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The Red Badge of Courage Book Review (2021)

Stephen Crane

This historical fiction novel is written by author Stephen Crane and although it is his second novel ever, it’s a novel that holds a very realistic story that no one wants to talk about during times of war such as the American Civil War.

Henry Fleming

The story focuses on one main character, Henry Fleming, who joins the Union Army and finds that his expectations turn out to be very different than what he initially thought. Check out this book review of The Red Badge of Courage if you want to find out about this story by Stephen Crane.

The Red Badge of Courage Book

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The Red Badge of Courage 7.76/10 149 Pages Check Price On Amazon

Life Ends Here

The book starts out with the introduction of the American Civil War times and you get to know the main character of the book, Henry Fleming. Henry thinks that military life would be something totally different and even fun, but after he joins the Union Army, Henry realizes that he is actually in the middle of all the danger and life ends here at any moment. If you are interested in civil wars topic, make sure to check out our review of the best civil war fiction books, where you can find this book as well.


Henry finds himself in the middle of the fight against Confederate soldiers, scared of what might come, and regretting this decision. You will find that this The Red Badge of Courage book review doesn’t tell you a story where the protagonist immediately turns into a hero and realizes that he must face what is ahead, no, Henry’s cowardice was bigger than his courage so he abandons his fellow soldiers and flees from all the danger and action.

Redeeming Honor

For whatever reason you will see in the book as you read it for yourself, Henry later comes back after things had cooled down and have to face probably an even worse scenario, the struggles with how much shame he has brought to himself and to the whole Union Army. Henry tries so badly to redeem his honor and prove himself as he asks for one more chance.

Second Chance

This is the part of the story where this second chance that Henry receives turns him into a real soldier as, in the next morning, he goes into battle again and has to prove what he has promised. They had found a small group of Confederates, and even though it wasn’t as scary as the previous battle that he ran from, Henry stands and fights, proving that he is a capable and dedicated soldier.

The biggest reason for him returning and asking for another chance is because of the events that happened while he abandoned his fellow soldiers and fled into a nearby forest. The things that happened in there, which we will not spoil in this The Red Badge of Courage book review, are responsible for him going back.

Action and Thrill

One final battle happens in this book that is filled with much action and thrill. In this battle, Henry is now the flag-bearer, after the color sergeant had fallen. In this battle, the Union soldiers are faced with a really tough situation. In front of them, lies a group of enemy soldiers, hiding behind a fence and continuously raining bullets at them, but if they retreat they would prove as a disgrace to everyone else, so a charge is ordered and Henry leads the way.

How Does It All End?

If you find what you see in this The Red Badge of Courage book review interesting, then be sure to check out the whole book for yourself and find out how this final battle in the book takes place and what happens to everyone that you have read about in it, most importantly, how does it all end for Henry Fleming?

Michael Englert
Michael Englert
Michael is a graduate of cultural studies and history. He enjoys a good bottle of wine and (surprise, surprise) reading. As a small-town librarian, he is currently relishing the silence and peaceful atmosphere that is prevailing.