- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (June 20, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062409212
- ISBN-13: 978-0062409218
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 7.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2,094 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,428 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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News of the World Paperback – June 20, 2017
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“This Western is not to be missed by Jiles’s fans and lovers of Texan historical fiction.” (Library Journal on NEWS OF THE WORLD)
From the Back Cover
Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd drifts through northern Texas, performing live readings from newspapers to paying audiences hungry for news of the world—of the Irish pouring into New York City, of the railroad driving into the new state of Nebraska. An elderly widower who has lived through three wars and fought in two of them, the captain once made his living as a printer, until the War Between the States took his press and everything with it. Now, at seventy-one, he enjoys the freedom of the road.
At a stop in Wichita Falls, Captain Kidd is offered an astonishing $50 gold piece to deliver a young orphan to her relatives near San Antonio. Four years earlier, a band of Kiowa raiders viciously killed Johanna Leonberger’s parents and sister; sparing the little girl, they raised her as one of their own. Recently recovered by the U.S. Army, the inconsolable ten-year-old with blue eyes and hair the color of maple sugar has once again been torn away from the only home and family she knows. The captain’s sense of duty and compassion propels him to accept, though he knows the journey will be difficult.
Winding through unsettled territory and unforgiving terrain, the four-hundred-mile odyssey south proves dangerous. A corrupt Reconstruction government runs the state government, and anarchy and lawlessness has taken hold. The captain must watch for thieves, Comanche and Kiowa, and the federal army—and corral the wild Johanna, who has forgotten the English language, tries to escape at every opportunity, and refuses to act “civilized.” Yet as the miles pass, the wary Johanna slowly draws closer to the man she calls Kep-dun, and the two lonely survivors forge a tender bond that marks the difference between life and death in this treacherous land.
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This tale of these two making their way through perils both natural (swollen rivers) and human (Indians and male predators) on the lengthy trip from Wichita Falls to San Antonio is completely absorbing.
This was another of the very rare books from which I couldn't bear to be separated. It went everywhere with me; it was in my hands as soon as I had a few free minutes. There are few historical books I've read that could begin to compare with News of the World. And comparisons being truly odious, I would do a great disservice to the author by naming the one or two that come to mind.
So I'll just say that this novel has my highest recommendation. It's a wonderful book, a great accomplishment.
Nonetheless, Kidd takes on the assignment, and so begins this gem of a novel, which was sheer delight to read, and is still lingering in my mind some two weeks after finishing it. It's short, perfectly paced and constructed, and chronicles Kidd's journey with Johanna: both the physical voyage they make across the Texas landscape, and the obstacles they surmount together, and his internal journey, as he bonds with the young girl who begins to call him, alternatively, "Keh-pun", or the Kiowa word for grandfather. When Kidd discovers her aunt and uncle have a reputation for using their young relatives as indentured servants and working them to the bone, the dilemma is even more dramatic. What can or should he do, when all he wants is a peaceful old age?
I can't recommend this too highly. Like any great historical novel, it captures both a place and an era almost perfectly. Ostensibly it's a great Western adventure yarn, in the tradition of the shows those of a certain age might watch on their TVs or at the movies. But the real adventure is an emotional one. This packs a powerful emotional punch, and the writing is superb. Just don't miss it. It's a safe prediction that this slim volume is going to have everyone talking about it when it hits bookstores.
What a gift to myself!!! I loved it. My trip was two hours (plus a lot of driving around at my destination before I drove the two hours back four days later). When I arrived, it felt like the time (two hours) had gone by in a flash, I was so absorbed in the story. There were ever a couple of times I parked and sat in the car for a few minutes, listening a little longer.
Heartwarming, funny, touching, interesting, suspenseful....this novel has it all. Plus, if you get the CD version, the reader is absolutely wonderful. I listen to books on CD all the time (I've actually never used my car radio!) and sometimes the story has been good but the reader not up to it. In this case, the story is told by Captain Jefferson Kidd who is in his 70s. The reader is a male and sound about that age so it seemed very appropriate.
At the end of the novel, there was a short section by the author (read on the CD in this case) about true stories of children abducted by Indians and how they fared when they were rescued. She even recommended a book if readers want to know more. It gave me a sense that she really researched the book (it would still have been wonderful if she didn't research it...but that was a plus).
If you ever look at reviews that I do, you'll know that I very rarely give five stars, but this book deserves it! Don't miss it!!!