Andrew Barger is rapidly becoming recognized as an authority on scary things. Two of his previous books, 'Edgar Allan Poe Annotated and Illustrated Entire Stories and Poems by Edgar Allan Poe and Andrew Barger', and 'The Best Werewolf Short Stories 1800-1849: A Classic Werewolf Anthology by Andrew Barger', have demonstrated not only his obsession with things frightening but also with his keen sense of research and curatorial gifts. This current volume, THE BEST HORROR SHORT STORIES 1800 - 1849' will likely become a best seller, seeing the public interest continuing to grow for things frightful.
For this volume Barger went beyond his choice of King of the Horror short stories - Edgar Allan Poe, hands down the leader - and combed through some 300 possible entries from around the world. From these entries he selected according to three guiding principles: fear, empathy with the protagonist, and the level of writing. In a very entertaining and informative introduction Barger explains his process and his choices of the final twelve winning short stories. The authors include of course Edgar Allen Poe (4), Nathaniel Hawthorne, ETA Hoffmann, Balzac (2), Dickens, Wilhelm Hauff, Samuel Warren, and George Sloan. Some of these writers may be new to the reader of this anthology and some of the stories will be very well known to most.
What makes this collection (of truly terrifying tales!) so satisfying is the presence of a brief introduction before each story, sharing some comments about the writer and elements of the tale. It is, after all, an annotated version. Barger has once again whetted our appetites for fright, spent countless hours making these twelve stories accessible and available, and has provided in one book the best of the best of horror short stories. it is a winner. Grady Harp, September 10