I read Crane's short story The Open Boat and was so taken with Crane's voice and style, that I immediately wanted to get into this classic which, despite loving war books and having thought a great deal about my own time in the Navy, I hadn't ever read. It's one of those books you can get by not reading because so many other people have read it, and refer to it, that you kind of know what it's about. Gatsby's like that, too.
I loved it, mostly, for Crane's sentences. Sturdy, light, strong, and efficient. If you're an English teacher and you want to show a kid some powerful sentences with a varied structure, Crane's your man.