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The Ransom of Red Chief: An O. Henry Story
The Ransom of Red Chief: An O. Henry Story
The Ransom of Red Chief: An O. Henry Story
Audiobook29 minutes

The Ransom of Red Chief: An O. Henry Story

Written by O. Henry

Narrated by Deaver Brown

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars



About this audiobook

The Ransom of Red Chief may be the most widely read story in grammar, middle, and high school. Young people can relate to 10 year old Red Chief, his father who makes the kidnappers pay him back in order to take Red Chief off their hands plus come in darkness so others don’t jail them, and all the antics and excitement of it all. It is not read or heard widely after one leaves high school, which is a shame because it is such a magical story about expectations being crushed by realities, and the turn of events which O’Henry was so masterful at achieving, as in The Gift of the Magi, too, the other best known O’Henry story that Simply has also recorded. The humor is Southwestern style, with some of the violence of that frontier humor immortalized by Mark Twain. We think of O’Henry as a New Yorker due to his successful story collections focused on New York such as The Four Million and The Trimmed Lamp, but he spent time in Texas on various speculations and, in fact, wound up in a Texas jail for three years before coming to New York and prospering with his unique story telling ability. The Texas influence is strongly felt here, not just in Southwestern humor, but the sense of space and vistas, with few people populating them. A final thought for the reader: Is there anyone similar to O’Henry in style? We can’t think of one and that is another reason to listen to these stories. We believe most Southwestern humor in short stories even better heard than read. The Ransom of Red Chief, The Gift of the Magi, and Mark Twain’s short stories are no exceptions. As with all Simply short stories, you should enjoy the ideas put forth in the introduction and afterword.O'Henry's other two best loved stories are also recorded: The Cop and the Anthem and A Retrieved Reformation. Keywords: Ransom, Southwestern humor, Mark Twain, Gift of the Magi, O’Henry, New York, the Four Million, The Trimmed Lamp.
Release dateFeb 3, 2011
The Ransom of Red Chief: An O. Henry Story

O. Henry

O. Henry (1862-1910) was an American short story writer. Born and raised in North Carolina, O. Henry—whose real name was William Sydney Porter—moved to Texas in 1882 in search of work. He met and married Athol Estes in Austin, where he became well known as a musician and socialite. In 1888, Athol gave birth to a son who died soon after, and in 1889 a daughter named Margaret was born. Porter began working as a teller and bookkeeper at the First National Bank of Austin in 1890 and was fired four years later and accused of embezzlement. Afterward, he began publishing a satirical weekly called The Rolling Stone, but in 1895 he was arrested in Houston following an audit of his former employer. While waiting to stand trial, Henry fled to Honduras, where he lived for six months before returning to Texas to surrender himself upon hearing of Athol’s declining health. She died in July of 1897 from tuberculosis, and Porter served three years at the Ohio Penitentiary before moving to Pittsburgh to care for his daughter. While in prison, he began publishing stories under the pseudonym “O. Henry,” finding some success and launching a career that would blossom upon his release with such short stories as “The Gift of the Magi” (1905) and “The Ransom of Red Chief” (1907). He is recognized as one of America’s leading writers of short fiction, and the annual O. Henry Award—which has been won by such writers as William Faulkner, John Updike, and Eudora Welty—remains one of America’s most prestigious literary prizes.

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Rating: 4.666666666666667 out of 5 stars

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  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    Love it as much now as I did when I first read it about 40 odd years ago.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    Johnny turns out be a surprise package for the two men who kidnapped him, and he didn’t even come gift-wrapped. When the two bad guys make an offer they thought Johnny’s father couldn’t refuse, they discover the tables have been turned. For those who think being captive with someone else’s kid or maybe even their own is a challenge, then they haven’t read this tale, and they don’t know what a real challenge a kid can be. It’s a great story from beginning to end.