MLA Platinum Award Press Release

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
  • Critics' Opinion:

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  • First Published:
    Oct 2016, 224 pages
    Jun 2017, 224 pages


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There are currently 35 reader reviews for News of the World
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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.
Debra Lerner Schmidt

Historical Fiction
An interesting story about Texas in the 1870s. A rough terrain wih tough people find the main character Captain Kidd as a soft hearted man who does the right thing with a young orphan girl who was kidnapped by the Kiowa. A sentimental journey for both.

I have to say I really learned a lot from a little girl captured by Indians. I learned I have too many things, you can use coins as weapons and you can't always trust blood kin. I collect books. I have several by this author but this is the first for me to actually read. Now I am excited to go back and read the rest of her novels. I would definitely recommend this to my sister to read. Thanks again for the opportunity to discover another author to love.
Marganna K. (Edmonds, WA)

Pleasant read
I enjoyed News of the World. It held my attention & I often thought how I'd like to return from some errand / dinner / etc & get back to reading this small, easily read, engrossing novel. I won't discuss the storyline since the book's dust cover gives an adequate & accurate summery of the story. Many other reviewers have also provided excellent synopses of the story.

I was born in Dallas & raised on farm on the Little Brazos River about 3 miles from the Brazos River mentioned in the story. I lived in Texas many years & visited most of the locations the characters traveled. I considered the geography part of the list of characters, as were the 2 horses.

I found the historical part of the novel interesting & informative. The writing was a little simple & a bit choppy but unlike some stories I've abandoned because of this writing style, I never considered leaving the book & story.

I liked the 2 main characters very much & found them believable although some of situations our main characters found themselves in were once or twice a bit stretched.

Nevertheless, it was an entertaining book with likable characters & with enough history pleasantly told to be a 4 star book.

I have one strict measure about whether a book and/or movie is deemed "good" or "bad" but in honor of "no spoilers" I will not divulge this criteria; however let me say, this book passed that test, I'm very happy to report. When I closed the cover on Capitan Kidd (Kep-Dun) & Johanna's (Cho-henna) story I was satisfied.
Carole A. (Denver, CO)

Many reasons to read NEWS
If you are interested in an unfamiliar view into history - this is a book for you. If you are interested in a familiar view into history - this is a book for you. If you are interested in unexpected moral complexities - this is a book for you. If you are looking for a book to suggest to your book club that offers a number of paths for discussion - read this book!

A smoothly written book of fiction, it is certainly rooted in the actuality of the day to day lives of those times. Imagine paying to have a traveling man read you interesting news from the world beyond your frontier town. Look into the complexities of children kidnapped and rescued. While the discussion is about the frontier days would not many of the same issues apply today as children are adopted from other cultures? Is there a time that a "legality" should be circumvented to be the moral path? Many questions arise in the NEWS OF THE WORLD but it is a book worth reading.
Mary B. (Laguna Woods, CA)

Quick read, interesting subject
I was not aware that men could make a living going from town to town & reading the newspapers to people who paid to hear. The bound that developed between the traveling man & the girl being returned to her relatives after many years of captivity with the Native Americans was touching. It covers a part of the history of Texas that I hadn't thought about.
Loretta F. (Fountain Inn, SC)

Frontier Charm
After reading a few pages, I was prepared to dislike the book. The narrative seemed choppy, and did not flow together. But when I got used to Jiles' writing style, I began to enjoy the ride.

The author does a good job of mixing the charm of frontier life with the expected violence. The Captain is a philosopher who reads the news; a very likeable good guy whose character drives the story. Johanna behaves like the typical Indian captive until she learns to trust the Captain. Their developing relationship makes the book special, lifting it above other Indian captive stories.

The ending was predictable, but satisfying. I liked that I learned a bit of Texas history along the way, and would recommend this for book clubs.

Beyond the Book:
  Late 19th Century Texas

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