Photograph of American author Ben Tarnoff.

Ben Tarnoff

Ben Tarnoff is the author of A Counterfeiter’s Paradise: The Wicked Lives and Surprising Adventures of Three Early American Moneymakers and The Bohemians: Mark Twain and the San Francisco Writers Who Reinvented American Literature

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Ambrose Bierce

Roundtable

“As for Me, I Sell Abuse”

By Ben Tarnoff

At first glance, Ambrose Bierce didn’t look like a coldblooded verbal killer. He was tall and handsome and scrupulously groomed, with a cherubic mop of golden hair. He excelled as a conversationalist and womanizer. He was also was nineteenth-century America’s greatest insult artist. More

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