The Complete Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce

The Complete Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce, compiled by Ernest Jerome Hopkins, 3/5

In this compilation, Bierce’s stories have been roughly categorized into horror, war and tall tales, though there is some overlap.  I feel that the horror stories are decent, but inferior to the work of H.P. Lovecraft (admittedly the only other horror writer I know), being less imaginative and more cliched.  I liked best “The Applicant” and “The Man and the Snake.”  The war stories were more original and interesting, which is not surprising, since Bierce had first-hand experience fighting in the Civil War.  My favorites were “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,” “A Horseman in the Sky” and “Three and One are One.”  It was in his tall tales that the bitter sarcasm for which Bierce is so famous really shone.  Of these, “The Captain of the ‘Camel'” and “The Man Overboard” are perhaps the wittiest, jam-packed with the clever humor that is scattered, one sentence at a time, through the rest of the stories.


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