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The Red Badge of Courage and Selected Short Fiction

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The Red Badge of Courage and Selected Short Fiction, by Stephen Crane, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics: All editions a The Red Badge of Courage and Selected Short Fiction, by Stephen Crane, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics: All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.   Young Henry Fleming dreams of finding glory and honor as a Union soldier in the American Civil War. Yet he also harbors a hidden fear about how he may react when the horror and bloodshed of battle begin. Fighting the enemy without and the terror within, Fleming must prove himself and find his own meaning of valor. Unbelievable as it may seem, Stephen Crane had never been a member of any army nor had taken part in any battle when he wrote The Red Badge of Courage. But upon its publication in 1895, when Crane was only twenty-four, Red Badge was heralded as a new kind of war novel, marked by astonishing insight into the true psychology of men under fire. Along with the seminal short stories included in this volume—“The Open Boat,” “The Veteran,” and “The Men in the Storm”—The Red Badge of Courage unleashed Crane’s deeply influential impressionistic style. Richard Fusco has been an Assistant Professor of English at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia since 1997. A specialist in nineteenth-century American literature and in short-story narrative theory, he has published on a variety of American, British, and Continental literary figures.


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The Red Badge of Courage and Selected Short Fiction, by Stephen Crane, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics: All editions a The Red Badge of Courage and Selected Short Fiction, by Stephen Crane, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics: All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.   Young Henry Fleming dreams of finding glory and honor as a Union soldier in the American Civil War. Yet he also harbors a hidden fear about how he may react when the horror and bloodshed of battle begin. Fighting the enemy without and the terror within, Fleming must prove himself and find his own meaning of valor. Unbelievable as it may seem, Stephen Crane had never been a member of any army nor had taken part in any battle when he wrote The Red Badge of Courage. But upon its publication in 1895, when Crane was only twenty-four, Red Badge was heralded as a new kind of war novel, marked by astonishing insight into the true psychology of men under fire. Along with the seminal short stories included in this volume—“The Open Boat,” “The Veteran,” and “The Men in the Storm”—The Red Badge of Courage unleashed Crane’s deeply influential impressionistic style. Richard Fusco has been an Assistant Professor of English at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia since 1997. A specialist in nineteenth-century American literature and in short-story narrative theory, he has published on a variety of American, British, and Continental literary figures.

30 review for The Red Badge of Courage and Selected Short Fiction

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jessaka

    Imagine No More Wars My introduction to Civil War novels was “Cold Mountain” by Charles Frazier. After reading it I kept looking for another and found “Wilderness” by Lance Weller. Yet, neither of these books were really about the war. The first was a book about a man walking home from the war, the second was just a few flashbacks. It was the adventures in these two books that I loved, the walking away, and the walking of a man who was looking for his stolen dog. I never thought that I would actu Imagine No More Wars My introduction to Civil War novels was “Cold Mountain” by Charles Frazier. After reading it I kept looking for another and found “Wilderness” by Lance Weller. Yet, neither of these books were really about the war. The first was a book about a man walking home from the war, the second was just a few flashbacks. It was the adventures in these two books that I loved, the walking away, and the walking of a man who was looking for his stolen dog. I never thought that I would actually read a book on the battle itself, but when a friend said that she was reading “The Red Badge of Courage” and that it was a Civil War novel,to t I thought to give it a try. After all, I had always heard of the book. I Just didn’t know what it was about. The author was never in the Civil War but was born in 1871, after the war had ended, and he didn’t write this book until 1895, a few years before his death. I thought about that: Men were dying in the war at the young age of 18 or round. They never really had a life, and the author died at the age of 28 of tuberculosis. When I think of my living so far to be 77, I think that he never really had a life either. This book was heart wrenching in so many ways. I wanted to say that this war was futile because so many young men had died, so many laid out in the fields wounded and in pain. So many felt fear in their hearts of what lay before them. Was it futile? It felt senseless to me. I talked with my husband about this, and he explained to me how it had to be fought because the other side wasn’t going to back down. He is right. Then he said that in Nam, he had seen these words on a wall in an outhouse: “Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity.” It stayed with him all these years, and he added that war seldom brings real peace because it leaves the losers feeling hostile. I have always been confused about the Civil War, yes, it freed the slaves, and that was a good thing, a very good thing, but the south is still racist, and after that war they still murdered the freed slaves, they became sharecroppers and were really not free. Nor are they totally freed today. And some in the south desire to have another Civil War, and some out of stupidity still play Civil War games. Blacks are being murdered in the streets by the police, and it just goes on and on. Yet, I know that the Civil War was fought for other reasons as well. When reading this book, I thought of the young boys being given guns, having to wear their own clothes, and having those clothes fall apart on them. I thought of their being shot and lying on the fields with no medical help. I thought of their dying and having no real life. I thought of their fear, and how some ran away, leaving them with guilt in their hearts. And in time, my mind became numb, and I hardly knew what I was reading anymore. And then I thought of what Jesus had said, if he really said it, and it is as true today as it ever was, “Forgive them Father for they know not what they do.” Last of all I thought of the antiwar songs that were sung in the 60s: Imagine Imagine there's no heaven It's easy if you try No hell below us Above us only sky Imagine all the people Living for today. Imagine there's no countries It isn't hard to do Nothing to kill or die for And no religion, too Imagine all the people Living life in peace. You may say I'm a dreamer But I'm not the only one I hope someday you'll join us And the world will be as one Imagine no possessions I wonder if you can No need for greed or hunger A brotherhood of man Imagine all the people Sharing all the world. You may say I'm a dreamer But I'm not the only one I hope someday you'll join us And the world will live as one written by John Lennon

