Read Taps by Willie Morris JoAnne Pritchard Morris David Rae Morris Online


The final work from one of America's most beloved authors and an instant classic, TAPS takes readers on one last fictional journey to Willie Morris's South and spins a tender, powerful, very American story about the vanishing beauty of a charmed way of life and the fleeting boyhood of a young man coming of age in a time of war. In Fisk’s Landing, Mississippi, at the dawn oThe final work from one of America's most beloved authors and an instant classic, TAPS takes readers on one last fictional journey to Willie Morris's South and spins a tender, powerful, very American story about the vanishing beauty of a charmed way of life and the fleeting boyhood of a young man coming of age in a time of war. In Fisk’s Landing, Mississippi, at the dawn of the Korean War, sixteen-year-old Swayze Barksdale is suddenly called to an unexpected duty - playing "Taps" at the gravesides of the town’s young casualties sent home from the front. Gradually, Swayze begins to pace his life around these all too frequent funerals, where his horn sounds the tragic note of the times. At turns funny, at turns poignant, TAPS abounds with colorful characters and yet "sings and sighs . . . with a kind of minor key wistfulness" (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette) as Swayze learns what it means to be a patriot, a son, a lover, a friend, a man....

Title : Taps
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780618219025
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 352 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Taps Reviews

  • Candi
    2019-05-17 01:48

    4.5 stars"An echo, I would learn, was a kind of life in perpetuity, remote and immune, distant lingering notes from afar, sweetly voyeuristic, while the grave was, after all, the grave."Sixteen year old Swayze learns about love, life and death in 1950s Mississippi as he and fellow trumpeter and friend, Arch, are regularly summoned to the town cemetery to play “Taps” for the fallen heroes of Fisk’s Landing. Drawing straws to determine who will play at grave side and who will play the echo, the two boys come of age in a time when other young men are losing their lives for an inexplicable cause as they head out to fight a war in the exotic, remote land of Korea. This poignant and beautifully written book is Swayze’s story, of his relationship with a girl close to his heart, with a man that would be like an older brother to him, and with the other persons that help to shape his young life during a year overwhelmed by funerals. But it’s not just death that he is witness to – as he plays the echo to that haunting and mournful melody, Swayze discovers that he is also a participant in life, such life that carries on beyond the grave by virtue of memories of those gone, as well as the knowledge that new lives will follow. Much of Swayze’s reflections were those of an older man looking back at this particular year in his life; therefore, often his musings seemed much more mature than one would expect from a teen. The characters in this book are interesting, some more complex and others more one-dimensional. I was intrigued by Luke Cartwright, former soldier and now friend and mentor to Swayze. He had a gentle, unassuming air about him that I admired. "He was half redneck and half coat-and-tie, half flatland and half hills, not four years at the aristocratic state university but two, handsome yet with the hard, callused hands of a yeoman, so that the very dichotomy of our land itself, its warring and contradictory imperatives, were who Luke was. One of his salvations, I would learn, was that he knew this about himself, and it must have amused him. More important, I think, all this had to do with pride and survival and remembrance and honor and right and wrong and the things that mattered." Of course, a coming of age story would not be the same without a first, young love. The relationship between Swayze and Georgia seemed authentic in both its joys and pangs. If you happen to recall your own first love, their story may generate a feeling of sweet nostalgia. "Our feelings were so close to the surface and would almost imperceptibly grow more sensitive and easily hurt than one could have ever reckoned. The adventure had begun, and with it the suffering." Then there is the quintessential bond between a boy and his dog - this by the author who wrote the more well-known novel titled My Dog Skip. It is quite apparent that Willie Morris must have had his own beloved dog at least once in his life. Much of this book is also about small town, southern living, at a time when folks experienced life more simply than we now do. There was really a lot more here than first meets the eye, and I found myself thinking about this book quite often.This was my first book by this author, and I certainly plan to read more. At times it tended towards verbosity, and I found a dictionary to be a handy companion! This was just a minor quibble though and didn’t hamper my enjoyment. Upon finishing this novel, I learned that Willie Morris had spent years and years writing this book, only to pass away before producing a final draft. His wife ultimately completed the book for him. Without having read any of his other works, I am not able to say whether the voice rings completely true or not, but I give much credit to JoAnne Prichard Morris for endeavoring to finish a work that was very close and dear to Willie Morris’s heart. "As I started my echo, it came to me that what we really had been playing all that year was a song to everyone resting in this graveyard, to everyone I had ever cared for, to my own distant progeny…"

