July Books 16) The Red Badge of Courage

16) The Red Badge of Courage, by Stephen Crane

Had vaguely been meaning to read this for ages after I bought it last year. I think I had seen some references to it in one of Joe Haldeman’s novels, or something similar. I must say I thought it was rather good. It’s the story of a young soldier in the US Civil War, with a very strong psychological perspective on his frame of mind as he goes into his first battle (and indeed runs away from it, but goes back and tries again). As well as the exploration of the central character’s inner life, the descriptions of landscape and of the battle scenes are vivid and colourful. My one reservation is that the tight third person point of view is somewhat let down on the few occasions that Fleming actually speaks; his words as reported just don’t seem completely consistent with the character whose complex runimations we have been pursuing. Apart from that, good even-handed stuff. (The author was born in 1870, years after the war ended, but based it on interviews with veterans and the battle is generally supposed to be Chancellorsville.)

I’ve linked above to the LibraryThing page for the book; not sure if I will do this regularly but it may be a useful jumping-off point for people.

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1 Response to July Books 16) The Red Badge of Courage

  1. anonymous says:

    If you’re trying his 1976 campaign book, take a little extra time and pick up Turning Point, his book about his very first campaign for public office. – Doug Merrill

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