Tales of soldiers and civilians
This revised edition of Ambrose Bierce's 1892 collection of "Soldiers" and "Civilians" tales fills a void in American literature. A veteran of the Civil War and a journalist known for his integrity and biting satire, Ambrose Bierce was also a lively short-story writer of considerable depth and power. As San Francisco's most famous journalist during the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, Bierce was hired by William Randolph Hearst to write a column for the San Francisco Examiner, where his "Soldiers" and "Civilians" tales first appeared during the late 1880s. During the post-Civil War years, Bierce recognized the growing nationalism in America and the increasing glorification of war heroes and soldiers. In response he wrote his "Soldiers" tales. Although he was a Civil War veteran, Bierce had been a civilian for more than twenty years when he began to write the bulk of the nineteen tales that comprised his 1892 collection. Thus, the "Civilians" tales were written as a counterpoint to the preceding war stories. Bierce's intent was to explore the complex interconnections between soldiers and civilians. He recognized in Tales of Soldiers and Civilians that war and peace together comprise an interacting harmony. By the standards of his day and ours, Bierce's juornalism was often brilliantly insightful, viciously libelous, petty, and grand, frequently in the space of a single paragraph. This edition reveals the often compelling artistry of Bierce's original versions of the tales and the intentionally intricate design and scope of the original collection.
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