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The Four Million

O. Henry

Book Overview: 

The Four Million is the second book written by O. Henry while he served time for embezzlement in a penitentiary in Ohio. The book is a series of short stories which take place in New York City in the early years of the 20th century and are representative of the surprise endings that popularized O. Henry’s work. They also capture his use of coincidence or chance to create humor in the story. O Henry wrote about ordinary people in everyday circumstances. He is quoted as once saying, “There are stories in everything. I’ve got some of my best yarns from park benches, lampposts and newspaper stands.”

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Hoover, forty-five, flush, foolish and fat is meat for perdition. There was never a chance for you, Hoover.

As Mrs. Parker's roomers sat thus one summer's evening, Miss Leeson looked up into the firmament and cried with her little gay laugh:

"Why, there's Billy Jackson! I can see him from down here, too."

All looked up—some at the windows of skyscrapers, some casting about for an airship, Jackson-guided.

"It's that star," explained Miss Leeson, pointing with a tiny finger. "Not the big one that twinkles—the steady blue one near it. I can see it every night through my skylight. I named it Billy Jackson."

"Well, really!" said Miss Longnecker. "I didn't know you were an astronomer, Miss Leeson."

"Oh, yes," said the small star gazer, "I know as much as any of them about the style of sleeves they're going to wear next fall in Mars."

"Well, really!" said Miss Longnecker. "The star you refer to is Gamma, of the constellation Cassio. . . Read More

Community Reviews

The Four Million is the second collection of short stories by O Henry that was published in 1906. The title refers to the population of New York City at that time and is where all the stories are based. I like such random links.

The common thread that runs through most if not all the stories in the c


"Tales of olde New York--Woodhouse with a Bitter Twist"

This anthology contains 25 tales of old New York city at the dawn of the 20th century. Plus the bonus of 4 tales set in the exotic tropics of a fictitious banana republic. O. Henry focuses his curious microscope on the dive

Very entertaining, lighthearted and funny stories with often surprise endings. The author is a superbly versatile language master and clearly enjoys writing. Wise cracks and original descriptions galore:
‘Gradually Mrs. Parker crumpled as a stiff garment that slips down from a nail.’
‘He arose, joint

O Henry began to write this collection of short stories about New Yorkers in response to a high society businessman who claimed that in New York there were only about 40 people worth writing about. O Henry's love of the common man shows through these delicious candy-like stories with that classic O'

“’Tis a weary thing to count your pleasures by summers instead of hours.”

First published in 1906, this collection still resonates with wit and insight. Each story ends with a twist, usually but not always pleasant. Even knowing its coming, the reader is rewarded with a surprise.

“The almanac lied and


“When ye run down politeness ye take the mortar from between the bricks of the foundations of society” [‘Between Rounds’]—page 23

O. Henry is one of my favorite go to guys whenever I need to cleanse my reading pallet. ‘The Four Million’ is a collection of 25 short stories all

Some bad language of the time, but I feel like im just getting to know O. Henry and his humor.

A collection of O. Henry’s short stories bearing his trademark irony, comic misunderstandings, and surprise endings. I liked the memorable characters, the humorous slang, and O. Henry’s use of obscure vocabulary and analogies.

Besides the popular The Gift of the Magi, I also liked the stories Between

At one time, these stories would have been fascinating, surprising, satisfying. They harken back to a simpler time of hourly wage earners in rented furnished flats, cabbies who drove a horse-drawn hansom, and neighborhoods where everyone knows everyone's business. O Henry's endings are almost always

You think O. Henry and you think unexpected twist and romances and happy endings, but one thing that really struck me throughout all these New York stories is that O. Henry's world is really very dangerous and very scary. People could literally starve to death, regularly brawl in the streets, be rui

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