It’s a dangling preposition, but soldiers are what I write of.
Clearly I do not agree with Samuel Johnson’s opinion that patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels. Nor do I believe what a somewhat jaundiced colleague told me years ago, that academia is the second-
Speaking of links, I am also one of those people who for various reasons find themselves at or near borders no matter what. I grew up between two provinces in central Italy, lived on the northen Italian frontier afterwards, and then along the river parting two American states (Illinois and Missouri); in the following years I was a resident of that border republic par excellence which is Texas. And then came Ohio, old gate to the West, and then Vermont, adjoining Canada. When in Italy, I live on a piece of land that for over a millennium marked the dividing line between two townships, two provinces, two regions, two states, and sits on the 45° parallel to boot.
It seems to me that this being on the intriguing edge between cultures says much more about me than any other biographical detail. I may appear from the outside fascinated with irreconcilable dichotomies: war and peace, past and present, right and wrong, male and female, power and lack of power... But just as it is true for geographical boundaries, that a no man’s land manages to exist always, I am fully aware of all that swarms and thrives between opposites: the juice is there, the spark and the sting inhabit it, and it’s there that as a person, a writer and a sometime scholar I’d rather stroll.