Short Story #320: George Thurston by Ambrose Bierce

Title: George Thurston

Author: Ambrose Bierce


Book cover: Complete Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce  George Thurston is a first lieutenant and aide to federal Colonel Brough, a man only briefly in command of the group that the narrator, a topographer, is part of.  Others express a dislike of him that the narrator isn't entirely sure he shares.  On one occasion, Thurston asks to go with the narrator while he scouts the territory.  As a spectator, he is without arms as they move through the woods.  Inevitably, a skirmish ensues and Thurston stands up against the attackers with arms folded, refusing to retreat.  He survives and some time later, he is wounded during another skirmish and must be at a hospital for some time.  However, the narrator learns that the incident happened as a result of Thurston being surrounded and folding his arms in the face of numerous bayonets.  Upon hearing this, another person explains to the narrator that this is Thurston's means of overcoming his fear and desire to run away.  The final incident happens in camp.  Thurston gets onto a swing and uses to to swing higher and higher until he is catapulted to his death.  However, even after the fall with is body all twisted and innards flowing out, he died with his arms folded.


 The story had a slightly amusing ending but felt a bit more built up than the delivery.  

Short Story #320 out of 365
Rating: 2 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read: 9/15/2014
Source:  The Complete Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce, compiled by Ernest Jerome Hopkins.  Bison Books, 1984.  The full works of Ambrose Bierce, including this story can be found here on

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.

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