Occasionally, frayed. For instance, you find yourself wondering why Ketchum is bringing up, say, some rube of a farmer, who is tucked in the back ranks of whichever army. But the loose ends always lead somewhere interesting. Ketchum’s threads tie everything together, from mealy, bone-tired conscripts on up to the generals, their buttons bulging and claret glasses tinkling.
Perhaps the highlight (definitely the highlight) is Ketchum’s learned, almost exasperated, criticism of the main characters. Looking back through the centuries, you find yourself, too, asking, What were they thinking?
- Richard Ketchum, Country Journal Co-Founder, Dies at 89 (nytimes.com)