Monday, May 29, 2023

Quote of the Day (Ambrose Bierce, on a ‘Theater of War’)

“No country is so wild and difficult but men will make it a theater of war.”— Journalist, Union Civil War soldier, and satirist Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914?), “A Horseman in the Sky,” originally published in 1889 in the San Francisco Examiner, revised as part of Bierce’s short-story collection Tales of Soldiers and Civilians (1891)

The story of the last days of Bierce may be most familiar to readers and film fans through the 1985 Carlos Fuentes novel Old Gringo, as well as the movie adaptation four years later starring Gregory Peck, Jane Fonda and Jimmy Smits. Fuentes said he became interested in the cynical Bierce when he read Tales of Soldiers and Civilians as a teen.

I chose the above quote for my Memorial Day post. Readers desiring more information about the impact of the Civil War on Bierce-- a decorated Civil War veteran, forced out of the fighting because of a head wound—and how it left him with a belief in war’s absurdity and the determination to convey its “rattle and roar” in unsparing, exact detail, might want to read this post of mine from nine years ago.

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