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A Cynic Looks at Life

Ambrose Bierce

Book Overview: 

Civilization, Immortality, the Death Penalty, these are just a few of the essays enclosed in this collection, A Cynic Looks At Life. Written by Ambrose Bierce, these essays continue to be thought provoking, offering a valid outlook on life.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . . it a name by which it is known over half the world. One of the sovereign virtues of this famous law is its simplicity, which is such that all hearing must understand; and obedience is so easy that any nation refusing is unfit to exist except in the turbulence and adversity that will surely come to it. When a people would avert want and strife, or, having them, would restore plenty and peace, this noble commandment offers the only means—all other plans for safety or relief are as vain as dreams, as empty as the crooning of hags. And behold, here is it: "All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them."

What! you unappeasable rich, coining the sweat and blood of your workmen into drachmas, understanding the law of supply and demand as mandatory and justifying your cruel greed by the senseless dictum that "business is business"; you lazy workmen, railing at the capitalist by whose desertion, when you have fr. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Got loads of interesting facts! Makes me pause, reflect and mumble "dimmit! It's true!"

Bierce was a tower on the intellectual landscape a hundred years ago, and this collection of essays suggests both why that was the case then and why he has little standing today. A quote like: "To fatten pigs, confine and feed them; to fatten rogues, cultivate a generous disposition," captures the e

makes you think about things you never think about, yes it's brilliant

The witticisms just don't measure up to Bierce's other work. Here, his bitterness is completely unleavened by wisdom; time has not favored what could have been an observation of life.

There is wisdom in these pages. There is also nonsense. It is up to the reader to determine which is which.

I read this as part of Classic American Literature: 13 books by Bierce in a single file, improved 1/7/2011 [Kindle Edition]

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