Reader reviews and comments on News of the World, plus links to write your own review.

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News of the World

by Paulette Jiles

News of the World by Paulette Jiles X
News of the World by Paulette Jiles
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  • First Published:
    Oct 2016, 224 pages
    Jun 2017, 224 pages

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There are currently 33 reader reviews for News of the World
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Dona H. (Muskegon, MI)

Absorbing Read
I found this slim historical novel completely absorbing and satisfying. Both main characters, a retired seventy-year old army Captain and a ten year old girl who was kidnapped by a Kiowa tribe when she was six, captured my heart as they grew to know and appreciate each other on their hazardous journey back to her family. Well-researched, filled with beautiful description and wry humor, the story was also highly suspenseful all the way to the Captain's terrible moral dilemma at the end.
Pam L. (Melbourne Beach, FL)

News of the World
A good story, beautiful writing, great characters, and satisfying ending. What else could a reader want? Paulette Jiles' new novel; News of the World centers around a 70 year old man Captain Kidd, who carries news of the world to the people of Texas after the Civil War. Great premise in itself. He is a quiet hero, who is entrusted with returning a 10 year old Indian captive to her family. What ensues is an exploration of the history and cultures that made Texas. Some of Ms. Jiles' phrases are so poetic and perfect, they beg to be read more than once. Her descriptions immerse the reader in time and place.This novel made me smile many times. Paulette Jiles has created two very strong, engaging characters in the form of Captain Kidd and Johanna.
smash, Milwaukee WI

Fascinating read!
This is a fascinating book about Texas following the Civil War. I think if I were a Texas resident, I would have been even more enthralled. But having spent time in San Antonia, I could relate fairly well to the locations. In any case, the historical setting and the dynamics between senior gentleman and young female, formerly an Indian captive, just drew me in. Also the challenges and risks of travel during that time engaged me. I read straight through, to the finish. Besides capturing my heart, this book taught me history. It clearly portrayed the "career" of traveling to read the news to people (mostly men) - the sharing of the "News of the World". This is a book I plan to share with friends!
Bev C. (Latrobe, PA)

News Of The World
Wichita Falls, Texas 1870

"A story of courage and honor and the truth that these two things are often the possession of even the unlikeliest people." -

Captain Jefferson Kyle Kid is a 70 year old veteran of the War of 1812 (Georgia militia) and President Tyler's war with Mexico. A former printer, now a solo itinerant reader, the captain buys newspapers and reads aloud in isolated community gatherings in northern Texas. Cloaked in his "reading attire", ten cents a head supplies his livelihood.

Captain Kidd is approached by Britt Johnson (freighter) and his small crew...all free black men. A fifty dollar gold piece was given to the "U.S. Army Agent" and passed on to the freighter to return a ten-year-old orphan to remaining family in San Antonio. The orphan is Johanna Leonberger, who survived a Kiowa raid that killed her parents and sister and has been raised by Turning Water and Three Spotted. She speaks only Kiowa, no English or German. Her aunt and uncle have offered a considerable sum for her to be found and returned to San Antonio.

The Kiowa no longer wanted this "white captive" child that increased their chances of being run down by the cavalry.
She she was sold to the Army Agent - and our story begins.

Cicada (her Kiowa name) begins our journey in deerskin shift, elk teeth and golden eagle feather. Immobile, expressionless, and artificial, the child is initially determined to return to her Kiowa home. But, she is unwanted in the only environment she remembers.

In this sensitive, endearing period piece, we travel with "Kepdun" and "Chohenna" (as she calls him) on a treacherous 400 miles journey to Castroville. Paulette Jiles supplies a territorial map depicting Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd's route from Wichita Falls to San Antonio (1870).

This story satisfies both mind (for historical information) and the heart, as the relationship of elder guardian and young girl evolves. Bandits, Comanche raids and treacherous terrain provide obstacles to survival. Then, the long awaited reunion is hardly as expected and decisions need to be made by the Captain.

Don't miss this rich historical fiction offering!
Deb T.

Read this book.........
I love Paulette Jiles and this is one you won't want to miss. I disagree with Rosann in every way. As much as she didn't like it, I did. Take a chance and see what you think!
S Hofsommer

Historical and Fun
Having lived in West Texas, studied Texas history and taught literature set in this country, I found the book a joy to read. Those who are familiar with the film "The Searchers" know about Indians capturing white settlers' children and bringing them up as their own.
My book club members knew little about the history of this time or the setting, so we had a lively discussion.
I strongly recommend a book with a good plot set in an accurately portrayed setting.
Power Reviewer
Sandi W.

Descriptive writing trumps author error
I don't like books that do not use quotation marks to indicate conversation! I took off .5 stars for no quotation marks. In my opinion, that shows laziness in an author.

3.5 stars

Now with that said -
Overall I did enjoy this book. It was just different enough from what I have been reading to be enjoyable. In addition the outcome was what I had wished for all along in the story.

An elderly traveling news reader in the year 1870. A friend asks him to return a 10 year old Kiowa captured girl to her German relatives just outside San Antonio. The story follows their treacherous trail down to and through Texas - full of warring Indians, everyday thieves, and disreputable Army troops. It also tells of the advancement of Johanna under the Captains tutelage.

Probably most noted in this novel is the wonderful descriptions and wordage of the author. Everything from Johanna's dress to the landscape is made visual by Jiles. You feel as if you are sitting right there watching this novel play out before your eyes. You smell the smells, you see the colors. For me, it was this visualization that made the book.
Tired Bookreader

Good Readin'
Finally, a book that wasn't 500 pages and yet told a good story from beginning to end. The story of Texas, with its lawlessness, fear, new communities, beauty. The story of two people trying to get from one side to another with great descriptive scenery and yet, two people who need to survive to reunite a young girl with her family. The News Of The World is an impetus to an end.

Beyond the Book:
  Late 19th Century Texas

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