THE MORASS THAT IS CALIFORNIA POLITICS today may have originated in mid-January of 1896, when a middle-aged man boarded an eastbound train in Oakland. With his ex-soldier’s ramrod bearing and his red-gold hair turning gray, the traveler was not likely to have gone unrecognized. He was Ambrose Bierce, the West’s most famous newspaperman, who used his San Francisco Examiner column to skewer fools and rogues, as well as to coin the acerbic definitions later collected in his Devil’s Dictionary. (Example: “PEACE, n: In international affairs, a period of cheating between two periods of ... Read More
About Dennis Drabelle
Dennis Drabelle is author of Mile-High Fever and most recently The Great American Railroad War, How Ambrose Bierce and Frank Norris took on the Central Pacific Railroad. He has written for multiple publications and is currently a contributing editor and a mysteries editor for The Washington Post Book World. In 1996 he won the National Book Critics Circle’s award for excellence in reviewing. He lives in Washington, D.C.