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Tales of Soldiers and Civilians: And Other Stories (Penguin Classics) Paperback – 27 Jul 2000

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd (27 July 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140437568
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140437560
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.8 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,124,895 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Tom Quirk is the Catherine Paine Middlebush Professor of English at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He is the editor of the Penguin Classics editions of Mark Twain's Tales, Speeches, Essays, and Sketches (1994) and Ambrose Bierce's Tales of Soldiers and Civilians and Other Stories (2000) and co-editor of The Portable American Realism Reader (1997). His other books include Coming to Grips with Huckleberry Finn (1993), Mark Twain: A Study of the Short Fiction (1997) and Nothing Abstract: Investigations in the American Literary Imagination (2001).

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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dominic Berlemann on 14 July 2007
Format: Paperback
Without doubt, buying this volume won't be a disappointment. Ambrose Bierce is (the) one of America's writers who successfully tried to fill in the void between Poe and H.P. Lovecraft. He's also, perhaps, one of the first surrealists in American literary history since he manages to combine naturalistic description with metaphysical speculation in an unprecedented way. Against the backdrop of America's Civil War, he delineates the destruction of the human body in the face of ulterior forces in a way which is mesmerising and revolting at the same time. This makes him a unique presence in literary history - so don't miss out.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 2 reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
An Excellent Collection of Stories! 3 Nov 2000
By Jeffrey Leach - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I always wanted to get around to reading Ambrose Bierce. Known as an iconoclast and an excellent satirist, Bierce is best known for his Devil's Dictionary. He's also known for the disappearing act he pulled in Mexico in 1913. I decided to give this short anthology a chance. If I liked his stories, I figured I'd buy some more of his writings. I will be reading more of his writings.
The recent movie _The Blair Witch Project_ has brought scary stories back into vogue. After reading this book, I realized you can make a direct connection from this film to Ambrose Bierce. The connection would pass through Stephen King and H.P.Lovecraft along the way. I've seen things in both of these writers that could have been lifted directly out of one of Bierce's stories. In Bierce's story, "The Damned Thing", with its talk about colors that can and can't be seen, I could have sworn I was reading Lovecraft. Bierce is a master at quick twists and shocking violence, and delivers scares fast and furious. I got chills with several of these short stories, which certainly makes for good horror reading.
The book gives the reader a sample of Bierce's short stories. Most of the stories are tied around American Civil War themes, which is no surprise as Bierce served in the Union army during that conflict. His experiences gave him the necessary frame of reference to write these dark stories. And when I say dark, I mean DARK! Some of these tales will make your jaw drop. The violence in them is extremely unsettling. Chickamauga and Oil of Dog are sickening, describing blown open heads and dead babies in graphic detail.
Did I mention Bierce's prose? Some of the best you'll read. His prose is so amazing that I found myself rereading some of his passages just so I could make sure I was getting the full meaning. It is that rich and textured. It's also extremely funny in places. In the introduction it is written that Bierce lived in England for several years and was embraced by the English, who are masters not only of the language, but also insults. I'm not surprised when I look at how he writes. He can pen an insult that would bring tears of joy to an Englishman's eyes.
Finally, Bierce's stories show incredible depth for the short story format. He ridicules false courage, irony, lawyers, and even unions in the story, "The Revolt of the Gods". I highly recommend that anyone not familiar with Ambrose Bierce give this book a read. It reads fast and you'll laugh and be shocked within the space of one page. Good stuff.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Dark stories 9 Nov 2010
By James D. Crabtree - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Ambrose Bierce's collected stories, mostly of the Civil War but also of peacetime America in the last half of the 19th Century, are amazing not least because of the fact that he was one of the first to write in this genre. No doubt much of his inspiration for his Civil War stories were based upon his own observations as an officer in the Union Army while other stories may have been ones he came up with while living on the Pacific coast.
Ghostly occurances, strange machines, unexplained episodes, monsters... Bierce seems to have lived in a strange world of shadows all his own. It is somehow fitting that Bierce simply disappeared in the early 20th Century.

Great book. Definitely a classic.
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