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110 of 115 people found the following review helpful
on December 26, 2011
Since Amazon doesn't give a complete listing of the contents, I thought I would. Hopefully somebody might find this of use:


A Horseman in the Sky
An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge
A Son of the Gods
One of the Missing
Killed at Resaca
The Affair at Coulter's Notch
The Coup de Grâce
Parker Adderson, Philosopher
An Affair of Outposts
The Story of a Conscience
One Kind of Officer
One Officer, One Man
George Thurston
The Mocking-Bird

The Man Out of the Nose
An Adventure at Brownville
The Famous Gilson Bequest
The Applicant
A Watcher by the Dead
The Man and the Snake
A Holy Terror
The Suitable Surroundings
The Boarded Window
A Lady from Red Horse
The Eyes of the Panther


Can Such Things Be?
The Death of Halpin Frayser
The Secret of Macarger's Gulch
One Summer Night
The Moonlit Road
A Diagnosis of Death
Moxon's Master
A Tough Tussle
One of Twins
The Haunted Valley
A Jug of Sirup
Staley Fleming's Hallucination
A Resumed Identity
A Baby Tramp
The Night-Doings at "Deadman's"
Beyond the Wall
A Psychological Shipwreck
The Middle Toe of the Right Foot
John Mortonson's Funeral
The Realm of the Unreal
John Bartine's Watc
The Damned Thing
Haýýti the Shepherd
An Inhabitant of Carcosa
The Stranger

The Ways of Ghosts
Present at a Hanging
A Cold Greeting
A Wireless Message
An Arrest

A Man with Two Lives
Three and One Are One
A Baffled Ambuscade
Two Military Executions

Some Haunted Houses
The Isle of Pines
A Fruitless Assignment
A Vine on a House
At Old Man Eckert's
The Spook House
The Other Lodgers
The Thing at Nolan

"Mysterious Disappearances"
The Difficulty of Crossing a Field
An Unfinished Race
Charles Ashmore's Trail


On a Mountain
What I Saw of Shiloh
A Little of Chickamauga
The Crime at Pickett's Mill
Four Days in Dixie
What Occurred at Franklin
'Way Down in Alabam'
Working for an Empress
Across the Plains
The Mirage
A Sole Survivor

Mrs. Dennison's Head
The Man Overboard
Jupiter Doke, Brigadier-General
A Bottomless Grave
For the Ahkoond
My Favorite Murder
Oil of Dog
Ashes of the Beacon
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71 of 75 people found the following review helpful
Beginning in 1881 and continuing to 1906, Ambrose Bierce created a series of sardonic word definitions of his own. Many of these were collected and published as The Cynic's Word Book, which he later protested was "a name which the author had not the power to reject or happiness to approve." So in 1911, he pulled together a collection that was more to his own liking and called it The Devil's Dictionary. The entries are a tad uneven in quality, but most are amusing and some are great. Each reader will have his own favorites, some of mine are as follows : ACQUAINTANCE, n. A person whom we know well enough to borrow from, but not well enough to lend to. A degree of friendship called slight when its object is poor or obscure, and intimate when he is rich or famous. ALLIANCE, n. In international politics, the union of two thieves who have their hands so deeply inserted in each other's pockets that they cannot separately plunder a third. BIGOT, n. One who is obstinately and zealously attached to an opinion that you do not entertain. BORE, n. A person who talks when you wish him to listen. CONSULT, v.i. To seek another's disapproval of a course already decided on. CYNIC, n. A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be. Hence the custom among the Scythians of plucking out a cynic's eyes to improve his vision. DICTIONARY, n. A malevolent literary device for cramping the growth of a language and making it hard and inelastic. This dictionary, however, is a most useful work. DISCRIMINATE, v.i. To note the particulars in which one person or thing is, if possible, more objectionable than another. EDUCATION, n. That which discloses to the wise and disguises from the foolish their lack of understanding. FUTURE, n. That period of time in which our affairs prosper, our friends are true and our happiness is assured. HISTORY, n. An account mostly false, of events mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers mostly knaves, and soldiers mostly fools.... A member of a large and powerful tribe whose influence in human affairs has always been dominant and controlling... He has the last word in everything; his decision is unappealable. He sets the fashions and opinion of taste, dictates the limitations of speech and circumscribes conduct with a dead-line. POLITICS, n. A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage. And, my choice for the very best among them : CONSERVATIVE, n. A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others. By all means, read it and pick out your own; you're sure to find a few that tickle your fancy. GRADE : A
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52 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on October 2, 2011
This is a can't miss treat for the literary or the civil war buff. Give it as a gift if you want to be remembered.

