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Water of Life - Henry Morton Robinson

MacDonald & Co., 1960, Hardback in Dust Wrapper.
Condition: Very Good — in Poor Dust Wrapper. Top edge of the dust wrapper is frayed with loss at the head of both panels and top corners. Edges of the text block lightly tanned. Text complete, clean and tight.

From the cover: “Henry Morton Robinson is a distinguished American man of letters — poet, critic and novelist — who achieved the additional status of an international best-selling author with The Cardinal;a book that won him millions of devoted readers and which remains one of the most widely-known and enjoyed novels of our time.

Now, after ten years of planning and preparation, he has produced a great novel in Water of Life. A narrative of epic proportions, it tells the, story of three generations in a family of American whisky-distillers and portrays in an inspired and daring fashion the battle of good against evil which each generation must fight on its own ground.

The story opens in the year 1860. On an Indiana farm Anson Woodhull sees his father make the earth yield double life: first in the corn he harvests, again in the whisky he distils not for profit or pleasure, but as an act of creation. Anson grows to manhood in an expansive age, and founds a great whisky-making dynasty. He marries a gently-bred Bostonian, realizing in their children the American confluence of old and new-world traditions. His adventurous spirit carries him into every major conflict of his world, into brawling barn fights, into the opulent backrooms of finance, into the seats of government, where the great “What is Whisky?” debate explodes into history.

He finds good friends and allies from his fellow distiller and mentor, Charles Moerlein, to the self-taught travelling physician Fifer Tansey, who asks strange payment for his cure of the sick. He makes great enemies — outstanding among them, Damon Frye, a brimstone genius who conducts his dark enterprises with the single-mindedness of an artist in evil. The parasites are here, too, creatures like the demagogue-prohibitionist Oliver Treadgood, who battens leech-like on a cause to suck from it money and power.

In his struggle with the life-defilers Anson risks — and enriches — the Woodhull heritage. His children, born to the plenty he has created, will not however be bound by the past and go off in pursuit of their individual dreams. All save Chance, his father’s ‘Benjamin’ in whom an heir to the dynasty is at last found. On the Eve of Prohibition, in a night of Hogarthian excesses, young Chance wins his first encounter with ,the advance guard of a new army of corruption, and claims his heritage of strength.

Water of Life is a huge portrait in action of people and places. It is one of the book’s many fascinations that whisky itself becomes, in Mr. Robinson’s richly dramatic narrative, a manifestation of the water of life — the torrent of saps and juices that separate the living from the static and the dead. This novel, so abounding in life, is Henry Morton Robinson’s most important work.”

Size: 8½" x 5½". Navy Blue boards with Silver titling to the Spine. 608 pages.

This one has already found a new owner.