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The Red Badge of Courage
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The Red Badge of Courage

3.15 of 5 stars 3.15  ·  rating details  ·  55,738 ratings  ·  1,982 reviews
The Red Badge of Courage is considered one of the most influential works in American literature. The novel, a depiction on the cruelty of the American Civil War, features a young recruit who overcomes initial fears to become a hero on the battlefield. The book made Crane an international success.
ebook, 203 pages
Published December 1st 2012 by Start Publishing LLC (first published 1895)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Emily
I feel almost guilty about how much I disliked this book. I know it's an important piece of literature, that it changed the way people viewed war, it's an American classic, etc. etc. But I could NOT stand it. I thought it was boring and I didn't really care what happened to the main character. I was totally distracted by how the author called him "the youth" instead of his name and I had to have my brother-in-law explain to me what the point of it was since I just couldn't tell. Maybe my tastes...more
matt
Mar 21, 2007 matt rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
This book made my heart race and made me hear gunfire.

I think Crane manages to create the perfect visceral novel. Sure there is symbolism if you want it, but at its core this book is about experience.

Like a delicate flower, this book is easily ruined by too much prodding attention. Just read it, take it in, let yourself get dragged into the story and imagery. Don't think, don't read it closely to prepare for a paper or discussion, just experience it.

I would never teach this book in a class. I wo...more
Nathan Albro
I found it disappointing that The Red Badge of Courage, an American classic, was dull, had poor pacing, and lackluster characterization. There might be historical value in this novel, written by Stephen Crane who was born nearly five years after America’s civil war ended, but there is little to enjoy. The novel does focus on the psyche of the protagonist – more so then on the war itself, but I found myself not caring. I didn’t care for the characters nor did I care about the battles or the war....more
Beth F.
Here is a recreation of my brain while reading this book: "Alright, it's about time I read this and so far, okay. I like the prose, I like the prose, I like the...um...STOP TALKING! Stop talking to each other! Shutup! I can barely understand you! UGH. Thank you. Nice prose...nice...okay, nevermind. Boring. Boring. Boring. Boring. Gross. I hate fight scenes. Boring AND gross. Gross AND boring. Stop fighting. Stop talking. Get on with it...this is boring..."

Overall, I'd have to say that the dialog...more
Moses Kilolo
When Henry Flemming set off to join the war, he perhaps did not have a clear picture of what lay before him, what his decision meant. Like every other young man (across the divide of time and circumstance) he envisions his return as a hero - an achieved man. but does he pause to consider the damn hardship of the battlefield? Perhaps not! At some point he actually runs, but his conscience torments him. A series of happenings (accidental- i think) push him back to track, and there he tries to prov...more
Henry Avila
The Battle of Chancellorsville,in northern Virginia, 1863,one of the bloodiest,24,000 casualties,of the war between the states, is the focus of this novel.Henry Fleming a farm boy, not yet a man, from New York State, goes off to fight during the American Civil War. Against the tearful pleading of his widow mother,not to,Henry out of patriotism or boredom, wants to join the Union Army.Many months pass,of training and marching, until Fleming gets into action.Some of his friends,boys he grew up wit...more
Tara Ferrin
Jul 10, 2008 Tara Ferrin rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: yes
I actually finally finished the book last night. I say finally not because I didn't enjoy it, because I did, but it definitely was a tougher read than I'm used. The language is older more descriptive, and at times hard to figure out, but in the end I think it made me appreciate it more. I'm not going to pretend that I understood even half of what the author was trying to say, but It did affect me, and spoke to me personally at times. In my opinion he's a brilliant writer.
It's a story of a very...more
Wolfman
Stephen Crane died at the turn of the century in his late 20's, making him a rock star. I bet all of the college kids in the 1910's and 20's had posters of him on their walls. Or maybe portraits.

