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Ambrose Bierce's An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge And Other Stories

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  484 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
Ambrose Bierce wrote stories so dramatically different from those of his contemporaries that they hardly seem like they were written in the nineteenth century. These original and innovative tales, most of which appeared in the 1880s and 1890s, constitute 23 examples of his best and most characteristic short fiction: anti-war satires that underscore the barbarism and futili ...more
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Published October 1st 2004 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published February 1st 1980)
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Mar 03, 2016 Andrew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
So how do I describe one of the Penguins 60s on an author who is a pillar of American literature - very carefully I would think.

I will not say too much of Ambrose Bierce since I am sure there are whole books dedicated to him and his life (and disappearance) but I will say that his Devil's Dictionary is a marvel and still love flicking through it even now which considering when it was written makes it all the more amazing.

Well An occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge is quite a strange book - not by its
Viji  (Bookish endeavors)
Wow.! What a story.! The plot and presentation is beyond perfect. It is the story of a man who is about to be hanged. It is about his final thoughts and the author uses it to weave the story. His writing is so good that till the end we feel the desperation of the man.
He thinks that every sense of him has become more sharp since he has just suffered a shock of the worst kind. He sees the world with the wonder of an infant. And then what happens.?
It is a wonderful story,a story for anybody and e
Nov 18, 2015 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I had not read Bierce before it's clear that he has influenced many things I have read. His stories are not exceedingly long or drawn out with flowery language like many of the forefathers of Horror and, though many have riffed on the ideas, the plots are still interesting with plenty of spooky thrills to be had.
It seems the Penguin 60s edition contains a different set of 'AND OTHER STORIES' than the other editions, and therefore should probably be separated, but I have run out of librarian energy.

The stories here are:
An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge - 4*
Beyond the Wall - 4*
An Adventure at Brownville - 3*
The Damned Thing - 3*
One of the Missing - 2*
The Stranger - 2*

So an average 3* from me.

They are all supernatural or ghost stories of some description, readable enough without setting the world on fire.
Feb 14, 2009 Mike rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
May be my favorite short story of all time. At least top five.

In no particular order, here they are.

"An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge"

"The Story of an Hour"

"The Lottery"

"The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas"

"A House on the Plains"
Feb 22, 2017 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bierce is a highly underrated American writer. In this collection you can see a style that influenced later greats as diverse as Lovecraft and Cormac McCarthy. There is even a zombie story! Going in the only story I was familiar with was Incident At Owl Creek, and that justifiably great short story may barely break the top 5 in this collection.
Richard F. Schiller
One of my favourite short stories of all-time, which I wrote a little blurb about how it is a precursor or Modernism. Bierce initially presents a seemingly typical realist text, beginning with passages like "The man who was engaged in being hanged was apparently about thirty-five years of age... His features were good - a straight nose, firm mouth, broad forehead, from which his long, dark hair was combed straight back, falling behind his ears to the collar of his well-fitting frock coat". Bie ...more
Tiny Mendoza
May 02, 2013 Tiny Mendoza rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of my goals this year is to read more classics and frankly, I'm really having a hard time reading them. I think age affects the reader's choices on what books he/she will read. First of all, sometimes the writing seems to be too archaic which makes it hard to interpret and because of that, my interest will slowly (or sometimes in an instant) fade. I had to read a certain page repeatedly for me to understand what the author's saying. I'm not ashamed of that because I'm doing my best to unders ...more
Mar 22, 2014 Coenraad rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I know about Ambrose Bierce as the rapier wit who wrote THE DEVIL'S DICTIONARY. It is therefore a great joy to discover his excellent short stories. In some instances he deals with events (fictional) during the American Civil War; some of his stories deal with supernatural elements. I appreciate his unusual take on people and his well-wrought nineteenth century prose. His stories open a window on his lifetime in America which I have not experienced in this way before. His work is a pleasant and ...more
Apr 04, 2012 Nina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this very short story for my junior English class and was intrigued by the overall theme it was under, "The Rise of Realism". It was so detailed and actually made me feel like I was there, experiencing it with him. And it was quite intense because I do visualize myself at least watching the story take place. But this time, her flow of words... Indescribable. Her writing style has become such an inspiration because I have always admired those that can get the readers, not only enjoy, but e ...more
Read "An Occurrence at Owl Creek" first, even though it wasn't the first story in the book - perfect. It's impossible not to feel as if you're right there with Peyton, especially when he' submerged. Other favorites were "Chickamauga", "One Kind of Officer" and "One of the Missing." Although these are Civil War stories, they're unlike anything I've read. The endings are so bizarre and interesting. There's also a collection of horror stories, which I'd give a solid three stars. A short book of sho ...more
Jul 17, 2009 Bob rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For my mind, the short story in the title is an absolute must for all to read. It has been dramatized frequently, despite the short length. Some are of the period, some modernized. Again, I would insist that the story itself is truly great, a timeless classic, and a must read. You can find a modern day version in a short film called A Message From Fallujah. Just Google around, it's available for free. But the original story is one of 2 I would like everyone to read (A Rose for Emily the other).
Jeff Hobbs
Already read:

