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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 ed 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 ed 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. 4 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.

  2. 4 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.

  3. 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).

  4. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    The introduction to this collection compared Stephen Crane to Conrad and did a whole lot of talking about literary impressionism. This both gave me unfair expectations (I'm a Conrad lover) and, likely, put me off (I've never quite understood the concept of literary impressionism, though I know it is something that Conrad is similarly-often equated with). Given that I didn't love any of this book's selections nearly as much as the Conrad I've read, I'm going to assume it's due to a heavy dose of The introduction to this collection compared Stephen Crane to Conrad and did a whole lot of talking about literary impressionism. This both gave me unfair expectations (I'm a Conrad lover) and, likely, put me off (I've never quite understood the concept of literary impressionism, though I know it is something that Conrad is similarly-often equated with). Given that I didn't love any of this book's selections nearly as much as the Conrad I've read, I'm going to assume it's due to a heavy dose of literary impressionism (which I don't understand). That said, I can accurately detail a number of other things that put me off what was otherwise a largely beautiful story that, at moments, felt like a fairly evocative portrait of war (though I've never been to war, though nor had Crane). Things that bothered me: dialect. I have difficulty reading it. I wish this weren't the case, but I get distracted by all of the apostrophes and spend inordinate amounts of brain power trying to imagine just how the author wanted the characters to sound, to the extent I don't ever register what it is they are saying. War: I have difficulty reading about it. My eyes gloss over the instant a battle starts being described. Try as I might, I could care less about the details of the war front. I'm endlessly fascinated with war policies, or its effects on the homefront, or the psychology of war, but put guns (or muskets as the case may be) into characters' hands and you've lost me. So, maybe it wasn't the impressionism at all, but rather the heavy dose of these elements that saturated Crane's stories that resulted in my not liking them very much. All of this criticism rendered, I would never dissuade someone from reading these stories, particularly if they don't share my hang-ups. The parts that didn't contain dialog and weren't about fighting were lovely. They were just few and far between.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kris

    A good lesson in history, but I didn't connect with the characters or stories very much. While Crane's descriptions are very vivid, the plot itself of Red Badge is rather... uneventful? I don't know, but besides being shot at, shooting at others, and carrying a flag, nothing much seems to happen. Of course I am not downplaying the brutality of war, but Crane just didn't get me very invested in the characters' lives. It felt devastating more in a general sense, rather than in a personal sense. Bu A good lesson in history, but I didn't connect with the characters or stories very much. While Crane's descriptions are very vivid, the plot itself of Red Badge is rather... uneventful? I don't know, but besides being shot at, shooting at others, and carrying a flag, nothing much seems to happen. Of course I am not downplaying the brutality of war, but Crane just didn't get me very invested in the characters' lives. It felt devastating more in a general sense, rather than in a personal sense. But perhaps that's what he was going for? Also included in this edition is "The Open Boat" -- another one of Crane's most noted works. Perhaps it was because I'd studied it in school, but I like this story even better. There's something about mankind driving against the impersonal force of nature that's captured well in this story.

  6. 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.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kristen Coffin

    "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.

  8. 5 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. 4 out of 5

    Gina

    This was a very short book. The fact that it took me six days to get through it may be the best indicator of how I felt about it, which is that it was a chore. I do think it's interesting that the story that I thought was the best was The Open Boat, and that one was based on something Crane actually experienced rather than studying. I was also somewhat interested in all the synonyms for "stupid" that Crane used in the description of the battle and the lead-in to it in "The Red Badge of Courage" This was a very short book. The fact that it took me six days to get through it may be the best indicator of how I felt about it, which is that it was a chore. I do think it's interesting that the story that I thought was the best was The Open Boat, and that one was based on something Crane actually experienced rather than studying. I was also somewhat interested in all the synonyms for "stupid" that Crane used in the description of the battle and the lead-in to it in "The Red Badge of Courage" itself. But with many kind characters, who were stolidly heroic in their care for others, to focus on this self-absorbed vacillating twit was remarkably irritating.

