Read In the Midst of Life: Tales of Soldiers & Civilians by Ambrose Bierce Free Online
Book Title: In the Midst of Life: Tales of Soldiers & Civilians|
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Reader ratings: 7.4
The author of the book: Ambrose Bierce
Edition: Kessinger Publishing
Date of issue: June 1st 2008
ISBN 13: 9780548937242
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 481 KB
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Ambrose Bierce is a criminally underrated author. His "An Occurence at Owlcreek Bridge" is one of the most famous short stories ever written, yet most of his other works seem to have been forgotten.
This book was originally published in 1891 under the title "Tales of Soldiers and Civilians". Bierce himself fought for the Union Army at the Battle of Shiloh, and his stories clearly reflect the horrors he observed in the field.
From The Affair at Coulter's Notch:
The men? - they looked like demons of the pit! All were hatless, all stripped to the waist, their reeking skins black with blotches of powder and spattered with gouts of blood. They worked like madmen, with rammer and cartridge, lever and lanyard. They set their swollen shoulders and bleeding hands against the wheels at each recoil and heaved the heavy gun back to its place. There were no commands; in that awful environment of whooping shot, exploding shells, shrieking fragments of iron, and flying splinters of wood, none could have been heard. Officers, if officers there were, were indistinguishable; all worked together - each while he lasted...
"Bitter Bierce" wrote stories seeped in death and tragedy, his works spiced with sardonic wit instead of folksy wisdom.
There was little attempt at identification, though in most cases, the burial parties being detailed to glean the same ground which they had assisted to reap, the names of the victorious dead were known and listed. The enemy's fallen had to be content with counting. But of that they got enough: many of them were counted several times, and the total, as given afterward in the official report of the victorious commander, denoted rather a hope than a result.
Bierce's Civil War Stories is still in print, and I would urge you to read it.
Bierce himself headed into Mexico in 1913, where he vanished without a trace. A fitting ending that could have been taken directly from one of his stories.
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Read information about the authorAmbrose Gwinnett Bierce (1842-1914) was an American editorialist, journalist, short story writer, fabulist and satirist. Today, he is best known for his short story, An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge and his satirical lexicon, The Devil's Dictionary.
The sardonic view of human nature that informed his work – along with his vehemence as a critic, with his motto "nothing matters" – earned him the nickname "Bitter Bierce."
Despite his reputation as a searing critic, however, Bierce was known to encourage younger writers, including poet George Sterling and fiction writer W. C. Morrow.
Bierce employed a distinctive style of writing, especially in his stories. This style often embraces an abrupt beginning, dark imagery, vague references to time, limited descriptions, the theme of war, and impossible events.
Bierce disappeared in December 1913. He is believed to have traveled to Mexico to gain a firsthand perspective on that country's ongoing revolution.
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