Bierce is a strange, haunting writer. He comes directly to us in this printing as unedited and sans commentary. Bierce's heavy burden from a rather severe Civil War post-traumatic stress disorder is central to his writings. His `Devil's Dictionary' is frequently quoted but it may do Bierce an injustice as a sort of typecasting to be considered without exploring the full dimensions of the prolific writer in his time and place.

Bierce can be accessed online. The power of Bierce's work for me is captured in his short essay "A Son of the Gods". If you've not sampled Bierce before, give this one a try. It's among those in this collection. It's a rare author that can pull a tear and possess the readers mind's eye. Ambrose Bierce is an author who seizes on simple moments to create a stunning story.

Bierce is a 19th century socio-rhetorical everyman, however, at core, he's like no other witness of the times. His post war stories on the quirks of his San Francisco newspaper beat are thoroughly entertaining. Bierce writes on many topics with an acerbic and cynical tone and elsewhere he writes as a man forged by discipline and fire. He can be genteel. He can be over the top. He can be moving and empathetic. He can be rough as a cob. There is an essential human reflection to be considered in every tale. In the 21st century, his word choices and usage are `quaint' but quite readable although you cannot escape a feeling that already, some meaning is overcome by the intervening 150 years. I'd wager that in another hundred years his material will need a `modern translation' as language moves on.

Bierce comes to us by way of his experience from the Civil War's own variation of Special Operations. The enormous battles he experienced would seem enough but Bierce provided himself to constant, daily frontline action in too many skirmishes to detail as a soldier of reconnaissance, surveillance and topographically mapping the next killing field. Every Bierce sentence and thought is anchored in his incredible battlefield pedigree from Shiloh, Corinth, Chickamauga, Chattanooga, Kennesaw Mountain, Atlanta and the March to the Sea. On and on Bierce covertly scouts for both Sherman and Grant and then to join the front lines in the open field as a soldier when the scouting was done. He seems to possess a unique ability to interject the eye of the strategist into the micro-travails of his subject. That the young Bierce survived at all to write of the first-person experience seems a miracle.

As a newspaper writer and a short story essayist, Bierce wrote more than can be bound. In this collection of his `popular' works, he deals with his demons in general society ... jaded, haunted and unrelenting. Bierce provides a consistently powerful reading experience. Curiously, Rod Serling had to have been close to Bierce's writings. Serling's Twilight Zone introductory signature line, "the place ..., the time ..." is directly from the "Mocking-Bird". You will easily recognize elements adapted to many TV and movie scripts.

The reader is well served by this high quality Library of America publication. One can debate the collection for completeness but it is certainly good enough in nearly 900 'bible print' pages. 5-star superb.
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60 of 63 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2004
The Bloomsbury edition illustrated by Ralph Steadman is ABRIDGED. Do not purchase unless you are buying it for the drawings.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2011
This is quite a good collection of some of Ambrose Bierce's best works of fiction and non-fiction in a nice compact hardback volume. The publisher is the prestigious "Library of America" which has been anthologizing for years those books regarded as the best and most significant ever produced in the literary history of the United States. When I heard that they were going to put into circulation some of Bierce's writings I could only thought: "Wow, about time!!!". You know, Bierce has always been something of an outsider and despite the more than evident quality of his writing (he has more substance than Mark Twain and is the best stylist of his generation) his figure and works remain not very well known or appreciated. Proof of this is the fact that "The Library of America" had even published the works of pulp writers like H.P. Lovecraft or Dashiell Hammett before Bierce's (who is the much better author). For many, he is still just the guy who wrote "The Devil's Dictionary" (a cruel satirical volume inconsistently marketed as "a book of humour") and that quaint short story of a man about to be hanged who sees the events of his life passing before him. This is a pity, but the truth is that Bierce's style and grim usual themes are not for everyone and that his unrelenting acerbic wit coupled with his biased opinions can disgust many people as they confront them against some very uncomfortable truths. Anyway, it is beyond this humble reviewer's remit to change the world's ways in that respect.