  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

    Hanna

    One of the best books I've ever read, EVER. Even though Stephen Crane's linguistic skill seems a biiiiit lacking, the writing is beautiful. Crane's use of impressionism confronts you on almost every page. The contradicting Romantic and Realistic views, the Christian symbolism, the raw, harshness of war, the coming-of-age elements, UGH. I'm feeling all the feelings upon finishing this novella. One of the best books I've ever read in my life.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Vivian

    3 stars is a bit too generous, let's give it a 2.5~ this is another book for APLAC~ the first few chapters were honestly rough; this book is related to our realism unit and there are so many excessive arbitrary details that are unnecessary, and it's bad enough that it's about the civil war like cmon english teachers, whatcha doing to us?? i learned that its easier to get through a boring & confusing book like this by annotating each page; not only does it make you seem like an avid reader but 3 stars is a bit too generous, let's give it a 2.5~ this is another book for APLAC~ the first few chapters were honestly rough; this book is related to our realism unit and there are so many excessive arbitrary details that are unnecessary, and it's bad enough that it's about the civil war like cmon english teachers, whatcha doing to us?? i learned that its easier to get through a boring & confusing book like this by annotating each page; not only does it make you seem like an avid reader but it actually turns you into a good one and you actually end up understanding the book :) fav quote: "His loud mouth against these things had been lost as the storm ceased. He would no more stand upon places high & false, and denounce the distant planets. He behold that he was tiny but inconsequent to the sun. In the space-wide whirl of events no grain like him would be lost."

  13. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    Stephen Crane's life was abysmally cut short by the age of 28. What stories he did get out into the world were all rather short and focused on child-like (if not in fact child) characters. His most popular story, the one that put him on the map, is also his most celebrated work. The Red Badge of Courage is at the forefront of this small collection of stories and the most familiar with casual readers. Although the story itself proclaims in the title that it's set in the Civil War, the tale is so Stephen Crane's life was abysmally cut short by the age of 28. What stories he did get out into the world were all rather short and focused on child-like (if not in fact child) characters. His most popular story, the one that put him on the map, is also his most celebrated work. The Red Badge of Courage is at the forefront of this small collection of stories and the most familiar with casual readers. Although the story itself proclaims in the title that it's set in the Civil War, the tale is so ambiguous that it could have been set in any war that still required muskets and horses. The Red Badge of Courage swirls around the singular character of Henry, also known as the youth. His friends, or those who he encounters, mostly have names but are reduced down to common attributes like "the loud soldier" or "the tall soldier". This technique lends to the mysticism of the story and how it could be set in any war up until the time it was written. Henry is on a quest to become a man and, to him, the best way to do that is to be a part of the war. What unfolds is a psychological tour de force that analyzes the human psyche, the sociology of war, and the ability to cope with stressful situations. The fine line of cowardice and heroism, just like the line between childhood and adulthood, is a wobbly one and Crane, with seemingly effortless regard, pours forth a definition as complex as the human brain. In addition to the main story, three other stories are included. One is The Veteran, which is an anecdotal tale of Henry after his time in the Civil War, having grown old and wizened by age. The next is The Open Boat which is based off of Crane's own involvement with a sinking ship and his long journey back to shore on nothing short of a dinghy and a few other men. The Red Badge of Courage and The Open Boat could be read side by side as Crane's writing is quite similar. The toil of hardship is the main climax of the story and is spread throughout the pages in true to life quantities. The third story is entitled The Monster and is, by far, the most poignant tale of racism that Crane ever got the opportunity to tell. The last story, a bit of a drag for me, is The Blue Hotel. Once more, Crane uses his experiences when he was caught in Nebraska during a blizzard to analyze the psyche of human dignity. The Blue Hotel seems out of place with the other stories and it, perhaps, would have been better to include, instead, Maggie: A Girl of the Streets. The collection is quite stunning, but one must walk into the stories with a much different mindset than usual. Crane very rarely has a fixed writing style that is typical of an introduction, a climax, and a conclusion. Instead, the climax (the conflict) seems present throughout and it oftentimes does not get resolved. This inability to close a story is what makes Crane's writing so unique, but also difficult to handle. Readers want a conclusion and being forlorn without it will often chalk the story up to a "hanging" ending. Crane, however, seems to use life as a main propellent for his stories and life very rarely concludes perfectly with moral ascension and meaning. Once this is understood the stories become easier to handle.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mmars