  2. 5 out of 5

    R.F. Gammon

    Normally I reserve one star ratings for books I DNF'd. This, being a school book, is an exception. However, I cannot tell you how much I hated it. The writing style is atrocious. I have never seen such overuse of the past participle in all my life. Everything was "were hanging, was running, was looking, was talking." EVERYTHING. It got so old so fast. The similes are awful (I found only one that made me say "Wow, that's a good simile!") and the rest of it...ugh. Ugh. Ugh. The one thing that made t Normally I reserve one star ratings for books I DNF'd. This, being a school book, is an exception. However, I cannot tell you how much I hated it. The writing style is atrocious. I have never seen such overuse of the past participle in all my life. Everything was "were hanging, was running, was looking, was talking." EVERYTHING. It got so old so fast. The similes are awful (I found only one that made me say "Wow, that's a good simile!") and the rest of it...ugh. Ugh. Ugh. The one thing that made this book at all enjoyable was the young lieutenant. All he did was swear (the words weren't written out) but he was hilarious and stupid while still being brave on the battlefield. But that guy isn't enough to take this book up to two stars for me. No, my biggest problem is with the protagonist and the representation. Henry Fleming, our "hero," is the most irritating jerk of a protagonist I have ever read. I have never in my life wished that an MC would die more. I still can't believe he came through the book completely unscathed. He lied, he mistreated his mother, he didn't care about his fellows, he ran away from the fight, he let himself get hit over the head by one of his OWN men and told his regiment he was valiantly shot by a rebel, he schemes to use a package given to him by his friend (who trusts him and likes him) as leverage AGAINST said friend, despite the fact that this friend is one of the only likeable characters in the book. And then about halfway through he has a sudden change in heart and suddenly thinks of himself as a hero. He leads the charges. He carries the colors. He holds his regiment. AND I DON'T GET IT! This doesn't even start to deal with how problematic this soldier representation is. Stephen Crane, when I looked it up, was out to write a "psychological picture of fear", but he went overboard. So, so overboard. The soldiers in this book are cowards and fearful, running away when it gets to be too hard and so often refusing to fight. They make fun of each other. They stab each other in the back. And sure, maybe some soldiers are like that, but I've seen enough Civil War movies and read enough books about it (as well as any other war, come on) to know that soldiers are more often than not heroes. They're not perfect, they're not superhuman, but they're selfless and brave. And this book made me angry because it portrayed the entire Union army as a bunch of useless, cowardly idiots. I don't recommend this book to anyone. I'm not really sure why it became a classic. But oh well. Now I've read it, and hopefully I never have to think about it again.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ted

