Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Red Badge of Courage [Book Review]

One of the things I want to do on this blog is provide occasional book reviews. If I read a good book, I'll let you know about it and what I think of it. The most recent book I've read is Stephen Crane's The Red Badge of Courage (Amazon Kindle link).

I read this book in high school, but that was 10th or 11th grade, and I'm not entirely sure I actually read the whole book or read part of the book and the rest through Sparknotes. (I'm sure my teachers would be thrilled to read that.)

Without giving away too much of the plot, the story centers on the youthful Henry and his experience on a regiment in the Civil War. The battle is centered more on Henry's internal struggle rather than the external struggle of the war. Will Henry be able to calm his inner self and help his fellow soldiers win the day?

I enjoyed reading the book. I am not a Civil War enthusiast by any means, but based on my own imagination the book resembled what I thought the war would have been like. One of the things I noticed right away in the book is Crane's description of the soldiers. He seldom uses real names but instead refers to them as "the youth" or "the loud solider," as if they were known more by their personality than their names. The descriptions of nature and the battle surroundings use colors, often with detail, especially toward the end of the novel. While Crane was born after the Civil War and had no experience as a soldier, to me, he captured much of what had to be running through young men's minds before, during, and after battle. Crane also incorporated local dialects into the novel, which took a little getting used to but made the story that much more realistic. While the story focuses primarily on Henry's inner struggles, the interactions between soldiers as well as the commanding officers stood out to me - interactions you would certainly expect from soldiers, while the officers have a sense of arrogance toward the soldiers, at least that's what I gathered. The book is a quick read and will keep you interested throughout.

As I said earlier, I do not remember whether I actually read the whole book in high school. Now I can officially say I did in fact read the entire book, and best of all, there is no test to take or essay to write. I definitely like this book, and with it being free for the Amazon Kindle, there's really no reason not to read it...

But you don't have to take my word for it. Thanks for stopping by!


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