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All Quiet on the Western Front

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On the hundredth anniversary of the end of World War I: a hardcover edition of the classic tale of a young German soldier's harrowing experiences in the trenches, widely acclaimed as the greatest war novel of all time. When twenty-year-old Paul Baumer and his classmates enlist in the German army during World War I, they are full of youthful enthusiam. But the world of duty, On the hundredth anniversary of the end of World War I: a hardcover edition of the classic tale of a young German soldier's harrowing experiences in the trenches, widely acclaimed as the greatest war novel of all time. When twenty-year-old Paul Baumer and his classmates enlist in the German army during World War I, they are full of youthful enthusiam. But the world of duty, culture, and progress they had been taught to believe in shatters under the first brutal bombardment in the trenches. Through the ensuing years of horror, Paul holds fast to a single vow: to fight against the principle of hate that meaninglessly pits young men of the same generation but different uniforms against one another. Erich Maria Remarque's classic novel not only portrays in vivid detail the combatants' physical and mental trauma, but dramatizes as well the tragic detachment from civilian life felt by many upon returning home. Remarque's stated intention--"to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped shells, were destroyed by the war"--remains as powerful and relevant as ever, a century after that conflict's end.


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On the hundredth anniversary of the end of World War I: a hardcover edition of the classic tale of a young German soldier's harrowing experiences in the trenches, widely acclaimed as the greatest war novel of all time. When twenty-year-old Paul Baumer and his classmates enlist in the German army during World War I, they are full of youthful enthusiam. But the world of duty, On the hundredth anniversary of the end of World War I: a hardcover edition of the classic tale of a young German soldier's harrowing experiences in the trenches, widely acclaimed as the greatest war novel of all time. When twenty-year-old Paul Baumer and his classmates enlist in the German army during World War I, they are full of youthful enthusiam. But the world of duty, culture, and progress they had been taught to believe in shatters under the first brutal bombardment in the trenches. Through the ensuing years of horror, Paul holds fast to a single vow: to fight against the principle of hate that meaninglessly pits young men of the same generation but different uniforms against one another. Erich Maria Remarque's classic novel not only portrays in vivid detail the combatants' physical and mental trauma, but dramatizes as well the tragic detachment from civilian life felt by many upon returning home. Remarque's stated intention--"to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped shells, were destroyed by the war"--remains as powerful and relevant as ever, a century after that conflict's end.

30 review for All Quiet on the Western Front

  1. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    I don't know why it took me so long to get to "All Quiet on the Western Front," but I'm glad I finally read it and am grateful to my friend Rose for recommending it. The book, first published in the late 1920s, is an absolutely heartbreaking, wonderfully written novel about the permanent damage done to those who fight in wars. Few anti-war novels written since have matched Erich Maria Remarque's unsettling book, and I doubt any have surpassed it. Given how famous "All Quiet" is, there's little ne I don't know why it took me so long to get to "All Quiet on the Western Front," but I'm glad I finally read it and am grateful to my friend Rose for recommending it. The book, first published in the late 1920s, is an absolutely heartbreaking, wonderfully written novel about the permanent damage done to those who fight in wars. Few anti-war novels written since have matched Erich Maria Remarque's unsettling book, and I doubt any have surpassed it. Given how famous "All Quiet" is, there's little need for me to say much about it here. (Plus, it's so much easier to write negative reviews than positive ones, and I have absolutely nothing bad to say about this book.) There are several heart-rending passages that I expect will stick with me for a long time, though, and that I feel the need to mention: Paul Bäumer's leave, during which he finds it nearly impossible to relate normally to his family after his experiences on the front; Paul's time in a shell hole with French soldier Gérard Duval; the brief interlude Paul and his comrades spend with a group of French girls, and how the gal with whom he'd been paired treats him in the end; and, of course, the scene near the book's end involving Stanislaus Katczinsky, easily "All Quiet"'s most interesting character. (I won't say anything about the scene with Kat so as not to spoil it for those who haven't read the book yet.) One final thought, which I bring up because of Logan's comment that he didn't like "All Quiet," which he last read in high school. I've talked about this before, most recently in my review of "The Sea Wolf," and I feel the need to bring it up again: Many American readers, it seems, have bad memories of great works of literature they were made to read in school. That they were forced to read the books is, of course, part of the problem, but I also think schoolchildren often are assigned books they're not yet ready for. I don't mean that they're not smart enough to read and understand the books, but rather that they're not mature enough to have the books resonate properly with them. This would definitely be true of "All Quiet." It would be the most unusual of high school students -- one in a hundred, perhaps, if that many -- who could truly appreciate the issues raised in this book. I would encourage anyone who hasn't read "All Quiet" yet to check it out. And for those who read it in school and were left with a bad taste in their mouths, it's probably time to revisit the book. That means you, Logan.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Maureen

    There are already thousands of reviews for this deeply moving and heartbreaking book here on Goodreads, and I don't know that I could add anything new. It simply broke my heart. However I do feel really strongly that I should describe the vivid imagery that I'm left with. Bright red poppies in bloodied fields Where death stalked its victims. It cared not for age, creed, or nationality What would they have achieved in life, These young men, with so much yet to experience, So many dreams to fulfil There are already thousands of reviews for this deeply moving and heartbreaking book here on Goodreads, and I don't know that I could add anything new. It simply broke my heart. However I do feel really strongly that I should describe the vivid imagery that I'm left with. Bright red poppies in bloodied fields Where death stalked its victims. It cared not for age, creed, or nationality What would they have achieved in life, These young men, with so much yet to experience, So many dreams to fulfil If duty hadn't called, and they hadn't answered When the sun set for one final time It set on the lives they never lived

