It is a biographical book. The question that starts to the lips of ninety-nine readers out of a hundred', says Arnold Bennett, in a review in the London New Age in 1909, 'even the best informed, will assuredly be: 'Who is Ambrose Bierce?' I scarcely know, but I will say that among what I may term 'underground reputations' that of Ambrose Bierce is perhaps the most striking example. You may wander for years through literary circles and never meet anybody who has heard of Ambrose Bierce, and then you may hear some erudite student whisper in an awed voice: 'Ambrose Bierce is the greatest living prose writer'. I have heard such an opinion expressed'. Bierce himself shows his recognition of the 'underground' quality of his reputation in a letter to George Sterling: 'How many times, and during a period of how many years must one's unexplainable obscurity be pointed out to constitute fame? Not knowing, I am almost disposed to consider myself the most famous of authors. I have pretty nearly ceased to be 'discovered', but my notoriety as an obscurian may be said to be worldwide and everlasting.