What I saw at Shiloh

Postings of Civil War history, items of period interest, and book and author recommendations.

What I saw at Shiloh

Postby cruces » Tue Apr 17, 2012 9:33 pm

Ernest Hemingway confidently proclaimed Red Badge of Courage, Stephen Crane's naturalistic Civil War novel of cowardice and redemption, "the first great American war story." Most historians and literary critics have agreed with Hemingway and Crane's book has been devoured by readers and analyzed by literary critics almost from the day it was first published in 1892.

Unfortunately, Hemingway and many others have ignored a series of great Civil War short stories begun 11 years earlier. They were penned by a curmudgeonly journalist better known for his Edgar Allan Poe–like tales of the supernatural and for his mysterious disappearance into Mexico in 1914.

Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce is rarely recognized as a first-rate literary stylist, but he used narrative techniques most critics now consider modern. Although not known for his military exploits, Bierce served with distinction on most of the Civil War's killing fields in the West.

Gutenberg.org has many of his Civil War narratives here:


Well worth the time to read some of his works.

MG Elkin
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