The Civil War was among the bloodiest conflicts in American History. For Henry Fleming, a teenaged romantic filled with idealistic notions, the reality of the battlefield shakes him to his core. Over the course of a four-day battle, Henry comes to see himself, and the world at large, in a completely new light.
Public Domain (P)2014 Steven J Cohen
This audio version of The Red Badge of Courage should help many high school students get through English class. It is frequently included in high school curriculum because of its distinctive style, color imagery, and ironic tone.
The story centers around Henry, an idealistic teenager in the Union Army during the Civil War, who flees his regiment at the first sight of combat. As the story unfolds, you see into Henry's inner psyche and the conflicting emotions he is feeling. You see Henry's cowardice at first, his slow maturation, and eventual heroism. By the end of the book, the listener is rewarded by seeing Henry become an experienced and successful soldier.
Steven Jay Cohen did an excellent job narrating. He brought the characters to life, using a variety of accents and giving each character their own distinct voice. I could almost feel the pain that many of the wounded soldiers were experiencing. Bravo!
I am a live storyteller who devours huge amounts of audio books to study classics and new books so I can tell new stories.
The Red Badge of Courage ranks high among all the audiobooks I have listened to so far and very high among American books. I put it right up there with Moby Dick, The Scarlet Letter, and Huckleberry Finn.
The battle scenes are unlike anything I have heard before. I got nauseated because they were so bloody, and realistic. I felt I was right there in the middle of battle. Like Henry Fleming, I wanted to flee the field.
Steven Jay Cohen has a great ability to capture the dialects and accents of the common foot soldier from the North or South. He did not just read the book; he inhabited the characters. This made the audiobook easy to follow.
Yes, when Henry Fleming ran away and came upon the dead body of a soldier against a tree in a clearing. Ants crawled over the face of the corpse. One ant carried a tiny chunk of flesh. Henry was so terrified that the corpse was going to pop up and pursue him like a zombie, that Henry backed out of the clearing, always keeping his eyes on the corpse.
This is a visceral read. War is not pretty. If you want to know what war is like for a soldier, read this book. The events are particular to the Civil War, but Henry Fleming's experience as a soldier are universal and timeless.
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