    Finished Red Badge (****)& short story "Veteran." Just like to say that this Pengin Classics is a nice little edition. Great for secondary/college school purposes. Included, after the introduction is a bibliography inteded for further research. (Adult sources) I usually read the introduction before diving into the book, but decided to jump right in to Red Badge. It is followed by "The Veteran," a quick story about the narrator, Henry, as an old man on the day of his death. Since this is such Finished Red Badge (****)& short story "Veteran." Just like to say that this Pengin Classics is a nice little edition. Great for secondary/college school purposes. Included, after the introduction is a bibliography inteded for further research. (Adult sources) I usually read the introduction before diving into the book, but decided to jump right in to Red Badge. It is followed by "The Veteran," a quick story about the narrator, Henry, as an old man on the day of his death. Since this is such a standard classic, there is probably little to add to the canon. One thing that struck me, however. Crane is a word-lover's feast. I went to the dictionary a couple times not because the context of the word was important, but that I was curious what a word meant. I hadn't known he was also a poet until several years ago, and it shows in his fiction writing. Wow! Just finished the next two stories, "The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky" and "The Blue Hotel." Now I know why he has gained great acclaim. These two stories, in chapters, were spellbinders. In Blue Hotel (*****), he creates full characters in several strokes, flawlessly. In the Bride (*****) he writes tension with the same effortless sparcity. Less verbocity in the short stories (perhaps short novellas would be a beter term,) but that simplicity makes them all the more powerful. Open Boat (****)

  15. 5 out of 5

    Gretchen Mueller

    This book is about a young boy who thinks that going off to war is what he wants to do when he is old enough. However, he soon finds out that it is not as fun and entertaining as he thought it would be. He sees close friends suffer the pain of death and war. After one of the battles the young man realizes that he hasn't gotten a single scratch yet and everyone around him has some kind of wound to show the things he had done for his country. He too wanted a big bloody red badge of courage. Soon a This book is about a young boy who thinks that going off to war is what he wants to do when he is old enough. However, he soon finds out that it is not as fun and entertaining as he thought it would be. He sees close friends suffer the pain of death and war. After one of the battles the young man realizes that he hasn't gotten a single scratch yet and everyone around him has some kind of wound to show the things he had done for his country. He too wanted a big bloody red badge of courage. Soon after, he is in battle and wakes up later with his red badge of courage. Then he realizes that he didn't need to be wounded to be courageous. One thing I really liked about this book was that it had many life lessons and it really showed the pain of war and made you thankful for all the things that veterans and current service members have done. One thing I didn't like about this book was that at points it was kind of boring and it seemed like it was repeating itself and saying the same thing over and over again. If I had to suggest this book to a specific group of people I would suggest it to young adults who would like to learn more about the wars in U.S. history or anyone just looking for a good story.

  16. 5 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.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    I think Crane is an amazingly powerful writer, and it is hard to take in the fact that he was still in his early 20s when he wrote this novel. The descriptions of being in battle, and the fluctuating emotions of the young soldier, ring true to me. I know he had never fought in a war, but he had interviewed veterans. His prose has an almost hallucinatory quality to it at times, with vivid details or flashes of colour amid a sense of confusion. The short stories included in this book are also good I think Crane is an amazingly powerful writer, and it is hard to take in the fact that he was still in his early 20s when he wrote this novel. The descriptions of being in battle, and the fluctuating emotions of the young soldier, ring true to me. I know he had never fought in a war, but he had interviewed veterans. His prose has an almost hallucinatory quality to it at times, with vivid details or flashes of colour amid a sense of confusion. The short stories included in this book are also good - sad to realise that the account of drifting in a small boat after a shipwreck in 'The Open Boat' is factual, and that his health was damaged by the experience.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Richard Epstein

