Written by Stephen Crane at the age of twenty-one, The Red Badge of Courage is one of the greatest war novels of all time -- so groundbreaking that critics consider it to be the first work of modern American fiction. Although Crane never witnessed warfare, The Red Badge of Courage is a realistic and terrifying account of the Civil War and the fear that a young soldier must face on the battlefield as well as within himself.
Stephen Crane (1871-1900) was born in New Jersey and was the last of fourteen children. While The Red Badge of Courage is considered Crane's masterpiece, he is also known for another brilliant yet grim work of fiction, Maggie, A Girl of the Streets (1893), as well as his poetry and journalism. Crane moved to Europe in 1897 and died in Germany at the age of twenty-nine from tuberculosis.