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Taps for Private Tussie

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  80 ratings  ·  11 reviews
Teenage Sid Tussie sees big changes in his poor Kentucky family when they receive $10,000 insurance money for the death of his uncle in World War II and other greedy relatives scramble to share the wealth.
Hardcover, 255 pages
Published October 3rd 1992 by Jesse Stuart Foundation (first published 1943)
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Taps for Private Tussie is a timeless book. The edition that I read was published in 1943, so I assumed that the story took place around World War II. Those who have read later editions of the book may have assumed it took place during more recent wars. Our society deals with the same issues of poverty today. Sid, the young boy who tells the story, silently questions the culture of poverty that enmeshes the Tussie clan. He asks the same questions that enter the reader's mind.

Jesse Stuart's writ
Jill Minor
As fine a coming-of-age story as I've ever read, set in the Kentucky mountains in the early 20th century. Young Sid, the narrator, spends much more time in sober reflection than his huge, comic clan of Tussies, short-sighted hedonists who live on the dole awaiting the next "big time" of dancing and drinking. The magician among the Tussie family is Uncle George, a virtuoso on the fiddle. The first two thirds of the book are fairly predictable, with the Tussies all chasing "easy livin" as hard as ...more
The subject is fascinating: extreme poverty in the hills of eastern KY circa 1943 and the mindset of the lowest class (sociologically speaking) of people who refuse to work and do not value it.
Talk about quirky and hillbilly heaven!!!!!
Over all this book made me angry. Stuart is well known to accurately describing the Eastern KY area. I'm sure there were plenty of people with the family values - or lack there of - like the people in this book, but the majority of the mountain folk in that time period did not act in this way. Stuart uses real place names, which makes it seem more like a real story, but he doesn't add in any information showing that this family is the exception, not the rule. Ignoring the social missinformation, ...more
Angela Criswell
I read this for my December book club meeting. I had some trouble adjusting to the dialect at first, but soon caught on. I had to consciously keep in mind the era in which it was written...Jesse Stuart meant it as a criticism of FDR's New Deal politics...or else I would get too irritated because it reminded me of Herman Cain and other supposed Tea Partiers criticizing today's unemployed. Read it as a good story, not a political statement. The characters may represent some truths about human natu ...more
Jesse Stuart's masterpiece! So funny I've gone back to parts, time and time again, to read and laugh so hard. I've heard of people who love sad movies cause they say they need to cry. Well, I love funny movies that make me laugh, and love the books that can follow suit. This book may not be for everyone, but it's one of the best words put on paper in my opinion. Stuart brings this story to live...I can almost feel the hot sun in some segments...a writer like no of my favs.....Jesse S ...more
Jul 25, 2010 Mary added it
I'm glad I've just started reading Jesse Stuart and have so many great reads to look forward to. He was a master storyteller with a gift for lyric phrasing. Mr. Stuart writes of his own hill folks of Kentucky with authenticity, humor, and poignancy. From the first page you'll love his "beardy" men and pipe-smoking Grandma.
Jan 21, 2009 Sheila added it
I remember reading this book when I was about 10 years old. At that time I remember it being very funny and I enjoyed every bit of it.

I want to re-read this one, just to see if it is as funny as I remember.
Laurie D'ghent
I had a really hard time rating this book because I still don't know whether or not I actually liked it. All I can say is this must have been the soap opera of the 1940s. The ending was awesome.
I normally would not like this type of book. Do not know why I do.
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Jesse Hilton Stuart was an American writer known for writing short stories, poetry, and novels about Southern Appalachia. Born and raised in Greenup County, Kentucky, Stuart relied heavily on the rural locale of Northeastern Kentucky for his writings. Stuart was named the Poet Laureate of Kentucky in 1954. He died at Jo-Lin nursing home in Ironton, Ohio, which is near his boyhood home.
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