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The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
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The Red Badge of Courage (1895)

by Stephen Crane

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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5,745None734 (3.36)237
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English (69)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  All languages (71)
Showing 1-5 of 69 (next | show all)
For Christmas, I ordered an mp3 player (Library of Classics) that was pre-loaded with 100 works of classic literature in an audio format. Each work is in the public domain and is read by amateurs, so the quality of the presentation is hit or miss. This was the fifth novel I’ve completed and, like the first four, the reader did not detract from the experience, and was in fact quite good.

The Red Badge of Courage is subtitled “An Episode of the American Civil War”. It follows a callow, young Union soldier named Henry Fleming, as he enlists and sees his first action against the Confederate Army. At times, the story is very engaging, however very long stretches are taken up with the thoughts and imaginings of young Fleming that grind the story to an agonizing halt. It is no secret that Fleming runs from his first encounter with battle, whereupon numerous chapters are consumed with his rationalizations and recriminations as he wanders the rear, seeing injured soldiers and advancing and withdrawing units, before he returns to his squad with a mysterious head wound which covers his cowardice.

Subsequent skirmishes take place in which the author uses every florid adjective in the English language to describe Fleming’s actions, thoughts and impressions. The final several chapters are so absurd in their tortured use of descriptive words and phrases that I was left shaking my head. As bad as the audio version was, I can only imagine having to read the book. Avoid at all costs. ( )
  santhony | Apr 8, 2014 |
A Novella? rather than a novel, written in 1895, even before Crane had seen any fighting. He was a correspondent during the Spanish-American War, but didn't change anything about his story after actual experience. It is a compelling and probably realistic portrayal of how soldiers survive their battlefield experience. Certainly nothing was contradicted by "On Killing", by Grossman, or Marshall's "Men Under Fire". ( )
  DinadansFriend | Feb 25, 2014 |
My last status update on this book may have confused a great deal of those following along with me. The four-out-of-five star rating was probably even more of a shocker for those of you watching me rant and rave, practically frothing and foaming at the mouth with madness as I slung curses like weapons--desiring and willing to accept nothing short of our main character's, Henry's, death and destruction. There is validity in this! Since we first meet Henry, this kid who wants to become a soldier for the glory's sake along with every other wrong reason you can contrive, I didn't like him. He was a self-serving, fame-seeking kid (again, I emphasize) who didn't give a rip about his mother's concern for his safety, and only the admiration of absolutely everyone around him. He goes behind her back, joins the army, and is disappointed when a "poetic" and beautifully scripted farewell scene isn't given the chance to play out because his mom is too busy lecturing him about the various dangers and giving him advice on how to SURVIVE before he goes! Yeesh what a prick!

But oh no, that's not the reason I hate him. No, that comes almost instantly afterwards and for the next SEVENTY PAGES. Considering the book is about 100pgs long? That means he spends more than half the time being a complete JACKWAGON. D8
And it goes ON, as I said, for the next TWO THIRDS of the book! GAH! I wanted to smack him and strangle him and MORE. At every--single--TURN he's doing something new that makes me want to throttle the living daylights out of him!!! And man, does he pull some incredible stunts of asininity. -__- Seriously, how far up your own butt do you have to be to think that highly of yourself? What a prick!!!

So why, you ask, did I give this book a four out of five? Well, because around the late 60 to early 70 page mark, I made an update saying that for once... Henry was acting the part of a man. There was a large gap after that one status update, where I had no further comments until I reached the end of the book. It was in those last thirty or so pages that something unexpected happened--what I had hoped would happen throughout most of the story: Henry became a man. There was no more of his philosophy, no more comparing himself to the other men around him. It was just a burning desire to enact what he had to; to get the task at hand done, and to do it with every fiber of his being. When he stopped thinking about himself, about some falsely claimed or obtained glory, and just did what needed to be done... when he didn't realize he was throwing himself right past the front lines, fully capable of being shot and killed at any moment... when he had no hesitance to run forth right into the bullets and try to claim the victory...! Those are the moments where he changed. Where, suddenly, he wasn't the little boy anxious for poetic depictions of battle and glory and praise. He was the man, throwing himself out there, regardless of the circumstances or the possible danger, the horrible outcomes, and growing up through those actions.