  3. 4 out of 5

    Warwick

    Man, I need a break. I've been reading about the First World War solidly since December and I've had enough now. There's only so many times you can go through the same shit, whether they're English, French, German, Russian – oh look, another group of pals from school, eagerly jogging down to the war office to sign up. Brilliant. Now it's just a matter of guessing which horrible death will be assigned to them: shrapnel to the stomach, bleeding to death in no-man's-land, drowning in mud, succumbin Man, I need a break. I've been reading about the First World War solidly since December and I've had enough now. There's only so many times you can go through the same shit, whether they're English, French, German, Russian – oh look, another group of pals from school, eagerly jogging down to the war office to sign up. Brilliant. Now it's just a matter of guessing which horrible death will be assigned to them: shrapnel to the stomach, bleeding to death in no-man's-land, drowning in mud, succumbing to dysentery, shot for deserting, bayonetted at close range, vaporised by a whizz-bang, victim of Spanish flu. It's like the most depressing drinking game ever. I wish, after spending many months reading around this subject, that I could pick out some obscure classic to recommend (and perhaps I will still find some, because I intend to keep reading about 1914–18 throughout 2014–18), but I have to say that this novel, famously one of the greatest war novels, is in fact genuinely excellent and left quite an impression on me, despite my trench fatigue. Remarque has the same elements as everyone else – because pretty much everyone in this war went through the same godawful mind-numbingly exhausting terror – but he describes it all with such conviction and such clarity that I was sucker-punched by the full horror of it all over again. The story is studded with remarkable incidents that linger in the mind: roasting a stolen goose in the middle of a barrage, for instance, or stabbing a Frenchman to death in a fit of panic while sheltering in the same shell-hole. The arrangements made to allow a hospital inmate to enjoy a marital visit with his wife, while the rest of the patients in the room concentrate on ‘a noisy game of cards’. I loved the moment where our narrator and his friends swim across a river to have a drink with some local French girls, arriving naked because they couldn't risk getting their uniforms wet. And back in the trenches, an infestation of huge rats, ‘with evil-looking, naked faces’, is described with more than Biblical loathing: They seem to be really hungry. They have had a go at practically everybody's bread. Kropp has wrapped his in tarpaulin and put it under his head, but he can't sleep because they run across his face to try and get at it. Detering tried to outwit them; he fixed a thin wire to the ceiling and hooked the bundle with his bread on to it. During the night he puts on his flashlight and sees the wire swinging backwards and forwards. Riding on his bread there is a great fat rat. There is also a fair bit of philosophising. While guarding a group of Russian prisoners-of-war, our narrator is overcome by the arbitrariness of the whole situation: An order has turned these silent figures into our enemies; an order could turn them into friends again. On some table, a document is signed by some people that none of us knows, and for years our main aim in life is the one thing that usually draws the condemnation of the whole world and incurs its severest punishment in law. How can anyone make distinctions like that looking at these silent men, with their faces like children and their beards like apostles? Any drill-corporal is a worse enemy to the recruits, any schoolmaster a worse enemy to his pupils than they are to us. […] I don't want to lose those thoughts altogether, I'll preserve them, keep them locked away until the war is over. […] Is this the task we must dedicate ourselves to after the war, so that all the years of horror will have been worthwhile? I found this quote and this resolution very moving, because Germany's post-war history rendered it so utterly futile. When the Nazis came to power in 1933 – just four years after this was published – they set about burning the book, which tended to be their first response to any problem. While Ernst Jünger's vision of a German people purified and hardened by the war was venerated (poor guy), Remarque's text was denounced as an ‘insult to the German soldier’. He took the hint, and sailed to the US in 1939. The German state, in what amounted to a fit of pique, cut his sister's head off instead and then billed what was left of his family for wear and tear to the blade. So – as can't be said enough – fuck them. The insights that Remarque and Barbusse and Sassoon and Genevoix and Manning found in extremis – of the essential commonality of human beings – are, we like to think, now accepted by society over the alternatives, despite what we sometimes have to infer from the content of our newspapers. With all of that said, this is a novel. It is not a memoir. Remarque only spent a month on the front lines (whereas Jünger, who apparently had the time of his life, was there for years). This 1994 translation from Brian Murdoch is excellent and reads entirely naturally; he also contributes a thoughtful and unassuming essay which – finally, a publisher that gets it! – is helpfully placed as an Afterword so as not to spoil the novel itself. All in all a very powerful and moving piece of writing: if I had to recommend just one contemporary novel from the First World War, so far this is probably it.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lyn

    The greatest war novel? Maybe. This was one of the first books that made me think that even though I wanted to be a writer someday, maybe I did not have what it takes. This was a sharp, swift kick in the gut; a none too subtle reminder that there are somber, very real and poignant moments captured in literature that escape petty categorization and cynicism, there are real moments that cannot be trivialized and placed on a genre specific bookshelf. Powerful.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Duane

    It has to be the defining novel of World War I, told from the point of view of a German soldier fighting in the trenches of France. This is not a novel of romance, intrigue, and adventure; it is a stark and frightingly realistic description of what it must have been like trying to survive from one day to the next, and almost always failing. Difficult and disturbing to read, it nevertheless is a narrative of how war is horrible, and hopefully why the telling of it may help deter future wars.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    I was finishing a phase of reading and teaching facets of the First World War, and it would not be complete without this fictitious, but realistic portrait of a soldier's life in the trenches on the Western front... I was reading excerpts from "All Quiet On The Western Front" in class, with students staring at me, some of them understanding for the first time what it really meant to be a soldier in the trenches, sent out to die under the banner of nationalism - which was an entirely positive word I was finishing a phase of reading and teaching facets of the First World War, and it would not be complete without this fictitious, but realistic portrait of a soldier's life in the trenches on the Western front... I was reading excerpts from "All Quiet On The Western Front" in class, with students staring at me, some of them understanding for the first time what it really meant to be a soldier in the trenches, sent out to die under the banner of nationalism - which was an entirely positive word back then. They had read the facts in their textbooks, and also checked additional sources, such as small parts of Churchill's brilliant The World Crisis, 1911-1918 or the highly informative The First World War: A Very Short Introduction. They had even familiarised themselves with quite graphic photographs and documentaries. But nothing prepared them for the voice of the young soldier in the novel that took them directly into the situation, and made the numbers from the history books become real people with feelings and worries. All of a sudden, the information that 20,000 English soldiers died on the first day of a specific attack was no longer just statistical data to be memorised. It meant 20,000 letters sent home to parents, siblings, wives and girlfriends, all with the same sad news ... "Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori", that old lie, which made soldiers die by the millions, or suffer life-altering mutilations, forever remembered through The Poems Of Wilfred Owen, is put into brutal contrast with the reality of a soldier on the German side. The soldier could just as well have been English or French, as the experience was the same on both sides of No Man's Land, with the exception that German soldiers recognised they were lucky to conduct the war outside their home country, seeing the destruction of the whole countryside around them: "The feeling of nationalism that the ordinary soldier has are expressed in the fact that he is out here. But it doesn't go any further: all his other judgements are practical ones and made from his point of view." The sense of idiocy, conspiracy, or irrationality behind the suffering is omnipresent. Soldiers discuss how they ended up in a situation that presumably nobody wanted but that everyone is now involved in. They read the papers, see the propaganda machines, know the lies. They are young, were recruited from school, and trained quickly to lose all previous ideals, to be prematurely old in their minds: "We had joined up with enthusiasm and with good will; but they did everything to knock that out of us. After three weeks, it no longer struck us as odd that an ex-postman with a couple of stripes should have more power over us than our parents ever had, or our teachers, or the whole course of civilization, from Plato to Goethe. With our young, wide-open eyes we saw that the classical notion of patriotism we had heard from our teachers meant, in practical terms at that moment, surrendering our individual personalities more completely than we would ever have believed possible even in the most obsequious errand boy. Saluting, eyes front, marching, presenting arms, right and left about, snapping to attention, insults and a thousand varieties of bloody-mindedness - we had imagined that our task would be rather different from all this, but we discovered that we were being trained to be heroes the way they train circus horses, and we quickly got used to it." The bitterness of the situation is expected by any reader familiar with the First World War. The hard conditions, the dying, mutilation and boredom are not new. What got under my skin rereading this novel for probably the fourth time now, were the details showing what was left of those individual characteristics the young men were asked to surrender to the cause. The compassion and understanding they are able to feel for Russian prisoners. The joy they experience on an adventure involving girls. The passionate happiness when they receive the slightest comfort, or the unspeakable sadness when they visit their families and realise they have lost touch with them and can't share their knowledge. The complete loneliness when a mother asks how it really is, and the teenage son has to protect her from a truth that she won't be able to digest. "There is my mother, there is my sister, there is the glass case with my butterflies, there is the mahogany piano - but I am not quite there myself yet. There is a veil..." The protagonist fell in October 1918, just before the armistice, during the very last weeks of the war, just like Wilfred Owen in real life. He fell on a day that was so unspectacular that the newspaper reported all was quiet, nothing new on the western front. That is the most heartbreaking part of the novel, that this individual, intelligent young man, forced out to die for an ideal he did not believe in, was not even considered noteworthy in the news. Heroism of the quiet death, which is neither sweet nor appropriate. Reading a novel like this puts the big drama of the facts into perspective, turning the attention to the human beings and their lives again, away from the leadership on both sides fighting for causes the soldiers did not understand or benefit from in the least. "All Quiet On The Western Front" is as important now as it was when it was written: it yells out in capital letters that we are playing with humans, not resources! It yells out a warning against blind patriotism, nationalism and weak, egocentric leadership. It yells out against carelessness and pride, and the lopsidedness of the suffering. My students read poetry along with the excerpt from this novel, and at one point the question came up how many of the decision makers were blinded, mutilated, amputated? How many of them died in the trenches? "None!" was the answer. "Then how dare they force those young men out there!" yelled my students. And I was quiet. In the hope that the hubris of power will never again rise to those monstrous proportions, I keep teaching, adding Remarque, Böll, Owen and others to Plato and Goethe and the rest of the course of civilisation.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Candi

