In 1914 Paul Baumer and his classmates are marched to the local recruiting office by a sentimentally patriotic form-master. On a calm October day in 1918, only a few weeks before the Armistice, Paul will be the last of them to be killed. In All Quiet on the Western Front he tells their story. A few years after it was published in 1929 the Nazis would denounce and publicly burn Remarque's novel for insulting the heroic German army - in other words, for 'telling it like it was' for the common soldier on the front line ...
In 1914 Paul Baumer and his classmates are marched to the local recruiting office by a sentimentally patriotic form-master. On a calm October day in 1918, only a few weeks before the Armistice, Paul will be the last of them to be killed. In All Quiet on the Western Front he tells their story. A few years after it was published in 1929 the Nazis would denounce and publicly burn Remarque's novel for insulting the heroic German army - in other words, for 'telling it like it was' for the common soldier on the front line where any notions of glory and national destiny were soon blasted away by the dehumanizing horror of modern warfare. Remarque has an extraordinary power of describing fear: the appalling tension of being holed up in a dugout under heavy bombardment; the animal instinct to kill or be killed which takes over during hand-to-hand combat. He also has an eye for the grimly comic: the consignment of coffins Paul and his friends pass as they make their way up the line for a new offensive; the young soldiers joyfully tucking into double rations when half their company are unexpectedly wiped out. Remarque's elegy for a sacrificed generation is all the more devastating for the laconic prose in which his teenaged veteran narrates shocking experiences which for him have become the stuff of daily life. Paul cannot imagine a life after the war and can no longer relate to his family when he returns home on leave. Only the camaraderie of his diminishing circle of friends has any meaning for him. He comes especially to depend on an older comrade, Stanislaus Katczinsky, and one of the most poignant moments in the book is when he carries the wounded Kat on his back under fire to the field dressing station, with starkly tragic outcome. The saddest and most compelling war story ever written.
All Quiet on the Western Front is one of the greatest books of the twentieth century about one of the deadliest wars of the twentieth century. Erich Maria Remarque was a German soldier in World War I; in this book he develops the themes of lost youth, death, comradeship, and the senselessness of war. He tells of the dreadful sights, sounds, and smells of battle and life in the trenches as well as the disquieting experiences of bombardments, rats, and lice (as well as a bit of humor now and then). Though not an uplifting story, this is a powerful book that will change how one thinks about war and its destructive power on the human psyche; moreover, one gets a better understanding of the physical, emotional, and psychological damage that war has on those who fight it. Few books have brought me to tears; in sum, All Quiet on the Western Front is one of the saddest (and, ironically) and one of the best books I have ever read. Highly recommended.
Feb 5, 2013
This is a wonderful book. It is beautifully written about an ugly time. Remarque shows the devastating effect of war on the mind and soul.
Jan 9, 2013
Keep This In Schools!!!
This is the most interesting book I read in high school besides some Shakespeare. It is a book about war and should be gory, awful, and sad,; in the computer age Western people forget what war can do to a person, a region, a country. The whole point IS war is gory, awful, and sad. I am going to read it again after almost 20 years, and I will never forget how changed I was after my first read.
Dec 22, 2008
Famous book and rightly so
Written by a German author after the First WW this is an antiwar book-but not antiwar in the modern sense. You are not hit over the head with moralisms. The truth of what war can be is slowly revealed through the young German soldier who tells the story. He doesn't tell us that war is hell. He tells his story simply as it unfolds and we can reach our own conclusions.
He and his friends-since-childhood are simple young men from an ordinary upbringing. They don't really know what the war is about, or even why they're in it. They only know that their personal survival depends on learning a few basic lessons very quickly.
However this book is much bigger than the sum of it's parts. It is a book that will stick in your brain and give you new ways of thinking about war-not as an abstract thing to be against-or for- but what war really means to individuals and their families and their society.
I am neither pro or con war in general. I believe there are times when war may be the only solution. I am not a person who knows a great deal about war, either. But I learned a great deal from this book about why war should always be the last solution. And what war means to those who are in it, It has left an indelible impression on me and I haven't read it in 25 years.
It it a book that should be read by anyone who wants to be a thinking person as part of a holistic viewpoint on life.
Jul 29, 2007
This was the most awful,depressing,gory,horrible book i have ever read in my entire life. I would have quit reading it if i didn't have to read it for school. I think that this book should be banned from schools. There is not one good moment in it.
Alibris, the Alibris logo, and Alibris.com are registered trademarks of Alibris, Inc.
Copyright in bibliographic data and cover images is held by Nielsen Book Services Limited, Baker & Taylor, Inc., or by their respective licensors, or by the publishers, or by their respective licensors. For personal use only. All rights reserved. All rights in images of books or other publications are reserved by the original copyright holders.