who's friend or who's foe. Danger lurks from anyone and any place.

At 72, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, a widow and a veteran of several wars, is living a relatively quiet life. He has found a creative way to make a living, one that combines his love for the printing press and his interest in keeping abreast with the news of the world.

These days when we hear the term "news aggregator" we probably think of websites like BuzzFeed, The Huffington Post or The Daily Beast. But who knew this might not have been entirely an internet creation? Captain Kidd is a professional reader, a sort of aggregator of news, or at least the 19th-century version of it. He travels through Texas and finds people willing to pay a dime to hear him read from newspapers describing current events from around the country and the world.

But the quiet, solitary life the Captain has been living takes an unexpected turn when Britt Johnson, a free black man, asks him to deliver a 10-year-old white girl to her relatives in San Antonio. Johanna Leonberger has been rescued from the Kiowa Indians who four years earlier, kidnapped her and killed her immediate family. Having been so young when this event took place, she has completely forgotten the English language and has assimilated the dialect and customs of the tribe.

The trip to San Antonio is a dangerous undertaking, as there are raids happening all over the country and plenty of travelers have lost their lives. Captain Kidd is hesitant at first, but he ultimately accepts the mission to bring the girl back to her extended family. Besides, he had spent years in San Antonio after marrying into one of the city's oldest families. He speaks Spanish fluently and understands the culture. He reasons he knows these people well.

The Captain uses part of the fifty-dollar gold piece he received to finance the trip to buy a spring wagon. The idea is to make the long journey from Wichita Falls to San Antonio as comfortable and as safe as possible.

The trip and adventures that follow are gripping and dramatic, but for me the most memorable passages are those that describe how Captain Kidd and Johanna find ways to communicate with each other, an impulse initially born out of their need to survive, but later a reflection of the authentic bond that comes to tie the unlikely pair.

The brilliance of this novel is, I think, the contrasting effect of encountering such an honorable, kind hearted and humble protagonist as Captain Kidd is, against the backdrop of the very harsh world he inhabits. If he's a hero he is an unassuming one.

As a reader of fiction, I am all for exploring stories with morally ambiguous characters but once in a while, it feels just great to know, unequivocally, who the good guy of the story is. At around 210 pages News Of The Word is a pretty short novel, but its characters are indeed larger than life.


Audio Book Review
If like me, you have been listening to audio books for a while there's a good chance you've listened to something narrated by Grover Gardner. Gardner is a first-rate narrator and it shows on his unforgettable performance of this delightful little novel.
Profile Image for Julie .
4,030 reviews58.9k followers
December 31, 2016
News of the World by Paulette Jiles is a 2016 William Morrow publication.

News of the World is another book on a list of award nominees I’ve worked my way through in the last days of 2016.

This may be one of my favorites on that list, due to the historical details provided about my home state of Texas. I am familiar with every place on the map Captain Kidd visited or described in his journey across the state.

In 1870, during the reconstruction period of Texas, law and order was random and loose. The dispute over land with the Native Americans erupts in violence, with kidnapping of American women and children becoming a common practice.

Ten year old ‘Johanna’ was kidnapped at age six by the Kiowa tribe. But, now, at age ten, she’s been sold and left behind by the only people she appears to have any feelings for, or memory of.

Her plight comes to Captain Kidd’s attention while he travels across Texas, reading the ‘news of the world’ to crowds of people who pay him a dime a head for his services. He is offered a fair price to take ‘Johanna’ back to her only remaining family.

Along their long and treacherous journey the seventy-plus year old Captain Kidd forges a bond with young ‘Johanna’ and she eventually learns to trust him due to his patience and kind treatment of her.

This relationship is at the heart of the story and is what will stick in my mind when I think of all the many layers of this short, powerful novel.

“Loss of reputation and the regard of our fellow persons is in any society, from Iceland to Malaysia, a terrible blow to the spirit. It is worse than being penniless and more cutting than the blades of enemies.”

The contrast between good and evil jumps off the pages as brutality and the evil intentions of men are outweighed by good, honorable men, like Captain Kidd.

The psychological effects ‘Johanna’ endured as a result of her kidnapping is puzzling and there are no pat answers. What happened to her during that four year span of time that caused her to forget everything she had known before, including her own native language and the ability to use utensils while eating.

Her heart remained with the Kiowa tribe for reasons that simply cannot be fully explained. This part of the story is heartbreaking and I do think I will take the author’s advice and check out the recommended reading material she listed at the end of the book for insight into the psychology of those captured by Native American tribes.