    "It’s unendurable. It is the moaning of the world, it is the martyred creation, wild with anguish, filled with terror, and groaning." This slim novel about the horror of the World War I trenches and the senselessness of war was published in 1929. If you open this book up today, it is absolutely just as relevant now as it was decades ago. It is powerful and breathtaking. I finished my second reading of this last month and barely a day goes by without me thinking about it. I had read “All Quiet” fo "It’s unendurable. It is the moaning of the world, it is the martyred creation, wild with anguish, filled with terror, and groaning." This slim novel about the horror of the World War I trenches and the senselessness of war was published in 1929. If you open this book up today, it is absolutely just as relevant now as it was decades ago. It is powerful and breathtaking. I finished my second reading of this last month and barely a day goes by without me thinking about it. I had read “All Quiet” for the first time ages ago and the haunting feeling I had then has stayed with me all these years. If you have not ever read this book, you must do so. It is that meaningful. "Shells, gas clouds, and flotillas of tanks – shattering, corroding, death. Dysentery, influenza, typhus – scalding, choking, death. Trenches, hospitals, the common grave – there are no other possibilities." This is a story of a German soldier, Paul Bäumer, and his comrades. Since the book is so widely known and reviewed here on Goodreads, I won’t go into plot details. But I want to make note of some portions that affected me quite deeply. For instance, Remarque so clearly reflects the feeling of camaraderie that these men, most of them not even twenty years old, experienced in the field and on the front. These were some of the most moving passages of the novel. "These voices, these quiet words, these footsteps in the trench behind me recall me at a bound from the terrible loneliness and fear of death by which I had been almost destroyed. They are more to me than life, these voices, they are more than motherliness and more than fear; they are the strongest, most comforting thing there is anywhere; they are the voices of my comrades." I’ve never read such stirring words about the soldier’s intimacy with not a woman, but rather with the very earth itself. The writing is truly remarkable. "To no man does the earth mean so much as to the soldier. When he presses himself down upon her long and powerfully, when he buries his face and his limbs deep in her from the fear of death by shell-fire, then she is his only friend, his brother, his mother; he stifles his terror and his cries in her silence and her security; she shelters him and releases him for ten seconds to live, to run, ten seconds of life; receives him again and often forever." When Paul goes home on leave, he finds that the life he once knew and loved no longer has the same meaning. His books, his case of butterflies and his piano no longer bring him the joy they once had. He cannot speak of what he has seen; he feels that those that have not been on the front and mired in the trenches can truly understand him. He feels alone. I was heartbroken when he cried out for his lost childhood. "Ah! Mother, Mother! You still think I am a child – why can I not put my head in your lap and weep? Why have I always to be strong and self-controlled? I would like to weep and be comforted too, indeed I am little more than a child; in the wardrobe still hang short, boy’s trousers – it is such a little time ago, why is it over?" I don’t know if a book exists that so effectively conveys the meaningless of war. If there is another, I have yet to read it. I suspect that Remarque had a marked influence on many authors writing about the topic since, but I don’t think this one can be beat in its simple yet passionate and well-expressed message. There were moments of fleeting pleasures and true companionship that allowed me to intermittently rejoice along with Paul and dream of a future when the war would be ended. But I also keenly felt his moments of hopelessness and despair. I nodded my head when he recognized in the enemy a man much like himself. His sense of humanity truly shined at these times. Something as basic as the sharing of cigarettes with the Russian prisoners was very telling. "I take out my cigarettes, break each one in half and give them to the Russians. They bow to me and then light the cigarettes. Now red points glow in every face. They comfort me; it looks as though there were little windows in dark village cottages saying that behind them are rooms full of peace." Ah, if only this book could be read everywhere by everyone. Perhaps then we could all see the reflection of ourselves, our mothers, our fathers, our brothers and sisters, and our lovers in the face of another human being. Could we then avoid the devastation of war? This book deserves a place on your bookshelf. Grab a copy if you haven’t already. Mine is sitting on my all-time favorites shelf. "I think it is more of a kind of fever. No one in particular wants it, and then all at once there it is. We didn’t want the war, the others say the same thing – and yet half the world is in it all the same."

  8. 4 out of 5

    J.L. Sutton

    From its opening in the trenches with the German Army in WWI to an end replete with utter hopelessness, Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front presents a devastating picture of a soldier at war. What's clear is that our protagonist, Paul, could be a soldier of any country; his concerns and emotions could be those of a soldier of this century rather than the beginning of the 20th century. In fact, despite the images we associate with WWI (such as the gas attacks and brutal conditio From its opening in the trenches with the German Army in WWI to an end replete with utter hopelessness, Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front presents a devastating picture of a soldier at war. What's clear is that our protagonist, Paul, could be a soldier of any country; his concerns and emotions could be those of a soldier of this century rather than the beginning of the 20th century. In fact, despite the images we associate with WWI (such as the gas attacks and brutal conditions in the trenches), there is something very modern about All Quiet on the Western Front. It may well have to do with Remarque's attitude toward war. From the outset, we are warned that this is not an adventure; even those who manage to escape the war unscathed are damaged. In effect, a generation is destroyed by the war. In trying to make sense of the war, Remarque explores the powerlessness of soldiers on the front lines. From a belief in their government's rationale in going to war, soldiers increasingly focus on their own deliverance. The end is utterly bleak. All the promise of youth is destroyed by disease, starvation and ultimately death. Those who come back from this war are still damaged; there is no way they can go through the horrors of war without the scars.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    Five heartbreaking stars for this classic novel about World War I. I first read All Quiet on the Western Front my freshman year of college, thanks to Dr. K's humanities course. During this re-read, I paused not only in appreciation of what soldiers and their families suffer during war, but also for all the great teachers who spend their days trying to inspire students to have Perspective and Big Ideas and to Think Critically. I remember how meaningful it was to read this book when I was 19, and Five heartbreaking stars for this classic novel about World War I. I first read All Quiet on the Western Front my freshman year of college, thanks to Dr. K's humanities course. During this re-read, I paused not only in appreciation of what soldiers and their families suffer during war, but also for all the great teachers who spend their days trying to inspire students to have Perspective and Big Ideas and to Think Critically. I remember how meaningful it was to read this book when I was 19, and it helped shape how I think about history and conflict and war. I was reminded of this quote from Pat Conroy: "If there is more important work than teaching, I hope to learn about it before I die." I've been thinking a lot about my freshman humanities course because All Quiet on the Western Front was recently chosen as a Common Read for the college campus where I work, and I'm helping to plan the program that will hopefully inspire hundreds of other students to read this book. It's giving me a contented circle-of-life feeling. Back to the novel itself, which follows German soldier Paul Bäumer and his fellow classmates who enlisted in the war. We see their stoicism and also their mental and physical stress. We suffer with them when they are hungry, and we rejoice when they are fed. We spend an anxious night with Paul when he is stuck in No Man's Land during an attack, and witness his anguish when he kills another man for the first time. We follow him as he goes home on leave to visit his sick mother, and we understand why he can't answer his family's questions about the front. He lies and says it's fine, the stories are exaggerated, the soldiers are treated well. But nothing will ever be fine again, and we all know it. While reading this book, I used countless post-its to mark quotes. This is a classic that is both easy to read and astonishingly beautiful in its clarity of writing. Highly recommended. And finally, three cheers to you, Dr. K. Thank you for everything you've done to inspire students. Favorite Quotes "The soldier is on friendlier terms than other men with his stomach and intestines. Three-quarters of his vocabulary is derived from these regions, and they give an intimate flavor to expressions of his greatest joy as well as of his deepest indignation. It is impossible to express oneself in any other way so clearly and pithily. Our families and our teachers will be shocked when we go home, but here it is the universal language." "For a moment we fall silent. There is in each of us a feeling of constraint. We are all sensible of it; it needs no words to communicate it. It might easily have happened that we should not be sitting here on our boxes to-day; it came damn near to that. And so everything is new and brave, red poppies and good food, cigarettes and summer breeze." "While they taught that duty to one's country is the greatest thing, we already knew that death-throes are stronger ... We loved our country as much as they; we went courageously into every action; but also we distinguished the false from the true, we had suddenly learned to see. And we saw that there was nothing of their world left. We were all at once terribly alone; and alone we must see it through. "The war has ruined us for everything." "We have become wild beasts. We do not fight, we defend ourselves against annihilation. It is not against men that we fling our bombs, what do we know of men in this moment when Death is hunting us down..." "Modern trench-warfare demands knowledge and experience; a man must have a feeling for the countours of the ground, an ear for the sound and character of the shells, must be able to decide beforehand where they will drop, how they will burst, and how to shelter from them." "Bombardment, barrage, curtain-fire, mines, gas, tanks, machine-guns, hand-grenades — words, words, but they hold the horror of the world." "Thus momentarily we have the two things a soldier needs for contentment: good food and rest. That's not much when one comes to think of it. A few years ago we would have despised ourselves terribly. But now we are almost happy. It is all a matter of habit — even the front-line." "Terror can be endured so long as a man simply ducks; — but it kills, if a man thinks about it." "But our comrades are dead, we cannot help them, they have their rest — and who knows what is waiting for us? We will make ourselves comfortable and sleep, and eat as much as we can stuff into our bellies, and drink and smoke so that hours are not wasted. Life is short." "We were never very demonstrative in our family; poor folk who toil and are full of cares are not so. It is not their way to protest what they already know. When my mother says to me 'dear boy,' it means much more than when another uses it." "I am young, I am twenty years old; yet I know nothing of life but despair, death, fear, and fatuous superficiality cast over an abyss of sorrow. I see how peoples are set against one another, and in silence, unknowingly, foolishly, obediently, innocently slay one another. I see that the keenest brains of the world invent weapons and words to make it yet more refined and enduring. And all men of my age, here and over there, throughout the whole world see these things; all my generation is experiencing these things with me." "And men will not understand us — for the generation that grew up before us, though it has passed these years with us already had a home and a calling; now it will return to its old occupations, and the war will be forgotten — and the generation that has grown up after us will be strange to us and push us aside. We will be superfluous even to ourselves, we will grow older, a few will adapt themselves, some others will merely submit, and most will be bewildered; — the years will pass by and in the end we shall fall into ruin."