This new volume is an excellent introduction for anyone wishing to penetrate into the dark, witty and ingenious world of the most genuine satirist and maverick America has ever produced. It includes his two main volumes of short-stories "Can Such Things Be?" and "Tales of Soldiers and Civilians". "The Devil's Dictionary" is also contained inside the package, though the version reprinted here is not the most complete and comprehensive to date. Other works included are his civil war auto-biographical sketches and a final assortment of grotesque and wildly humorous stories. In my opinion, some missing masterpieces like "The Parenticide Club" or "Fantastic Fables" should have been included as well. Bierce thought that the novel was nothing short of an artifice and didn't care at all for it, so don't look for any long prose work here, only brief lessons by a true master. American literature does not get much better than this, anyway.

In short, this anthology dedicated to Ambrose Bierce constitutes a very good excuse to discover an outstanding (though somewhat underrated) man of words who excelled in all the narrative genres he cultivated and whose works are one of the last hidden gems buried under American letters.
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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on March 13, 2005
I'd skip this and purchase the UNABRIDGED version. Some of the definitions left out in this version are among Bierce's best. Also, the complete work is not so long: no reason to abridge something that in full length is only 100 or so pages long.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on October 15, 1999
Bierce's misanthropy and glorious cynicism remain a breath of fresh air, never having lost their ring of truth for the better part of a century. His aversion for hypocrisy, formal education (He was of humble origins and self-educated), and religious self-righteousness are appropriately barbed. His disillusionment with concepts such as patriotism ("The first refuge of a scoundrel"), are particularly interesting, considering his rural midwestern upbringing and heroic service in the Civil War. The most consistent and I think interesting theme throughout this volume is his disdain for the institution of marriage. Long before marriage was seen by many as a burden and divorce became unstigmatized and commonplace, Bierce's definition seems prophetic for his time: "An institution consisting of a master, a mistress, and two slaves, making in all two."
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on December 23, 1999
Ambrose Bierce was a man of many distinctions - writer, journalist, humorist, and Civil War veteran. We all remember reading his classic story "An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge" in eighth grade English class. Bierce is best known for his ghoulish horror tales, which were on a par with Edgar Allan Poe, but his greatest work was The Devil's Dictionary. A scathing parody of Webster's dictionary, Bierce's volume was a showcase for his brilliant, caustic wit. This is Bierce at his best, mixing comedy with social commentary, unleashing his anarchistic convictions to the hilt! Bierce blasts away at God and country and all that is respected and proper. He defines patriot as "the dupe of statesmen and the tool of conquerors", a Conservative as "a statesman who is enamored of existing evils" and a clergyman as "a man who undertakes the management of our spiritual affairs as a method of bettering his temporal ones" and so on. Nothing is sacred and no one is safe in this classic work of 19th century American literature which continues to attract just as much controversy and outrage today as it did when it was first published. A must read for all students of literature, dissenters, and fans of caustic humor!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on May 9, 1998
For those who enjoy dark, cynical humor - I'm talking about painfully, exquisitely brutal wit, the kind where innocent bystanders can get hit by the shrapnel, this is probably the best book you've never heard of. His use of English as both an artistic medium and a weapon is almost unrivaled, though British greats John Cleese and Douglas Adams often evoke some of his elegance and economy of wording. His writing style often may seem dated to modern readers, and sometimes the references completely pass us by, but the majority of the book is both timeless and of the choicest quality.
"Magpie - a bird whose thievish disposition suggested to someone that it might be taught to talk."
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on October 20, 2011
A recent WSJ review sparked my interest, and...well, where has AB been? Or where has this slacker been, more likely! A wonderful writer from 150yrs. ago and the finest shortstory genius I have ever enjoyed. Such writing with such wisdom is rare indeed! Probably, everyone knows AB well. A must read to newbies like me. Wonderful, wonderful, Mr. Welk was fond of saying. Congrats to the Lib. of America for giving us mainliners another chance to enjoy this giant from the War Between the States (heh! heh!). Buy it, Mikey will like it!
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Customers who viewed this also viewed
The Complete Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce
The Complete Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce by Ambrose Bierce (Paperback - December 1, 1984)

The Devil's Dictionary (Dover Thrift Editions)
The Devil's Dictionary (Dover Thrift Editions) by Ambrose Bierce (Paperback - May 20, 1993)

The Unabridged Devil's Dictionary
The Unabridged Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce (Paperback - January 3, 2002)

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