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Time and a Ticket

In the eighteenth century, it was the custom for young nobleman to make what became know as "The Grand Tour."  Armed with tutors and servants, they usually resided for three or more years abroad. Eventually, the Grand Tour became shorter, and drew more and more people along its route. In the Era of Good Fellowship (Family, Fulbright, and Ford), a year abroad was not an uncommon privilege for the young.

Peter Benchley, who attended Harvard College and received an A.B. cum laude in 1961, was the recipient of a Family Fellowship, administered by his parents. Its provisions were simple: The family would support him given a length of time; when the fund was exhausted, he would have to support himself.

Benchley chose this time to go abroad, and Time and A Ticket is his account of all that he saw and did. He tells of a Bastille Day spent in France, and of life on the Côte d'Azur. He describes hauntingly his reaction to the row upon row of graves at Normandy, and his profound emotional response to the Berlin wall. He even takes time to explode an alluring Scandinavian myth.

Egypt, Ceylon, the two Jerusalems and Japan are among the other places the author visited and recalls. There is humor and honesty in his portrayal of all these lands, and the ingratiating freshness of youth.