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ted

    … all the memories that come … are always completely calm … They are soundless apparitions that speak to me, with looks and gestures silently, without any word … They are quiet in this way because quietness is so unattainable for us now … Their stillness is the reason why these memories of former times do not awaken desire so much as sorrow – a vast, inapprehensible melancholy. Once we had such desires- but they return not. They are past, they belong to another world that is gone from us. 4 Rema … all the memories that come … are always completely calm … They are soundless apparitions that speak to me, with looks and gestures silently, without any word … They are quiet in this way because quietness is so unattainable for us now … Their stillness is the reason why these memories of former times do not awaken desire so much as sorrow – a vast, inapprehensible melancholy. Once we had such desires- but they return not. They are past, they belong to another world that is gone from us. 4 ½ Remarque in the War I got to wondering how much action Remarque had seen in the war. Not much, it turns out. Conscripted at age 18 (he became 18 on 22 June 1916); so in the second half of 1916, or early in 1917. On 12 June 1917 he was transferred to the Western front, the Field Depot of the 2nd Guards Reserve Division at Hem-Lenglet (northern France, somewhere around Cambrai). Two weeks later he was posted to the 15th Reserve Infantry regiment, Engineer Platoon, stationed between Torhout and Houthult. These towns are both in West Flanders (Belgium), not far north of Ypres, in the area that the Germans referred to as the “Flanders Position”. On 31 July, about a month after that, he was wounded by shrapnel (leg, arm, neck) and spent the rest of the war in an army hospital in Germany. July 31 was, probably not coincidentally, the opening day of the battle known as Third Ypres, or Passchendaele. The bombardment preceding the battle had started fifteen days earlier, and by the time the shelling ended at 4 am on the 31st, over 4 million shells had been fired at the German positions. It seems likely that Remarque received his injuries as a result of the bombardment, or the ensuing British advance that day. Aerial view of Passchendaele village before and after the battle We must assume that this was fortunate for young Remarque. Not only did he miss most of Third Ypres, which lasted over three months, into November, and likely resulted in between 50,000 and 100,000 German deaths; but he also missed the German last-gasp offensives of 1918, in which the German Army sustained close to a million casualties. Thus the battle scenes which are related in All Quiet do not likely describe things that Remarque personally experienced in the war. It is a work of fiction, not a memoir of a surviving soldier who experienced battle in the trenches (as is Robert Graves’ Goodbye To All That). The writing and reception of the novel All Quiet is the story of Private Paul Baumer’s experiences in the Great War. Remarque knew some of these experiences first-hand; the rest, at least in their general outline, he no doubt heard from survivors of the war who he talked with in later years. The story first appeared in several issues of a German newspaper in 1928. It was then published in book form in early 1929. In the ten years after the war Remarque no doubt thought repeatedly and deeply about what we find in the story. In my copy of the book, a brief essay appears after the story by G.J. Meyer. Meyer points out that this delayed appearance of the novel worked in its favor, at least in the English speaking world. Had the novel appeared in the early ‘20s he thinks it would have found a German audience almost exclusively. In both America and Britain, Germany was still under the pall of the “relentless propaganda” of the war years – the narratives claiming that the war was Germany’s fault, that the German armies had acted in “loathsome” ways, that the Allied victory had been necessary to “save civilization”. A story eliciting sympathy for a German soldier would have found few receptive readers. By the late 1920s such notions were fading. The novel has found a place at the forefront of anti-war fiction. Within a few years of its publication it was being burned by the Nazis, who viewed its anti-war sentiments, and its depiction of, in Meyer’s words, “a disillusioned and demoralized German soldiery” to be “intolerably offensive.” Remarque himself, living in Switzerland, was out of their reach, but his sister was beheaded by the Nazis in 1943 after she had stated that she considered the Second war lost. (See Wiki.) For more on reactions to the book, see Receptions. All Quiet on the Western Front The world of Remarque’s war story can be divided, neither surprisingly nor originally, into two separate areas of reality, internal and external. External reality, the outer world, is the world outside of Paul Baumer, the world he perceives through his senses. Internal reality, the inner world, is a separate place, inhabited by Paul’s memories, emotions, and thoughts. There is also a part of the outer world which forms a connection between these two realities: the part comprised of other people, most importantly of his fellow soldiers. People in this third world are of course external to Paul. But because they each have their own inner world, they can communicate their thoughts and memories and emotions to Paul and to each other. The outer world of the Great War Paul Baumer’s outer world, even this world of war, includes many different human experiences and their corresponding play on the emotions – comprised as it is of … medical care in military hospitals … roasting a young pig, with all the trimmings … seriously considering shooting a young fellow soldier … being under bombardment … amputations by the bushel … bodies blown apart … swimming a river nude, clothing held high, to meet French lasses … inheriting coats, boots and other belongings from friends no longer in need … being shelled in a graveyard … rain and mud, being wet for days on end … constant lice infestations … making love to a strange young woman … a nude legless torso in a tree … guarding miserable food from rats … injured soldiers drowning in water-filled shell holes … the hell and humor of boot camp … cadging or stealing food … playing cards … screams of agony from wounded men and horses. Near Hooge in the Ypres salient, 29 October 1917 Most persistently it is a horrifying world, tilted precariously toward experiences which work dreadful injury on the inner world. For me the worst of the experiences was related thus: Kat looks around and whispers: “Shouldn’t we just take a revolver and put an end to it?” The youngster will hardly survive the carrying, and at the most he will only last a few days. What he has gone through so far is nothing to what he’s in for till he dies. Now he is numb and feels nothing. In an hour he will become one screaming bundle of intolerable pain. Every day that he can live will be a howling torture … I nod. “Yes, Kat, we ought to put him out of his misery.” … We look round - but we are no longer alone. A little group is gathering … We get a stretcher. The world of comrades: a transition from outer to inner Without other human beings to share that outer world with, could any person survive? If all the rest were machines? Or shut you off from contact with them? Comrades, the soldier’s lifeline to sanity … Paul’s fellow soldiers - some friends from home, others met during the war … simple camaraderie away from the battle … sheer unthinking valor to rescue a comrade when under fire … the only ones who know what you do of the outer world, because it’s their outer world too … deflecting and attenuating the horror … At a prisoner of war camp, guarding Russians, Paul begins to sense that the enemy too could be comrades. They stand at the wire fence … Most of them are silent … I see their dark forms, their beards move in the wind. Their life is obscure and guiltless; - if I could know more of them, what their names are, how they live, what they are waiting for, then my emotion would have an object and might become sympathy. But as it is I perceive behind them only the suffering of the creature, the awful melancholy of life … a word of command might transform them into our friends … I take out my cigarettes, break each one in half, and give them to the Russians. Then the revelation, under duress, that one enemy is also a comrade, a brother-in-arms. Paul attacks a French soldier who has stumbled into his shell-hole, mortally wounding him, and listens to him dying hour after hour. He opens his eyes. He must have heard me, for he gazes at me with a look of utter terror … I bend forward, shake my head and whisper: “No, no, no,” I raise one hand, I must show him that I want to help him, I stroke his forehead … “I want to help you, Comrade, camerade, camerade, camerade – “ eagerly repeating the word, to make him understand … In the afternoon, about three, he is dead … My state is getting worse, I can no longer control my thoughts … The dead man might have had thirty more years of life … I speak to him and say to him: “Comrade, I did not want to kill you … you were only an idea to me … It was that abstraction that I stabbed. But now, for the first time, I see you are a man like me … Forgive me, comrade. We always see too late … “ And comrades share not only the outer world, but the inner world also. Though each has his own version, they are much alike. At least Paul very reasonably thinks so, since he often says “we” instead of “I” when narrating thoughts and feelings inhabiting the inner world: the feelings of having been tricked or betrayed by their elders about the war … Of Kantorek, their schoolmaster – “I can see him now, as he used to glare at us through his spectacles and say in a moving voice: ‘Won’t you join up, Comrades?’ … We can’t blame Kantorek for this, there were thousands of Kantoreks, all of them convinced that they were acting for the best – in a way that cost them nothing. And that is why they let us down so badly. their shared reactions to battle … “We feel in our blood that a contact has shot home … It is the front, the consciousness of the front, that makes this contact. The moment that the first shells whistle over and the air is rent with the explosions there is suddenly in our veins, in our hands, in our eyes a tense waiting, a watching, a heightening alertness, a strange sharpening of the senses. The body with one bound is in full readiness … Every time it is the same. their dedication to each other … By far the most important result of our training was that it awakened in us a strong, practical sense of esprit de corps, which in the field developed into the finest thing that arose out of the war – comradeship. The inner world of the Great War Paul’s memory torments him. Memories come to him, but the thing remembered has lost the meaning that it once had for him. The essential nature of the reality behind the memory has dissipated, then vanished entirely. It’s not that the thing remembered no longer exists, as for example a memory of a long-dead friend or loved one. The person is still alive. But the something that bound Paul to the person has disappeared, and this has happened because of how the outer world of the war has changed him. The inability to connect with the objects of memory is emphasized to an excruciating degree in the chapter on Paul’s return home on leave. He has a premonition of this even as he walks home from the train station: every common sight, the bridge he has crossed a thousand times, the shops he has visited all his life, strike him not as a familiar and welcome landscape, but as sharp, almost breath-taking memories of things which stand out in surprising relief. At his home, he opens the door with its worn latch, and is assaulted, overcome with memories of his mother, his sister, his home, his former life … “against my will the tears run down my cheeks”. But it is not till later, sitting by his mother’s bed, that he becomes conscious of the reason for those tears. I breathe deeply and say to myself: - “You are at home, you are at home.” But a sense of strangeness will not leave me, I cannot feel at home amongst these things. There is my mother, there is my sister, there my case of butterflies, and there is the mahogany piano – but I am not myself there. There is a distance, a veil between us. Paul knows that it is he who has changed. “I now see that I have been crushed without knowing it. I find I do not belong here any more, it is a foreign world.” In his room, Paul confronts his bookshelves. Second-hand classics, “collected works”, moderns, some books borrowed and not returned “because I did not want to part with them”. Schoolbooks. I want to think myself back into that time. It is still in the room, I feel it at once, the walls have preserved it … I want to feel the same powerful, nameless urge that I used to feel when I turned to my books … The backs of the books stand in rows … I remember arranging them in order. I implore them with my eyes: Speak to me – take me up – take me, Life of my Youth – you who are care-free, beautiful – receive me again – Images float through my mind, but they do not grip me, they are mere shadows and memories. Nothing – nothing - … I cannot find my way back, I am shut out though I entreat earnestly and put forth all my strength. Nothing stirs; listless and wretched, like a condemned man, I sit and the past withdraws itself. I take one of the books, intending to read … take out another … take up fresh books. Already they are piled up beside me … I stand there dumb … Dejected. Words, Words, Words – they do not reach me. Slowly I place the books back on the shelves. Nevermore. What is leave? – A pause that only makes everything after it so much worse. Already the sense of parting begins to intrude itself. My mother watches me silently; I know she counts the day; every morning she is sad. It is one day less. And when his leave is finally up, and he must go back? ”I ought never to have come …” The names of the train stations he had passed on the way home, which had caused his heart to tremble, which had caused him to stand at the window, to hold the frame – those names which marked “the boundaries of my youth”? Paul has learned that though he could recross that border, what is on the other side is no longer his youth, but a strange, heartbreaking land of ghosts, phantoms, silent markers of a former life gone forever. This dissolution of memory wends in and out of a series of thoughts that grip him: that the war has first robbed him of these vital aspects of his memories; but has also, uniquely to young men like him and his friends, removed the very ground of their future lives – if they do have future lives. Paul and his cohort of friends, those drafted right out of school and thrown into the maelstrom, had not started living yet. This theme of Remarque’s struck me powerfully, because I often thought when I was in college, and still think, that I had not really started living until I entered college. It was only then, when I met people from parts of the world outside “the boundaries of my youth”, people with different thoughts and ideas from those of my small-town childhood, and when I was introduced to subjects I had never imagined - philosophy, theology, literary criticism - that I realized that those 17 years prior to college were a prelude to life - not life itself. As Paul reflects in the second chapter, Our early life is cut off from the moment we came here … All the older men are linked with their previous life. They have wives, children, occupations, and interests, they have a background which is so strong that the war cannot obliterate it. We young men of twenty, however, have only our parents, and some, perhaps, a girl … some enthusiasm, a few hobbies, and our school. Beyond this our life did not extend. And of this nothing remains. Those things – parents, girl, hobbies, school – are all nothing but preludes to life. And not only are they gone, having been left behind as he entered the war, but Paul now knows that even the memories of these preludes to life are dissolved, disconnected from him. Real life itself had not yet started. The preludes, the foundation on which others have built their lives, are gone. Kantorek, their schoolmaster, “would say that we stood on the threshold of life. And so it would seem. We had as yet taken no root. The war swept us away. For the others, the older men, it is but an interruption … We know only that in some strange and melancholy way we have become a waste land.” The preludes (prologues) to life are irretrievable - what should have followed, the main event, their real lives, possibly built on these foundations, can never occur. Paul Baumer, and his compatriots, are indeed a “lost generation”. The phrase itself is not used by Remarque, but both “lost” and “generation” appear over and over in Paul’s thoughts.(view spoiler)[For more on this topic, see The Lost generation. (hide spoiler)] Now if we go back (after the war) we will be weary, broken, burnt out, rootless, and without hope. We will not be able to find our way any more. And men will not understand us – for the generation that grew up before us, though it has passed these years with us already had a home and a calling; now it will return to its old occupations, and the war will be forgotten – and the generation that has grown up after us will be strange to us and push us aside. We will be superfluous even to ourselves, we will grow old, a few will adapt themselves, some others will merely submit, and most will be bewildered; - the years will pass by and in the end we shall fall into ruin. But perhaps all this that I think is mere melancholy and dismay … It cannot be that it has gone, the yearning that made our blood unquiet, … the thousand faces of the future … it cannot be that this has vanished in bombardment, in despair, in brothels. Let the years and months come, they can take nothing from me, they can take nothing more. I am so alone, and so without hope that I can confront them without fear. The life that has borne me through these years is still in my hands and my eyes. Whether I have subdued it, I know not. But so long as it is there it will seek its own way out, heedless of the will that is within me. The last paragraph is somewhat up-beat, in an existential way. Even if I have Being, it will seem like Nothingness. But perhaps life will reassert itself, heedless of what I do or do not will. And so the story ends. A dedication: … to comrades … and to the shimmering anti-war reputation of All Quiet