    4 1/2 The edition I have is a Signet Classic, published in 1960. My incoming freshman class in college (1962) was assigned to read The Red Badge of Courage prior to matriculating. I did read it, but have no recollection that there was any discussion of the novel that I participated in. Anyway, this review is about the Selected Stories part of the book, which I never read until recently. Four stories are included: “The Upturned Face” (5 pp, mildly interesting); The Open Boat (24 pp, hard to forget 4 1/2 The edition I have is a Signet Classic, published in 1960. My incoming freshman class in college (1962) was assigned to read The Red Badge of Courage prior to matriculating. I did read it, but have no recollection that there was any discussion of the novel that I participated in. Anyway, this review is about the Selected Stories part of the book, which I never read until recently. Four stories are included: “The Upturned Face” (5 pp, mildly interesting); The Open Boat (24 pp, hard to forget – unless you have my leaky memory); The Blue Hotel (29 pp, great); and The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky (11 pp, even better). There’s a little summary of Stephen Crane (some is from Wiki).Intense, volatile, spontaneous, Stephan Crane lived violently, expending himself in a frenzied search for experiences about which to write. Born in Newark NJ in 1871, 14th child of an itinerant Methodist minister. Attended Hudson River Institute, Lafayette College, and one semester by Syracuse Univ. Wrote first draft of “Maggie: A Girl of the Streets” in college. In 1895 published the work he’s famous for (Red Badge …), never having experienced battle. The book made him famous, and established his reputation as a “war correspondent” (??) In 1896 he received an assignment from the Bacheller-Johnson syndicate to cover the impending Spanish American war in Cuba. While waiting for passage in Jacksonville, he met his future common-law wife, the 31-year old Cora Howorth, who was a nightclub and bordello owner in the town, already married twice still married to her second husband. On New Year’s day, 1897, Crane was shipwrecked en route to Cuba, an experience that inspired Crane to write The Open Boat. Later assignments took him to Greece (Turkish war) and back to Cuba in April 1898. In January 1899, having returned to England where he and Cora were living, found himself threatened with bankruptcy. He never got out of debt, and plagued by tuberculosis, collapsed and died at Badenweiler Germany in June of 1900. Writing over. Age 29. Alfred Kazin (On Native Grounds) has this to say about Crane. … there emerged at the end of the century the one creative artist who sounded the possibilities open to his generation, though he fulfilled so few of them himself … in the tradition of Chatterton, Keats, and Beardsley – the fever ridden, rigidly intense type of genius that dies young, unhappy, and the prey of biographers. Everything that he wrote in his twenty-nine years seemed without precedent.Of course the plot lines and the characterization in these stories partake of that unprecedentness. But so also does the narrative style, the materials he selected and arranged to make his strange sentences. Some examples. The Open Boat. A story about four shipwrecked men rowing for a distant unseen shore. As for himself, he was too tired to grapple fundamentally with the fact. He tried to coerce his mind into thinking of it, but the mind was dominated at this time by the muscles, and the muscles said they did not care. It merely occurred to him that if he should drown it would be a shame. The Blue Hotel. Three men disembark from a train to stay overnight in Fort Romper Nebraska. They enter the Palace Hotel, which “then, was always screaming and howling in a way that made the dazzling winter landscape seem only a gray swampish hush. It stood alone on the prairie, and when the snow was falling the town two hundred yards away was not visible.” Five characters, not needing an author. The three (a cowboy, an Easterner, and a Swede), the hotel’s proprietor Scully, and his son Johnnie. A card game played for no stakes, paranoia, irrational outbursts, shouts and murmurs; and a blizzard howling outside. At six-o’clock supper, the Swede fizzed like a fire-wheel. He sometimes seemed on the point of bursting into riotous song, and in all his madness he was encouraged by old Scully. The Easterner was encased in reserve; the cowboy sat in wide-mouthed amazement, forgetting to eat, while Johnnie wrathily demolished great plates of food. The daughters of the house, when they were obliged to replenish the biscuits, approached as warily as Indians, and, having succeeded in their purpose, fled with ill-concealed trepidation. (view spoiler)[Yup, "wrathily". Not a typo. But I had to check. (hide spoiler)] The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky. Potter, the town marshal of Yellow Sky, having married a woman in San Antonio, brings her back to his home in west Texas. He has not consulted the townsfolk on his choice of partner, and feels uncomfortable. Having arrived, he and his new partner suddenly confront Scratchy Wilson, a town ne’er-do-well, shooter, who becomes dangerous only when inebriated – as he now is. Potter was about to raise a finger to point the first appearance of the new home when, as they circled the corner, they came face to face with a man in a maroon-colored shirt, who was feverishly pushing cartridges into a large revolver. Upon the instant the man dropped his revolver to the ground and, like lightning, whipped another from its holster. The second weapon was aimed at the bridegroom’s chest. There was a silence. Potter’s mouth seemed to be merely a grave for his tongue … As for the bride, her face had gone as yellow as old cloth. She was a slave to hideous rites, gazing at the apparitional snake. The two men faced each other at a distance of three paces. I’m not really a great lover of short stories. Though I do read some on occasion. Crane is odd enough to recommend himself to me. I’ll pass along that recommendation to others who enjoy the genre.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Robert Sheard

    Classics Book Club video coming Sunday.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bekka

    Surprise, surprise... I disagree with what the masses have told me about this book. Although, I don't actually know too many of my peers who have read this (it seems the schools near me skipped this classic), the adults I've known have always told me that this was very "DRY" book, hence making it not high on my priority list. I've read Stephen Crane's poetry for many years now and never understood how someone could write such beautiful, bittersweet poetry but boring, dry historical novels. Well, Surprise, surprise... I disagree with what the masses have told me about this book. Although, I don't actually know too many of my peers who have read this (it seems the schools near me skipped this classic), the adults I've known have always told me that this was very "DRY" book, hence making it not high on my priority list. I've read Stephen Crane's poetry for many years now and never understood how someone could write such beautiful, bittersweet poetry but boring, dry historical novels. Well, the answer is that his book was not boring or dry. "The Red Badge of Courage" is a short novel, perhaps a novella, brimming with poetic prose and haunting effigies of men at war. It follows the main character of Henry Fleming as the youth experiences the many shifting psychological developments of one at war. It was shocking for me that Stephen Crane published this book when he was 24 years old and especially that he had no experience of war, the military, or anything which could substantiate the very powerful depiction of war and human psychology which this book delivers. Although, I admit to finding many war stories a bit dry at times (because battle movements and war stories are not of interest to me) I feel compelled to share that I found the writing beautiful and devastating. I think overall, this is a war story I would recommend to others; and I will add that it is more than a war story, it is also a coming of age story as well (for both the protagonist and the country).

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kristen (belles_bookshelves)

