There comes a time in the course of battle when a participant casts his fate to the gods of war, and carries on without question, the task at hand. Living, dying, right or wrong, can be contemplated later. The spirit of the bayonet takes over and carries the youth through the crucible of battle to emerge a short time later several ages older.
Stephen Crane's classic novel gives us a glimpse into the mind of a young soldier as he passes through the experience he will never be able to forget, and possibly awaken him from his slumber in a sweat and panic for years to come.
Public Domain (P)2010 SpringBrook Audio
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"From the Farm to the Inferno"
I???ve never been in a war, but listening to Stephen Crane???s The Red Badge of Courage made me feel thrust into one. Crane???s horrific descriptions of the sights and sounds of a Civil War battle, as well as his unromantic depictions of the behavior of soldiers in such a fray (from raw recruits to erratic officers), and through it all his brutally honest account of the changing mental state of the naive northern farm-boy, Henry Fleming, all feel so authentic that I???m amazed that Crane had never experienced war when he wrote his short novel.
With his deep, gravelly voice, the reader, John Michaels, does a fine job of expressing Crane???s matter-of-fact, portentous, ironic, excited, and empathetic tone (though a few times he blurs some words so that I had to rewind to understand them).
Crane writes an appalling poetry of war. Bullets whistling and nipping among the trees, until ???Twigs and leaves came sailing down???. as if a thousand axes, wee and invisible, were being wielded.??? Artillery firing ???an interminable roar???. the whirring and thumping of gigantic machinery, complications among the smaller stars.??? Corpses, ???ghastly forms??? lying ???twisted in fantastic contortions??? as if ???dumped out upon the ground from the sky.??? The poetic descriptions contrast with the soldiers??? vernacular: "Oh, say, this is too much of a good thing!" Their morale is fragile: ???The slaves toiling in the temple of this god began to feel rebellion at his harsh tasks.???
Many war-is-hell stories revel in exciting battle scenes, and possibly one or two in Crane???s novel could be taken out of context to ignite the martial passions. But he really depicts war as a filthy, chaotic, brutal, and horrific ???devilment,??? which, if it does impel some men to become ???heroes,??? does so at a cost to their humanity and is fought for ultimately mysterious reasons for which nature cares nothing. Because we still haven???t been able to stop toiling in the temple of the god of war, this audiobook should be heard.
"NOT quite =to Conrad, Tolstoy or Remarque"
Probably 3.5 stars. Bonus points for the fact that Crane elevated war novels to a more modern level, but doesn't quite measure up quite to Conrad, Tolstoy or Remarque. Maybe 4 stars as a novel and 3 stars as a war novel.
"Excellent Narration of a Classic Novel"
John Michael's resonant baritone rolls like the sound of a distant canon bringing this Steven Crane Classic to life.
"Great Civil war re-enactment. Addresses mens fear"
His performance was overall very good, but he kept "stalling", which was very distracting until I learned to ignore it. "as they were -- passing -- the -- field..." like he was turning the page and pausing. Perhaps he was.
"An american classic"
Yes, this was time well spent as I had never read this American Classic.
The description of the colors and confusion of the soldiers was very interesting. There was a poetic aspect to the prose.
I don't know if I have listened before.
No and it probably is a movie.
"I appreciated the psychological perspective"
Through the author's insights into the horrors of war, I gained insights into the psychological processes that might take place in the mind of a young soldier.
Henry Flemming was my favorite character because it was through his eyes that I understood the conflicts that run through the mind concerning war.
John Michaels did an excellent job in voicing the different characters. There was never any doubt whose voice you were hearing.
I was sadden by the reality of war. What a waste!
I am glad that this classic novel is still being published.
The fear, the blood, the horror of how we face our demons is not to be missed.
"Tedious and poorly crafted metaphors"
Anyone interested in the obscure musings of a late adolescent mind.
Not without a strong recommendation from someone whose taste I know and trust.
Someone who knew when to interject excitement, instead of adding it randomly just to spice things up
There were very few actual 'scenes.'
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