Jesse Stuart (1906-1984) was by far the most popular Appalachian author pretty much throughout the second half of the 20th Century. He published about sixty books in poetry, story collections, novels, memoirs, essays, children's books and a biography of his father, who was an illiterate share-cropper in Greenup County, Kentucky. Stuart graduated from Lincoln Memorial University in 1929 with James Still and Don West, and briefly attended Vanderbilt University with those literary classmates. He served in the Army and then became a teacher back home in Greenup County and subsequently one of Kentucky's youngest school superintendents. After his first book of poetry, Man with a Bull-Tongue Plow, was released in the 1930s and his early novels came out in the 1940s after he returned from service in World War II, Stuart became a celebrity sought-after for commencement speeches, book-signings, and other events. Soon he was often driving his Cadillac to the airport from his home in W-Hollow, near where he was raised, for engagements throughout the country and abroad. He purchased every acre his father ever cropped for shares, and, before his death, arranged for his land to be donated to the state of Kentucky for what is now the Jesse Stuart Nature Preserve. This was Stuart's most popular book. It tells a story of a soldier whose family is notified of his death and then must bring him home so that the family knows for sure he was only a victim of an Army error. Unfortunately, the family had already spent the settlement the Army gave them.
New York: E.P. Dutton, 1943. Hardback book club edition without the dust jacket shown in the picture..