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The Red Badge of Courage Tor Classics Stephen Crane

1st March 2013 Literature & Fiction 33 Comments

Tor Classics are affordably-priced editions designed to attract the young reader. Original dynamic cover art enthusiastically represents the excitement of each story. Appropriate “reader friendly” type sizes have been chosen for each title–offering clear, accurate, and readable text. All editions are complete and unabridged, and feature Introductions and Afterwords.

This edition of The Red Badge of Courage includes an Introduction, Biographical Note, and Afterword by Joe Haldeman.

Henry Fleming had no idea how horrible war really was. Attacks come from all sides, bullets fly, bombs crash. Men everywhere are wounded, bleeding, and dying. Now, Henry’s fighting for his life and he’s scared.

He must make a decision, perhaps the most difficult decision he will ever make in his life: save himself-run from the enemy and desert his friends-or fight, be brave, and risk his life.

If he stays to fight, he may die with his regiment. If he runs, he’ll have to live with knowing he was a coward. Can Henry find the strength within himself to earn his red badge of courage?

Like the Carroll volume above, this edition of the seasoned veteran provides a new twist. Crane’s Badge was originally serialized in the New York Press in 1894, a year before the story was published in novel form. This volume offers both the slightly different serial version and the finished work. Though every library no doubt has numerous copies of Red Badge, academic and public libraries supporting American literature curricula should pop for this one, too, especially at the price.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. –This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Novel of the American Civil War by Stephen Crane, published in 1895 and considered to be his masterwork for its perceptive depiction of warfare and of the psychological turmoil of the soldier. Crane had had no experience of war when he wrote the novel, which he based partly on a popular anthology, Battles and Leaders of the Civil War. The Red Badge of Courage has been called the first modern war novel because, uniquely for its time, it tells of the experience of war from the point of view of an ordinary soldier. Henry Fleming is eager to demonstrate his patriotism in a glorious battle, but when the slaughter starts, he is overwhelmed with fear and flees the battlefield. Ironically, he receives his “red badge of courage” when he is slightly wounded by being struck on the head by a deserter. He witnesses a friend’s gruesome death and becomes enraged at the injustice of war. The courage of common soldiers and the agonies of death cure him of his romantic notions. He returns to his regiment and continues to fight on with true courage and without illusions. — The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature –This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Novel of the American Civil War by Stephen Crane, published in 1895 and considered to be his masterwork for its perceptive depiction of warfare and of the psychological turmoil of the soldier. Crane had had no experience of war when he wrote the novel, which he based partly on a popular anthology, Battles and Leaders of the Civil War. The Red Badge of Courage has been called the first modern war novel because, uniquely for its time, it tells of the experience of war from the point of view of an ordinary soldier. Henry Fleming is eager to demonstrate his patriotism in a glorious battle, but when the slaughter starts, he is overwhelmed with fear and flees the battlefield. Ironically, he receives his “red badge of courage” when he is slightly wounded by being struck on the head by a deserter. He witnesses a friend’s gruesome death and becomes enraged at the injustice of war. The courage of common soldiers and the agonies of death cure him of his romantic notions. He returns to his regiment and continues to fight on with true courage and without illusions. — The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature –This text refers to the Paperback edition.

The Red Badge of Courage (Tor Classics)

  • 33 responses to "The Red Badge of Courage Tor Classics Stephen Crane"

  • rusty irons
    3:17 on March 1st, 2013
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    Stephen Crane’s “the Red Badge of Courage” was serialized in 1894 and published in book form the next year. It is one of the greatest achievements of a truly extraordinary American writer. “Red Badge” tells the story of Henry Fleming, a young enlisted soldier in the United States Civil War.

    “Red Badge” is a powerful story of war told from the viewpoint of a low-ranking enlisted man–a man who is really still just a boy. The book is rich in sensory details and poetic language; actually, the book is an effective complement to Crane’s irony-laden, often grim poems.

    Crane is as much interested in the inner mental states of Henry as he is in the blood and thunder of war. He does an effective job of portraying an altered state of consciousness brought on by combat. Also noteworthy is Crane’s representation of American vernacular speech in the dialogue of his characters.

    “Red Badge” is not a long book, but it is a rich text that invites re-reading on many levels. I recommend the following as companion texts: James Fenimore Cooper’s “The Last of the Mohicans,” Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried,” and Eve Ensler’s “Necessary Targets.”

  • VoodooSim
    4:23 on March 1st, 2013
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    I decided to read this book after having read “Mayflower”. It was apparently the first American bestseller and was popular in Britain also at the time. I was curious about how she was treated by the Indians. It certainly showed these Indians as ordinary people – which I should have expected. It did say something about these aborigines that they didn’t rape her as so many other peoples would have done – spoils of war and all that. On the overall I found that the Indians treated her civilly. Of course the Indians had trouble finding food just as she did have obtaining food and they were trying to brave the attacks of her people all the time. The King Philip War was a tragedy. The Indians had been treated badly by the English (so what’s new?)and in my estimation from what I read King Philip was not a jingoist like Moseley. Indeed I felt he was by nature a peaceful person like his father. I was shocked that the Mohawks sided against him. Well, war is hell and friends often turn into enemies for who knows what reason. At any rate, in conclusion, I felt that this is an important document and her religiosity was normal for the time, a time when John Hoar (a good guy) was thrown in jail for not attending church! I don’t think you can appreciate this book using today’s morals and behavior as the criterion.

  • Proofreader
    5:58 on March 1st, 2013
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    “The Red Badge of Courage,” written in 1895 by Stephen Crane (1871-1900), is considered by many literary critics to be one of the greatest of all American novels. This is a book about the Civil War, and one Union soldier’s struggle with his inner demons as he prepares for, and fights his first battle.

    Although the story Crane tells is deceptively simple, it reveals, better than any other novel I’ve read, the full horror of war, and the complexity and unpredictability of human behavior in the crucible of battle. Henry Fleming (always referred to by Crane as “the youth”) is a young northerner who, despite his mother’s objections, enlists in the Union army with great patriotic fervor. As he awaits his first battle, the youth ponders how he will react: will he stand and fight, or will he flee? The answer comes soon enough. His regiment is attacked by the Confederates; at first the youth stays to fight, but, during a second attack, he watches other soldiers run away from battle in a state of panic. He himself is overcome by fear, and he too flees.

    The youth finally reaches a state of exhaustion and stops running. Immediately, his conscience begins to gnaw at him. He hears rumors that his regiment has actually stood and won the day against its foe. His thoughts and emotions begin to run the gamut from rationalization, to self-loathing, to fear of being discovered a coward. He continually looks for ways to justify his flight. The youth hears the continuing sound of battle in the distance, and is drawn to it, almost as a moth to a flame; he decides to return to his regiment, but loses his way. As he tries to find his way back to his regiment, he is confronted by people who serve to prick his conscience even further. He witnesses the horrible death of Jim Conklin, one of his friends from his regiment. While walking with a group of wounded soldiers, he is asked by one tattered and probably insane soldier what the nature of his wounds are. Shamed by this inquisition, he runs away, afraid he’ll be uncovered as the poltroon he is beginning to believe himself to be. He begins to wish for a “red badge of courage” – a wound – which would signify his bravery in battle. He gets his wish in a roundabout way when he attempts to ask another soldier for directions. He gets into a scuffle and is cut on the head with the soldier’s rifle. This becomes his “red badge” when he finally makes it back to his unit; he lies to his comrades-in-arms, saying he received the wound as a result of being shot in the heat of battle.

    Ultimately, the youth is afforded another opportunity to prove his courage in battle. How he reacts under fire during this new test of his character and courage is the great climactic event of “The Red Badge of Courage.” Henry’s behavior reveals the lessons he has learned about himself , and shows how he is able to come to terms with his inner demons and the world around him as a result of those lessons.

    Crane’s writing is excellent on most levels. His descriptions of the insane violence of battle is graphically intense, and of reasonable historical accuracy. The one noticeable weakness in Crane’s style is his dialogue. Although it is raw and gritty, it is also somewhat unrealistic; all his characters sound like they have southern accents, even though they are supposed to be from New York and other northern states. Still, the dialogue is effective in conveying the essential truth of who did most of the fighting on both sides during the Civil War: tough, profane, and often poor and uneducated men, many who did not know of, or care about, the causes for which they fought and sometimes died.

    In my view, what sets “The Red Badge of Courage” apart as one of the finest Civil War novels of all time is Crane’s brilliant analysis of Henry Fleming’s state of mind as he runs away from battle and then attempts to redeem himself. Through Crane’s lively pen and sometimes purple prose, I was able to peer into the youth’s very soul and understand some of his fears, hopes, intermittent self loathing, and frequent rationalizations, and how those emotions and attitudes drove his behavior during battle. Henry Fleming is certainly not an admirable protagonist! (This may, in fact, have been the first Civil War novel which depicts the central character in less than an idealistic, “knightly” fashion.) He is immature, vain, shallow, and mendacious throughout the book, but is also imbued with an inner strength and the self-discipline which allow him ultimately to triumph over his many character flaws.

    “The Red Badge of Courage” is indeed a timeless masterpiece of American fiction. It is easy to understand why it ranks alongside such great American novels as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath,” and “To Kill a Mockingbird,” by Harper Lee. “The Red Badge of Courage” is a book to be read and savored!

  • Glenn Mosser
    6:18 on March 1st, 2013
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    If anything, this book isn’t boring. Seeing a war through the eyes of a scared soldier makes us wonder at our own “fearlessness” if we were put to the test. Though the book deals a lot with courage, take a look at the struggle with guilt and duty this kid goes through. The guilt drives him to bravery, which then leads to a feeling of completed duty. I. like the rest of US grade schoolers, had to read this.. watch the movie… read it agian in a lter class.. and watch the movie again. Now in 12th grade, and looking back.. I see how much more the book means.. not just a homework assignment taking the place of TV watching. Give it a try…oyu might learn somthing ;) 4 stars cuz it doesnt compare with the 5 star books within its genre… Catch 22 rules! …

  • Noreen Osollo
    7:19 on March 1st, 2013
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    The addition of the sequel short story “The Veteran” and the excellent introductory essay by Shelby Foote make this a good edition of the American classic for first time or repeated reading.

    The Red Badge was a pioneer novel for its impressionistic presentation of war on a personal, experiential level. This is now second nature, from Hemingway’s Farewell to Arms to the James Jones and Norman Mailer World War 2 novels — and for that matter to such films as Full Metal Jacket. Previously what you could expect was: (1) panoramas from the command level and/or 2) straight-up unabashed heroism and war propaganda. Crane’s method in a stroke deconstructed such approaches for good, much to the benefit of American literature.

    Also, the book is still a pioneer work in certain important ways. Cheap TV reporting on war’s front lines or supposedly “imbedded” journalists will give you the false impression that being there is simply enough, as if a live voice and a camera never lie. They also have no shortage of glib, universal explanations for everything. True American realism, however, does not satisfy quick as a trip to a candy shop. There are things finally still unsettled, feelings that do not make sense, unresolved issues — even the main ones. Does Henry become a man? Who won the battle? Was this truly courage? Good questions — and the text does not resovle them. That Henry believes he is a man and has earned a badge of courage at the end simply begs the overarching questions. That is realism, not sermonizing or instant history. And that is this nation’s enduring contibution to the arts which Crane had a large hand in crystalizing. Although, unfortunately, a culture addicted to quick “reads” instead of books, verbal and political one-upsmanship can often no longer negotiate its own history or even recognize its own merits and singular contributions.

    Crane heard the whole story set down here on hunting trips to northern New York, from his family’s veteran friends who hunted with he and his brothers. Yes, this is the way they sounded and spoke — and if you think they sound like Southerners you are looking through the wrong end of a telescope, historically, plus perhaps conditioned by movie stereotypes. Crane’s sources were the rustic country fellows who actually fought the war. His upstate New Yorkers were indeed at Chancelorsville — and their experience is what the writer, schooled in reporting, tried to convey — not a neat history book nutshell that thinks one side or the other “the winner” of that battle. If there were ever winners of battles in history, there were few clear ones in the 4 year folly known to some as the Civil War, to others as The War Between the States — and the continuing debate over what to call it is itself proof, if anything, that much is still unresolved.

    If you want fantasy, at least go to good stuff such as Peter Jackson’s Tolkien trilogy. It also has some profound lessons. But bear in mind that such lessons are more readily available when you make up not only the characters and events, but the whole world. If you want opinions, turn on CNN or go your favorite pro or anti war blog. But as Alexander Solzhenitsyn stated as conclusion to his own war novel, August 1914: “Untruth did not begin with us, and untruth will not end with us.” Yet once upon a time, as they say, a gifted young American writer named Stephen Crane at least suspended untruth for about 100 pages — and amidst the subject of a vicious war around which incredible untruths still swirl.

  • moto chiquita
    8:45 on March 1st, 2013
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    This is a different book than the one I read as a youth. Then, it seemed to plumb the depths of a youthful soul confronting his own fears, probing his insecurities, and testing his courage. Now it seems like an over-written book from the pen of someone who wasn’t in a war.

    The three days of the 1863 Battle of Chancellorsville is the unnamed backdrop to the story. Crane wrote it when he himself was only 22 years old, but that was thirty years after the battle. His prose is the complicated verbosity of a young man with more vocabulary than ideas to fill it. He goes on and on about things he knows nothing about and misses what he should have seen. Had Crane been in combat, he would have found a way to articulate the inchoate images, disconnected flashes, the panicked silences shot through with deafening thunders. He also would have captured the heart-pounding immediacy of chaos. Instead, Henry Fleming thinks through his choices and then thinks them through again. He rationalizes his cowardice in long complicated self-examinations. Crane’s battles are coherent things, described in orderly detail by one who has read of them and imagined them, but not experienced them. The battle is marginal to Fleming’s passage.

    Had Crane been in battle he would have recognized that courage often has less to do with self-examination or a sudden passage to manhood than it does with camaraderie. It is often a simple disinclination to let one’s friends down. In the story, Fleming only makes the acquaintance of two or three other soldiers, none by name. His passage to courage is entirely anomic, individual, and alienated from the rest of his unit. The traditional interpretation of these characters as `any men’ populating the universe of Fleming’s `any youth’ is disingenuous. Youths have friends, soldiers have comrades. These define the subject as surely as his own introspection, and they do so in individualized detail.

    Fleming’s understandable fear in his first battle is somehow belittled by the extravagant cowardice of his wordy explanations. He is a selfish whiner who, at one point, hopes the battle will be lost and justify his cowardice. Crane no doubt chose to portray Fleming’s boyish fear in stark and easy labels, so that his later passage to courage would be the more striking. But rather than a dramatic effect, the story is merely simplistic. The conclusion is fable-like, not credible, and therefore not of great interest to adults. Combat fear doesn’t fade in three days, it goes on forever. This isn’t a bad book, just a simple one. It is the story of a boy who learns to be brave. Perhaps it’s not nearly as interesting to an adult as to a teenager grappling with the same issues, but as a nineteenth century fairy tale, it may be instructive to youths.

  • Pipes
    9:16 on March 1st, 2013
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    “The Sovereignty and Goodness of God, Together with the Faithfulness of His Promises Displayed,” by Mary Rowlandson, is a compelling piece of colonial American literature. First published in 1682, this autobiographical text represents a genre of literature known as the “captivity narrative”: a first-person account of a white settler who was held as a hostage or prisoner by Native Americans. In Rowlandson’s case, she was taken captive during Metacom’s War (also known as King Philip’s War), which took place in 1675-1676.

    The edition of Rowlandson’s book edited by Neal Salisbury is excellent. This edition contains Rowlandson’s text, together with a wealth of other materials: a thorough introduction, many maps, a chronology, a bibliography, and other historic documents from Rowlandson’s era. The many illustrations include photographs of the title pages of earlier editions.

    Rowlandson’s captivity narrative is a significant milestone in American literature; the introduction to the Salisbury edition notes that the text “has been almost continually in print since 1770.” Since the text itself is relatively short, it has appeared in anthologies (see, for example, “The Harper Single Volume American Literature,” third edition). But the many “extras” in the Salisbury edition definitely make it a book worth buying, even if you have an anthology already containing the Rowlandson text.

    Rowlandson’s memoir itself is not great literature stylistically. But it is a fascinating text with some really striking passages. Rowlandson’s extreme evangelical Puritanism will likely alienate or bewilder some modern readers, but her religious attitude should be read in historic and cultural context. Similarly, her extremely racist descriptions of Indians (“merciless Heathen,” “ravenous Beasts,” etc.) should to be read in context (but should not be trivialized, especially in multiethnic classrooms where this text might be taught).

    This book is a significant document of contact between cultures in times of extreme crisis. It is an especially intriguing text for those careful readers who really try to read “between the lines.” Recommended as companion texts: William Apess’ “A Son of the Forest and Other Writings” (Apess was a pioneer Native American writer) and James Fenimore Cooper’s novel “The Last of the Mohicans.”

  • Daniel K. Voyles
    14:12 on March 1st, 2013
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    The Red Badge of Courage was a great book.
    My favorite chapter is 1, I liked chapter 1 because it was really cool how Stephan Crane talked about the fog and the setting and soldiers. I would say this book is for ages 13 and up. The book had some words that were in the book were kind of tough to under stand. I loved reading The Red Badge of Courage. It was wrighten very well his choice of words and the soldier’s grammar was very good.

  • connor
    14:31 on March 1st, 2013
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    After reading books such as The Name of War by Jill Lepore and Dawnland Encounters by Colin Callaway, I am a bit skeptical of Mary’s intentions for writing this piece.

    The name of war has a section of how much press that King Philip’s War received. It was astounding. In only a two-year period, there were 18+ books written on the war. Everyone with a press was trying to cash in with Europe so interested in the outcome.

    Combining this information from Lepore with Colin Callaway’s, I have come to doubt the information she gives. Callaway’s book tries to escape the typical Euro-indian encounters, by discussing how they co-existed in economical, religious, and ecological terms. His studies on Native Americans taking prisoners, tellsa different story. In most cases, Native Americans from the North East tried to assimilate their captives into their own society to replace brethren lost in war. Though this did not always happen, it was more often than not. Callaway happens to be the leading authority on Native American studies.

    Mary’s description of her captivity tells a different story of threats, hunger, and slavery, in captivity while God and bible scriptures gave her hope. Having been the wife of a preacher, her words of God could be her attempt to fill reader’s minds with religious beliefs in hopes of a conversion. I think it is a combination of all three.

    Though she did have reason to hate the Native Americans which gives plausibility to her story, I still feel it is more fact than fiction. They did murder much of her family, including her 6-year old daughter which gave reasons of hate. But what other reason to actually write such a story but for the reason’s aforementioned?

  • SayWhat
    16:57 on March 1st, 2013
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    The novel, THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE, is a book full of uncertainty. Means the reader is never sure what the main character is going to do next in the story. The reader never knows how anyone will act from one moment to the next. This gives the whole novel a certain suspense. The story is about a young enlisted soldier named Henry Fleming who goes off to war as a naive boy and returns as a man. It shows the true side of life, because Henry is acting like most young soldiers do in times of war; Henry feels guilty for running away as the battle began, but he just did what his heart told him to do. Stephan Crane wants to show the reader how bad war is, and the message he prevails is very knowledgeable. The whole story is very well written and the reader has no problem understanding what is going on. The book is rich in sensory details and poetic language. I believe, “The Red Badge”, to be one of the most real accounts of Civil War I have read. I would say it is definitely one of the great pieces of American literature and I really have to give this book 5 stars for its perfection.
    I just want to add that English isn’t my first language and I didn’t have any trouble reading this book.

  • yazan
    18:52 on March 1st, 2013
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    The Red Badge of Courage is an interesting story in many ways. The tale follows a young Union soldier named Henry Fleming for a day or two as he cuts his teeth in Civil War battle. Simple enough. But the intrigue is how author Stephen Crane–born nearly two decades after the war–could have written such an accurate-sounding depiction of battle. We read the book in present day with the benefit of having viewed countless images of Civil War battles in movies, television, and real-life reenactments, and after reading many books on the subject (i.e., The Killer Angels, The Last Full Measure, The Civil War, etc.). It’s easy to forget that he didn’t witness the war, nor had he witnessed any war at that point in his life. And publishing it in 1895, Crane never had the luxury of movies. Yet, Crane’s account still rings true. The battle scenes come from a vivid imagination and, no doubt, newspaper articles and old photos. It is a commendable accomplishment that has stood the test of time.

    Another interesting aspect is that the book is not plot-based in the mold of a Dickens novel. It is essentially a “slice of life” piece. Crane drops us into the action just before Fleming faces his first battle. We aren’t told where or when this battle takes place. We don’t know who the senior commanders involved are or whether the scene is fact-based or total fiction. And it doesn’t matter. The particulars on who’s fighting, why they’re fighting, and whether they’re winning is immaterial to Crane. His focus is not on the glory or spectacle of war, nor the ultimate goals. His book is a study in fear and courage. Henry Fleming is scared to die. But he’s more afraid that he’ll panic and run, exposing cowardice. Death is not something the living can comprehend. Shame in the face of comrades is.

    There is also an interesting contrast between the gore of battle and Crane’s poetic prose. Not a book that will change your life, but worth the quick read it presents. –Christopher Bonn Jonnes, author of Wake Up Dead.

  • JessieHR
    20:04 on March 1st, 2013
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    Literary Analysis of The Red Badge of Courage By:Stephen Crane

    First published in 1895 “The Red Badge of Courage”. I Give four stars. This Book takes place during the civil war, which was a hard time because of the difference in war.{The setting and the literary devices this story make it a proven classic. The Setting of “The Red Badge of Courage” is very important because it gives you a better understanding of the story. Literary Devices in this story give this book a visual on things.Three examples of imagery in this book are… “Jim-Jim-what are you doing- what makes you do this way- you’ll hurt yourself.” That sentence sets a good imagery because you can just imagne what he’s doing.”No-No- Don’t tech me -leave me be-leave me be-.” That quote of imagery gives gives you the feeling that this person is very lonely and does not want to talk to anyone.”Good Lord! “. That in a way is imagery because you can just imagine a old guy screaming “Good Lord! “. I feel in this story Stephen Crane did a great job figuring out his thoughts and he wrote them out well. This story gives a very good understanding of what it was like in the Civil War. I infer that Stephen Crane once had a military expierience and wrote about it. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes adventurous stories.

  • daouddee
    1:33 on March 2nd, 2013
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    Peace is a rare circumstance among major nations in the last 150 years. When war pushes peace out, everyone quickly realizes why peace is so important and desirable. When peace returns, the next generation can quickly fail to grasp its significance. In extreme cases, this can lead to romanticism of war.

    Books like The Red Badge of Courage and All Quiet on the Western Front are important ways to pass along the message of how undesirable war is.

    The Red Badge of Courage offers another benefit. Stephen Crane takes us into the mindset of mid-19th century America. At that time, the spiritual and the tangible were closely entertwined in peoples’ minds. You will find a lot of religious metaphors in this book, that a modern writer would be relatively unlikely to use.

    Another benefit of reading The Red Badge of Courage is that it helps to understand the profound effect that the Civil War has had on the United States. The significance of these events remains fresh for many Americans, while others ignore the events totally.

    Although it is certainly not an easy book to read, it can be a rewarding one. You will find that you can discuss this book with a high percentage of all the people you will ever meet who like to read. That’s a pretty nice benefit from reading a fairly short book.

    I also recommend that you also think about where in your own life you have developed misconceptions that could harm you.

  • Jan Simmonds
    3:22 on March 2nd, 2013
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    The book is about a young ambitious soldier, Henry Flemming who craves for war. He goes into the American Civil War and is horrified by its harsh realities. All his dreams of becoming a hero is shattered and he is engrossed in a mental conflict whether he would stay in the battlefield and fight or run away.

    I for myself was disappointed to see the slow moving pace of the story and I even laid aside the book more than twice. `The Red Badge of Courage’ will not satisfy those who are looking for accounts of conflicts and battles. The book mostly deals with the thoughts of Henry Flemming. You’ll be able to know the thoughts, which grips a soldier when he is in a war, the taste of victory and defeat, the hardship troops have to go through for their country. This is a book for patient readers.

  • Stephen Van Vreede
    3:37 on March 2nd, 2013
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    You’ve got read this book. It’s extrodanary, superb, awsome, fantastic, defiant, unique, and definitley worth reading, if you ask me. This is the second greatest war novel ever written. It stands right behind CATCH-22 and right ahead of THE BRIDGE OVER THE RIVER KWAI. Stephen Crane did a wonderful job, unlike some authors. Everything is well discribed, from the setting, to the action, and even to the emotions and feelings of the main character, Henry. I would definitley recomend this book to anyone with the power to read.

  • Can't wait!
    4:26 on March 2nd, 2013
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    Modern feminists who claim Rowlandson as a progenitor are sorely mistaken. Rowlandson, in fact, ascribed to those same conservative, religious values that today’s society lacks.

  • Steve J. Wilson
    7:21 on March 2nd, 2013
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    The Red Badge of Courage
    An Episode of the American Civil War

    Written By: Stephen Crane

    This story takes place during the American Civil War. It is about a young army recruit who goes to war because he wants to become a hero. He wants to get a red badge of courage, a wound. He believes that it will prove his courage. Before his first battle, he worries that he won’t have the courage to fight and that he might run away. When the fighting begins to get worse, he does run away. Eventually, he gains his courage and doesn’t run away anymore.

    Henry Fleming has dreamed about the glory of war since he was a kid. He is excited about becoming a war hero, but he is worried that he doesn’t have the courage. He doesn’t want to die in vain and he is afraid that people will find out that he is a coward.

    The conflict of this story is the conflict in Henry’s mind. He wants to be a hero, but he doubts if he has the courage to be brave during battles. When the fighting gets bad, Henry runs away. Then he gets worried that everyone will find out that he is a coward.

    Henry gets braver during the war. After he overhears his lieutenant call his unit a bunch of ”mule drivers” and ”mud diggers”, Henry gets mad and wants to prove the lieutenant wrong. In the next battle, Henry carries the flag and leads his unit on a charge of the enemy lines.

    Henry’s tries to resolve his conflict by looking at Nature. He throws a pinecone at a squirrel and it runs up a tree. Nature is telling him that it is okay to run away from danger. Then Henry finds a dead soldier in the woods with the ants crawling all over him. Nature doesn’t care if you run or fight. When you die you are dead. Henry runs back to the fighting. He finds his unit and his courage to fight.

    This book is challenging and very confusing. I would only recommend this book to people who like to read about people’s inner conflicts. This book is boring and hard to follow.

  • Jonathan Brod
    7:35 on March 2nd, 2013
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    This book is by no means difficult. I’m in eighth grade and I read this book in no time. However, it is difficult for some people to understand because the format in which it is written is very different than the way that books are normally written. I guess this is one of the things that makes it such a great read. If you don’t understand it at first my recommendation would be to slow down and read it slower than you normally read books. If you try and read it too fast you may get confused.

    Anyway, this is a great book! It emphasizes what it really means to fight in a war in a very philosophical sense. This book is proof that it isn’t all glory to be out fighting on the battlefield with people dieing all around you. Despite claims that some people make, the main character is highly developed. Complaints that the narraration switches too suddenly, seemingly without reason doesn’t have to do with Stephen Crane being a poor writer, it has to do with people not fully understanding the development of the main character, Henry Fleming. Henry Fleming’s views of life are shared by the narrarator so even though the book is written in the third person you get a sense that it is also first person as well. The development of Henry’s views shift through the book and it is very interesting to see Henry’s stereotypical tough male views change to meek aloof views and then back again to philosophical views and Henry thinking he is the “alpha male” out on the battlefield. Henry’s philosophical views are also very interesting. Crane’s writing style kind of reminds me of Edgar Allen Poe’s in the way that he switches views suddenly, but once you get the hang of it you can almost expect it.

    Lastly, I think that the best part about this book is the way that Stephen Crane is able to convey what it actually means to be out on a battle field, fighting, your comrades dieing by your side, and then really feeling a fear for your life. This is a theme that develops through the entire book and it isn’t something you really get unless you think about it and analyze the book… Anyways, I’m rambling now but I would highly recommend the book it you want more than an easy read. After all, having a large vocab and being able to read really fat books doesn’t mean that you can comprehen what this book really has to say!

  • Richard S
    9:12 on March 2nd, 2013
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    Great book, got it just in time for my american heritage class. Will recommend to all my friends.

  • Steve Perry
    10:08 on March 2nd, 2013
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    Interestingly enough, I read this for a course on early American literature. But as a history major, I can say that it would have served equally well in a course on, say, Colonial New England or Social Life in Colonial America. It provides fascinating insights into Puritan life–especially into its religious beliefs and practices and the huge role they played in the life of a Puritan. Moreover, it chronicles the contact of two societies at odds: Puritans and Native Americans. Rowlandson’s descriptions of her captors are exceedingly interesting and give depth to any consideration of life in early America. Salisbury’s notes and introduction are also quite helpful. Read as a piece of literature, moreover, The Sovereignty and Goodness of God proves to be a fruitful topic for study, as well as a great complement to its function as an historical document. Considering my English course included some rather unsavory texts, this one was much appreciated and quite refreshing, too.

  • InTheRightPlace
    10:46 on March 2nd, 2013
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    Stephen Crane has written an excellent work in The Red Badge of Courage. This book takes place in a period of two days, giving Crane plenty of room to expand on his themes and go into great detail. This book catches the reader’s attention by presenting the Civil War in such great detail that the reader cannot help but picture the scenes in their own mind.

    The Red Badge of Courage tells the story of a youthful boy, Henry Flemming, who goes to war. After many rumors of battle cause Henry to doubt his courage when faced with battle, Henry’s group finally goes into battle. Henry does not run away during the fighting, and gains confidence. However, the second battle that he sees causes him to flee. The rest of the story tells of How Henry comes to terms with his fear, and eventually returns to the battle line.

    The only complaint that any reader could have is that Crane uses almost too much detail. Because there is so much detail, the reader could loose track of the plot. The great detail is, however, what makes this such an outstanding book. Any reader that can get “into” a book will thoroughly enjoy The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane.

  • forweekend
    11:42 on March 2nd, 2013
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    Red Badge of Courage was a very confusing book.
    When I was reading it, Stephen Crane used so much personification
    that it made my head hurt.Red Badge of Courage is about
    a boy who goes off into trhe Civil War because of the excitement
    that he sees in his town about the war. But, when he gets there
    it’s nothing that he thought it would be.This book is good but it’s not great. Sometimes it will have you on the edge of your seat, and other times you will feel like not even reading it.

  • Ugly Truth
    13:17 on March 2nd, 2013
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    This classic tale of a young man’s coming-of-age during the American Civil War is a worthwhile read not only for the themes captured in its story but also for the place it holds in literary history. The basic storyline of the book (boy-becomes-man-during-war) has been recast many times in print and cinema (All Quiet on the Western Front, Platoon, etc), but The Red Badge of Courage stands out for two reasons.

    First, it was the first popular novel to depict war in a realistic manner. Prior to this work, war was almost universally treated as a glorified and romantic undertaking. Not so in The Red Badge, where we are given a soldier’s-eye view of combat. The battle scenes in this book and the descriptions of the dangers and hardships (both physical and emotional) faced by the soldiers may seem tame by today’s standards of blood-and-gore violence, but they were quite radical to readers in the 1890′s, when the book was first published. The Red Badge was thus a harbinger of the direction in which American popular fiction would move in the 20th century.

    Secondly, the tale is much more than just a war story. It is primarily a psychological drama played out in the mind of Henry Fleming, the young soldier who is its main character. This psycho-centric perspective allows the story to encompass some of the great issues that were just beginning to enter the realm of popular knowledge at the time, and thus the main character comes to symbolize the entire human race at the end of the 19th century. We follow along with young Henry as he learns through hard experience that he does *not* occupy a privileged place in the world, as he falsely believes at the beginning of the story. As his mother tells him before he goes off to fight, “yer jest one little feller amongst a hull lot of others.” This revelation reflects the feeling of all humanity as Darwin’s theory of evolution began to gain wide acceptance. We also feel Henry’s terror during his first battle and his later willingness to risk death in order to avoid the ridicule and scorn of his peers. The thoughts and fears running through this young soldier’s mind, soon to be analyzed in more scientific ways by Sigmund Freud and others in the emerging field of psychoanalysis, are as historically realistic as the men and armaments running across the battlefield.

  • Daniel Findermind
    13:43 on March 2nd, 2013
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    When I was in high school several years ago, this was one of the books required in one of my English classes. And, upon going through the many reviews below, I find that it is still a required book for today’s students. But, several appear to find Crane’s novel “boring,” “difficult to read,” and nothing that they can “relate to.” I heard many of the same things in the early 1960s. But, then I found myself in an environment not too dissimilar of the main character of the novel. It suddenly became relevent and real. Crane’s depiction of war and the thoughts of young men at war, both willing and unwilling, will always be relevant. This novel is the psychological study of a young soldier and his first encounters with the brutality seen in battle (many critics have regarded this book as the first modern war novel). The unnamed battle in the novel is probably Chancellorsville (1863). The young infantryman, Henry Fielding, faces his first battle wanting to prove himself a hero. However, when the battle is actually thrust upon him, he is overcome by fear and he runs. He joins the wounded but he has not won their “red badge of courage.” He sees his friend Jim Conklin killed and he becomes enraged, particularly at the injustice of war. (I remember noting the significance of the initials J. C. for the soldier’s friend; but, I later discovered that this observation was not original. The novel is filled with imagery. For example, even the horsemen of the apocalypse make an appearance.) This is a great novel and I hope it remains on reading lists for years to come.

  • M. Allen
    15:59 on March 2nd, 2013
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    Literary Analysis of The Red Badge of Courage By:Stephen Crane

    First published in 1895 “The Red Badge of Courage”. I Give four stars. This Book takes place during the civil war, which was a hard time because of the difference in war.{The setting and the literary devices this story make it a proven classic. The Setting of “The Red Badge of Courage” is very important because it gives you a better understanding of the story. Literary Devices in this story give this book a visual on things.Three examples of imagery in this book are… “Jim-Jim-what are you doing- what makes you do this way- you’ll hurt yourself.” That sentence sets a good imagery because you can just imagne what he’s doing.”No-No- Don’t tech me -leave me be-leave me be-.” That quote of imagery gives gives you the feeling that this person is very lonely and does not want to talk to anyone.”Good Lord! “. That in a way is imagery because you can just imagine a old guy screaming “Good Lord! “. I feel in this story Stephen Crane did a great job figuring out his thoughts and he wrote them out well. This story gives a very good understanding of what it was like in the Civil War. I infer that Stephen Crane once had a military expierience and wrote about it. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes adventurous stories.

  • srmsofttech
    18:11 on March 2nd, 2013
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    The Red Badge of Courage is interepted as many as being an anti-war novel: it is not.What it does do is present the horrors and psychological aspects of war war without glory, but not without heroics and courage.Henry Fleming is in many ways an every-soldier: he joins the army out of patriotism and to prove his manhood; when the time comes to fight he doubts himself and runs away out of fear. It is at this point Henry comes to the crossroads of his young life: instead of completely deserting his unit he returns to his regiment and the battlefield out of a sense of duty and also out of shame and anger at himself. Once he returns he peforms heroically on the battlefield. I feel Crane’s purpose in this books is not to make some overblown anti-war treatise like All Quiet on the Western Front, but to portray what he believed( and may soldiers who read the book agreed with him) to be the emotions and feelings of a soldier in war and also the true motivation behind courage and heroism. Crane shows through Henry, that heroism and courage in war is not something that comes naturally to man(or any animal, as shown by the squirrel scene in the forest) or can simply be conjured up out of blind obedience or extreme partiotism. Crane in fact argues the opposite: courage in war(or in and courage in reponse to violence) is something unatural, something that must be accomplished by overcoming our own natural fear and flight instincts.Henry is able to perform herocially because of anger, his sense of duty, his feeling of brotherhood toward his regiment and out of something deep inside himself that even Crane ( and nobody) could not totally understand . This is a great book about heroism, courage , brotherhood, duty and the psychological aspects of war. It is not a books that glorifies war ,nor it is it an anti-war treatise. It simply tells a story about war in a world where war exists.

  • ybwkppp
    18:27 on March 2nd, 2013
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    From what I understand, Civil War reenactments are hugely popular, especially at war sites throughout the South. Participants even go so far as to buy the exact rations (I heard the biscuits are like bricks!), wear authentic uniforms, etc. What a trip! For such people, I highly recommend Courage. It deals with the fear felt by a soldier in a war he did not fully understand. (Who did?) Nation vs. Nation, Brother vs. Brother. God forbid that we would ever again disagree with each other in such magnitude! There are a lot of things I think I would have missed had I not followed along in the Cliffs Notes. It kept me informed as to some deeper meanings. The book is certainly not long, but for me it bogged down in several places. However, I’m glad that I had a chance to experience war through someone else’s eyes rather than have to face such a situation in my own life. And to imagine that Crane wrote this book based only on interviews he had with Civil War vets! To me, this is an amazing fact.

  • Kathleen
    21:38 on March 2nd, 2013
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    Imagine standing in the middle of a battlefield having to watch your friends suffer and eventually die from bullet shots. This is a typical scene from the Civil War, which had the most loss of American life than any other war. “The Red Badge of Courage” horrifically, yet accurately, depicts the true nature of war. Crane uses excellent imagery to describe what is happening in the mind of the protagonist Henry Fleming, a young soldier. Although the language is somewhat difficult to comprehend because of the dialogue, the story itself is not difficult at all because of the intensity of battlefield and descriptiveness of the scenery. Crane’s descriptions make it clear that war is a traumatizing experience for everyone. Although the experience may be disturbing, cowards should not be involved in war, as Henry beautifully demonstrates. While most war stories present heroes of the war, Henry is portrayed as the exact opposite. He starts out as a boy going into war for the first time, and at one point runs away from all the fighting. In time, he matures through experience while facing the horrors of war. He eventually desires the red badge of courage, a wound that would mark his involvement in the war. All history lovers and those who love bloody and gruesome “Braveheart” type stories should read “The Red Badge of Courage.”

  • pOetiQ rOses
    1:19 on March 3rd, 2013
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    Well, I had to read this book for an American History project and quite frankly I wish I would have chosen a different book. I thought that the book was very slow and took awhile to make me want to read more. The only character that I felt a connection with was Henry, a young man that went into the Civil War. It was Henry that I connected with because he made realize in our lives everyone is looking for courage. When he went into war and then ran away because he thought that his side would be defeated I was angry. Then when he found the courage inside after seeing Jim die and letting another man die while watching him I felt a little bit happy for him. The most exciting part of the book was when he became the person who carried the flag. It was the high point of his courage and it made me beign to like him again. All in all though I didnt like the way Crane wrote the book and thought it was confusing at times. On several different occasions I read a section then had to re-read because I didn’t understand the point he was trying to get across. In the end though, I do respect Henry and his sense of courage after the many times of doubting his own courage.

    Patrick White-Overland Park, KS

  • Kenneth Lay
    2:41 on March 3rd, 2013
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    While in junior high I failed to jump on The Red Badge of Courage bandwagon when everyone chose it as a book report book because of its length. I am sorry I missed out. The length certainly makes this book easy and accessible to people of all ages, but it is so much more. Not only is it very fast paced, unpredictable, and the best character study I’ve ever read, but it is timeless. It is about war, specifically the Civil War, but there are no politics or specifics about that war, it is about the emotions of a youth at war and the world through his eyes. There is no difference between what he is thinking as his regiment is charging and what a 20 year old in a modern war would feel. Though Crane had never seen a war before writing this book, he paints an incredibly powerful, honest, and realistic portrayal. It is a fantastic book and one that deserves a very careful, detailed reading, but can also be enjoyed and finished in a couple hours.

  • Skateman
    3:52 on March 3rd, 2013
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    I found the slang speech of the characters to get annoying after a while and I found the author’s narration to be dull, dry, and passive. The writing wasn’t particularly good and neither was the plot. At first I thought the whole plot was pretty pointless, but that is partly the point of this book: to show the meaningless, as well as cruel nature of war.

    Henry initially enlists with the Union Army in the War Between the States with high hopes of glory only to find the life of a soldier boring and unrewarding. Neither Henry nor the other soldiers talk about why they want their side to win the war. Many of the soldiers in the War Between the States were comparatively ignorant of the politics and issues behind the war. When the Union soldiers encounter the Confederate soldiers, they find that the enemy has a lot in common with them- they are just ordinary men with a job to do. The soldiers in this book have a very limited scope of the battle as it is happening; they can only see how their own regiment is doing. Soldiers are given and follow orders, the reasons for which they don’t understand. This book accurately and realistically portrays war. Henry realizes that “Nobody seems to know where we go or why we go.” Another soldier stated, “There was shootin’ here an’ shootin’ there an’ hollerin’ here an’ hollerin’ there in the damn darkness, until I couldn’t tell t’ save m’ soul which side I was on.” At the end of the novel, after two days of marching and bloodshed, Henry’s regiment is ordered back to where it started, which conveys that all the previous struggles and deaths were for nothing. Specifically, this book makes a definite statement that war is pointless and chaotic.

    More generally, you could put an existential interpretation on it, extending the story to life, not just war. While part of a meaningless and cruel war that he doesn’t understand, Henry manages to find his own meaning in it, from within himself. At the closing of the novel, Henry doesn’t know whether the army has won the battle or if the battle is even over but he has been courageous and that’s the best he can do. During grim battle, Henry is amazed to see a “blue pure sky and the sun gleaming on the trees and fields.” This shows that the universe does not care about the desperation of the world. Henry is a small man trapped in a large army, which is in a even larger world. There’s not much Henry can do, but he does what he can. That’s his personal victory in the end- he copes as good as he can in a big, inhospitable world.

    Another theme is individualism -vs- conformity to the group. Crane has depersonalized the army and stressed that it is one coherent group, not a bunch of individuals. In the army, Henry and the other soldiers have been “welded into a common personality…dominated by a single desire.” One effect of focus on the group is that the individual shrinks in importance. In joining the army, Henry became a small “part of a vast blue demonstration.” Some critics have said the book promotes conformity to the group because Henry matures only when he does not run from battle and stays to fight with and for the army. But in being loyal to the group, Henry envies Jim, who because of his courage and loyalty dies in agony. In wanting to be in good standing in the army, Henry actually wants a wound, which he equates with courage. Being loyal to the army could get Henry killed at any time. The irony is that while Henry emerges from the story a victor, that battle (Chancellorsville) historically ended in a major defeat for the Union. There’s definitely the issue of individualism versus conformity in this book, but I think it conveys the message that a certain degree of conformity is necessary in our society, but that it is detrimental to the individual.

  • mochoajr
    5:12 on March 3rd, 2013
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    Yeah Know… I really only payed the S&H so overall my complaints over this book aren’t huge… It said the condition is “Good” and I would have labeled it as fair. The previous owner was all about highlighting text- and seeing as though I am using it as a textbook… that can be distracting. It isn’t missing any pages and hasn’t suffered any damage other than that…and it arrived on time… so over all a pretty good transaction and a fair product!

  • tylernol
    7:45 on March 3rd, 2013
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    The battle has ceased. The enemy has fled. Yet one soldier continues to fire at the absent presence of the enemy, with the most savage appearance. Like a man-killing machine, he strives at nothing. The other soldiers stand awestruck at his persistence toward the enemy. Would you believe that same soldier fled from the scene of his first battle? Henry Fleming is that soldier in which the book, “The Red Badge of Courage”, by Stephen Crane, is based upon. When Fleming entered the Civil War, he was like a young pup, helpless, weak, and frightened. As he grew, his fight was not on the battlefield of war, but under his bullet-prone chest, the heart. He continued to battle internal struggles from the shame of running from battle. Providence led him back to his regiment and after overcoming his fear, he turned into a ravenous wolf, in his aspiration to become a man.

    Crane desired to portray war as it actually happened. “Stephen Crane is credited with the introduction of social realism into American literature”. There is also color symbolism throughout the book pertaining to the colors red and yellow, which usually represent death. “He was being looked at by a dead man who was seated with his back against a column-like tree. The corpse was dressed in a uniform that once had been blue but was now faded to a melancholy shade of green. The eyes, staring at the youth, had changed to the dull hue to be seen on the side of a dead fish. The mouth was opened. Its red had been changed to an appalling yellow. Over the grey skin of the face ran little ants. One was trundling some sort of a bundle along the upper lip.” This exquisitely depicts his “realist” writing style and also contains color symbolism. Crane’s writing style can be hard to understand and get in depth at times, but even the below-average-reader can enjoy this book. If you are looking for a good Civil War novel that describes a soldier’s fear and feelings in a precise way, this is definitely the book for you.

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