    "Within him, as he hurled himself forward, was born a love, a despairing fondness for his flag which was near him. It was a creation of beauty and invulnerability. It was a goddess, radiant, that bended its form with an imperious gesture to him. It was a woman, red and white, hating and loving, that called him with the voice of his hopes." When I think about reading The Red Badge of Courage in High School, I think about being incredibly bored. I wanted to reread it as an adult, because it wouldn' "Within him, as he hurled himself forward, was born a love, a despairing fondness for his flag which was near him. It was a creation of beauty and invulnerability. It was a goddess, radiant, that bended its form with an imperious gesture to him. It was a woman, red and white, hating and loving, that called him with the voice of his hopes." When I think about reading The Red Badge of Courage in High School, I think about being incredibly bored. I wanted to reread it as an adult, because it wouldn't be the first time I read a book when I was younger, but didn't appreciate it until I reread it when I was older. That was not the case here. I was just as bored now as I remember being then. It could possibly be because war stories are not my thing (this being the first war story I've read since TRBOF and All Quiet on the Western Front - both read in High School to tears of apathy and then immediately forgotten upon graduation). Or it could be because the characters, to me, are all so forgettable. I don't relate to them in any way. And not because I'm not a soldier. I'm not a witch. Or a cancer patient. Or a millionaire. Or an animal. But I relate to a lot of characters in books and stories who are those things, because there's backstory that's relatable, or you empathize with some aspect of them. I felt none of that here.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Yet another book I loved in high school. I enjoyed it just as much here and found Muller's narration to be perfect (aside from the mic sounds but that's not his fault, it's 1981's). The wild swings of emotion felt by the Youth were a bit extreme until you think of an 18 year old (enough said right there) who's seeing the grim and frightening realities of a war that he has no means of preparing for. A wonderful read and I'll read it again.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Rade

    I don't think this book was written with people like me in mind. Not that I want to crap on an old story just because it is old, but there is a reason this was so hated in many high schools. My main issue was the hero of our main story. he is not likeable at all. Not only does he embellish the truth but he is also in a way a coward. Now you might be saying, "Of course he is a coward. It's war, the horrors he has seen are uncomprehending". I am inclined to agree but war is war. You fight for your I don't think this book was written with people like me in mind. Not that I want to crap on an old story just because it is old, but there is a reason this was so hated in many high schools. My main issue was the hero of our main story. he is not likeable at all. Not only does he embellish the truth but he is also in a way a coward. Now you might be saying, "Of course he is a coward. It's war, the horrors he has seen are uncomprehending". I am inclined to agree but war is war. You fight for your friends and country, not for yourself. I was never a soldier, so maybe I have no right to say anything but our hero was not a hero. He scraped by and somehow things turned out OK. Also, while it didn't bother me, the dialogue was written almost as a slang or was shortened. Some people might find this annoying. Anyway, I didn't have fun reading this book. I am going through some things work wise and this book did not help me feel any better. At least it was short. R.S

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mary Montgomery hornback

    Crane’s novel certainly isn’t for everyone. It doesn’t have a compelling plot with lots of action or character development. But his accuracy in capturing man’s complex and conflicting thoughts is unmatched. I was amazed to discover how young Crane was when he wrote this book. Equally astounding is that he did not serve in the war. “...wild and desperate rushes of men perpetually backward and forward in riotous surges”. “Further off there was a group of four or five corpses keeping mournful compa Crane’s novel certainly isn’t for everyone. It doesn’t have a compelling plot with lots of action or character development. But his accuracy in capturing man’s complex and conflicting thoughts is unmatched. I was amazed to discover how young Crane was when he wrote this book. Equally astounding is that he did not serve in the war. “...wild and desperate rushes of men perpetually backward and forward in riotous surges”. “Further off there was a group of four or five corpses keeping mournful company” Cowardice, pride, shame, empathy and death are poetically revealed through “the youth’s” eyes.

  10. 4 out of 5

    David

    The Red Badge of Courage just wasn't my cup of tea. While I did appreciate the disorientation the protagonist felt, and how he never knew weather his side was winning or losing, the constant attacks seemed to lose their effect after a while. I did enjoy the short stories, at the end, however. Particularly The Open Boat. These we're well written and engrossing.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Masu

    This book started really good but as story goes get kinda boring for me, it wasn't bad book but I could've read sth better.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Steven Conway

    I’m a fan of historical fiction, but this book didn’t speak to me. There was too much flowery language for me.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Alma

    I enjoyed reading this book again (first time was in college.) I think it is an outstanding anti war book without being political and “in-your-face.” Viewed through the thoughts and feelings of an ordinary soldier, the conflict seems random and confused and futile. Crane’s descriptions of battle were so accurate that many Civil War veterans could not believe that he hadn’t been there. Actually, he was born in 1871, six years after the end of the war. The accompanying short stories are vignettes I enjoyed reading this book again (first time was in college.) I think it is an outstanding anti war book without being political and “in-your-face.” Viewed through the thoughts and feelings of an ordinary soldier, the conflict seems random and confused and futile. Crane’s descriptions of battle were so accurate that many Civil War veterans could not believe that he hadn’t been there. Actually, he was born in 1871, six years after the end of the war. The accompanying short stories are vignettes of how war events touch regular folks. One tells of Henry Fleming, the “youth” of Red Badge, as an old veteran. Very interesting.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Niall

