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The Red Badge of Courage and Other Stories

3.2 of 5 stars 3.20  ·  rating details  ·  958 ratings  ·  47 reviews
Henry Fleming, a raw Union Army recruit in the American Civil War, is anxious to confirm his patriotism and manhood—to earn his “badge of courage.” But his dreams of heroism and invulnerability are soon shattered when he flees the Confederate enemy during his baptism of fire and then witnesses the horrible death of a friend. Plunged unwillingly into the nightmare of war, F ...more
Paperback, (Penguin Classics), 336 pages
Published November 29th 2005 by Penguin Classics (first published 1895)
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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 ...more
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
...more
Monta
Jun 28, 2008 Monta rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants to be well-read in the classics
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.
Clarissa
Feb 23, 2007 Clarissa rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those facing an important decision
"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."
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 ...more
Dan Varley
Unfairly relegated to 10th grade English class reading lists where it never reemerges again, this is a classic that deserves wider recognition. This is a book less about war and more about the battle that takes place in the psyche as we struggle to individuate and define the Self. In the case of the Red Badge of Courage, the cauldron of the Civil War quickens the battle for identity inside of Henry's head. For instance, in the beginning the narrator states, "He was forced to admit that he knew n ...more
rabbitprincess
Oct 20, 2009 rabbitprincess rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: perhaps US Civil War enthusiasts
Recommended to rabbitprincess by: Top 100 NAQT list
* * 1/2

Yeah, I wasn't all that impressed with this book. I never really connected with the protagonist, probably because Stephen Crane insists on referring to him as "the youth", even when other characters in the story call him "Henry Fleming". The phonetically rendered accents were also very distracting, and it took me a while to figure out which side he was actually fighting on because they don't say it outright, at least not in the parts that I read. I did enjoy some passages and found others
...more
Renata


Putz, não gosto de livros de guerra pelo simples motivo de que não consigo visualizar as cenas. Para mim é só uma confusão. Li este livro porque foi escolhido pelo Clube de Leitura e só.

Não foi tão ruim. Até que li com certa fluidez. Conta a estória de um rapaz que se alista no exército durante a Guerra Civil americana.

Boa parte do livro é consumida pelos pensamentos obsessivos do rapaz diante da eminência da sua primeira batalha e seu desespero em tentar saber de antemão se irá se acovardar o
...more
Steve
In setting his novel within the theatre of the American Civil War, Crane broke with the traditional representation of this conflict in terms of presenting the moral rectitude of the Union cause, and instead focusing on the grim reality of the war for the front-line soldier. The young infantryman who serves as his protagonist, Henry Fleming, is forced to question his pre-conceived simplistic teenage idealisation of courage and glory when faced with the brutal truth of the inconsequential signific ...more
Bishop Bishop
This is one of those books that I know a lot about and have read excerpts from, but to my embarrassment have never actually read cover-to-cover. I am not a huge Crane fan, but I like him well enough. I like him a bit more after reading this one, but it's not necessarily my cup of tea; 19th century Realism never has been. I enjoyed taking part in "the youth's" thought processes as he tries to make sense of something that is so obviously senseless. It is a fast read, but it is not necessarily an e ...more
Patrick
Considered as one of the naturalist writers, Crane describes and narrates the story of an american northerner soldier who escapes the frontier to be later tormented by his own internal war. Henry the protagonist, is constantly tantalized by the courage depicted in his fellow comrades. The choice of words is really haunting which enables us to experience the authentic feeling in a real battle. The author could have used the "stream of consciousness" technique to make us more vigorous and endeavor ...more
Alejandro
Crane's bizarre yet efficient style, appropriately described by one literary critic as "lunar," is a delight to read in this classic story of war and what heroism means to a young man.
Penny
I realize that Crane had a reason for all the choices he made, but for me personally, the detached style where the characters barely have names just does not work. Rather than seeing Henry Fleming as a universal everyman because he is referred to as "the youth," I just see him as a faceless, soulless character that I don't care much about. Consequently, I lose patience with him quickly in his moments of arrogance. For me he would have seemed more universal, more "that could just as well be me," ...more
Mark Mortensen
The book is centered upon a northern youth, Henry Fleming, who is drawn to enlist and fight in the Civil War. The young fellow has heard about war, but is openly uncertain as to what he might encounter and observe first hand.

