News of the World by Paulette Jiles

News of the World by Paulette Jiles

News of the World by Paulette Jiles download or read it online for free
News of the World
by Paulette Jiles
4.13  ·  Rating details ·  22,701 Ratings  ·  3,966 Reviews 
In the aftermath of the American Civil War, an aging itinerant news reader agrees to transport a young captive of the Kiowa back to her people in this morally complex, multi-layered novel of historical fiction from the author of Enemy Women that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust.

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.


★★★★★ 5 Stars!
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.

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.

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*****

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.

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 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.

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.

"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."

★★★★★ 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 expectations 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 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 was not 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 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 to her 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 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. He is a hero, but 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 good 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.


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