There isn't that much time in The Red Badge of Courage for you to get too attached to any characters, not even our hero The Youth, Henry Fleming. But you can totally empathize with his Desire to do Something Grand, his fear, his sense of accomplishment, and generally fickle human nature. Plus, Stephen C...more
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly

Certainly Stephen Crane was not a minimalist. He seemed to have treated straight expressions, simple words, directness and the pared down style as undesirable. I could imagine, for example, Hemingway describing a prisoner with a non-fatal foot wound as one who was angry and who had told his captors to go to hell and to fuck off. Stephen Crane preferred to have it like this:

"One of the prisoners was nursing a superficial wound in the foot. He cuddled it, babywise, but he looked up from it often t...more
Sticherus
So, hey. There's this guy. His name's Henry, but that's not really important. He really wanted to join the army, cuz, well, that's what all the cool kids were doing. So he did. And hey, who doesn't wanna blow shit up? I know I'd wanna blow shit up. Everybody loves blowing shit up.
Anyway, so yeah. That happened. They all sat around for a while, and then there was this one fight, and then there was this other fight, and some stuff happened. Nothing to get excited about. And oh yeah, after that the...more
Andrew
The Red Badge of Courage was a very meaningful book for me. This book is about a boy named Henry who thinks that when his squad gets into battle, he will not have the courage to stay and fight. He hasn’t actually been in a fight yet, his squad has been resting and he thinks that they are going to go into a fight soon. When he thinks that his platoon is going to all die, he runs from the fight. He sees a lot of injured men that he admires and can’t stand to be with them. He sees his old friend Ji...more
Laura
I always seem to write reviews for books I love. That really is a tragedy, because books I hated should be acknowledged here too.

This review is a warning to all. Especially the younger set that may still encounter this book in school. If you have a choice, do not read this book, sometimes they offer an array of books to chose from. I am still baffled at how this book was ever deemed a good choice for use in schools. It is the most boring and painful book I have ever read, to this day, and I read...more
Steven Peterson
The difference between cowardice and courage. What is it? Where is the dividing line? Can one be both a coward and courageous? Stephen Crane addresses these issues in "The Red Badge of Courage." The exploration of these issues is competently done, set in the context of the Civil War. The protagonist learns from his cowardice and becomes an effective soldier, removed from the romanticism of battle. . . .
Jacqui
I have no idea how this average review can be 3/5. The Red Badge of Courage is one of many books that address fear in the face of death. Henry, a brand new and young soldier in the Civil War, doesn't know how he will react to battle. When his regiment charges the enemy, Henry defects. He is ashamed, but through a variety of circumstances and enormous personal growth (we love this in our novels) becomes a hero among the soldiers of his regiment.

This book made popular the term 'red badge of courag...more
Christine E.
I first read this as a very young kid (I was no more than 8 years old). I thought it was amazing then, and I re-read it when I was in my 20's and appreciated it even more. However I doubt I'll be up for another re-read anytime soon, because I can't handle harrowing stories of war the way I once could, even ones as beautifully written as this one.

But there will always be a place for it on my bookshelf. Um ... or in one of my many boxes of books that hasn't yet been unpacked after 3 years in our...more
Amanda
Another librivox recording.

I've been doing a lot of yard work so my trusty ipod is filled with librivox books. I hate yard work. This is the only way I can get through it.

I'm not a fan of war anything: books,movies, stories. But my friend just finished listening to The Red Badge of Courage and suggested I try it. I'm still not a fan of war books. This one wasn't bad, but the descriptions of the war, of the injuries was really more than I wanted.

The person we're supposed to root for is Henry aka...more
Jennelle
Blah...thats about it. I am giving it 2 starts only because of the content of the story and what the story eludes to for courage and freedom......BUT..... it was a little irritating to read in my opinion. I love reading descriptive writing, I mean what would a book be with our metaphors and smilies? It really is what makes a beautiful novel...but come on! How many times do you need to describe the color of smoke or the sky or the darkness or the sun....aaaawwww! I get it already.
Stenwjohnson
There is surprisingly little 19th century American fiction that describes the Civil War combat experience. Contemporaneous memoirs, poems, and histories abound, but Ambrose Bierce’s short stories and Stephen Crane’s “The Red Badge of Courage” are likely the most prominent examples of literary war narratives from that century. Both are remarkable for their combination of stylized lyricism and brutal, near-cynical unsentimentality. Bierce was a seasoned war veteran but Crane was only 24 when his n...more
Mark
One of those books people always talk about as being in the pantheon of war literature, so when I was on a Civil War kick I decided to give it a read for myself.

There is much to like. The thing about Red Badge you have to respect is that it is one of the first works to really dive into something resembling modern war - that is, writing where the vast majority of the combatants have some sort of rifle armaments, with artillery flying around. The problem with this is that sometimes it's hard to go...more
Bill
This novel is basically about a young man who goes to war. Written by an author who had never experienced war but believed he could write a better war novel than was currently available. If history is any indication - he did as the book is a classic (which is why I read it).


