The Civil War Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce


The Civil War Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce

Ambrose Bierce
Compiled with a foreword by Ernest J. Hopkins

139 pages


January 1988


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About the Book

In The Devil's Dictionary Ambrose Bierce defined "war" as "a by-product of the arts of peace." A Civil War veteran, Bierce had absolutely no illusions about "courage," "honor," and "glory" on the battlefield. These stories form one of the great antiwar statements in American literature. Included here are the classic An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, Chickamauga, The Mocking Bird, The Coup de Grâce, Parker Anderson, Philosopher, and other stories celebrated for their intensity, startling insight, and mastery of form.


"He will remain one of our greatest wits, one of our most uncompromising satirists, the perfecter of two or three new genres."—Clifton Fadiman

"Bierce's war stories are. . .arresting, often shocking accounts of the incivilities perpetrated by and on men suddenly confronting their own mortality."—Cathy N. Davidson, author of The Experimental Fictions of Ambrose Bierce

"[These] striking stories center on subject matter virtually unique in fiction: the awareness of imminent violent death. Perhaps borrowing from his experience of being gravely wounded in the Civil War, [Bierce] wrote upward of a dozen stories in which the protagonist knows he is about to die, usually by hanging or firing squad—or, in a variation, recovers consciousness after being pronounced dead."—Dennis Drabelle, Smithsonian

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