Thursday, November 24, 2011

An Aside

Recently I took down from my bookshelf a classic novel that I had not read in many years. Although many believe it depicts the actions of the 124th New York Infantry at Chancellorsville, The Red Badge of Courage is written in such a way that it could be about the experience of any common soldier in any large-scale battle of the war. Stephen Crane, I think, captured the emotions and experiences of Civil War soldiers in an insightful way. If you’ve never read the novel or have not read it in a long time, then I encourage you to pick up a copy. It’s a short novel, and it might make a nice break from watching football and visiting (arguing?) with family members about politics.

In the spirit of rereading old favorites, I am also enjoying John Keegan’s, The Face of Battle. The heart of the book are his depictions of three battles (Agincourt, Waterloo, and the Somme) from the perspective of ordinary soldiers. There are many thought provoking comments in this book, and you will get a true sense of being with the soldiers in the ranks after reading this book.

1 comment:

  1. I second both of the recommendations! I read Keegan many years ago and it changed the way I saw military history. He captured the soldier's-eye view very well. I loved The Red Badge of Courage when I read it in high school. Perhaps it's time for a reread.