  • Rebbie
    2019-05-02 20:48

    Swayze is a 15 year old boy (who turns 16 in the book) in 1951 who is enlisted in his tiny town to play Taps at the funerals of the boys who die during the Korean Conflict. God, how I hate that word! It makes that war sound like a bingo game gone awry.(view spoiler)[It's a coming-of-age story for Swayze, who copes with the death of his own dad, falling in love, losing his virginity and then his first love, and watching a forbidden love affair unfold.(hide spoiler)]Boy, the spoiler plot kind of looks schmaltzy when it's laid out in plain English. Speaking of plain English, the vocabulary in this book was a little off-putting, and at times, a little jarring. Just because someone has an excellent grasp of the English language doesn't mean that they should include every single big word they've ever learned. Oy.Also, there was a hidden gem in this book in the form of Luke and Amanda. Imo, the entire book should have been written from their point of view. There was an enormous gulf that wasn't explored, especially in both their pasts and why they made the choices they did. It was especially obvious during the rushed ending, where things were wrapped up much too quickly and without the depth that the characters were owed. The pace of the story warranted a more in-depth exploration of the ending.

  • Diane Barnes
    2019-05-01 03:46

    This book took me a while for a couple of reasons. Hurricane Irma is churning in the Carribbean, heading in our general direction. While the Weather Channel is on top of things, and information is a good thing, it's also very stress inducing when your city is a possible target. So I have been distracted and unable to lose myself in this book.But I think some of the blame for that lies in the book itself. I almost put this aside after the 2nd chapter, but kept reading only because I didn't want to start anything else. This is a great story about a 16 year old boy learning some hard lessons about love and life in 1950's Mississippi, when he was recruited to play Taps at the funerals of soldiers who were killed in Korea. Very southern in tone and substance, I should have liked it more.The reason it was such a chore to read is that the author uses language in such a way as to hold the reader at arm's length. He never let me get close enough to his characters to really care about them. Here's an example: "The dogs were out in their normal abundance, peregrinating the streets singly, or in pairs, or sometimes in a formless and audacious mass." Really, to describe the dogs in the neighborhhood? I think I have a pretty good vocabulary, but, like I said, it became a chore to read.This was my first book by Willie Morris. I know his book "My Dog Skip" is considered a classic. I'd love to know if it is written in the same convoluted, verbose style. Now that's a sentence that Willie Morris could love.

  • LeAnne
    2019-04-29 23:35

    When the 16 year old boy is called upon, barefoot one evening on his mama's porch in Yazoo City, it is to check his reputation. The caller has heard that the boy is the one in the high school band who can play the trumpet - who can sound 'Taps' for a deceased soldier. All boys grow up, but when war comes and the child must provide the music to say goodbye, over and over as battles cry out, that growth is painful. And precious.If merely the idea of a boy having to play this somber song for the funerals of so many young men seems an obscure idea, blame it on life. Author Willie Morris - in real life - was the teenager who played 'Taps' for the American Legion at military burials in his own small town. The fact that he died while writing this book is a sad, sweet, and fitting ending.Poignant, funny, suspenseful. Beautiful.

  • Connie
    2019-05-16 00:52

    In this Southern coming-of-age story, narrator Swayze Barksdale looks back to an important time in the small town of Fisk's Landing, Mississippi. It's 1951 during the Korean War when Swayze and his friend Arch are asked to play "Taps" at the graves of the fallen soldiers. Swayze's father had died six years earlier, and Luke from the VFW post assumes a big brother role--talking about life and death, teaching him poker, and helping out at the military funerals. Although the veterans were not perfect people, it was heartwarming to witness their sense of community and the steady support they offered each other. This is also the year when sixteen-year-old Swayze experiences first love with all its complications, the teamwork and commitment of playing varsity basketball, and sees the path to being a man.The writing is as languid and lush as a hot summer afternoon in Mississippi. The author is a former editor of Harper's Magazine, and it's obvious that he loves language and unusual words. It did not bother me that the book was a slow read because I liked the main character, Swayze. Willie Morris based the setting on his hometown of Yazoo City, and he captures the small town feeling well. Morris' wife finished writing "Taps" after the author died in 1999, and the book was published posthumously in 2001.

