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About the Book

News of the World Graphic
News of the World (2016) tells the story of an elderly Civil War general traveling through Texas with a young girl rescued from a Native American tribe. Through their journey, they form a special bond; their relationship is set against the harsh landscape of the postwar south.

The book was nominated for a National Book Award for Fiction.


The central character of News of the World is Captain Kidd, a seventy-one-year-old veteran of two wars who now makes a living as an itinerant newsreader. He lives a solitary existence, wandering through northern Texas and reading the news he collects in national and international newspapers. His wife is dead and his daughters are grown and live far away. The story begins in the winter of 1870.

It is 1870 and Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels through northern Texas, giving live readings 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, forging 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. Exquisitely rendered and morally complex, News of the World is a brilliant work of historical fiction that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust.

Read an excerpt of News of the World
Listen to an excerpt of News of the World read by the author
Watch trailer of News of the World
See map of Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd’s route from Wichita Falls to San Antonio, 1870

Read reviews from Kirkus Reviews, The New York Times, Booklist Online, Publishers Weekly, and The Washington Post.