    The Red Badge of Courage: Running from Pride The Red Badge of Courage by: Stephen Crane The Red Badge of Courage, a book by Stephen Crane follows the life of Henry Fleming a youth who wants to prove himself and come back as a war hero. He is just like everyone else, he wants to go to war, but he has a fear of fleeing the fight when the moment comes. As he heads out he wants to prove everyone wrong, even himself, that he can prove his worth. This book show the fear of fighting, the friendships and The Red Badge of Courage: Running from Pride The Red Badge of Courage by: Stephen Crane The Red Badge of Courage, a book by Stephen Crane follows the life of Henry Fleming a youth who wants to prove himself and come back as a war hero. He is just like everyone else, he wants to go to war, but he has a fear of fleeing the fight when the moment comes. As he heads out he wants to prove everyone wrong, even himself, that he can prove his worth. This book show the fear of fighting, the friendships and bonds made within regiments, and the true struggle to come home with with his friends. The meaning of courage in the heat of battle was a main topic with many ideas to what it could mean. The author (Stephen Crane) made sure you always were part of the book. By using this writing technique made Henry’s decisions very impactful to the plot of the book. While reading the book you feel like your there in the heat of the battle. Henry felt bad about joining the army because he knew he would leave and put the people around him in danger. This thought seemed to linger in his mind. The author always made Henry vulnerable about going to war. While following Henry the author gave the mindset of a real soldier thinking they were going to fight for the Union and come back home within a few months as a war hero. This made the reader open their minds to the thoughts of the soldiers instead of using the information they learned from history classes to piece the book together. By doing this it allowed the author to make you feel like your making the same decisions of running away or staying to fight. In the book The Red Badge of Courage friends mean a lot to the characters especially to Henry. They gave him power to go to war which made the book interesting and opened up new ideas. He always tried to have a happy mood until they went into battle where he had to show his true “red badge of courage” and help his friends fend off the enemy. Instead Henry decided to run because they were getting overwhelmed. All that preparation was thrown out the door. That courage felt drained from Henry until he went back and saw one of his best friends on the ground dead. That courage he built went to an instant remorse. Henry knew he made a mistake, and this idea touches you in the sense of his best friend dying right in front of him. He didn’t get the red badge instead he fought for himself instead of learning the true fate of courage. After reading the The Red Badge of Courage I learned more about the everyday life for a youth back during the Civil War. This book was well written and anyone who likes history books surrounding the Civil War will love this book. The writing put you into the story and shows compassion between the characters. I rate this book a 4.5/5.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kymberli Smith

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. An Important Message Told The Wrong Way A Book Review Of The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane The Red Badge of Courage had a very important message and in some way maybe could have been interesting. But it wasn’t told the right way, thus making it boring and extremely difficult to read. The book tells the story of a young man named Henry Fleming who enlists into the army just for the glory and being able to brag about it. He is a coward and displays terrible behavior in so many parts of the An Important Message Told The Wrong Way A Book Review Of The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane The Red Badge of Courage had a very important message and in some way maybe could have been interesting. But it wasn’t told the right way, thus making it boring and extremely difficult to read. The book tells the story of a young man named Henry Fleming who enlists into the army just for the glory and being able to brag about it. He is a coward and displays terrible behavior in so many parts of the book. He was such a terrible person, he wanted a wound just so that he’d have a “red badge of courage”. His thoughts do change at some point in the book and he handles things differently but so many things about the book were done the wrong way. Crane did a low-quality job of trying to get the audience to root for Henry after him being such a selfish coward. There’s a chance that maybe I didn’t get the complete point but personally, I found it very difficult to start liking Henry at all. Crane doesn’t make the story easy to read, he often drew out scenes that didn’t need so much detail and didn’t write to excite a reader. The message was nice and helped to understand that people must do things not for glory or fame, but for the sake of being a good person. This is something that took Henry a long time to figure out and he often only cared about how he looked or seemed. Crane often referred to Henry as “the youth” which was slightly annoying for so many reasons. The book wasn’t even long enough to get into the headspace of the character and analyze, it is honestly a two out of five for rating. There was no way to understand the main character due to the style of writing and everything being so war centered. There was no way to get the reader to want to keep reading due to lack of empathy for the character, which stems from the reader not getting to know him and only being given overly detailed war scenes. The Red Badge of Courage was a mess due to Crane’s writing style and how the character was not given nearly enough development. He made immature choices at an age where he should have known better and when he finally became better, it was sort of unbelievable. It happened so suddenly and the readers could have easily been confused. Sure, Henry was becoming a man apparently, but he did a poor job of acting his age most of the book. This book is apparently a classic, but not very enjoyable so I am honestly not sure how that works. Maybe I don't have the utmost appreciation for it since I am only 14, but this book really wasn’t enjoyable.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ronan Ezell

