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The Complete Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce Paperback – 1 Jun 1984


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Product details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Bison Books; Reprint edition (1 Jun. 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803260717
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803260719
  • Product Dimensions: 20.2 x 13.5 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 244,383 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

In her foreword, Cathy N. Davidson, author of "The Experimental Fictions of Ambrose Bierce," shows that Bierce, in form and mood, left behind the writers of his time and anticipated those of our own.

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In the heart of Haïta the illusions of youth had not been supplanted by those of age and experience. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By richard.hamilton@btclick.com on 26 Jan. 2001
Format: Paperback
Any reader who only gives this book One Star has to be out of his tiny mind. I've only read two of Bierce's collections of short stories - "In the Midst of Life", and "Can Such Things be?" But these include "An Incident at Owl Creek Bridge", "A Watcher by the Dead," and "The Man and the Snake." The first is one of his great Civil War stories, and the last two are horror, and are to be found in many highly-rated anthologies. I haven't read this collection of his complete stories - but any reader worth his salt, on the strength of those I have mentioned, would want to try them all. So try them!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By tony on 21 Nov. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was 'introduced' toi this book when i was about 14 by my grandfather, a literary geniu and teacher of English. I never had a copy of the book but the stories stayed in my head for years-indeed until today....
I have sought out a copy before only to see it was out of print but today i find it has been reprinted! I shall make a purchase after writing this. I managed to find a library copy about 10 years back and refamiliarised myself with the stories. It suprised me that at 14 I had managed to read them. I wasn't much of a reader and the language is rich and requires a bit of processing.
The stories are set in very different settings and are so imaginative and the great thing about short stories is often the ending..its what you are reading for. The journey is compelling and the final lines that hold the twist never let one down.
This is a literary masterpiece in my opinion unlike some of the rubbish that is currently regarded as such. I bought a William Boyd collection of short stories as he was heralded as a literey genius by Fi Glover on Saturday Live recently (BBC 4 radio) but it is really weak compared to Ambrose Bierce. Buy it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tony Roberts on 17 Dec. 2007
Format: Paperback
I was given this book to read whilst researching for my own American Civil War novel by a friend. While not a collection of stories I would readily go out and read, I found them compelling and all with such an unexpected twist (similar to Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected) that I was eager to read through just to find out what this twist would be.

The one that stands out in my mind is the one where a child witnesses the wounded Confederates dragging themselves back from the Battle of Chickamauga, something Bierce would know all about as he was actually there. For those who like this sort of thing - ghost/surreal stories - this is meat and drink to you. They all have a tale to tell, of ordinary people caught up in the terror and destruction of a civil war.

I agree with the comment about giving this a one-star review, whoever this person was must surely not have known what was within these pages and expected an all-action adventure novel. It certainly isn't dull, but don't go expecting a Gods & Generals or Gettysburg type of thing.
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3 of 37 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 29 Aug. 1998
Format: Paperback
After reading about Ambrose Bierce and his fierce wit this book was a real let down. Too many stories, all of a similar vein. I should have gotten the Devil's Dictionary!!!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 21 reviews
73 of 74 people found the following review helpful
I suppose this must be death 18 Oct. 2001
By Doug Anderson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Ambrose Bierce's most famous story is An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge and many of his stories follow that same kind of pattern: an event is related with some surprising or revelatory twist at the end. The stories of the Civil War are especially interesting as they are not at all typical writings about war. Bierce does not see the battle so much as one of North against South rather he sees the war as the child sees the war in his story Chickamauga, his attitude is one combining fascination at the spectacle and utter disgust. Life is an unresolved jumble of confused forces and mixed emotions for everyone in Bierce's haunting tales that read like dreams but dreams informed by much contact with reality as Bierce was wounded twice(once in the head)in the war he describes. The descriptions of Civil War battles are told with great precision(and alone make this volume worth having) though there is always an additional element to make them more than war reportage, Bierce turns his accounts into stories because he sees through all the cannon smoke to the small detail which encapsulates the essential thing about an event. In one of my favorites, Killed at Resaca, a courageous captain gallops across a field to deliver a crucial message only to find the field is impassable because of a deep gully, instead of turning around however he merely waits for the enemy to shoot him. Going through his personal things a fellow soldier, the narrator of the story, finds a letter which explains this resolve. The letter reads:"...I could bear to hear of my soldier- lover's death, but not of his cowardice." Later, when the narrator has a chance to return the letter to its author he is asked by her how her soldier-lover died. "He was bitten by a snake,"is the narrators reply. Bierce's pen was dipped in wormwood and acid said H.L. Mencken. His stories of soldiers and civilians are told with a bitter and venomous clarity. His humor was always of the sort aquainted with the gallows. He said at age 71,"I am so old I am ashamed to be alive." And so he rode off to Mexico. It's hard to imagine Stephen Crane existing without the example of Ambrose Bierce just as it is hard to imagine Bierce without Poe. What a strange tradition of independents we have.
40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
Great collection of short stories, the title is incorrect 26 Feb. 2004
By Tom - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Ambrose Bierce was a fine writer and this is a good sampling of his short stories. It is not, however, a complete collection of his short stories. I particularly missed "One Summer Night" and there are a number of other stories that could have been been included. Still, this collection is well worth reading.
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Civil War Survivor and Damn Good Author 21 Aug. 2001
By glamarama - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Ambrose Bierce was the one of the 2 writers of major significance to fight in and survive the Civil War (the other being Sidney Lanier). He was bitter to begin with, but the experience changed him into an even more cynical man. An eloquent writer, his best subject is fear: his ghost stories are dark and spooky - the civil war stories are as well, but with the added horror of a very real war and fear of battle. "Chickamauga" is one of my favorites - Bierce was actually at the battle but the story is fictional, and adds a supernatural angle to an infamous time and place. His writings are ghostly and vivid tales of America in the mid 19th century. The horrific experiences encountered in his tales are both real and imagined. If you are a ghost story fan or an American history/Civil War buff, you'll enjoy Bierce.
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Bierce's command of the language is stunning. 12 Dec. 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
To anyone interested in the English language and its application by a master story teller, this author must be read. Bierce is an American wit equal to (and contemporary of) Mark Twain, and he writes not with a pen dipped in ink but with a scalple dipped in bile. Prepare to be scathed.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Title is wrong 28 Jan. 2013
By anne g. watson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book is fine. But your title states this is a book of the complete short stories and it is not. Your editor states that five of the war stories are not included.
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