  • Sara
    2019-05-02 20:28

    3.5, rounded down.I wanted to love this book. I contains all the elements that usually make up great reading for me: coming of age, strong character development, important topics to ponder; the shadow of war, with the return of the bodies of men lost in the Korean War being a paramount plot line. There was, however, something that interfered with my connection and kept these characters at arm’s length, so that I never felt I was experiencing the time with them but simply spying at them over someone’s shoulder.I had not ever read Willie Morris before, and this last book of his was finished by his wife, so I am unsure how much of it reflects his style and contribution and how much is her voice slipping in. The writing is sometimes remarkable and superbly descriptive. The mood changed so often, though, that I felt like I was on a roller-coaster. Some of the episodes seemed misplaced, or even totally unnecessary, and some just plain interrupted the flow of the story for me. I wondered if it was a novel trying too hard to be all things to all people. Parts of it rang true and others seemed oddly incongruent, as if Morris could not decide if he were playing the main trumpet or the echo.The decision to read this novel at this time was precipitated by its being chosen for a group read at the Southern Literary Trail. There are some extremely astute readers there, and I am looking forward to seeing what they will have to say about this one. After the discussion, I might have a different view or understanding than this first impression is leaving me. It is, indeed, a novel that should spark some discussion.

  • Camie
    2019-05-13 19:50

    This is the last book Willie Morris ( My Dog Skip) wrote, and it's called by many his final masterpiece . A novel written so true to small town Southern life in the 1950's that it reads like a memoir. Swayze is 16, when he is recruited to play Taps on the trumpet at the memorial services of the young men in town who lose their lives in the Korean War. Being the only son of a tap-dance teaching widow, his somewhat lonely life turns into quite an adventure as he becomes part of something far greater than himself. A coming of age story with a twist as he has some very unique experiences. Some don't care for the verbose style of this book, as it is written by a grown man in retrospect. Agreed, It does take some time to get used to the rhythm and you will learn ( or be reminded of) some perhaps outdated vocabulary words ( I'm pretty sure domiciles are houses, lol.) A friend predicted this book was right up my alley, and she was right. 5 stars Sept- On the Southern Literary Trail

  • Dana
    2019-05-18 03:29

    A fantastic Southern novel. The characters in this book stayed with me long after I finished it. You just can't beat a coming of age story about a boy and his dog, set against the backdrop of the South. Willie Morris is a wonderful story teller and does his home state of Mississippi proud.

  • The Reading Cove Book Club ❦
    2019-05-09 23:45

    Bonus Book ~ August 2015

  • Vicki
    2019-04-29 01:30

    Wonderful! Profound! I wish it had been longer and am so sad this was his last published book.

  • Cathy
    2019-04-28 20:51

    The story was way too long and he got off on tangents. Plus he got carried away with the big words. Not necessary. He died before he completed it and his widow finished it.

  • Melanie Vidrine
    2019-05-18 19:52

    One of the best books I have read in a long time. The portrayal of a small southern town and its inhabitants in the early 1950's was so truthful. My own similar coming-of-age experiences were in the '60's, but this felt honest and real and sometimes awful, sometimes lovely.

  • Jabbott
    2019-05-13 23:37

    I don't usually cry when I finish a book. Indeed, there are just a few books that made me misty-eyed; All Quiet on the Western comes to mind immediately. But Taps was different. Literally, I have never finished a book with tears streaming down my face. Not that weeping automatically indicates a great book, but Taps is one of a kind. A true coming of age story. It's a powerful narrative of how a young boy comes to life not because of its joys and wonders, but through its heartaches, quirks, and the eventuality of its end. Swazye, the keen and perceptive young man comes to rightly note how this entire world is fluid, everything changes. The only thing that does hold is the eternal.Providentially enough, one of the hymns I sung this morning at church had this great line which I believe Swazye (an Episcopalian in the book) would have sung with full voice and confident heart: "we blossom and flourish, like leaves on the tree, then wither and perish; but nought changeth thee."