    The Red Badge of Courage is a book written by Stephen Crane that tells a story about a young man, named Henry Fleming, in the Union army during the Civil War who joined it expecting to get glory and personal gain, but is now questioning his loyalty to his country, afraid he will run at the first sight of true war. The real book is not about the war itself, but more so about his journey to conquer and overcome his fears. However, the way this book is written and paced somehow makes a book about w The Red Badge of Courage is a book written by Stephen Crane that tells a story about a young man, named Henry Fleming, in the Union army during the Civil War who joined it expecting to get glory and personal gain, but is now questioning his loyalty to his country, afraid he will run at the first sight of true war. The real book is not about the war itself, but more so about his journey to conquer and overcome his fears. However, the way this book is written and paced somehow makes a book about war boring. Henry’s personal journey is harrowing, yet the storytelling is yawn-worthy, so how did what could have been the tale of the century turn into an unintentional 130-page long lullaby? So, Henry’s journey, a tale filled with death, sorrow, and heroism, has many examples of good ideas do not always turn out a great result. A prime example of this is the lack of Henry’s name throughout the book. He is generally just referred to as “the youth”. Henry is not the only one who suffers from the no-name usage. Almost everyone is referred to “the tall soldier”, or “the loud soldier”. This seemingly laziness is actually due to a Crane trying to implement the idea that this is not just Henry’s story, but can instead happen to anyone. The fear of battle and the urge to run away is not this one person’s fault, but many people can and do feel these feelings. On paper, this is an extremely clever idea to try to make people think deeper about themselves and the book. However, the use of no names makes it very difficult to connect to any of the characters. Trust is the basis of any kind of relationship, and for many people, not knowing someone’s name makes you not trust them. Therefore, in trying to act on a clever idea, Crane accidentally made none of his characters relatable or sympathizable. Paired with the fact that there are sometimes pages upon pages of unbroken text with no capital letters for names makes whole chapters almost impossible to continue to read. While on the topic of being impossible to read, Crane has a very static way of describing locations. In the first 2 chapters, it takes him 3 pages to describe how boring the camp and its surroundings are to try and make the reader feel how the soldiers do, wanting to get them to itch for action. However, in the process of doing so, he makes the reader feel bored and uninterested, which is the exact wrong way to make a reader feel at the beginning of a book. Crane had many good ideas to put in his book but fails to deliver them correctly, putting the book in a worse condition than if he had just left the ideas out in the first place. This book should be read by people who read books to dig deep into them and are not compelled by action, so really anyone over 27.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    I did not care for this book. Surprised? I am not. A young man named Henry enlists in the Union army to become a hero with no thought of the consequences awaiting him. He runs from his first battle. Throws himself into the second. And goes into the third as a flag bearer, so with no weapon at all. He constantly talks of red, it’s like the author tried to put into words bloodlust (not the right word but we’ll go with it) or the desire to prove your worth in battle. Lots of images of Blood, death, I did not care for this book. Surprised? I am not. A young man named Henry enlists in the Union army to become a hero with no thought of the consequences awaiting him. He runs from his first battle. Throws himself into the second. And goes into the third as a flag bearer, so with no weapon at all. He constantly talks of red, it’s like the author tried to put into words bloodlust (not the right word but we’ll go with it) or the desire to prove your worth in battle. Lots of images of Blood, death, and if I hear the word corpse tossed around in a nonchalant fashion again so help me I am going to explode. And the red badge of courage is a wound. You need it to prove you’ve fought. This is a play on Henry’s guilty conscience. He didn’t fight but ran, he didn’t get wounded, so he is obviously a coward. To prove he is courageous he needs a wound to leave the field of battle. How about a good kick in the pants Henry? Would that suffice? And in the end, Henry still “glorifies” this experience, claiming that he became a man. I am sorry, battle, needless death, destruction, the loss of this much human life is not what being a man is. It’s just not. And Henry is so self consumed, he cares about how he is viewed. He wants to be a hero. And in instances his only concern is of how he will be treated should he have to return a failure. During impossible battles he just wants the general who called him a “mule” to be proven wrong. What about the men who died like Jim Conklin? He’s so concerned about himself he can’t see others. I don’t know why I am so passionately against this book. Maybe because I thought going into it the fear and imagery surrounding the oncoming battle would prove Henry wrong. The dragons and devils of war would make this boy have an unpopular stance on war. That it is unnecessarily death, that there must be another way. But it didn’t, he just solidified his feelings of accomplishing manhood. I honestly wish it had ended with his death and remorse, at least this book could be used to show the price of battle rather than the hubris of a boy.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lewis Millholland

    As much as I want to love the work of a journalist-turned-author, I couldn't fall in love with this book. Its embrace of impressionism gives us the story only through Fleming's eyes and Fleming's mind, and god does he have annoying eyes and mind. It's a series of rationalizations and self-inflations that don't go anywhere. Maybe it was exciting to readers in 1900? For me, at least, I couldn't get into it. Only read about 80% of the main story, the Red Badge of Courage. The selected works of ficti As much as I want to love the work of a journalist-turned-author, I couldn't fall in love with this book. Its embrace of impressionism gives us the story only through Fleming's eyes and Fleming's mind, and god does he have annoying eyes and mind. It's a series of rationalizations and self-inflations that don't go anywhere. Maybe it was exciting to readers in 1900? For me, at least, I couldn't get into it. Only read about 80% of the main story, the Red Badge of Courage. The selected works of fiction in the back were almost uniformly duds as well, except for the one about the boat in the open sea. There are four men adrift in the ocean -- a cook, the captain, the oiler and the correspondent (a thin veil for Crane himself) -- and so much of the story's focus is on dialogue and actions. There's little room for existential ennui and inner turmoil when death is so close at hand. It's for that story alone that I'm giving this book two stars instead of one. One last thought. There's a pretty widespread critique of Crane's depiction of the Civil War without having served himself (he was too young). But I'm not sure why that's a problem? Assuming he read contemporary texts and spoke with a veteran or two, I don't see why he isn't entitled to write about the topic. Unless there's more that I'm missing?

