The Red Badge of Courage is Stephen Crane's classic war novel, taking place during the American Civil War. The story is about a young private of the Union Army, Henry Fleming, who flees from the field of battle. Overcome with shame, he longs for a wound—a "red badge of courage"—to counteract his cowardice. The novel is known for its realistic battle sequences and psychological portrayal of fear. Major themes the story explores are heroism and cowardice. The Red Badge of Courage garnered widespread acclaim—what H. G. Wells called "an orgy of praise"—shortly after its publication, making Crane an instant celebrity at the age of twenty-four. Adapted several times for the screen, the novel became a bestseller. It has never been out of print, and is now thought to be Crane's most important work and a major American text.