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The Civil War Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce [Paperback]

Ambrose Bierce , Ernest Jerome Hopkins
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Jun 1988
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.

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The Civil War Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce + This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War (Vintage Civil War Library)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 139 pages
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press; Reprint edition (1 Jun 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803260873
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803260870
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 13 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,923,991 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
No matter what it is called, be it the Civil War, the War Between the States or the War of Southern Secession, the time period 1861-65 was one of the most bloody, destructive and emotionally and ideologically charged periods in U.S. history. No author had a better grasp of it than Union comabt veteran Ambrose Bierce, whose stories in this short but riveting collection are not dry historical abstractions nor a cold analysis of the decisions of senior leaders, but a graphic record of the everday sweat, endless terror and cruel, surreal absurdity of armed conflict. From the eerie "Incident at the Owl Creek Bridge" to the gripping "Parker Adderson, Philosopher," Bierce honed the unique literary and expressive skills that served him well as a corrosive and controversial San Francisco newspaper columnist and astonishingly effective writer on horror and the occult. War to "Bitter Bierce" was the purest expression of the basic animal survival instinct; hardened and warped by endless fear, by the power of technological advances in weaponry and the stress and repeated brutality that turned ordinary human beings into ruthless killers--to the point where ideology and the color of the uniform no longer mattered. Bierce's experiences and deep cynicism led him to believe that human beings could do nothing but create meaningless tragedies. "War is a byproduct of the arts of peace," he was reported to have said, but these stories, a product of a bygone era, remain curiously contemporary because they tell us about everyday people--not unlike ourselves despite more than a century of difference--who fought a war, that, in light of the issues it raised and the forces it unleashed, has never really ended.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Self-Deception in the Face of War 21 April 1999
By A Customer
"Bitter Bierce", as he was often dubbed, Ambrose Bierce is one of the few Civil War writers who actually participated in the war. He was one of the first writers to describe the ugliness of war. In his stories he is more interested in the character's role as soldier than in character development. In the 16 stories, most from 1891, including "Chickamauga", "An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge", and "A Horseman in the Sky", there are early examples of stream-of- consciousness, and it is obvious how Bierce has influenced another famous war writer, Stephen Crane. Some major themes of the stories are the human capacity of self-deception, war as an image of fate, and a concern with man's depravity. Written in clear, realistic prose, these stories are brutal, pessimistic, satirical, and extremely powerful and draw lines to writers like Melville, Poe, Hemingway, Dos Passos, and Tim O'Brien. A powerful collection of immediate importance, it speaks as clearly to us today as it did 100 years ago!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic 9 Feb 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Ambrose ha assembled a fine collection of stories, each with a compelling emotional conclusion.

The true genius is his harnessing of the horrific consequences of war which soldiers face, regardless of era.

This collection might as well have been written about Afghanistan or Iraq as it was about the Civil War.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hard to buy for Americn Civil War fan 17 Sep 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was a gift for a man who if he was on Mastermind would answer questions on the American Civil War. The book was very well received and I was told the writing and descriptions first class.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
From hatred to love, Ambrose Bierse is an author I will never forget. The way he puts his words together amazes me. I loved this book and I will read it again and again and AGAIN!
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