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The Red Badge of Courage & The Veteran (Classics)

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3.31  ·  Rating Details  ·  394 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
One of the greatest works of American literature, The Red Badge of Courage gazes fearlessly into the bright hell of war through the eyes of one young soldier, the reluctant Henry Fleming. Written by Stephen Crane at the age of twenty-one, the novel imagines the Civil War's terror and loss with an unblinking vision so modern and revolutionary that, upon publication, critics ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published September 12th 2000 by Modern Library (first published 1990)
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LobsterQuadrille
Nov 29, 2015 LobsterQuadrille rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people with a fondness for poetry and lots of patience
The Red Badge of Courage is the kind of book that is best read slowly and carefully, otherwise it can become confusing, and you won't be able to experience the beauty of the marvelous writing as well. The story feels unrushed, even in many of the action sequences. It feels like Stephen Crane just sort of let the words flow together and slowly evolve as he shows the ever-shifting emotions of a young Civil War soldier. I can easily see how people could find this book slow or dull, but I think it ...more
Lyman Phillips
Aug 21, 2007 Lyman Phillips rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: young readers
Shelves: classics
I reread this book after about 25 years, but it did not age well. I was hoping that this would be relevant to our current war-ridden times, but I think there are better options out there, such as My War: Killing Time in Iraq, by Colby Buzzell (California liberal slacker goes to war for a steady job), and Just Another Soldier: A Year on the Ground in Iraq, by Jason Christopher Hartley (educated kid from a military family goes to Iraq and learns it is not all it was cracked up to be, but still lea ...more
Dave
Oct 18, 2015 Dave rated it it was amazing
"The Red Badage of Courage" is a classic fictional account of a Union soldier in the American Civil War, but the author gives us so much more than an entertaining tale. The book is a landmark in American literature in the way it delves deeply into the internal psychological struggles of the protagonist. Stephen Crane brings a deft insight to the telling of this story which explores the meaning of integrity and humanity. This edition is augmented by a well-written prologue by Civil War historian ...more
Matthew
Aug 10, 2009 Matthew rated it really liked it
This was one of those books I had been meaning to read for a long time. The writing is poetic in form but the author does not romanticize the subject matter. The main character is a human being and an individual but at the same time he has the feeling of a man whose life is out of his control. He can only react to his surroundings and his reactions feel very real.
Kip Lowery
Aug 27, 2012 Kip Lowery rated it liked it
I am taking some time to read some of the books for my 15-year-old daughter’s literature class, and just finished reading “Red Badge of Courage.” I have discussed some part with her already, but I wanted to write a short review about the book, just to pull from my brain the impression it made upon me—nothing fancy or not super in-depth. (some spoilers)

My wife and daughter said she cried at parts, and so, having cried at Where the Red Fern Grows, I prepped myself. But I just did not get the emoti
...more
Angie Palau
Jan 01, 2013 Angie Palau rated it really liked it
I read this in high school and only remembered a general "feeling" of lots of darkness, fear, and a red glow in a Civil War Setting. Having now re-read it, I still feel it that way. It's beautifully written, and it's very vivid. It provides a brief glimpse into the experience of a very young Union Soldier in the Civil War, who initially flees in terror from battle, then reclaims his courage and forges on.

It's technically an excellent book, and I understand why it is a classic because it transpor
...more
Nikki
Aug 22, 2015 Nikki rated it really liked it
A harsh look into the mind of a young union soldier during his first days of battle of the Civil War. There is really no plot to this short book..it's more of Crane taking the reader along with a young man's first experiences with the horrors of war.
Meghan
Jan 14, 2011 Meghan rated it liked it
Following the main character through his psychological angst regarding how he would react to conflict on the battlefield to his actual reactions and how his mind coped with these reactions was really interesting. I felt that Crane, despite having never been in battle himself, did an incredible job of portraying some very human characteristics. The worry about whether he would be a coward or actually be a hero; the shame and paranoia of running away; the quick re-painting of events in his mind an ...more
Christopher
Feb 29, 2016 Christopher rated it it was amazing
Many people in my generation read this book in high school. I did not, instead suffering through "Tess od th D'Ubervilles." This would have been a better choice, though I'm glad to have read it as an adult when I appreciate it more. It's an intense and exceptionally well written book. And if you have the chance to visit the battlefields of Chancellorsville or Fredericksburg before or while reading it, the book is even more vivid. A true classic of American literature.
Tracey
Nov 15, 2015 Tracey rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
audiobook(playaway): classic historical fiction set during Civil War 1860s Virginia, orig. published in 1895. I have a playaway with just "the red badge of courage" on it--"the veteran" is not included, but it is narrated by Sean Pratt.
liked it ok, but never stayed awake long enough to get the storyline or even the sense that this was during the civil war (as opposed to the American Revolution).
Jane G Meyer
Mad and I tried to listen to this story of the Civil War. I'm afraid we weren't brave enough to make it through to the end. We played it in the car--as we've done with other books while driving hither and yon, and because there is so very much narration and flowery description we kept losing track of the sparse action. It became maddening and we finally simply placed the CD's back in the case and dropped the whole thing in the library bin.

