This biography provides a balanced assessment of the true achievement of this complex and work-driven personality, who played an essential role as a discerning editor at a time when the short story scene in America was undergoing a radical evolution. In April 1916, Edward J. O'Brien published "The Best Short Stories of 1915", which proved to be the first of the series of annual anthologies of the short stories he considered the cream of those appearing in US magazines during the preceding 12 months. It continued under his guidance until the 1941 volume published posthumously in his name. In the eyes of many young writers -Sherwood Anderson, Ernest Hemingway and William Saroyan, for example - he became regarded as a respected authority, providing them with encouragement and inspiration by reprinting their stories in his anthologies. He loyally supported the so-called "little" magazines and was instrumental in drawing the attention of both readers and writers to their existence. In Oxford, he co-edited the short-lived "New Stories" as an anticipated British equivalent of "Story".