L A N D   B E Y O N D   T H E   R I V E R
McGraw-Hill, New York City, New York, 1973.  380 pp.
  Land Beyond the Rier  
  Jesse Stuart’s last novel to be published during his lifetime, The Land Beyond the River, describes the experience of the poverty stricken Perkins family, who are convinced by a wealthy uncle to move over the river and work one of his farms. When the father, Poppie, is incapacitated by a snake bite, the family reluctantly falls for their uncle’s cajolling and goes on welfare. With the uncle’s help the family succumbs to the blandishments of the dole, milking a corrupt system, while ever moving ever upward in prosperity, reaping the benefits of loopholes in welfare system.

The novel is Stuart’s indictment of the modern government welfare program, which he sees as a corrupting influence on the American values of self-reliance, honesty and hard work. He tracts how is easy it is for well-meaning people, such as the Perkins family, to be enticed into a system that destroys their individual worth.

Dorothy Townsend was the wife of Stuart’s close friend and Kentucky writer, John Wilson Townsend. Dorothy’s biography about her husband is entitled, The Life and Works of John Wilson Townsend, Kentucky Author and Historian, 1885-1968, self-published published in 1972.


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