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The Red Badge of Courage

Stephen Crane

Book Overview: 

This is a short novel based vaguely on the battle of Chancellorsville of the American Civil War. Unlike other works on the subject, Crane’s novel does not concentrate on the big picture or the glory of war but on the psychology of one of its soldiers.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Oh, shut up!" roared the tall private. "You little fool. You little damn' cuss. You ain't had that there coat and them pants on for six months, and yet you talk as if--"

"Well, I wanta do some fighting anyway," interrupted the other. "I didn't come here to walk. I could 'ave walked to home--'round an' 'round the barn, if I jest wanted to walk."

The tall one, red-faced, swallowed another sandwich as if taking poison in despair.

But gradually, as he chewed, his face became again quiet and contented. He could not rage in fierce argument in the presence of such sandwiches. During his meals he always wore an air of blissful contemplation of the food he had swallowed. His spirit seemed then to be communing with the viands.

He accepted new environment and circumstance with great coolness, eating from his haversack at every opportunity. On the march he went along with the stride of a hunter, objecting to neither gait no. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Most novels about war are broad, sweeping stories that try to capture the big picture of what happened. But what's it like for the individual? What were they thinking, feeling, and experiencing? That's what Stephen Crane brings to life in this book. He shows the fine line between courage and cowa...more

The Red Badge of Courage, Stephen Crane
The Red Badge of Courage is a war novel by American author Stephen Crane (1871–1900). Taking place during the American Civil War, the story is about a young private of the Union Army, Henry Fleming, who flees from the field of battle. Overcome with shame, he...more

The Battle of Chancellorsville in northern Virginia 1863 is one of the bloodiest 24,000 casualties of the war between the states, the focus of this novel. Henry Fleming a naive restless farm boy not yet a man from New York State, goes off to fight during the American Civil War. Against the tearfu...more

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...more

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,...more

Δυστυχώς, προτίμησα τις εκδόσεις ΑΡΜΟΣ (γιατί συμπεριλάμβανε και το φοβερό διήγημα Open Boat). Η μετάφραση κατέστρεψε κυριολεκτικά το εξαιρετικό αυτό κείμενο - στεγνή και ενίοτε κυριολεκτική. Κρίμα. Προτιμήστε κάποια από τις άλλες εκδόσεις.

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, nevermin...more

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...more

Tolstoi made the writing of Stephen Crane on the Civil War seem like the brilliant imagining of a sick boy who had never seen war but had only read the battles and chronicles and seen the Brandy photographs that I had read and seen at my grandparents’ house.

—Ernest Hemingway
I think Hemingway’s qu...more

2.5 stars

Intellectual Thomas thinks this story changed people's perception of war and made them think about the individual psychological processes involved in combat. He thinks that this book had a nice flow of thought that concluded with the narrator learning to be less whiny.

Thomas Thomas - the...more

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