The son of a preacher, Stephen Crane quickly rejected middle-class life in favour of baseball, pool, poker, and ‘unsuitable’ relationships. After a turbulent spell at college he became a journalist, chronicling both the poverty-stricken underside of America's expanding cities and the Spanish-American and Graeco-Turkish wars. Poverty and war dominated his fiction. In his early novellas, Maggie, a Girl of the Streets (1893) and George's Mother (1896), he used highly charged language to explore the moral and psychological effects of life in a New York tenement block. His masterpiece, The Red Badge of Courage (1895), is set on the battlefields of the American Civil War, and re-creates the experiences of a young soldier, Henry Fleming. This remarkable book, which rewards careful reading, is both a powerful war story and a probing exploration of sensation and consciousness. Crane's story ‘The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky’ (1898) is an early classic of the Western genre.