Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Book Review Brief: The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane

Just finished the classic Civil War novel.  I know most people read this book in high school, but I never did and since it is on the list of classics that I'm following, I was eager to read it.

After reading The Shack, this was a complete delight.  It was so descriptively written that the language itself kept me reading, let alone the inviting plot.  I had mentioned in my review of The Shack that it read like a summer beach novel.  Crane's sentences in Red Badge were so much more interesting.  Here's an excerpt from the portion right after Fleming runs away from the battle:

Since he had turned his back upon the fight his fears had been wondrously magnified.  Death about to thrust him between the shoulder blades was far more dreadful than death about to smite him between the eyes.  When he thought of it later, he conceived the impression that it is better to view the appalling than to be merely within hearing.  The noises of the battle were like stones; he believed himself liable to be crushed.

What is sometimes very intriguing about some of these great authors is how their lives take bizarre turns.  Among other strange things, one example is the fact that Crane died in a sanitarium in Germany at the age of 28.

Enjoyed the book and I'm currently on to Voltaire's Candide.


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