  19. 5 out of 5

    c_reads_books

    The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane tells the story of Henry Fleming, a young Union soldier fighting in the American Civil War. Although Henry joined the army in hopes of glory, when the fighting is about to begin, he becomes worried about his strength and courage in the face of war. He is jealous of the other soldiers who have a wound, wearing a “red badge of courage,” as he wishes he could have one to prove that he is not so cowardly as to run away from battle. In order to survive the wa The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane tells the story of Henry Fleming, a young Union soldier fighting in the American Civil War. Although Henry joined the army in hopes of glory, when the fighting is about to begin, he becomes worried about his strength and courage in the face of war. He is jealous of the other soldiers who have a wound, wearing a “red badge of courage,” as he wishes he could have one to prove that he is not so cowardly as to run away from battle. In order to survive the war, Henry has to prove himself while discovering who truly is. I didn’t really care for this book. Nothing about it stands out to me in either a positive or a negative way. I liked the internal conflict within Henry contrasting with the external conflict of the war all around him. Besides this though, to be quite honest, I found the book fairly boring and not very captivating. While reading it, I often found myself drifting off so that I would have read ten pages without recollecting one thing that had happened within them. For a war book, it felt very uninteresting to me, not to say that it was uneventful though. I just found it difficult to pay attention and didn’t particularly care for any of the characters all that much. Overall, I did not hate this book, just didn’t particularly love it either.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Marcia

    The Red Badge of Courage tells of a soldier (often referred to as simply "the youth")and his experience in the Union army during the American Civil War. Crane not only leaves the main character relatively nameless, but most of the other characters as well. This style serves to make the story less of a story, and more of a universal experience. The book follows the youth into his first few battels and does an amazing job of helping the reader see inside the character's head and experience the cha The Red Badge of Courage tells of a soldier (often referred to as simply "the youth")and his experience in the Union army during the American Civil War. Crane not only leaves the main character relatively nameless, but most of the other characters as well. This style serves to make the story less of a story, and more of a universal experience. The book follows the youth into his first few battels and does an amazing job of helping the reader see inside the character's head and experience the changing emotions and growth experienced by the soldier. In a few short days, he becomes a new person through the events of war. It feels very believable and personal. It's an old book, so it reads kind of slow. It is, however, well paced enough to keep the reader engaged, and not so wordy as to get bogged down in detail. Young readers looking for action will likely be disappointed, but older readers looking human character will be satisfied. There are a few great features about this edition of the book. One is that there are often definitions at the bottom of the page that explain any words that may be specific to that time period or geographical location. Also, there are several short stories included. These shorts are like tiny little glimpses into a single moment of time. With little prologue or conclusion, they are simply engaging snapshots without explanation.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sandi Miller

    Stephen Crane's The Red Badge of Courage, his up-close-and-personal look at two days of battle in the Civil War, has long been considered an American classic. His Henry Fleming is a young man fighting for the Union and, at the same time, fighting his own fears and confusion in the midst of battle. Crane helps the reader enter the young man's mind as he deals with cowardice, bravado and sorrow as his fellow soldiers are dying all around him. Crane interviewed many Civil War soldiers while writing Stephen Crane's The Red Badge of Courage, his up-close-and-personal look at two days of battle in the Civil War, has long been considered an American classic. His Henry Fleming is a young man fighting for the Union and, at the same time, fighting his own fears and confusion in the midst of battle. Crane helps the reader enter the young man's mind as he deals with cowardice, bravado and sorrow as his fellow soldiers are dying all around him. Crane interviewed many Civil War soldiers while writing his book and could realistically describe the battlefield struggles and the soldiers' conversations during the temporary lulls in fighting. The selected short stories include Crane's telling of his personal experiences with surviving in a lifeboat and standing in a snowstorm with destitute men waiting for a charity kitchen to open. Recent events might suggest that many of us need to be reminded how horrific the Civil War was and how hard the boys in blue fought to keep our country intact. Reading The Red Badge of Courage would be a good start. I also highly recommend the Pulitzer Prize winning The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Robyn Cain

    I’m very glad I read this for the first time as an adult, as it would have been wasted on me in my teens. I used to find History so boring, until I started holding it my hands for work. The U.S. Civil War holds a special interest with me (even though I still suck at remembering names and dates) because I spent years doing historic conservation on a large collection of Civil War artifacts. Thanks to that, I could clearly picture the tools and weapons they used and also how devastating being hit b I’m very glad I read this for the first time as an adult, as it would have been wasted on me in my teens. I used to find History so boring, until I started holding it my hands for work. The U.S. Civil War holds a special interest with me (even though I still suck at remembering names and dates) because I spent years doing historic conservation on a large collection of Civil War artifacts. Thanks to that, I could clearly picture the tools and weapons they used and also how devastating being hit by those projectiles were. I found this American Classic quite enthralling, reading the supposed inner thoughts, failures, and triumphs of “the youth”. The “other stories” were also well done, like snapshots of life, but then the “endings” were so abrupt that I was like “what?!” and turned the pages back and forth like “so what happened next?!” The stories were very...”human”? in a complex sort of way. Not sure if that makes sense or not, but the author had a gift and insight.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Raja