The writing here is simply amazing, the intricate details of the landscape and of the characters bring the story to life with its vivid imagery.

Wars and conflicts have followed us all through history, and they always leave behind vulnerable victims, who are forever changed and no matter how well intentioned we are, those impressions may never really leave them. Sometimes all one can do is the right thing and let things develop from there, which is what Captain Kidd ultimately had to do.

While Johanna’s story is sad and poignant, as well as thought provoking, her character deeply touched me and I think I will always remember her.

This short novel packs a pretty big punch, and is definitely worth the time, even if you don’t usually read westerns or historical fiction.

4.5 stars

Profile Image for Larry H.
2,484 reviews29.4k followers
March 22, 2017
Definitely 4.5 stars, maybe slightly more.

Yeah, I'm late to the party on this one.

I'm man enough to admit I didn't read this before now because I was misinformed. For some reason I mistakenly believed this book was another story which veered closely to True Grit —you know, cantankerous old man becomes the protector of a young-but-tough girl, and hijinks and friendships ensue. Having read the book, and seen both versions of the film, and also read a pretender or two, I really wasn't enamored of reading another similar story.

While there are perhaps a few similar elements, Paulette Jiles' News of the World is a story all its own, full of heart and beauty and simplicity and tenderness, and even a little poetry. It totally took me by surprise and I loved nearly every minute of it.

1870. The U.S. is starting to recover from the damages wrought by the Civil War. Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, a veteran of two wars (the first when he was just a teenager), is now an elderly widower, a former printer who now spends his days traveling throughout Texas, reading newspapers from all over the world to paying crowds anxious and interested to hear about what is happening both in places they know and places they might only have imagined. He is careful, however, to steer away from any news of Reconstruction and the Confederacy, knowing how it will inflame tempers.

While in one town, he is offered a job—and a $50 gold piece—to bring a young girl who had been taken from her family four years before by a band of Kiowa raiders. Her family was killed, but she survived, and was taken in to the Kiowa family, raised as one of them. But such things cannot be, and when she is recaptured, it is decreed that she should be returned to her closest living relatives, an aunt and uncle near San Antonio.

For 10-year-old Johanna, the only family she really knows are the Kiowa Indians who raised her, and she cannot understand why she has been taken away from them. She doesn't appear to know English, refuses to wear shoes or act in a "civilized" manner, will not eat with a fork and knife, and tries to find any opportunity to cross the river and hopefully return home.

But as Kidd and Johanna travel through Texas, finding themselves in danger more often than they care to count, and trying to find common ground, the two begin building a relationship of sorts, with Kidd trying to find empathy for this young girl whose life has already been turned upside down twice, and by dint of his job, he will be party to this happening a third time.

"More than ever knowing in his fragile bones that it was the duty of men who aspired to the condition of humanity to protect children and kill for them if necessary."

As they draw closer and closer to San Antonio, and an uncertain fate for Johanna, Kidd is torn—he knows at his age, a widower living alone has no place raising a child, especially one so traumatized by life as Johanna has been. But can he really let her go, after he has become the only person she trusts and can communicate with? And if he doesn't deliver her to her aunt and uncle, does that make his as much a kidnapper as the Kiowa?

I've really simplified the plot of this book, but it is such a lovely story. Have we seen elements of this type of story before? Certainly. But even if you have suspicions of how the plot will unfold, and those suspicions may prove correct, Jiles' tells such a beautiful story, and has created two immensely memorable characters, characters which warm the heart and stay in the mind.—

What struck me about this book is that Jiles was able to create a little bit of tension at every turn, which made the story move even a little faster, and she imbued her descriptions of their surroundings throughout their journey with such evocative imagery, it was lyrical, even poetic. I was fascinated by Kidd's reading the news to people—it's the first time I've ever heard of that happening.

I am not generally a fan of historical fiction, but this book really worked for me. If you're not one of the people who already has taken this book to your heart, add it to your list, because these characters will make you smile and, perhaps even cry a little.

See all of my reviews at http://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blo....
Profile Image for Julie.
Author 6 books1,769 followers
February 21, 2017
As a freelance editor, I read and review manuscripts and query letters of aspiring novelists hoping to find the key to the padlocked gate of publishing. Time and again, I try to steer their query letters away from eager focus on the urgent themes of their work and toward the story itself. Authors can get so caught up in the necessity of their own narratives, the takeaway—what they want the reader to learn and know about the world—forgetting that their only real task is to tell a good story. If they can do that, the themes will present themselves and live on their own merit.