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    667. Im Westen nichts Neues = A l'ouest rien de novreau = All Quiet on The Western Front = In the West Nothing New, Erich Maria Remarque (1898 - 1970) All Quiet on the Western Front (German: Im Westen nichts Neues, lit. 'In the West Nothing New') is a novel by Erich Maria Remarque, a German veteran of World War I. The book describes the German soldiers' extreme physical and mental stress during the war, and the detachment from civilian life felt by many of these soldiers upon returning home from 667. ‭‎Im Westen nichts Neues = A l'ouest rien de novreau = All Quiet on The Western Front = In the West Nothing New, Erich Maria Remarque (1898 - 1970) All Quiet on the Western Front (German: Im Westen nichts Neues, lit. 'In the West Nothing New') is a novel by Erich Maria Remarque, a German veteran of World War I. The book describes the German soldiers' extreme physical and mental stress during the war, and the detachment from civilian life felt by many of these soldiers upon returning home from the front. عنوانها: در جبهه غرب خبری نیست؛ در عرب خبری نیست؛ نویسنده: اریش ماریا ریمارک؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز دهم ماه آوریل سال 1972 میلادی عنوان: در غرب خبری نیست؛ نویسنده: اریش ماریا رمارک؛ مترجم: هادی سیاح سپانلو ؛ تهران، کتابخانه ابن سینا؛ 1309؛ در در 220 ص؛ عنوان: در غرب خبری نیست؛ نویسنده: اریش ماریا رمارک؛ مترجم: سیروس تاجبخش؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، فخر رازی: موسسه انتشارات فرانکلین، 1346، در 324 ص، موضوع: داستانهای و خاطرات نویسندگان آلمانی - خاطرات جنگ جهانگیر نخست - سده 20 م نیز با همین عنوان ترجمه جناب آقای پرویز شهدی، صدای معاصر، 1392 عنوان دیگر: در جبهه غرب خبری نیست؛ ترجمه از متن انگلیسی: رضا جولایی، 1385، در 254 ص در جبهه ی غرب خبری نیست؛ رمانی با موضوع جنگ، اثر: اریش ماریا رمارک، نویسنده ی آلمانی ست، که در سال 1929 میلادی منتشر شده است. یکی از آثار مشهور ادبی جهان است. داستان به صورت اول شخص، از زبان شخصیت اصلی داستان (سرباز) نقل می‌شود، به جز خط آخر کتاب که خبر از کشته شدن شخص راوی می‌دهد. در این کتاب سعی شده، که به معنای واقعی جنگ، و پیامدهای بلند مدت آن، بر همه چیز اشاره شود. ا. شربیانی

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kemper

    My copy of this was a paperback that I had picked up somewhere in my high school years. It was printed in the ‘50s and cost 60 cents per the cover price. The pages were yellowed and an old dog of mine (dead 20 years now) chewed on a corner of it at one point, and his teeth marks are still on it. But I held onto that copy over the years through multiple changes of residence and numerous paperback dumps to used book stores and library donations. When I was trying to organize some of my stuff packe My copy of this was a paperback that I had picked up somewhere in my high school years. It was printed in the ‘50s and cost 60 cents per the cover price. The pages were yellowed and an old dog of mine (dead 20 years now) chewed on a corner of it at one point, and his teeth marks are still on it. But I held onto that copy over the years through multiple changes of residence and numerous paperback dumps to used book stores and library donations. When I was trying to organize some of my stuff packed away in the basement, I found my battered old copy and felt the immediate need to read it again. But I also decided to invest in a better edition. Frankly, I was scared the old one would fall apart, but I’ve carefully packed away that copy again. I’m thinking about putting it in my will that I should be buried with it. That gives you an idea of how highly I regard this book. My new copy says on the cover that it’s the greatest war novel of all time. I’m not going to argue about that statement. I’ve often thought that this book should be required reading for any politician with the power to declare war. Only a madman or Dick Cheney could send troops into combat after reading this. Paul is a 19 year old German soldier in World War I. Living though artillery shellings, gas attacks, trench warfare and seeing a generation of men blown to bits has made Paul old before his time. He has a soldier’s profound weariness and cynicism. Some of the more heartbreaking parts of this are when Paul and his fellow soldiers realize that they’ve been changed far too much to ever care about anything but survival again. Paul and the other soldiers try to find small comforts where they can since there’s almost no chance they’ll survive the war unscathed. On the very short list of books that I think everyone should read at least once. Trivial Side Note or No, I Don’t Work for the Kansas City Tourism Board The National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial is something I recommend to anybody who likes this book, or has any interest at all in these types of things. (My wife is usually not interested in war stories or memorabilia at all, but she found this museum fascinating.) It’s got tons of actual equipment from the war, interactive multi-media displays, and some truly eye-opening exhibits. For example, there’s one room you walk into that is a recreation of what it looked like when a large shell hit a French farm house from the basement perspective. So you walk in and it feels like you’re in a giant crater with house debris above you. There are also recreations of the trenches and one battlefield set done below a wide screen documentary playing that gives a vivid and eerie feeling of what a hellish landscape was created by the war. Check it out here: http://www.theworldwar.org/s/110/new/...