Stephen Crane’s unique and gifted style of writing creates impressions that few authors can achieve. One of the many grouped sentences that caught my eye was: “As the horseman wheeled his animal and galloped away he turned to shout over his shoulder, “Don’t forget that box
...more
Larry K
I know this is a classic, but I just hated this book. I think it was because of Crane's style. He was predominantly a journalist and this book reads like he's reporting not as if he is writing a novel. I also read his other novel Maggie and had the same problem. I actually couldn't even finish this book, and I always finish books I start unless they are impossible like this one. Part of it may also be the antiquated language/style. Crane was very young when he wrote this and it's an incredible f ...more
Yair Bezalel
Not a perfect book by any stretch, but close enough. Akin to Melville (my teacher's words), Crane is an ironist and a cynic. Nature is ambivalent and men are reduced to descriptive labels. Universality of war, and the sense experience of one youth lost in it all are depicted in a stunning fashion.



I liked it when I read it and am appreciating it more as time goes on. Also, check out "The Open Boat" in this collection. Similar message with a different and shorter delivery.



Jessica
This book makes you contemplate a soldier's decision to join up during war-time and the gammet of emotions he must go through when faced with the consequences of this decision. Having a brother in the military as well as family members who fought in Vietnam and WWII, the consequences of this choice and the reality of war really hit home with me. Some of the passages in this book were heartbreakenly beautiful.
Adam
Really powerful book. Red Badge restored my faith that a book written before 1900 could be enjoyable and absorbing -- not just "good for you" -- after a long losing streak. The short stories that follow it reminded me a lot of Kurt Vonnegut at his most 'things just happen.' "The Open Boat" and "The Blue Hotel" were both page-turners, and didn't take too long for the axe to fall after just the right amount of setup.
Marco
War stories are not my favorites, but I realize how interesting is to narrate the story of a man fighting a war. The demonic and godly nature of men fight within each soldier while the battle rage outside. What I found quite interesting was the realistic portrait of people feeling and behaviors during such major historical events. They are not Greek heroes, they are human, full of fears, weaknesses and courage.
Meghan Davison
I liked this a lot, although I feel like I need to read it again to really grasp the mechanics of it. There was a great tension between action and reflection, and it's clear that Crane sees that two as intertwined: meaningful action cannot occur without deep reflection and yet reflection is empty without some intense impetus.

Also, the intro with Crane's biography is just about as good as the book itself.
Jenny
Really hated this one too. Thanks to Hendersonville High School for making me read so many books in my high school education - it really was an exceptional high school education - but I hated this book. Love that it was on the list, "read it in school, would have preferred a root canal!"
Felicity
I personally found this really hard to read. Parts of it were very moving and well written but I found the majority of it was labourious and was disappointed with it. It didn't live up to my expectations and I don't really know why it's a classic!
sckenda
A classic of American literature, this Civil War novel depicts a Union Soldier’s terrifying baptism of fire and his ensuing transformation from coward to hero. Originally published in 1895, its vivid evocation of battle remains unsurpassed.
Lily
I did not enjoy the war stuff but liked Crane's style. His Naturalistic worldview is pretty depressing though. I liked watching a certain character grow (but I am in the crowd that doesn't think the protagonist grew :)
Randilyn
Very well written. His use of epithets for naming characters is powerful, and I liked the subtle color-imagery throughout. A very good "war novel" but also a powerful "coming-of-age, loss-of-innocence" story as well.
Ashley
Boring. All war fiction is not created equal. This was not near as good as All Quiet on the Western Front. Some of the other short stories in the collection were better, but overall, total snooze fest. Thumbs down :(
Ainsley
Reads like a modern novel despite being over 150 years old. Theme deals with the stuff of Courage. General de Bellarie (sp?) noted it as a seminal classic in his book on eminent recipients of the Victoria Cross.
Eugenides
I have rarely read a book so boring and emotionally tumultuous. I wouldn't read it again if it was up to me. I find myself wondering about the mental stability of Stephen Crane.
Sherry
I can't believe this book was written over 100 years ago. I especially enjoyed the dialect. This is the first book written by Crane that I have read, it won't be the last!
AJ Henning
Sep 03, 2007 AJ Henning rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who thinks they are a bad ass
at one point in my life, i was able to blab about how this is based on an epic form or something? i got an A. Anyways, this book is pure bad ass.
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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.

More about Stephen Crane...
The Red Badge of Courage The Red Badge of Courage and Selected Short Fiction  Maggie: A Girl of the Streets The Open Boat and Other Stories The Open Boat

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