Review: The Red Badge of Courage

Stephen Crane (1895)

After so many years with this on my “must read” list, I’m glad to have finally gotten around to it, courtesy of my book club.  It was much different than I expected it to be, very dense and full of symbolism. I especially enjoyed reading this first-person account of Civil War battle (written thirty years after the war by a man who never saw battle himself,) keeping in mind the fictionalized historical accounts of Civil War battles I’d read by Michael and Jeff Shaara, The Killer Angels and Gods and Generals. Red Badge is a personal, internalized perspective on war–the cowardice, valor, boredom, fatigue and terror of battle. A good discussion was generated from this book.

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