Lake and Sumter Style Magazine
4:05 pm EDT
Monday, July 26, 2021

‘News of the World’


By Paulette Jiles. This book featuring Captain Kidd soon may be a film starring Tom Hanks.

Story: Diane Dean

“News of the World” begins in 1870 in a northern Texas town. Captain Kidd travels from town to town to read newspapers to crowds who pay their dime to hear stories from far-off places. Author Paulette Jiles’ book traverses the journey of the captain and Johanna, the young girl he is charged with transporting 400 miles across Texas. 

After being kidnapped as a child, she became so immersed in the Indian culture she had great difficulty in re-assimilating to the white man’s world. The girl and the old man encounter outlaws, cowboys, soldiers, and more Indians, all on a mission to hinder their journey. When Johanna is delivered to distant relatives in a town near San Antonio, she is treated horribly. Kep-dun, as Johanna calls Captain Kidd, rescues her from this slavery. 

Lisa French, formerly of Texas, ably facilitated the Bookworm Book Club discussion with her knowledge of Texas history and her homegrown accent. We learned of the economy, politics, geography, German heritage, and life on the range. All of these were factors in the storyline of the book. 

This popular book club selection is fictional yet accurate in the descriptions of the late 1800s in Texas. The book is in development to become a movie through Fox 2000. It is easy to picture the authenticity actor Tom Hanks will bring to life in his role as the captain.

An important message of the book is evident as Captain Kidd reflects on his purpose: “Maybe life is just carrying news. Surviving to carry the news. Maybe we have just one message…but it must be carried by hand through a life, all the way, and at the end handed over, sealed.” 

Ready to delve into this book?  A 2016 National Book Award finalist, this highly acclaimed book can be found at and