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nikos Tsentemeidis

    Συγκλονιστικό!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Chrissie

    I am silent. What can I say? Here I have been, for the last year or two, searching for books on WW1. I have read fiction and non-fiction and biographies. This thin little book has more of an impact than any other I have read. This is a book to be read many times. Not only is it profound in message, but the author writes beautifully. Can humor be incorporated into a book with such a serious message? Yes, Remarque pulls this off too. This thin book perfectly captures - war in the trenches - mustard g I am silent. What can I say? Here I have been, for the last year or two, searching for books on WW1. I have read fiction and non-fiction and biographies. This thin little book has more of an impact than any other I have read. This is a book to be read many times. Not only is it profound in message, but the author writes beautifully. Can humor be incorporated into a book with such a serious message? Yes, Remarque pulls this off too. This thin book perfectly captures - war in the trenches - mustard gas - being home on leave - medical care on the front - the strength of comradeship - rational and irrational fear - our innate will to live not only with factual content, but more importantly with the emotional impact on the individual in the war. Also the impact on those not there in the trenches, not doing the fighting, but in heart out there with the combatants. This book points an incriminatory finger at all of us who let wars continue. Stunning narration by Tom Lawrence. Listen to THIS audiobook version of Remarque's masterpiece. P.S. This book doesn't throw in other issues, such as politics or romance, as so many other contemporary books do. Such topics are totally superfluous given the gravity and intensity of the central theme so well drawn with Remarque's eloquence. I will definitely be reading more by Remarque.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Martine

    All Quiet on the Western Front (or, to give it its German title, Nothing New in the West) has been hailed as the best war novel ever, and it's easy to see why. World War I is described in such vivid non-glory in its pages that you are sucked into the story straight away and stay there for the next two hundred pages. It is obvious that the author, Erich Maria Remarque, had first-hand experience of the things he writes about; the details are so right and authentic-sounding that they couldn't possi All Quiet on the Western Front (or, to give it its German title, Nothing New in the West) has been hailed as the best war novel ever, and it's easy to see why. World War I is described in such vivid non-glory in its pages that you are sucked into the story straight away and stay there for the next two hundred pages. It is obvious that the author, Erich Maria Remarque, had first-hand experience of the things he writes about; the details are so right and authentic-sounding that they couldn't possibly have been wholly made up. Needless to say, the ring of authenticity adds quite a punch to the reading experience, elevating a good war story into an absolute classic of the genre. All Quiet is a short book, but remarkably complete. All the aspects of trench warfare are there -- the excitement, the tedium, the horror, the pain, the fear, the hunger, the dirt, the loss, the sense of alienation, the awareness that you may die any minute, and last but not least, the realisation of the futility of it all. All Quiet has a pervasive sense of futility, an initially unvoiced but later fully expressed question of 'Just what is this war all about, and why am I putting my life on the line for it? What could be worth such a sacrifice?' The answer is, obviously, nothing, because if this book has one message, it is that war is awful and young men ought not to be forced to fight them. This is not a book which glorifies the war effort, or portrays soldiers as heroes. It is not a book which tries to justify Germany's involvement in World War I. In Remarque's own words, it is 'an attempt to give an account of a generation that was destroyed by the war -- even those of it who survived the shelling'. As such, it is brutal and confronting, but in the best possible way. Anti-war fiction has seldom been this effective, or this memorable for that matter. All Quiet tells the story of Paul Bäumer, a young man who gets talked by an idealistic teacher into joining the German army fighting World War I in Belgium. In short, business-like sentences, Paul tells the reader about his experiences in and around the trenches, plus those of his similarly duped classmates, all of whom end up dead. All Quiet does a brilliant job of evoking the strain of being at the front, providing vivid descriptions of the horrors of night-time shelling, being caught in no man's land, the smell of gangrene in the hospital, etc. Reading the book, you get a good feel for what it must have been like to be a soldier in World War I. Remarque does not spare his reader. He not only tells you what it's like to hide from the shells that are coming your way, but also what it feels like to crawl through a recently dug cemetery where shells have just exposed some body parts, and what it's like to crawl deeper and deeper beneath a coffin so that it will protect you, 'even if Death himself is already in it'. He tells you what it's like to hear friendly voices after having been stuck in no man's land for what seems like an eternity, and what it's like to have an unscratchable itch because there are lice underneath your plaster cast. He tells you what it's like to stare longingly at the picture of a squeaky clean pretty girl when you're absolutely filthy yourself and crawling with lice. He tells you why you need coarse and black humour to deal with the horrors of war, and why you need girls, or at least fantasies about girls. He also tells you what it's like to talk to the parents of a soldier who has died a horrible death. And last but not least, he shows you the aftermath. All Quiet on the Western Front demonstrates quite unequivocally how scarred the soldiers emerged from the trenches, because, as one of Paul's classmates says halfway through the book, 'Two years of rifle fire and hand-grenades -- you can't just take it all off like a pair of socks afterwards.' It shows how alienated the veterans of trench warfare felt from those at home, who could not for the life of them understand what it was like to experience the things they were going through. I guess this was the most powerful part of the book for me -- the part where Paul goes home and finds that he cannot communicate with his family, that he cannot possibly share the horrors of his recent experiences with his loved ones, because (1) they wouldn't understand, and (2) he does not want to upset them any more than their concerns for his well-being have already done. With chilling accuracy, Paul describes how empty his war experiences have made him feel. War, he says, brutalises soldiers, turning them into human animals, to the point where they have nothing to live for, as their former interests, dreams, tenderness and the future have all 'collapsed in the shelling, the despair and the army brothels'. His sense of desolation and isolation is so exquisitely rendered that by the time his leave is over and he has to return to the front, you find yourself agreeing with his classmate Albert: 'The war has ruined us for everything.' As you can probably tell from the above, I had a strong reaction to All Quiet on the Western Front. From the sparse but effective prose to the expert way in which Remarque builds up the final two deaths, I just loved the book, responding to it unreservedly, jotting down astute observations and sharing passages from it with my boyfriend, who is a World War I buff. I felt like I was experiencing the boys' emotions with them, the good ones as well as the bad ones. I was shocked, horrified and repulsed when Remarque wanted me to be, but also got a few chuckles out of the book, because all the bad stuff really makes the good moments the boys experience stand out. I loved the male camaraderie which occasionally drips off the pages. I loved the descriptions of the little acts of vengeance the boys enact on those who have wronged them, as well as the few moments of genuine happiness they experience at the front, such as when they eat a stolen goose, raid an officers' supply depot or make their way to some girls they are not supposed to visit. These events are drawn so vividly and have such a genuine feel of relief and excitement about them that it's hard not to get drawn in. Mostly, though, I just sympathised with the boys, asking with them why war is necessary, and whether those who wage wars on others have any idea what they're doing to the men who fight the wars for them. I think All Quiet on the Western Front should be compulsory reading for every leader who has ever considered going to war. The fact that the book is eighty years old and deals with events which took place nearly a century ago does not make its message any less valid today. A note on the Vintage English translation: Brian Murdoch's translation is good but a bit sloppy at times, especially in the second half of the book, where he occasionally uses German-sounding grammar and makes a few typos. It also sounds a bit too British for my taste, to the point where I occasionally had to remind myself that I was reading about German soldiers, as they all sounded so terribly English! I would have preferred a slightly less 'placeable' translation, but really, that's a minor complaint. By and large, Murdoch did a good job. Next time round, though, I think I'll read the book in the original German.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    Paul Baumer needs you to see things from his perspective. Paul is a German soldier, posted on the Western Front during World War I. Paul hangs out with his buddies and tries to keep things loose, but Paul can’t rid himself from the stress of battle. He goes home on leave and everything is tainted with war. No matter what he does or who he’s with, Paul’s mind drifts toward the front. Paul’s world view has been changed in significant ways. On the front Paul is consumed with death. Paul sees his sma Paul Baumer needs you to see things from his perspective. Paul is a German soldier, posted on the Western Front during World War I. Paul hangs out with his buddies and tries to keep things loose, but Paul can’t rid himself from the stress of battle. He goes home on leave and everything is tainted with war. No matter what he does or who he’s with, Paul’s mind drifts toward the front. Paul’s world view has been changed in significant ways. On the front Paul is consumed with death. Paul sees his small band of survivors slowly wither away. The death of his friends, the death of his enemies, the death of a previous way of life. Paul confronts the inherent conflict of a soldier when he’s face to face in a shell hole with a dying Frenchman he’s killed. For Paul it’s no longer about lobbing grenades or shooting your foe from a distance. It’s become eerily and inescapably personal. Paul is the universal soldier. His voice speaks for all soldiers, for all of humanity. Paul would like you to see things from his point of view, step in his shoes; so countries, armies, soldiers, men can avoid war in the future. This was a buddy read with Ashley *Hufflepuff Kitten*.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Nandakishore Varma

