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The Red Badge of Courage and Four Stories

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3.38  ·  Rating details ·  382 ratings  ·  49 reviews
A pioneer in the realistic school of American fiction and the true forerunner of Ernest Hemingway, Stephen Crane probed the thoughts and actions of trapped or baited men fighting the destructive forces in nature, in other human beings, and in themselves...

The Red Badge of Courage / The Open Boat / The Blue Hotel / The Upturned Face / The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky
Paperback, 240 pages
Published February 1st 1997 by Signet Classics
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Average rating 3.38  · 
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Konstantina Dragoudaki
I got mixed emotions about this book.
I bought it wanting to read the first and main story "The Red Bagde of Courage", which failed to win me over. Crane certainly has a very good pen, especially for someone of his age, since he was only 25 years old when he wrote this particular novel. He vividly describes the battlefield and the inner world of the main character - a soldier, but the reader's interest, in my opinion, is lost somewhere between the extensive descriptions and the inability to conn
...more
Kris
Dec 20, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-owned
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 ...more
Judy
Feb 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Gina
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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"
...more
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.
Sue Gross
Apr 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Mr. Crane was a pioneer in the realistic school of American writing, as it says on the back.
I did like the badge story, but may want to re-read it since something on the civil war battlefield reminds the character of an event that happened to him earlier in his life - I thought oh, get back to the story. I was a bit impatient with it.

The other stories are enjoyable, my fav was The Blue Hotel. A visitor says 'I should go, I have a feeling I'm gonna die here'. That made it a page turner for me.
Brennon
Oct 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A classic everyone should read.
Sheryl
Jun 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When the Kapolei Public Library hosted a visiting exhibit for the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, they also hosted half a dozen public programs about the American Civil War. One of those programs was a discussion of the Stephen Crane American classic, The Red Badge of Courage. I thought I was just going to reread a book that I had already read thirty plus years ago in high school, but instead, I experienced the blooming of a rose on my literary soul for one of America’s best piece of anti-wa ...more
Googz
Dec 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of famous literary works and/or war novels
Recommended to Googz by: Nobody, but I remember Dave Bishline did a presentation on it in
Well I'm done with THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE part, and am now reading the short stories. I'll add to this as I go.

Having read a little Hemingway (years ago, but it sticks with ya...or me, at least), it is clear to me now that Stephen Crane is a literary forefather of his. The stark and realistic style puts you right there. There's no flowery, buttered-up hogwash (which isn't to say I don't love that, too)--this is straightforward, dare I say stereotypically MANLY writing. I enjoyed the book--it a
...more
Brad
Aug 04, 2012 rated it liked it
This is a classic coming of age story set during the American Civil War. Crane's style seems a mix of early Realism and Expressionism, but it also feels like a overt break from the Romantic movement prior to the Civil War. The "youth" Henry Fleming goes to war with romantic ideals of heroism, but discovers fear, isolation, failure and finally maturity. After his first encounter with battle, Fleming runs and wrestles with his cowardice. He returns, but disguises his running as having been wounded ...more
Nola.pass
Sep 01, 2009 rated it liked it
This book was about a boy named Henry Fleming who joins the Civil War as a member of the Union party. During the first fight his regiment has to face, he deserts his regiment. He then finds his injured friend Jim Conklin and stays with him until he dies. Upon trying to return to his regiment he gets into a fight with a fellow soldier, who hits him with his rifle butt in the back of the head causing him to bleed. When he finally returns to his regiment with the help of a fellow soldier, he is nur ...more
Alex Nelson
Mar 25, 2012 rated it liked it
I thought the book was hard to get into and absorb the story because there weren’t a lot of key events that were exciting and also the story was fairly plain and had a basic storyline. The main events were: Henry running away during the first battle and then trying to show bravery during the second battle. I liked how Henry realized his cowardice right away and wanted to correct his mistakes immediately. A resonating theme in the book is that doing something great that’s outside your comfort zo ...more
Tyler
Jul 13, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: _Guys; War Fiends
Recommended to Tyler by: _Reading List
Shelves: 19th-century
Aside from the eponymous tale, two of the other stories, including The Blue Hotel, turned out to be excellent short reads.

The use of rich language distinguishes the main story. The plot line was a bit stale and some of the expressions popped up with monotonous regularity; I thought the ending a bit weak. The writing, however, is descriptive and the story laid out cleanly enough to make these distractions minor points.

