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News of the World by Paulette Jiles

February 10, 2018


This is a western about Captain Jefferson Kyle, an old war vet in the post-Civil War American west, who makes a living traveling town to town, reading from various newspapers to the locals. On his travels, he comes across a young girl, Johanna, who has recently been rescued by the U.S. Army from the Kiowa. She has been living with the tribe for four years, ever since they massacred her family and kidnapped her. Captain Kyle is paid $50 for the service of returning her to her relatives in San Antonio. She speaks no English and knows nothing about how to navigate the “civilized” world.

The Captain’s occupation and the subject of a white child kidnapped and raised by natives—apparently more common than one would think—are both interesting elements. But overall this is a pretty straightforward western, with solid writing, but clear good guys and bad guys and a predictable plot.

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