In the Midst of Life; Tales of Soldiers and Civilians

Read by David Wales

(4.7 stars; 34 reviews)

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) (11 hr 11 min)


The Suitable Surroundings 20:57 Read by David Wales
A Tough Tussle 23:13 Read by David Wales
An Inhabitant of Carcosa 12:28 Read by David Wales
The Middle Toe Of The Right Foot 24:57 Read by David Wales
Haita The Shepherd 16:09 Read by David Wales
A Horseman In The Sky 18:52 Read by David Wales
An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge 28:56 Read by David Wales
Chickamauga 20:08 Read by David Wales
A Son Of The Gods 21:05 Read by David Wales
One Of The Missing 35:36 Read by David Wales
Killed At Resaca 18:10 Read by David Wales
The Affair At Coulter's Notch 24:43 Read by David Wales
The Coup De Grace 16:41 Read by David Wales
Parker Adderson, Philosopher 18:29 Read by David Wales
An Affair Of Outposts 28:00 Read by David Wales
The Story Of A Conscience 18:53 Read by David Wales
One Kind Of Officer 27:38 Read by David Wales
One Officer, One Man 18:36 Read by David Wales
George Thurston 14:39 Read by David Wales
The Mocking-bird 18:52 Read by David Wales
The Man Out Of The Nose 22:17 Read by David Wales
An Adventure At Brownville 29:48 Read by David Wales
The Famous Gilson Bequest 23:59 Read by David Wales
The Applicant 14:27 Read by David Wales
A Watcher By The Dead 29:39 Read by David Wales
The Man And The Snake 19:59 Read by David Wales
A Holy Terror 40:54 Read by David Wales
The Boarded Window 14:35 Read by David Wales
A Lady From Red Horse 19:12 Read by David Wales
The Eyes Of The Panther 29:08 Read by David Wales


gruesome fare, good and creepy

(5 stars)

Well written, quite well read. Perfect for commuting.

well read ghost stories

(5 stars)

this reader is fantastic! if you are in to ghost stories you will like it. i am not a fan of those dark subjects so i stopped after several stories. but they are enthralling if thats your kind of thing.

(5 stars)

I am really glad that I decided to listen to this book. It is very clever. Well worth the time needed to listen.

Great story and reader

(5 stars)

Some stories endings are mysterious to me. Interesting stories.

Treasure Trove

(5 stars)

What a find!! Great introduction adds to the enjoyment.