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The most striking aspect of Red Badge of Courage is the description of Henry Fleming's changing psychological condition throughout the story. These passages are universal. Anyone with an inkling of life's ups and downs, victories, failures, embarrassments and transformations immediately empathizes with the main character's internal turbulence. For example, his rationalization of cowardice, hate for those who "betrayed" his "genius" after abandoning his regiment, self-aggrandizement and self-immo The most striking aspect of Red Badge of Courage is the description of Henry Fleming's changing psychological condition throughout the story. These passages are universal. Anyone with an inkling of life's ups and downs, victories, failures, embarrassments and transformations immediately empathizes with the main character's internal turbulence. For example, his rationalization of cowardice, hate for those who "betrayed" his "genius" after abandoning his regiment, self-aggrandizement and self-immolation are felt by all - irrespective of participation in actual war. For me, the story was about an individual. His transformation from adolescence to manhood. The war was just a vehicle used to convey that story. There was a three-way dialogue taking place as the transformation progressed: within the character himself, between him and his fellow men and lastly between him and the gods. The last was the most ephemeral dialogue, but played out in the accidents that helped his transformation - such as finding and rejoining his old regiment again. In short, the story was a subtle and complex work or genius! Glad I finally read it!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Dianeh

    I read this book as a teenager. I liked it then. Having reread it as a senior, I have to say I really loved it! This version included a lot of information about the style of writing Crane used and footnotes to explain the language and terms he used. Here is a small paragraph when he saw Union flags during a skirmish to illustrate my point: “The youth felt the old thrill at the sight of the emblem. They were like beautiful birds strangely undaunted in a storm.” and a second, “A small procession o I read this book as a teenager. I liked it then. Having reread it as a senior, I have to say I really loved it! This version included a lot of information about the style of writing Crane used and footnotes to explain the language and terms he used. Here is a small paragraph when he saw Union flags during a skirmish to illustrate my point: “The youth felt the old thrill at the sight of the emblem. They were like beautiful birds strangely undaunted in a storm.” and a second, “A small procession of wounded men were going drearily toward the rear. It was a flow of blood from the body of the brigade.” These are so succinct and simply stated! (I want to add, I think when reading a book written 50+ years ago, it is important to not judge it by today’s standards. In my opinion, I feel some of the reviewers of this book and others written in times past criticise unfairly.)

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rika

    I found this book to be overly verbose and a bore to read. I don’t understand why it is so classic. I guess it was one of the first novels to portray war like this? I have read many war novels and this was not good for me. Part of it might be the edition. The Barnes and Noble classics editions (the four that I’ve read) write dialect in a way that is almost too hard to read. I’m not sure though if it’s like that in any other editions. I don’t particularly like civil war era novels either so that p I found this book to be overly verbose and a bore to read. I don’t understand why it is so classic. I guess it was one of the first novels to portray war like this? I have read many war novels and this was not good for me. Part of it might be the edition. The Barnes and Noble classics editions (the four that I’ve read) write dialect in a way that is almost too hard to read. I’m not sure though if it’s like that in any other editions. I don’t particularly like civil war era novels either so that probably didn’t help. Whenever i read of battle scenes of that time, i always think “What idiot thought it would be a good idea to march towards the opposing side with guns in straight lines in open clearings?” I am no war strategist but it just seems dumb to me.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Keith Westerman

    I’ve had this book on my list for years, and I’m glad I finally got to read it. After completing it, I can say that I’m not a big fan of impressionistic writing. A little goes a long way, and I’d rather experience the story through detail and action instead of a billowy sense of atmosphere, and wandering euphemism. It can seem a little self-indulgent. Twenty pages of prose can feel like a hundred. That said, I noticed that I underlined numerous phrases, and repeatable passages. So I know I will r I’ve had this book on my list for years, and I’m glad I finally got to read it. After completing it, I can say that I’m not a big fan of impressionistic writing. A little goes a long way, and I’d rather experience the story through detail and action instead of a billowy sense of atmosphere, and wandering euphemism. It can seem a little self-indulgent. Twenty pages of prose can feel like a hundred. That said, I noticed that I underlined numerous phrases, and repeatable passages. So I know I will revisit several lessons in there. One of the subsequent, short stories, “The Veteran” is a perfect finish to the tale. I loved, loved, loved that follow-up. It turns a meh story into a good one. In fact, it made me cry.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Paul Roper

    I never had to read this in school...not sure why, it was wonderful. I did read the "Classics Illustrated" comic version and enjoyed it, but Mr. Crane was such a wordsmith reading the prose was more enjoyable. I also enjoyed the short stories with it "The Open Boat" and the final view of Henry Fleming "The Veteran". It was hard to put down, even though I knew the story I enjoyed the trip again.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jim Vander Maas

    A book you should read more than once a lifetime. It is the first realistic war novel depicting a soldier who was inspired by the romanticism of being a war hero before facing the reality of war . Stephen Crane writes very descriptive scenes while giving us the internal feelings of the protagonist Henry Fleming. Written 30 years after the Civil war it is quite amazing how powerful it is. Also contains some of Cranes great Short Stories including The Open Boat.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nico Giambanco

    The Red Badge of Courage remains amongst the best depictions of war in literature, hands down. Confusing, frustrating, and uneventful at times, Crane's novel is an excellent take on the American Civil War that takes on the respective values of bravery and cowardice. Crane's other short fiction is also phenomenal. He remains one of history's most interesting authors, a man taken from the world too soon but with enough time to cast a powerful literary shadow

  30. 5 out of 5

    David Bisset

    Psychology of warfare in American lierature Joseph Conrad believed this book to be a masterpiece. I trust his judgement. The text pulls in into the heart of conflict as experienced by one individual. The novel seems to me an example of realism with dabs of impressionism. It was a pioneering work of American literature which was hugely influential. But what about the Iliad? The short stories were also worth reading. Crane's early death was a personal and literary tragedy.

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