An intelligent, beautifully written portrait of ""the first great pyro-technician of the novel, [who] probably wrote more trash than any other serious novelist of his time"" (Alfred Kazin): a strait-laced Methodist minister's rebellious son, who died in 1900, at 28, after a remarkably eventful life. Enriching his own compelling narrative with revealing quotes from contemporaries, critics, and Crane's work, Sufrin details the brief life chronologically, pausing to present novels and other writings and to discuss their significance in literary history. There is much here to fascinate YA readers: Crane attended several colleges but never graduated (he got A's in English, simply didn't go to other classes, but was always a valued baseball player); he frequented slums like N.Y.C.'s Bowery and bummed his way from one seedy lodging to another while making a precarious living as a journalist; in his one real encounter with war (Cuba, 1898), he displayed daredevil courage. Sufrin is frank and nonjudgmental about Crane's poverty, spendthrift habits whenever be managed to earn or borrow funds, and taste for low life; more important, he makes his literary innovations and accomplishments wonderfully clear, as they were to contemporary admirers like Joseph Conrad and H. G. Wells. An excellent book--Bingo Brown's teacher (see above) should hand it to him when he finishes reading The Red Badge of Courage. Bibliography; b&w photos and indent not seen.