I really liked this book. A lot. Surprisingly. I’m not too big on war novels but this book, which takes place during the Civil War, was written very well. I liked how Crane never really gave the characters names. Only when directly spoken to by another character would you learn their name. They were described. The main character that the novel follows is called the youth. He has two other friends that are in the book called the tall soldier and loud soldier. We also meet Generals and Lieutenants among other soldiers of the regiment. I really liked that no one had names. It was easier to put myself in the role of the youth and get a sense of what the character went through.
The book takes place over a few days as far as I can tell. It takes place over a couple of battles. It’s the youths first few battles. We follow the youth and learn about his struggles and victories of war.
I really like what it says on the back of my book. It really captures what I’m trying to say well.
War is many things. It is waiting and boredom and rumor, as well as shot and shell and the Flag flying in a brave charge. It is men against the many minor enemies of sodden discomfort, fatigue, fear, and uncertainty, as well as the human enemy with a gun.
Men have made war – and written about it – since before the dawn of history. It would hardly seem there is anything new to say. Yet when Stephen Crane wrote The Red Badge of Courage in 1895, it met immediate wide popularity. Others had written of gallantry, of glory, and grand strategy; but what Crane’s readers found was the simple human tale of a young recruit, bewildered by the mad pattern of battle, often weary and frequently afraid. It was in effect a truth about war – and about men – which old soldiers might tell, but which was seldom set down in books.
Stephen Crane was born in Newark, NJ, in 1871, and died in 1900. He was 25 when he wrote The Red Badge of Courage, and the war he told about had been over before his birth. But veterans praised his book’s accuracy – because he had listened to their talk and understood their feelings.
I do recommend this book. It’s well written and makes you think. I really enjoyed reading it.