I enjoyed this tale! I would definately recommend it. I don't want to talk too much about what our protagonist goes through so will keep this review very brief.


The writing style was pretty fluid and the story was very easy to...more
Boris
First Sentence: "The cold passed reluctantly from the earth, and the retiring fogs revealed an army stretched out on the hills, resting."

This book is a painting. Crane uses colors the way Gaugin used colors around the same time to make us see exotic places in new and unexpected ways.

Here the exotic places are a Civil War battlefield and the moods and inner thoughts of, Henry Fleming, a young soldier as he enlists in the army and faces his first, second and third experiences of war.

"It was a bli...more
Alex
Since I'm heading into a WWI segment, I thought I might take the opportunity to backtrack and cover this other nominee for "Best War Novel Ever." Only takes a few minutes anyway, right?

The first half is pretty amazing. Crane deals with the concept of cowardice unflinchingly and with a ton of psychological insight. The way he describes exactly what's going on in his protagonist's head, minute by minute...this is pretty great stuff.

I think it loses a little juice in the second half, which deals wi...more
Jonathan-David Jackson
It was short. So, that's something.
Angie
I read this in High School and thought it might be nice to read again without the pressure, knowing it is my choice to pick it up whenever I want. It's much better than I remember and I'm really enjoying it.
I finished it yesterday and was glad I read it again. If the book had been longer though, it would have been too long for me. It was interesting to go into the mind of someone at war. Apparently civil war veterans said it was a very accurate portrayal.
David Johnson
The book "Red Badge of Courage" by Stephen Crane is a good book. Henry is a farmer boy, who wants to join the war. When he joins he and his platoon just march around and don't do anything. Henry's platoon is resting and they think they are going to fight soon. They don't fight until later on in the book. When they do fight, most of the men run away. Henry gets stuck with a bunch of wounded men, because he lost his company. He finds his friend, Jim. Jim dies because his wound is really bad. Late...more
Lauren Stoolfire
A classic not to be missed is offered this week for free on YA Sync.

Henry Fleming doesn't realize what's in store for him when he goes to enlists in the war. He just sees himself coming back a war hero. Like many others he doesn't consider what he'll have to do or see on the battlefield to become the achieved man of action. In one point he runs away (seemed a sensible thing to do at the time), but eventually makes it back and proves himself.

One of the main issues Crane addresses throughout is t...more
Laura
This was one of the offerings on the SYNC YA Audiobook website this summer. It's one of those classics that I had never read and knew little about. Basically, all I knew going in was that it was about a young soldier in the Civil War. I usually like historical fiction, so I was looking forward to reading it, especially since it was written not too long after the war.

Unfortunately, this book was just not for me. I found it very difficult to keep interested. I don't usually have a hard time stayi...more
Jeremy Smalley
This edition of The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane was published on February 1st, 2005. This is not the original publication of this book though, as it was first published in 1895. The genre of this novel is Historical Fiction. This book takes place during the American Civil War, more specifically in the year 1863. Chancellorsville, Virginia is the location of most of the book takes place. A few of the main characters are the main protagonist Henry Flemming, as well as his childhood frien...more
Ella
Well we all know how it goes when you have to read a book for English class. Usually you don't like it as much is you would if you read it on your own. But this is a special case. I ESPECIALLY disliked this books for many, many reasons (I'll try to keep this short).

First, The amount of description in the book. Now I know Crane is famous for his detailed descriptions and I'll be the first to agree he doesn't paint a nice picture. But enough is enough! They were so excessive it got to the point wh...more
Max Tomlinson
A gripping adventure doubling as the ultimate anti-war novel?

I finally read this classic and was immediately swept away by the tale of young Henry Fleming (often referred to as ‘the youth’ in Red Badge of Courage), who itches to go to war, despite his mother’s wishes.

Stephen Crane’s writing has aged gracefully since the novel was first published in 1893. The forbidding atmosphere of war is ideally suited to a style that might be considered florid by today’s standards. The potent tone fits the s...more
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19879
Stephen Crane was an American novelist, poet and journalist, best known for the novel Red Badge of Courage. That work introduced the reading world to Crane's striking prose, a mix of impressionism, naturalism and symbolism. He died at age 28 in Badenweiler, Baden, Germany.

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“It was not well to drive men into final corners; at those moments they could all develop teeth and claws.” 36 likes
“He vaguely desired to walk around and around the body and stare; the impulse of the living to try to read in dead eyes the answer to the Question.” 11 likes
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