In the Midst of Life; Tales of Soldiers and Civilians

Ambrose Bierce (1842 - 1914)

These stories detail the lives of soldiers and civilians during the American Civil War. This is the 1909 edition. The 1909 edition omits six stories from the original 1891 edition; these six stories are added to this LibriVox recording (from an undated English edition). The 1891 edition is entitled In The Midst Of Life; Tales Of Soldiers And Civilians. The Wikipedia entry for the book uses the title Tales of Soldiers and Civilians.

Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce (June 24, 1842 – after December 26, 1913) was an American editorialist, journalist, short story writer, fabulist and satirist. Today, he is best known for his short story, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" and his satirical lexicon, The Devil's Dictionary. The sardonic view of human nature that informed his work – along with his vehemence as a critic, with his motto "nothing matters" – earned him the nickname "Bitter Bierce." Despite his reputation as a searing critic, however, Bierce was known to encourage younger writers, including poet George Sterling and fiction writer W. C. Morrow. Bierce employed a distinctive style of writing, especially in his stories. This style often embraces an abrupt beginning, dark imagery, vague references to time, limited descriptions, the theme of war, and impossible events. In 1913, Bierce traveled to Mexico to gain a first-hand perspective on that country's ongoing revolution. While traveling with rebel troops, the elderly writer disappeared without a trace. Since the book is a compilation of short stories, there is not an overarching plot. However, there are literary elements, or plot devices, that are shared throughout. Bierce's stories often begin mid-plot, with relevant details withheld until the end, where the dramatic resolution unfolds differently than expected, to a degree where most are considered twist endings. His characters were described by George Sterling as: "His heroes, or rather victims, are lonely men, passing to unpredictable dooms, and hearing, from inaccessible crypts of space, the voices of unseen malevolencies."... Bierce served as a union soldier during the Civil War and his experiences as a soldier served as an inspiration for his writing, particularly for the Soldiers section. In this way, Bierce's war treatments anticipate and parallel Ernest Hemingway's later arrival, whereas the civilian tales later influence horror writers. (Summary by Wikipedia and David Wales)

Genre(s): Horror & Supernatural Fiction, Historical Fiction, War & Military Fiction

Language: English

Section Chapter Reader Time
Play 01 The Suitable Surroundings David Wales
Play 02 A Tough Tussle David Wales
Play 03 An Inhabitant of Carcosa David Wales
Play 04 The Middle Toe Of The Right Foot David Wales
Play 05 Haita The Shepherd David Wales
Play 06 A Horseman In The Sky David Wales
Play 07 An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge David Wales
Play 08 Chickamauga David Wales
Play 09 A Son Of The Gods David Wales
Play 10 One Of The Missing David Wales
Play 11 Killed At Resaca David Wales
Play 12 The Affair At Coulter's Notch David Wales
Play 13 The Coup De Grace David Wales
Play 14 Parker Adderson, Philosopher David Wales
Play 15 An Affair Of Outposts David Wales
Play 16 The Story Of A Conscience David Wales
Play 17 One Kind Of Officer David Wales
Play 18 One Officer, One Man David Wales
Play 19 George Thurston David Wales
Play 20 The Mocking-bird David Wales
Play 21 The Man Out Of The Nose David Wales
Play 22 An Adventure At Brownville David Wales
Play 23 The Famous Gilson Bequest David Wales
Play 24 The Applicant David Wales
Play 25 A Watcher By The Dead David Wales
Play 26 The Man And The Snake David Wales
Play 27 A Holy Terror David Wales
Play 28 The Boarded Window David Wales
Play 29 A Lady From Red Horse David Wales
Play 30 The Eyes Of The Panther David Wales