Ambrose Bierce's Civil War

Ambrose Bierce's Civil War

Ambrose Bierce's Civil War

Ambrose Bierce's Civil War

Synopsis

This powerful collection contains the very best of this world-renowned author's writings. All of the short stories and factual accounts of the Civil War presented here form a searing, unflinching portrait of this terrible war. For fiction and non-fiction fans and history buffs alike.

Excerpt

The Civil War writings of Ambrose Bierce, both factual and fictional, are assembled in this volume. Bierce belongs to the small group of American authors, including John W. DeForest and Sidney Lanier, who fought in the war and who turned their experiences to literary account. One of them, a writer of exceptional promise, Theodore Winthrop, was killed in battle at Great Bethel. With these men in mind perhaps, H. L. Mencken jeeringly and quite unjustly described Mark Twain, Howells and Henry James as "draft-dodgers."

Bierce, Lanier, and DeForest made use of their first-hand knowledge of war in writing imaginative literature. Numerous Americans, of course, recorded their Civil War activities and reflections, in some instances superlatively well -- John S. Wise, for one, in his book "The End of An Era." Most of them, however, wrote ineptly, protractedly, and with the bathos and sentimentality that were Ambrose Bierce's inveterate aversions.

During a long journalistic career Bierce wrote a great deal, much of it topical and trivial. Unwisely, he chose late in life to publish the vast bulk of it in a grandiosely conceived "Collected Works," running to twelve volumes. Not more than four of them forward his claim to serious literary recognition. Nevertheless, each scrap of his work was written with admirable crispness and precision of diction. He often succeeded in preserving readability and interest in subject-matter that patently deserved oblivion. His still valuable little handbook, "Write It Right," reveals an almost overweening concern for careful craftsmanship and exactitude of expression.

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