Perhaps someday I'll pick this story up in book form. May
...more
Nikolas Kalar
Though, without a doubt, a powerful and effective novel that certainly earns its gut-wrenching reputation, for my money, Stephen Crane is a much better story composer than he is a novelist. The short story included with this edition -- a sequel of sorts, The Veteran -- is considerably more enjoyable to read. Crane's prose are sluggish and tiring in the full form of a novel, but with the fire at his feet, in the limited frame of a short story, he writes with an authors fervor that is hard to deny ...more
L. Layale
I don't like American Lit. Crane may have something to do with this. The Red Badge of Courage is painfully slow. You have no sense of time with "the youth". He makes up for it with his use of synesthesia, imager, detail and use of the vernacular, but barely. This is somehow seen as a coming of age story: in a way it is but more like a work in progress. If you like slow ad all over the place type stories this is one for you.
Kelly
I found the main character's fears about being cowardly in battle riveting. I can appreciate Red Badge as one of the first modern American novels. However, high school students need to read a book about the reality of war from a grunt's perspective, but there are probably better choices -- such as Cold Mountain. Do most American high school students read such a book anymore? Or is that unpopular during our wartime?
Dominique
Jun 17, 2010 Dominique rated it it was ok
I remember reading this book in junior high and really enjoying it. Re-reading now almost 25 years later has given me new insight. As an adult I can't stand this book. It drug on and on. Discussing the symbolism and such in a group style, in a classroom environment, seemed to have made this book interesting. Without that? Boring. Blah.
Ryan
Jun 06, 2013 Ryan rated it it was ok
I read this in junior high school and didn't really get all the fuss back then. I figured it must have been because I didn't like the fact that I was forced to read it so I read it again as an adult. That wasn't the case. I have no appreciation for this book. Whatever I was supposed to take away from it, I didn't.
Kyra
Oct 03, 2010 Kyra rated it did not like it
Again, it was a book that was forced upon me by my English teacher. It was pretty strange and difficult to understand or follow, but it had about one or two moments. Therefore, I bestow my generous rating of 2 to this (somehow) classic American novel.
tom
Feb 19, 2013 tom rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: anyone
I liked it but didn't feel that impressed by it. In my opinion it was a little over rated but managed to keep my interest atleast to finish it. There are some valauable lessons to be learned here.
Haley
Feb 08, 2008 Haley rated it really liked it
I read this book for English, also! It puts a great insight into the Civil War and becoming a hero! Really great book. I liked it a lot.
Andy
Feb 27, 2011 Andy added it
haven't read it since high school so I don't remember if it's worth reading, if you know, drop me a liwait actually don't
Erin
Aug 26, 2011 Erin rated it it was ok
It has never taken me so long to get through a 100 page book. It wasn't hard reading, it just never kept my attention.
Reed
Aug 09, 2014 Reed rated it liked it
From a teaching standpoint, it became more enjoyable the longer I spent thinking and talking about it.
Christina
Jun 07, 2013 Christina rated it really liked it
Make sure you read "The Veteran" epilogue-ish thing at the end. It changes/solidifies everything.
Melanie
Aug 28, 2008 Melanie rated it really liked it
A fascinating and often poetic analysis of fear that takes the Civil War as its setting.
Garth
May 16, 2012 Garth marked it as to-read
civil war education... its been on my shelf for months, so far so good.
Jen
Mar 15, 2010 Jen rated it liked it
Good old fashioned honor, bravery and integrity.
Deven
Apr 04, 2010 Deven rated it really liked it
Good book but moderately predictable.
Jesse Macicak
Aug 14, 2008 Jesse Macicak rated it liked it
Read for book report. It was OK.
Coy
Jun 08, 2007 Coy rated it it was amazing
Best Civil War book I've ever read.
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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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