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A lively and compelling portrait of one of the most acerbic and distinctive voices in American literature, Ambrose Bierce: Alone in Bad Company is a clear-eyed but sympathetic account of a complex individual at odds with his country, his family, his times, and himself. The only American writer of any stature to fight in and survive the Civil War, Bierce discovered in the conflict a bitter confirmation of his darkest assumptions about man and his nature. Profoundly disillusioned, Bierce spent the next fifty years struggling to disabuse his fellow Americans of their own cherished ideals--be they romantic, religious, or political. His groundbreaking short stories of the war, including his most famous work, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge," have had a lasting influence on every subsequent American author dealing with war. And the heartless, hilarious aphorisms in his caustic lexicon The Devil's Dictionary have entered, often uncredited, our national consciousness. In this insightful, critically acclaimed biography, the first comprehensive study in almost fifty years, Roy Morris, Jr., accounts for both the influential art that Ambrose Bierce made from a harsh and unforgiving vision--and the high price he had to pay for it in loneliness, rancor, and spiritual isolation.