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Publisher's Summary

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.6 out of 5.0
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Story

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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.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Darwin8u
  • Mesa, AZ, United States
  • 05-29-12

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.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Mike
  • Florence, Colorado, United States
  • 11-20-10

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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An american classic

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Yes, this was time well spent as I had never read this American Classic.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

The description of the colors and confusion of the soldiers was very interesting. There was a poetic aspect to the prose.

Have you listened to any of John Michaels’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I don't know if I have listened before.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

No and it probably is a movie.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great Civil war re-enactment. Addresses mens fear

What aspect of John Michaels’s performance would you have changed?

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.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Gene
  • SHAWNEE, KANSAS, United States
  • 04-18-12

I appreciated the psychological perspective

If you could sum up The Red Badge of Courage in three words, what would they be?

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. <br/>

Who was your favorite character and why?

Henry Flemming was my favorite character because it was through his eyes that I understood the conflicts that run through the mind concerning war.

Did John Michaels do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

John Michaels did an excellent job in voicing the different characters. There was never any doubt whose voice you were hearing.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I was sadden by the reality of war. What a waste!

Any additional comments?

I am glad that this classic novel is still being published.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Randy
  • LANCASTER, CA, United States
  • 07-18-11

Must read

The fear, the blood, the horror of how we face our demons is not to be missed.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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You get what you pay for

The book itself is pretty good, Crane does a great job of portraying battle. However, this narrator is absolutely awful. Mispronounced words, saying the wrong words, and edited out paragraphs (this I presume wasn't the narrators fault), were all prominent in the reading. But for only $4, I guess it does the job. Not the best reading, but for 1/4 the price of others, it's not bad.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Tedious and poorly crafted metaphors

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Anyone interested in the obscure musings of a late adolescent mind.

Would you ever listen to anything by Stephen Crane again?

Not without a strong recommendation from someone whose taste I know and trust.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of John Michaels?

Someone who knew when to interject excitement, instead of adding it randomly just to spice things up

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Red Badge of Courage?

There were very few actual 'scenes.'

0 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • DJ
  • 07-07-17

Outstanding classic lifted by brilliant narration

Loved this book and totally disagree with the reviews that criticise it for (I paraphrase) it's so called poor pacing and lack of narrative flow, for in reality it is a deliberate, meandering, poetic sojourn through one young man's rite of passage via the medium of war. Using the the term 'youth' throughout, despite us knowing the character's name, the author evokes a sense of an intensely personal reaction to the alien events happening to the boy, beginning with the fear that cause him to flee the field and ending with his self styled redemption, viewed largely through the window of his own mind, though also sometimes from without, such as when someone tells him they had overheard a group of officers praising him for his actions. The only thing I would add is that this fine tome also requires a written copy to hand for your full appreciation, because otherwise you may find yourself pausing to reflect on this or that beautiful image that the author has just created. This classic is highly recommended by this reader.