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Department 1

Civil War Institute


Ambrose Bierce, 1842-1913?, has become renowned in the Civil War world for his sharp-witted and cynical short stories that frequently feature ghastly death and the terrible irony of survival. His life has become somewhat of a caricature, used by historians such as Mark Snell and Gerald Linderman to demonstrate the utter disillusionment of the common soldier and the retreat into hibernation in an attempt to escape the trauma experienced during the war. This view of Bierce fails to capture the complexity of the man and his war experience. Rather than a skeptical realist, Bierce demonstrates the characteristics of a jaded romantic. [excerpt]


This blog post originally appeared in The Gettysburg Compiler and was created by students at Gettysburg College.