Tell us a good story. That's all you need to do. Simple, right? Ah, but there's the rub. For it takes considerable skill, courage, and focus to know your story, your characters, and your intent well enough to see the true narrative within the myriad details of research and weight of ego. And then to render it with wonderful prose.

When I read a novel as exquisitely crafted as Paulette Jiles' News of the World, I want to gently press it into these writers' hands and say, This. This is your guide. This is storytelling perfection.

The book's glorious simplicity is in the premise: it is 1870 and 71-year-old Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, a widower and veteran of two wars, makes his living as a news reader. He travels from town to outpost in North Texas, reading news of the world aloud in dance halls, taverns, theaters—whatever he can rent for an evening, for a few coins an ear. While in Wichita Falls, he's offered a $50 reward by a friend, Britt—a free black man—to return 10-year-old Johanna to her relatives outside San Antonio.

So, what we have here is the classic Hero's Journey storyline: protagonist must get from Point A to Point B and the plot is what happens to him along with way.

But what of the conflict? Never fear. The author layers on the conflicts with the skills of a French pâtissier crafting a delicate, melt-in-the-mouth croissant. The complication is this: captured by Kiowa Indians four years earlier in a raid that left her immediate family dead, Johanna has transformed into a Kiowa child. Only her blonde hair and pale skin reveal she is anything but 100 percent Kiowa. She no longer speaks English, or more accurately, German-for her birth family is part of the German immigrant population that settled in Texas Hill Country in the 1830s.

But this extraordinary novel is so much more than its plot. This is a story of two misfits at either end of their lives, brought together by happenstance and tragedy who bond during an epic journey through an unsettled land. It is novel of place and of a very particular point in history. It is a few years after the end of the Civil War, but hardly an era of peace. Captain Kidd brings with him news of the ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment, granting black citizens of the United States the right to vote. Texas is still very much the Wild West, and Jiles captures the grit and heat, the awesome threats and beauty of this massive state.

Paulette Jiles is a writer of prose and poetry and her reverence for language makes for breathtaking sentences: “Above and behind them the Dipper turned on its great handle as if to pour night itself out onto the dreaming continent and each of its seven stars gleamed from between the fitful passing clouds.”

RIGHT? Gah. Swoon.

I fell hard for the Captain and his fierce, vulnerable ward, Johanna. My boyfriend came down the stairs Saturday morning just as I was turning the final pages of the book to find me in a puddle. My tears weren't necessarily because of something that happens at the end (no spoilers here), but because this book came to an end. That's how wonderful it is. It hurt to read the words The End.

The inspiration for the novel came from historical accounts of whites captured as children by Native American tribes who struggled, and in many cases failed, to readapt after their "rescue", some less than a year after their capture. They had wholly integrated into their Native families and cultures, finding something perhaps inexplicably complete about tribal life that could never be recaptured once reunited with their birth families.

Although it is only February, I am certain News of the World will appear in my 2017 list of Best Read. All the stars.
Profile Image for Cheri.
1,743 reviews2,273 followers
April 1, 2021

There is no corner newsstand to get the latest news in print for the people that Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd is wont to visit, remote areas. He brings them the news, his selections varying on the mood of those he reads to. Ever careful to avoid riling up opposing political opinions in these circumstances, Kidd, in his early 70s, still is a presence that warrants attention. As the story begins, Kidd is in northern Texas, reading to those who attend and drop their dime in the bucket to hear the news from around the world. He is approached in this northern Texas town by Britt Johnson, who convinces him to take a wisp of a child, ten-year old Johanna Leonberger, back to her family. Four years earlier Johanna had been abducted during a Kiowa raid and has now been “rescued” from the Kiowa. Offering Kidd a sum he can’t refuse, Kidd somewhat reluctantly changes plans to bring young Johanna back to what remains of her family.

Johanna speaks no English. She’s standing so still she seems almost imaginary, with her pale skin and white blonde wispy hair. Her face a wall of emotion. She wants to go home, to the only one she really knows, really remembers. To her parents Turning Water and Three Spotted, where she is called Cicada. Home.

During their journey, Captain Kidd carefully seeks to establish trust with Johanna, a trust he feels necessary in order to give her comfort, and thereby ensure she arrives safely home. He’s raised girls of his own, he senses her fears and hesitations with him, and he knows, as well, that others returned from captivity have never really acclimated to living inside walls, yearning for the way of life they’d known. He teaches her, little by little, the things she’ll need to know in this life she was born into. Manners. English words. She balks at eating with a fork, but is eager to be able to communicate. Little by little he sees a smile. Little by little trust grows.

