Open Country – A Civil War Novel in Stories
“Open Country is a tightly woven novel in 18 short stories that starts and ends at the Ohio River, the division between two families and their friends who fight on opposite sides during the Civil War and figure prominently in the piece. It is written in the vernacular of the time in a tone that is gallows humor because that is the tone common to the situation. For instance, dead soldiers in the Civil War were referred to as somebody’s darling and ordinance that flew over the front lines as quartermaster hunter.
The approach to the subject is unique in that the author is less interested in the battles as in the effect of these battles on the average people who fought in the war as well as their relatives who remained at home. The novel is totally character driven and the character’s fates are closely intertwined. This is the glue that keeps the whole thing together because the author is all over the place as far as setting is concerned. From Morgan’s Raids in Kentucky to the Fall of Richmond and everything in between, told from the perspective of the individual soldier who sees only the death and destruction in front of him not the grand strategy that determined the outcome of the war.”