Travelers' Rest

by Ben Robertson
with introduction by Beatrice Naff Bailey and Alan Grubb

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About the Book

Travelers' Rest is a family epic, but it is also an American epic, carrying a message that can also be found in Ben Robertson's other, more famous works, Red Hills and Cotton and I Saw England (his first-hand account of the Battle of Britain). Thoughts of the Republic's founding and American values were very much on Robertson's mind as a journalist covering Washington and Europe as he anticipated the coming of the Second World War.

Excerpt from Ben Robertson's Foreword

It was…in faraway Java…that I for the first time saw the vision of our people—the long dead line of our fathers, succeeding, failing, crying in the night, singing hymns and drinking, glorying in life, longing for death, "lovely death." I saw them all moving through American time and the vast territories of American space, homesick themselves and lonely, an American exodus, a long westward search for a way of living, for spiritual rest…

I decided to look backward and inward…for I had heard from my Carolina grandmother what her Carolina grandmother had said about the redcoats; also I had flown to California. I wanted to catch the glimpse I had of a plain family making its way in America—through the whole 300 years of the venture, changing as America changed, keeping the step, constantly renewing itself, finding new strength, and at the same time holding to its original belief, remembering still the dream.