It’s a long, and arduous journey. In the wagon he’s bought for transporting them, they can stop and rest, but being ever vigilant, knowing the potential for trouble, for generally unsavory characters. There’s been flooding along the route to add to the difficulty of the journey.

Jiles does a wonderful job immersing the reader in the time and place, 1870, not all that many years after the end of the Civil War; Texas then was nothing like it is now, Dallas was a small town. More time spent in the wagon bouncing around with not a thing in sight other than the endless horizon. More time spent there than in any town of any size. Jiles wonderfully conveys the surroundings, the way of life, the complexities of this time; it is all brought to life with Jiles’ entrancing prose.

Gaining Johanna’s trust slowly and early leads to a gradual change. The stoic child he first met blossoms little by little. It’s a lovely thing to see these two bond together, bound by whatever fairy dust has enchanted their emotional journey. The physical journey, however, has a few bumps here and there. Maybe more than a few tense moments.

A wonderful story about Home and Family. What our hearts recognize as home, who our hearts recognize as family.

Published: 4 October 2016

Many thanks to William Morrow, Edelweiss and to Paulette Jiles for providing me with an advanced copy
Profile Image for Robin.
485 reviews2,625 followers
March 21, 2021
This is a dear story, told in a wild time in history in areas where no one seems to be 'in charge', and people live by whatever they decide is law. In this time, Captain Kidd shows that honour and honesty are still alive, and that the fate of a 10 year old girl is still important.

1870's Texas: a place where most anyone is armed and ready, when many still meet violent ends despite the end of the Civil War, and when a guy can make a living reading newspapers aloud. That's what widowed, roaming Captain Kidd is doing when he takes on the task of transporting 10 year old Johanna to her next of kin. The catch, and what you'll find out just by reading any review or blurb is, this girl has spent much of her childhood raised as a Kiowa, the tribe who murdered her parents and held her captive for four years. She has limited English, and is unused to European clothing, food, and social customs.

The trip is dangerous, and challenges 72 year old "Kep-dun" physically but also morally, as he struggles with the obligation of the promise he made, and the right thing to do by this very special, vulnerable girl. The way forward becomes increasingly foggy as their connection and friendship grows.

The story is easy to read, driven by a cinematic quality that was constantly playing in my mind's eye. The characters are captivating and pluck at your heartstrings. I marvelled over how Kidd chose the news stories he read aloud strategically, depending on where he was and what the political hot buttons were. I was fascinated at the permanence that the four years with the Kiowa had on Johanna's identity.

While I generally enjoyed the story, the ending had a fast-forward quality that felt a little too tidy, over simplified and rushed. There's a cotton-candy-fluff aspect of this book that doesn't quite speak to me, so this wasn't a love connection, even though there's plenty here to appreciate.

3.5 stars
Profile Image for Norma.
551 reviews12.3k followers
November 16, 2018
What an emotional journey this book took me on!  I am absolutely spent after reading this novel!

NEWS OF THE WORLD by PAULETTE JILES was a uniquely written historical fiction novel that takes you on a 400-mile long adventurous and sometimes dangerous journey across the state of Texas in 1870 after the American Civil War.

Reading this book via e-book THE COVER and TITLE did not come into play for me as it was chosen solely to be read on the recommendation of my sister, Brenda.  Although, I do find both the cover and title to be extremely fitting for this book.

The CHARACTERS, 71 year old respectable Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd who travels Texas to read the NEWS OF THE WORLD to a paying audience and scared, lonely, and unsettled 10-year old Johanna who is learning to cope in her new surroundings. Through the kindness and goodness of Captain Kidd they form a relationship that bonds them together by love, trust, responsibility and understanding.

PAULETTE JILES delivers an impressive and descriptive story here that was at times a little hard for me to read, as I found the pacing a little bit slow at times. For me living out in the country on a ranch and having a real cowboy as a husband this book took me to places that were familiar to me and have learned about through the stories that were shared to me by my husband and his family.  I really liked Captain Kidd’s description of the people who are called “cowboys”, an “occupational speciality”.  I shared that one with him…..lol

What I particularly loved about this book was THE ENDING as it was one of those books for me that made me realize that everything I just read was absolutely beautiful.

