Ambrose Bierce (1842 - 1914?)
He was born in Horse Cave Creek, Ohio, from a strictly religious family.
He left his home at the age of sixteen for starting off his career as a
printer's devil at the Northen Indianian, but forfeited this position because he
was falsely accused of stealing money.
His family insisted that he should enroll in the Kentucky Military Institute;
thus, the knowledge of military strategy supported him in the Civil War where he
had been fighting since 1861.
In 1866 he moved to California where he collaborated with newspapers such as
News Letter, Californian, the Atla California, the Golden Era, the weekly
News-Letter and California Advertiser.
In 1872 he moved to England for four years; later on, he went back to America to
write for the San Francisco Examiner. The new owner of this newspaper was
William Randolph Hearst, who had an eye for talented journalists like Bierce.
The fame and reputation of Bierce grew and in the years 1887-1906, the columns
of Bierce were known as The Prattler. In 1897 he went to Washington to work for
another newspaper owned by Hearst.
He often wrote in defense of Jews, Negroes and Chineses.
His personal life was a failure: he divorced in 1904; his elder son committed
suicide at the age of sixteen; his youngest son died of alcoholism at the age of
In 1914 he disappeared in Mexico, where a civil war was breaking out and since
then his destiny remains unknown. His best known works are The Devil's
Dictionary (New York: Sagamore Press, 1957) and Tales of Soldiers &
Civilians (1891) [also known as In the Midst of Life (New York: