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The Red Badge of Courage (Puffin Classics) Paperback – November 12, 2009
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From Library Journal
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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"The Red Badge Of Courage has long been considered the first great 'modern' novel of war by an American—the first novel of literary distinction to present war without heroics and this in a spirit of total irony and skepticism."—Alfred Kazin
Top customer reviews
I liked this book for a few reasons. For one, it's so nice to actually see a character develop and have very human flaws as Henry did and go to possible redemption at the end. In addition, the novel as others have said is a short, but surprisingly accurate depiction of war and not just a rosy outlook in which the main character is flawless from start to finish as well as the war in general for the North. Lastly, the length makes it a very enjoyable novel that you can finish in a day or so.
For having never read the book in school, I definitely would recommend this to anyone who has done the same.
While the psychological struggle of the young soldier experiencing war is interesting and true to real life accounts I've read. What sets this story apart is the author's use of imagery and color. He gives a foreboding personality to the very ground, trees, and hills.
"...and at night, when the stream had become of a sorrowful blackness, one could see across it the red, eyelike gleam of hostile camp fires set in the low brows of distant hills."
The depiction of battle scenes are not gory, but they are vividly realistic and horrible. I think this book is quite a work of art.
There are plenty of reviews of the novel itself on the print version, so first a note about the Kindle Edition of this book: I found no typos or poor formatting of the text throughout the Kindle Edition, which is a nice change from many of the other free classics. The only problem with this edition is that the table of contents does not work. It looks as if it should, but it is apparently just a large image within the text file, instead of clickable links to the relevant sections of the book. This is not a big deal, but it is always nice to have a working table of contents for reference.
As for the story: The Red Badge of Courage tells the story of Henry, often referred to as the "Youth," and his transformation over the course of a few days. Considering the author never fought in a war, his reflections on the the way battles can change a person are truly insightful, and at times even breath-taking. Stephen Crane also had a talent for describing the world around Henry allowing the reader to feel as if they are in the novel. The book is quite short, but Crane does a great job developing Henry's character. As Henry goes from scared, to terrified, to arrogant, and eventually humble, you find yourself actively liking and disliking Henry through his transformation, as if you were there.
There are two particular literary devices Crane uses that I particularly enjoyed and make the novel poetic at times. First, almost all of the characters have both a name and them also a character description. For example, Henry is "the Youth," he has a friend "the loud youngster" and so on for all the main characters. This reinforces the idea that this is not just a book about a particular person or group of people, but about people in general. The second device is the way Crane uses common themes. So, the word red is used an adjective of the novel, just as it is in the title. Or, another example, Henry is walking through the woods that remind him of a chapel: from that moment there is a chorus, steeple, etc., used as adjectives and metaphors for the next few pages. This is truly poetic.
I am grateful that there are teams of volunteers that put this material together and release it for free for the Kindle. The Red Badge of Courage was a quick and entertaining read: if, like me, you did not have the chance to read it when you were younger I would certainly recommend it.