  • Ashley
    2019-05-19 00:29

    This is the first Willie Morris book I've read (in which I seem to be an oddity) and it is a beautifully written book. I haven't read a book that develops such a nice male (non-sexual) friendship in a while. The vocabulary left me speechless (ha!) and I enjoyed the slow development of the plot. Very laidback, but I kept turning pages. My big problem with it (only 3 stars) is really just a personal issue, (mild spoiler here!) but I hate tragedy, especially as an ending. That's it. When I read tragedy, I can't get past the fact that it didn't HAVE to be that way. Anyway, a tragedy that ends well is OK, but this book just left me feeling kind of empty and unsatisfied.

  • Brandon
    2019-05-01 01:45

    As a northerner who transplanted to the south during college, I appreciate the richness of Southern literature. The countless number of Southern writers who have used words to characterize the complexities and ordinariness of life in the South. This book accomplishes the latter. It's rich in the descriptions of everyday life for a 16-year-old boy and his closest friends. Willie Morris puts you in the moments and you can't help but sense the same sights and sounds and feel the range of emotions.

  • Melissa
    2019-04-20 00:48

    I think this book would have been really interesting, it just didn't fit my life right now. I couldn't get into it. I picked it off the shelf because there was a dog on the cover. When i read about the author I found out he wrote My Dog Skip, a cute dog movie I had seen. The story follows a teenage boy growing up during the Korean war. He plays his trumpet at the funerals of fallen soldiers in his neighborhood. Intriguing... i just wasnt ready to read it. Maybe sometime i will try again.

  • Judy
    2019-05-03 03:51

    Sometimes hard to get into. The author's last book, actually finished by his wife. An interesting look at growing up in the 50's in the south and events surrounding the Korean Conflict. Kind of relate to today and the differences and similarities between the people of that time and people now and their attitudes towards life.I did like when he expressed his feelings about the echo taps at the end of the book. A sad ending in a way.

  • Jackie
    2019-05-14 20:36

    This was a sweet coming of age book. Willie Morris talked about writing this book for years and had started it just before he died. His wife and editor finished it. It's a wholesome, 1950's sort of book.

  • Susan
    2019-05-04 21:34

    I'm not a huge "coming of age" fan, but Willie Morris's final work transcends the genre with his melancholy and compelling tale of Swayze, Georgia, and Arch and one long sad year in the small town of Fisk's Landing during the Korean War. Elegiac is not a strong enough word.

  • Linda
    2019-04-21 21:27

    The author reminiscing about his life in small town America. He and a friend are asked to play taps at many soldiers funerals in the 1950's. Much more to the story as he grows and learns about life and loves. Touching and a very good read. The Korean War was surely hell.

  • Sherry Cooke
    2019-04-21 23:37

    Somehow I missed Willie Morris's books until now. This is a great coming of age novel set in a time I remember in the south as I remember it. Felt like a visit back in time to my own home town. Great book!

  • R.J.
    2019-05-13 02:36

    This book joins a short, short list of others that I would term life-altering. Brought clarity to a lot of thoughts on childhood, life and love that have been rattling around in my head for a while. Beautiful prose.

  • Efranken
    2019-05-03 19:30

    adolescent biographical novel

  • Karla Kitalong
    2019-05-02 22:30

    I'd never heard of Willie Morris, but he tells a good coming of age story, set in the South in the 1950s.

  • Elizabeth
    2019-04-25 00:48

    I'm never going to finish this.

  • Katie Manty
    2019-05-16 22:47

    Great military story about honoring fallen soldiers. Wonderful vocabulary. Complex relationships. Difficult to read quickly

  • Nancy
    2019-05-01 03:25

    really enjoyed it--be prepared for numerous big words--they don't interfere with the story line though

  • Ross
    2019-05-12 20:49

    Easy to get into, classic Morris fiction set in small town Mississippi

  • Jody
    2019-05-13 03:39

    One of my all time favorites.

  • Beckita
    2019-05-11 01:54

    slow reading, or maybe it was me, but a good tale. And I know one of the people in the afterward/acknowlegments!