The Red Badge of Courage

  • by Stephen Crane
  • Narrated by Anthony Heald
  • 4 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Following its initial appearance in serial form, Stephen Crane's The Red Badge of Courage was published as a complete work in 1895 and quickly became the benchmark for modern antiwar literature. In the character of Henry Flemming, Stephen Crane provides a great and realistic study of the mind of an inexperienced soldier trapped in the fury and turmoil of war. Flemming dashes into battle, at first tormented by fear, then bolstered with courage in time for the final confrontation.Although the exact battle is never identified, Crane based this story of a soldier's experiences during the American Civil War on the 1863 Battle of Chancellorsville. Many veterans, both Union and Confederate, praised the book's accurate representation of war, and critics consider its stylistic strength the mark of a literary classic.

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What the Critics Say

"A classic work of American literature." (The New York Times)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The Wounded have a Red Badge of Courage

The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane, is the tale of a single union soldier’s thoughts as he chooses to go to war, his mind upon entering the service, his fears before his first battle, his hubris and then panic before engagement with the enemy, his discombobulation during the first and latter battles, his cowardice, his rehabilitation (to some extent), his maturation thereupon and his achievements in latter and final battles. We go through all these sequential mental states listening to the mind of our young soldier, Henry Fleming, “the youth,” as told through a third party describing for us the youth’s mental thinking's. The analysis is nothing less than extraordinary.

The book is often set reading in middle school teachings. It provides insightful understanding of the difficulty of marching onto a battlefield. The book may be very true to life. What is peculiar though is that the author is reported to have said the following concerning the fact that he was never in battle and was born six years after the Civil War ended: "Of course, I have never been in a battle, but I believe that I got my sense of the rage of conflict on the football field, or else fighting is a hereditary instinct, and I wrote intuitively; for the Cranes were a family of fighters in the old days". Wikipedia, last visited August 15, 2015, at n. 23 therein.

Notwithstanding Crane’s situation in life, the study is magnificent, and representative of a very likely mental process shared by many before entering battle. The Red Badge of Courage should not be overlooked as an essential read.
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- J.B.

A Powerful, Moving Classic

I had read The Red Badge of Courage on the page twice before. It's an extraordinarily powerful novel. Crane packs more psychological truth and insight into this short work than most writers do in novels four times its length.

I was, however, unprepared for the new power that Anthony Heald's performance brought to the book. It is an incredibly rich performance, nuanced, taught, full of raw emotion where appropriate. It truly felt as if I was reading the book for the first time.
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- Steve M

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-27-2008
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.