What's more that finally settled my mind about this? ...he admitted how ashamed he was. And... that he hated the thoughts of himself, when he looked back on how he had been when he first started out. Is there a fine line that's being trod here? Is the change too abrupt? ...perhaps, perhaps not.

Either way... it was stunning to see, and it... surprised me in a good way. It took me aback and... it made me realize that he did change. Those actions--they spoke louder than any words he ever uttered. And he uttered less and less of them the more he grew towards the end. I feel that, if only because of the ending, it was worthwhile. Boys go into wars and come out men. And... perhaps this is one of the best examples of that transformation, and how suddenly, how amazingly... it happens, without us even knowing it.

It's a truly amazing book in a way. I would definitely recommend it to be read. It was enjoyable, even if for the greatest part of it, I was a lunatic desiring our main character's death. *Chuckles* But hey... people change. And that's what is so fascinating and interesting about this book. That this kid who I thought for certain was going to be a stupid prick to the very end... ended up changing like that. Definitely read it, at some point or another. If you don't want to risk it, then take it out of a library or get it secondhand, but at the very least, it's a book that's worth a shot. ( )
  N.T.Embe | Dec 31, 2013 |
This has been on my TBR list for ages and ages as a classic novel so I'm glad I've now got it ticked off, but it didn't do much to me—possibly because I was reading a page here and there with long gaps in between. The protagonist joins up because of he's thinking of the glory of warfare, but he finds that it's anything but: confusion, injuries, fear, disappointment and all that are the flavour of the day. ( )
  queen_ypolita | Dec 1, 2013 |
While I read this in high school I remembered almost nothing. The prose of the novel is beautiful and Crane highlights the ugliness of the war with the nature images that exist in the midst. Henry (or "the youth") is not a very likeable character - he is deluded about a great many things, including his very own character. He successfully faces his fears and develops courage, but it's questionable if he succeeds in facing his self-delusions. The chaos and incomprehensibility of war are so successfully captured in this short novel so that the reader can imagine just what it was like. ( )
  tjsjohanna | Sep 8, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (63 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Crane, Stephenprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Berryman, JohnContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Binder, HenryEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bloom, HaroldEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bottino, PatNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bowers, FredsonEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bradbury, MalcolmEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brick, ScottNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Conrad, JosephContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cummings, SherwoodIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davray, Henry-D.Traductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dressler, RogerNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dufris, WilliamNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Engene, GeneNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Foote, ShelbyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gibson, Donald B.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Green, FrankEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Haldeman, JoeIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harad, AlyssaSupplementary materialsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heald, AnthonyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Herzberg, Max J.Afterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Homer, WinslowIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jenseth, RichardIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kazin, AlfredIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kidder, HarveyIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
LaRocca, Charles J.Contributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Levenson, J.C.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Levy, Wilbert J.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Minor, WendellIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Misiego, MicaelaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mozley, CharlesIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Muller, FrankNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Murphy, JimForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Otero, BenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Paysac, Henry dePréfacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Perkins, Patricia BarrettForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pratt, SeanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reichardt, Mary R.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sanders, CharlesNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sorrentino, PaulEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stallman, Robert W.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stone, RobertIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thomas, RichardNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Van Doren, CarlIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vedro, Alfred S.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Viélé-Griffin, FrancisTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Watson, Aldren AuldIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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The cold passed reluctantly from the earth, and the retiring fogs revealed an army stretched out on the hills, resting.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This work should not be combined with either the book by Stephen Crane or with film adaptations based on that book. If you have a copy of this work, please consider supplying the author's name (if it is a book) or the director's name (if it is a film adaptation).
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553210114, Paperback)

Long considered the first great modern novel of war by an American author, this classic work is set in the time of the Civil War and tells a powerful, psychological story of a young soldier's struggle with the horrors--both within and without the war.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:29:02 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

During his service in the Civil War, a young Union soldier matures to manhood and finds peace of mind as he comes to grips with his conflicting emotions about war.

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