    There is a class of books which owe much of their fame to their brevity and therefore usefulness in the classroom. I call them The Assignables. The most famous are (or used to be) Silas Marner, Ethan Frome, The Old Man and the Sea, and The Red Badge of Courage. I can imagine someone reading TRBOC voluntarily, not having been assigned it, simply for pleasure. Imagine making that statement about Ethan Frome. There are other books teachers might have elevated to this status. The Unvanquished. Washin There is a class of books which owe much of their fame to their brevity and therefore usefulness in the classroom. I call them The Assignables. The most famous are (or used to be) Silas Marner, Ethan Frome, The Old Man and the Sea, and The Red Badge of Courage. I can imagine someone reading TRBOC voluntarily, not having been assigned it, simply for pleasure. Imagine making that statement about Ethan Frome. There are other books teachers might have elevated to this status. The Unvanquished. Washington Square. The Crying of Lot 49. But no. Ethan bloody Frome.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Monta

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Another classic I should have read long before but didn't. It's quite short. Although I didn't enjoy it a ton--it certainly couldn't be called entertaining--I'm glad I've now read it. War is a sad thing. I really thought the protagonist was going to die at the end, and it was a pleasant surprise to find he didn't. Three stars because it just wasn't that interesting.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Clarissa

    "But he said, in substance, to himself that if the earth and the moon were about to clash, many persons would doubtless plan to get upon the roofs to witness the collision."

  21. 5 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.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Arliegh Kovacs

    Crane's The Red Badge of Courage has been on those "must-read" lists for high school students for years. (It wasn't on the one in my Accelerated Reading classes so I passed it up entirely.) My '26 Books' list this year had a spot for A Book You Should Have Read in High School but Didn't and this was the one (sadly) that I chose. Apparently the book is a coming-of-age novel where the main character goes from being a naive, idealistic, egocentric youth to an experienced, confident, self-sacrifici Crane's The Red Badge of Courage has been on those "must-read" lists for high school students for years. (It wasn't on the one in my Accelerated Reading classes so I passed it up entirely.) My '26 Books' list this year had a spot for A Book You Should Have Read in High School but Didn't and this was the one (sadly) that I chose. Apparently the book is a coming-of-age novel where the main character goes from being a naive, idealistic, egocentric youth to an experienced, confident, self-sacrificing man. Which I learned by reading Spark's Notes after I had finished the novel. Frankly, this analysis (which is no doubt the reason this book is used in high schools) made me think of two things: the words of Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride:"I don't think it means what you think it means." And a story where Isaac Asimov sat in on a lecture about one of his own short stories ("Nightfall") where the speaker waxed eloquent about all of the hidden meaning and erudite themes. Afterward, Asimov told the man something to the effect of "That story isn't about any of that." The lecturer asks why he thinks he would know. Asimov tells him that he knows because he, himself, is the author. To which the speaker replies, "So what?" My point here is that I found Crane's book a complete muddle. Henry blathers on in his own head throughout the story flip flopping from one point of view and one excuse to another for his behavior and the actions of others. I have never, ever been a fan of the 'stream of consciousness' device. In my opinion, a story told in first person is fine, but the character's actions should be what point out changes in thought rather than being a nearly endless internal monologue with very little action. It really seemed simplistic to me to imply that a couple of skirmishes can turn a callow youth into a man. I'm not saying that battle and death, even a fear of dying, wouldn't change a person. In my opinion it is unrealistic to believe that growing up is all about the fight, flight, or freeze instinct and flip-flopping from one to the other over the space of a few days. And no matter what the educational system is saying the end result is, Henry doesn't go from being shallow to being deep because he was a runaway and then a berserker. His thinking at the end of the story seemed just as muddled to me as at the beginning. He was just too exhausted to do anything but follow the crowd and might go through all of the same actions and reactions as he did before once he had a good night of sleep and a belly full of food. Not a book I would recommend.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 4 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!

  27. 5 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.

  28. 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

  29. 4 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.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Laura Deger

    The Red Badge of Courage was extremely difficult to get through. I didn't care for any of the characters, and the descriptions of the events unfolding were extremely long and hard to follow. I had to keep taking breaks to make sure I wasn't zoning out or forgetting what I read on the previous page. I enjoyed the short stories included after the novel much more, especially, The Open Boat. I felt that The Open Boat was a much stronger piece of writing.

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