A Horseman in the Sky--
An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge--4
One of the Missing--
Killed at Resaca--
One Kind of Officer--
The Major's Tale--
The Story of a Conscience--
An Affair of Outposts--
A Watcher by the Dead--
The Man and the Snake--2
A Holy Terror--
The Middle Toe of the Right Foot--3
The Damned Thing--3
The Death of Halpin Frayser--
The Moonlit Road--3
The Stranger--
The Eyes of the Panther--
Beyond the Wall--2
An Imperfect Conflagration--
Oil of Dog--
My Favorite Murder--2
The H
Ryan Nims
Jan 11, 2014 Ryan Nims rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: weird-fiction
The second book of 2014, this one shares some stories with the first (Bierce's Can Such Things Be), But, really, I don't mind experiencing again; specifically, "Moxon's Master" and "Beyond the Wall" which are personal favorites of mine!

Unlike Can Such Thing Be, this book contains more of the Civil War/military stories, which are the stories with which I am more familiar.

After this, I think I shall read The Devil's Dictionary, before continuing on with my year of Weird/Gothic Fiction.
Paul Boger
I read the collection "Soldiers and Civilians" because Bierce is such an influential and enigmatic figure. Many of these stories were written for newspaper publication, and read like 20th Century, penny-a-word, pulp magazine features. The Civil War stories are still powerful, but the rest haven't aged well. Interesting, probably, to students of short fiction or 19th Century fiction, in general, or as a gateway to other authors.

Alexander Ellis

The first story, after which this collection is named, was truly quite thrilling. The plot was complicated, and was structured unusually but was effective. In his descriptions end imagery I found Bierce to be extremely lacking. Pictures painted seemed almost mechanical, or journalistic, ant offered no real insight into how the protagonist was feeling.
Jan 02, 2011 TaylorA rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Owl Creek was interesting. Some of the terms were a little old, so you had to pay attention as not to get confused. Other than that, the story was pretty amazing. The Twilight Zone didn't do it justice!
May 14, 2008 KatieSuzanne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
I really liked the Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge. The other short stories that followed it weren't quite as good or as thought provoking. I even went online and found where I could watch the old movie short I'd read about in other reviews. It was exactly like the story and just as interesting.
Dec 26, 2014 Karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm only just starting to appreciate short stories. I haven't read any 19th century North American literature before, maybe that's why I struggled a bit through the brutal Civil War Stories. There are some nice Gothic-style horror stories, but the Tall Tales were my favourites.
Jennifer Davis
May 12, 2012 Jennifer Davis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 30-books-in-2012
Highly entertaining book of short stories focused on death and with twist endings. Featured on the Lost book club.
Dec 16, 2014 Sandy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These stories were very interesting. The ending was a little shocking. I had watched the film they made from this book before reading it.
Matt 2D
Dec 16, 2010 Matt 2D rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
A strange tale that takes place during the Civil War. A man escapes death... or so he thinks. If you enjoy this tale, check out the Twilight Zone episode based on it.
T.S. S. Fulk
Feb 11, 2013 T.S. S. Fulk rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The Civil War stories (coming from a Civil War vet) were more interesting than his attempts at horror/weird fiction. Still Bierce's influence on others like Lovecraft are important.
The ending is really thought provoking and chilling, The character has a sort of vision. Our minds are mysterious and unreliable.
Apr 27, 2009 Libby rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting, strange short stories with unexpected twists and turns. "Behind the wall" was very sad.
Wilshem P.
I fouund this story pretty excited and interesting. I liked it because it showed me a new point of view(Omnicsent.) I enjoyed this story because it was very unpredictable.
Jonah rated it really liked it
Oct 05, 2008
Cora Judd
Cora Judd rated it it was amazing
May 29, 2010
Ian rated it it was amazing
Jun 10, 2014
Kitty rated it really liked it
May 25, 2012
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Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce (1842-1914) 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 ni
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“Erudition - dust shaken out of a book into an empty skull” 3 likes
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