To sum it all up it was an endearing, steady-paced, and an easy read with a very satisfying ending. Would recommend!!

All of Brenda & my reviews can be found on our Sister Blog:
Profile Image for Murray.
Author 151 books493 followers
May 31, 2023
A solid story

📕 So wanted to say the audiobook version is on sale from now till the end of June. I may do it again just for the pleasure of enjoying a good narration 📕

🏜️ I’m glad I never saw the movie first. I can say that because while a movie can give you the storyline, good acting and beautiful cinematography, it can’t give you the similes and metaphors that make poetry rich and novels just as rich. Paulette offers us a great story we can set up in our minds and rugged, lovely prose we can savor like a good meal and a good coffee. If you like reading solid writing, not just wanting to whip through another slick story, this book is for you to settle down with and sink into nice and deep, right up to your heart. Thank you, Paulette. In addition, your ability to make 1870 Texas come bristling to life was brilliant. Five golden stars.

🐎 🎥 🍿 To be fair, I watched the movie on Netflix and it was pretty well done. I should’ve figured that with Hanks involved. The girl in the story, raised by the Kiowa, was nothing short of amazing in a role very difficult to play convincingly. Helena Zengel, Deutsche, now 14, but 12 when the movie came out and therefore closer to 11 when the filming was taking place. She’s superb. The movie’s a good take on a brilliant novel.

🪶 She never learned to value those things that white people valued. The greatest pride of the Kiowa was to do without, to make use of anything at hand; they were almost vain of their ability to go without water, food, and shelter. Life was not safe and nothing could make it so, neither fashionable dresses nor bank accounts. The baseline of human life was courage. Her gestures and expressions were not those of white people and he knew they never would be 🪶
Profile Image for Perry.
632 reviews517 followers
January 19, 2020
Bonding Journey

A sweet tale, without author-processed additives, i.e., a truly touching tale, without the sentimentality I've seen some authors try to jam down our throats in recent books. The novel is accessibly written with prose just as forceful and colorful as the verbose Faulkner/McCarthy while being both more cinematic and more lyrical. It's somewhat reminiscent of Papa Hemingway with the moral complexities, but it's also about family and honor and commitment, in a lawless Texas of the 1870s.

The two main characters are a 70+ year old news reader and a frightened, but courageous, well-drawn 10-year-old girl who spent her last 4 years as part of the Kiowa tribe of the plains that captured her after killing her Alsatian German-speaking parents and sister. The trip to return the girl to her family in San Antonio, Texas, is about 2 weeks: a vivid adventure, at times humorous, at others haunting and compelling, and always a pleasure as we get to see a special bond form between this old man whose family has all moved away from him and this young girl who has now been taken from two families in her brief 10 years.

Portrait of Kiowa tribal members
Profile Image for Cathrine ☯️ .
618 reviews338 followers
December 11, 2017
My reception and rating may be biased as the subject matter in this one is close to my heart and I have read a fair share of non-fiction works in common as well. I was pleased to see in the end remarks the author’s endorsement of the very excellent book The Captured: A True Story of Abduction by Indians on the Texas Frontier.

Accept for the minor complaint that I am not a fan of absent quotation marks, this is as near to reading perfection as I can get. I loved how she wove these fictional characters into a tale which brought to life this place and time in North American history. What I really loved even more was the lyrical, spare, and compassionate prose she employed. It so beautifully speaks to the heritage and lifestyle of the native tribes with its words solidly planted on the earth.
Simple, direct, without guile—just like Johanna and her Captain Kidd.
Profile Image for Linda.
1,230 reviews1,280 followers
February 7, 2017
"There was no method by which he could explain anything to her but she did not need explanations. Often enough they had faced the howling, striving demons of the open plains: hunger, tornadoes, scarlet fever. She didn't need to be told anything except that there were enemies in pursuit and she had already figured that out."

A Texas reality in 1870 faces Captain Jefferson Kidd. The seventy year old war veteran gazes upon the aftermath of brother against brother. Reconstruction is a word best left to those who ill-define it. A nebulous term at best. Bridges blown up, non-existent railroads, roads almost impassable, and no public money to rebuild. And where, just where, is the satisfaction in all that?

But Captain Kidd scratches out a bare existence. He's lost his printing press business and has taken to the road going from town to town reading the news in public gatherings for a mere dime apiece. "Maybe we have just one message, and it is delivered to us when we are born and we are never sure what it says."