All the stories in this Signet version are held together by the general idea o
...more
Lance Lumley
Jul 13, 2015 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Lance by: library purchase
I never understood why this book is a classic. I have read it many times, and even taught it when I was an English teacher. Crane does write detail on the effects of a soldier's mind during the Civil War, but other than that, not really sure what is amazing about it. Very few characters have actual names in the book, along with the fact that the setting is not really explained as where they are at. Maybe this was intentional, I am not sure. I picked it up at a library book sale to add to my clas ...more
Catherine
Apr 24, 2013 rated it liked it
I've been wanting to read this book for a long time because I like Stephen Crane. I found the book full of great descriptions and wisdom, but I struggled with him calling Henry "The youth" because it created emotional distance from him. This story is a bit repetitive as well.

This book also contains one of the best short stories ever written: "The Open Boat". I love this story, and every time I read it, I love it even more. The other short stories in the book are also good, but "The Open Boat" i
...more
Jon
Oct 15, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: yo mama
Shelves: read-2008
Although the style was a little outdated and seemed almost choppy at times between paragraphs, I was fascinated with the subject matter and the handling of the characters. The coloquial dialects that the author gave voice to were just fun to read outloud over and over again, and I was able to vividly visualize the battle scenes due to Crane's descriptive prose. Definitely the best Civil War story I've ever read, and I wish it had gone on longer.
Diane
Aug 01, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up at a bookstore a while back just to have on hand for when I was low on books and with our recent move I was between libraries so it finally got read. I am fascinated by Civil War stories so had always wanted to read it. Apparently it was a new way of writing at the time and it's still quite unique. Pre-Apocolypse Now. Crane uses some very "interesting" turns of phrase and some stunningly beautiful and precise langauge. It still packs a real punch. War is Hell yet again.
Karla
I picked out this book thinking that the setting of war would interst Adam. But the language was a little to tough for him yet. Although wordy the book has interesting themes on courage (duh), manhood, self preservation and the disregard for life to name a few. The main character struggles with his own feelings in this area as he is part of a civil war battle. Definitely not an easy read, especially for kids.
Sydni Kreps
Henry Fleming, the protagonist of this novel, was almost unbearable to read. He was whiny, cowardly, and selfish and did next to nothing in the form of character growth. Stephen Crane doesn't seem to grasp the concept of grammar (or spelling, in some cases) and tends to droll on and on about nothing. The book did not have any exciting plot twists -- or anything exciting, really -- and felt like it was describing the same battle scene several times over. I would not recommend it.
Don
Jun 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A classic. One of those I read years ago in high school. Reading it now, I appreciate it a bit more. The story of a young man going off to fight in his first battle in the American civil war. Well told tale of the young man's thoughts and feelings.

The other stories in this collection were shorter, simpler, and less verbose, and yet I found that I enjoyed them more than the Red Badge. These stories make this collection worth picking up.
Bracken
Oct 13, 2007 rated it it was ok
It was an interesting story, with very interesting insights into the mind of male adolescents, but I didn't enjoy it. It was well written and descriptions were quite good, but I got bored of the book and made myself finish. I felt that I would be doing myself an injustice by putting down this classic prematurely. It aided in solidifying my dislike for war.
Elijah Christopher
Crane is an exceptional writer. He's got talent, and his stories are enjoyable. I feel he could've been more descriptive, and a bit more detailed. His dialogue style was cool, I don't see it oft, and I don't do it myself, that authors actually write what the voices would sound like. So I enjoyed that as well.
Andrew Osgood
I really liked this book because it was one that I got to read over the summer on my own. I liked how the story was written and it was really short which I love. I love reading short books! I think most people would be able to read this book but I feel like you need to have some background on certain things and subjects to be prepared to read it.
Jenny
Aug 19, 2012 rated it liked it
This book was written in a very detached way and it was easy for my mind to drift. I still enjoyed how it went from worry to joy to dejection to hard work and pride to a bit of sorrow and ending with acceptance and satisfaction.

Thetravelingpanda
Feb 16, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: english-classics
I am not a big fan of Stephen Crane's stories, they are too realistic for me. Even if it does depict a realistic history that's precisely my problem it's too realistic. It gives me the same feeling as Zola, even if it's great in a stylistic point of view, the characters are too dark for me.
Tom
Sep 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So....this guy can write. I don't know why he doesn't get more love for his stories, but this was a great read. Red Badge of Courage of course is legendary but his other works were really enjoyable to read.
Mike
May 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Do not stop with The Red Badge of Courage. The four short stories are just as, if not more, powerful this his most recognized work. I once thought him a simple writer, but revisiting him years later the philosophy puts through. Add this to your reading list.
Gina
Feb 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classic
One of the greatest novels written about the Civil War. It shows the chaos and questions the meaning of bravery.
Tammy
Mar 19, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: truly-dreadful
best cure for insomnia ever ...
Johnathon
Dec 17, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: military, fiction, history
I good short book that relates the many emotions, from fear to bravery, experienced by troops in combat. (specifically in the Civil War)
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Stephen Crane was an American novelist, poet and journalist, best known for the novel The 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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