At one point he is offered the task of delivering a ten year old orphan girl who was captured by the Kiowa when she was six years old. His distant destination would be to an aunt and uncle in Castroville. Johanna Leonberger witnessed the brutal deaths of her family. She has become totally immersed in the Kiowa way of life. No signs of her previous life seem to exist nor any signs of who actually does exist behind those tragic eyes.

What transpires throughout this book is the sharp emphasis on the realities of Man's proclivity for pure evil. But that propensity is also softened greatly by the curve and bend of genuine kindness and goodness. You will experience both inclinations through the beautiful prose of Paulette Jiles. There is the shocking jolt of brutality in her storyline and, at the same time, the irregular seam of tenderness dabbled out in uneven waves.

Both Captain Kidd and Johanna seek the lost treasure of self-identity. The devastation of war and the horror of the Indian raids have affected them in unspeakable ways. Jiles takes you on their treacherous journey and reveals the historical strains of the time period in the process. Jiles writes with brilliance and you almost taste the dust of the trail with each word.

I highly recommend this book for those who have an inclination towards historical fiction. And yet, it speaks to all of us whose heads turn in the direction of well-defined, raw and real characters. No wonder that News of the World is a National Book Award Nominee for 2016. Believe me, this is a treasure of a book.
Profile Image for Shelby *trains flying monkeys*.
1,574 reviews5,911 followers
July 18, 2016
The Civil War is just ending and Captain Jefferson Kidd is traveling through Texas reading the newspapers to people. He won't read them local news because everyone gets riled up and the shooting might start. He tells the stories of what is going on in Europe and other countries.

He is offered a 50 dollar gold piece from someone he trusts to take a 10 year old orphaned girl to her relatives. She had been taken by the Kiowa when she was six years old..so she is a tad bit wild to everyone's eyes.
So begins the adventure of a road trip in a wagon across Texas.

These characters. Wow.
Captain Kidd is the older cranky sort of man that is perfect in this type of book. I completely had him pictured in my head.

Palm Springs commercial photography

Then Joanna-full of spunk for a ten year old. Her character is now one of my favorite children ever in a book.
Their journey includes a "Ten cent shootout" that was perfection.
Palm Springs commercial photography

This book is a small thing, but the author does an amazing job of putting so much into the story that you don't feel short changed at all.
Palm Springs commercial photography

Booksource: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a review.
Profile Image for Karen.
574 reviews1,120 followers
October 16, 2016
Oh my, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, such a wonderful man, loved him!! He had fought in two wars starting at the age of 16.
Now at 71 yrs old he is paid to bring 10 year old Johanna back to her relatives after her recovery from the Kiowa Indians who had captured her 4 years early and had killed her family. Johanna only knows the way of the Indians now and has lost the English language.
The Captain has a long and dangerous journey ahead, and while on this journey, he, a former printer, reads the newspapers and makes stops in various cities to read the "news of the world" to folks in gathering places for 10 cents a head.
The relationship that develops between the Captain Kidd and Johanna is beautiful.
I loved this book!
Profile Image for Dem.
1,186 reviews1,098 followers
February 14, 2021

Having now watched The movie 🎥 on Netflix I can highly recommend as its beautifully done and Tom Hanks and Helena Zengel were both amazing

News of the World is an engaging and enthralling short novel. The characters are written with such compassion that they will take hold of you as you will take this journey with them through the harshness of the landscape and the dangerous situations they find themselves in until you finish the last page and part company with these two memorable characters.

A truly lovely read where not a word is wasted and at 209 pages this book certainly packs a punch. A case of less is more seems to apply here.
Set in 1870, this is the story of Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd who drifts through Northern Texas performing live readings from newspapers for gatherings, he accepts a mission from the U.S Army to return a recently rescued 10 year old girl who 4 years earlier was captured by a band of Kiowa raiders who viciously killed her parents and sister, sparing the little girl they raised as their own.

Paulette Jiles prose is fresh and compelling, lyrical and vivid. A novel with it's frontier setting and a couple of unforgettable characters who form a lovely friendship over the course of their 400 hundred mile journey.

This is a book to read slowly and enjoy as it truly is a beautiful story that is lyrical and gritty.

I really enjoy novels set in this time frame when the wild west was just been settled and I think readers who have enjoyed books like The Orchardist The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin or Lonesome Dove Lonesome Dove (Lonesome Dove #1) by Larry McMurtry might enjoy the exquisitely described landscapes and the friendship formed between an old man and a young girl who is caught between different worlds.
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