    Oh my God. I will never again hear the platitude that "war is a deplorable necessity" without throwing up. Talk about books that get under your skin. Detailed review below. *** During my teens, war for me was heroic. It was the battleground of justice – the Dharmakshetra Kurukshetra of the Mahabharata war – where the good guys defeated the evil guys. And in the thrillers which I read in those days (Alistair MacLean, Jack Higgins et al) the good guys were the British and Americans, the bad guys were Oh my God. I will never again hear the platitude that "war is a deplorable necessity" without throwing up. Talk about books that get under your skin. Detailed review below. *** During my teens, war for me was heroic. It was the battleground of justice – the Dharmakshetra Kurukshetra of the Mahabharata war – where the good guys defeated the evil guys. And in the thrillers which I read in those days (Alistair MacLean, Jack Higgins et al) the good guys were the British and Americans, the bad guys were the Germans, Italians and Japanese, and the Russians were despicably evil guys somehow fighting on the side of the good. Everything was very black and white, and the good guys always won out in the end. As I matured, things began taking on greyer and greyer tones. The good, the bad and the ugly all got mixed up and became uniform. Slowly, it dawned on me that the guys were either all good or evil; or better, good and evil – or better still, there was no good or evil. If there was anything evil, it was war. I think most of us moderately decent human beings come to the same conclusion sooner or later. And good books like All Quiet on the Western Front reinforce it even further. After going through Erich Maria Remarque’s iconic novel of the First World War, I cannot think of war even as a “sometimes regrettable necessity” any more. War should not be. On any grounds. Period! *** This story is narrated in first person by Paul Baum, eager young recruit at sixteen and disillusioned old man at twenty. Paul and his classmates were goaded into enlisting by their teacher Kantorek, who used all the standard platitudes about the “glory of fighting for the Fatherland”. According to him, they are the “Iron Youth”. After living permanently under the shadow of the Grim Reaper for years, Paul knows better. Yes, that’s the way they think, these hundred thousand Kantoreks! Iron Youth. Youth! We are none of us more than twenty years old. But young? Youth? That is long ago. We are old folk. We get to meet Paul’s classmates quite early in the narrative: the clear-thinking Albert Kropp, the studious Muller and Leer, who prefers girls from officers’ brothels. Along with them, there are Tjaden the voracious locksmith, Haie Westhus the peat-digger and Detering the peasant. Stanislaus Katczinsky, the weather-bitten veteran with a “remarkable nose for dirty weather, good food and soft jobs” leads this motley crew. However, don’t be fooled into thinking that this is going to be a story of camaraderie and friendship. Not that it isn’t: in fact, it is, very much – but we don’t get to enjoy it, that’s all. Because the theatre where it is being played out is the Western Front, where disablement, desolation and death are the order of the day. The reader is given a taste of what is to come in the second chapter itself, as we witness the slow death of Franz Kemmerlich, one of Paul’s friends. He dies in pain and agony as the largely helpless and apathetic medical team looks on – everyone, including his friends, is interested only in getting hold of his gear after he passes. And if you think this is ghoulish, no, it’s not – they are all aware the same fate awaits them. It’s business as usual on the front. The situation on the front is brutal, and Remarque pulls no punches in describing it. I have never read another narrative where graphic descriptions of violence sounded positively lyrical. The slow death of the wounded horses, the contents of the graveyard strewn everywhere through shelling, the fresh recruits driven mad by terror... it goes on and on, and we follow the action, hypnotised by a gruesome attraction. In between, we have Paul’s philosophical musings on a lost generation. The prose has the cadence of a mournful dirge that one is helpless to stop listening to. As they proceed through the war, the company gets diminished as members fall by the wayside. Yet the remaining eat, drink and fornicate, finding whatever pleasure they can in the moment. Paul goes on leave and comes back; gets wounded badly, yet recovers and comes back... he is always at the front, chronicling a war which never ends. I am very quiet. Let the months and years come, they can take nothing from me, they can take nothing more. I am so alone, and so without hope that I confront them without fear. The life that has borne me through these years is still in my hands and my eyes. Whether I have subdued it, I know not. But so long as it is there it will seek its own way out, heedless of the will that is within me. This is the ultimate result of war – human beings living this zombielike existence, this living death. *** If there is only one book on war that you read, let this be it.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mohammed Ali

    ارجوكم اسمعوا صرختي هذه..ارجوكم انصتوا.." كل شيئ هادئ في الميدان الغربي "..نعم هدوءا تاما مبشرا..فرجاءا لا تخرقوا الهدنة واحترموها..فنحن نريد السلام..ماذا ؟..نعم..نعم..آه..فهمت ما تعنيه أنا ميت..هذا صحيح..و لكن من قال لك أني كنت حيا ؟..هيا..هيا اقلب جسدي..هل رأيت ؟..قلت لك..هل رأيت هدوئي ؟..هل رأيت انبساط وجهي ؟ هل شاهدت شكلي و كأني مستغرق في النوم ؟ هل رأيت كم أنا مسرور ؟..نعم..مسرور لأنني ما قتلت أو مت الآن..فأنا مت مئات المرات قبل هذه..مت عندما خطوت أول خطوة خارج المدرسة..مت عندما خطوت أول خط ارجوكم اسمعوا صرختي هذه..ارجوكم انصتوا.." كل شيئ هادئ في الميدان الغربي "..نعم هدوءا تاما مبشرا..فرجاءا لا تخرقوا الهدنة واحترموها..فنحن نريد السلام..ماذا ؟..نعم..نعم..آه..فهمت ما تعنيه أنا ميت..هذا صحيح..و لكن من قال لك أني كنت حيا ؟..هيا..هيا اقلب جسدي..هل رأيت ؟..قلت لك..هل رأيت هدوئي ؟..هل رأيت انبساط وجهي ؟ هل شاهدت شكلي و كأني مستغرق في النوم ؟ هل رأيت كم أنا مسرور ؟..نعم..مسرور لأنني ما قتلت أو مت الآن..فأنا مت مئات المرات قبل هذه..مت عندما خطوت أول خطوة خارج المدرسة..مت عندما خطوت أول خطوة داخل المعسكر..مت عند أول رصاصة أطلقتها..مت عندأول شظايا قنبلة مرت بجانبي..مت عندما قتلت أول إنسان..مت عندما رأيت أصدقائي يقتلون و يجرحون و تبتر أعضاؤهم..مت عندما مات ذلك الطفل الصغير بداخلي ..أما الآن فإنني قد استرحت..و مسرور لأن الحرب ستنتهي..و أرجوا أن تنتهي . des photos هنا الميدان..و نحن الآن في أحضانه , هل تشعر بهزة كهربائية ؟ رعشة حادة مصحوبة بأثار الإغماء ؟ سيالة كهربائية تمر عبر العمود الفقري و تجري في الدم ؟..تلكم هي آثار التواجد هنا..أي وسط الميدان الحربي .انظر يمينا..يمينا أكثر..نعم تلك هي خطوط العدو , هئ هئ..و العدو هنا كلمة ربما ليست في محلها و لكن رغم ذلك هي في محلها أيضا , أراك تهت بين كلامي و حالة جسدك اللاإرادية المتنقلة الغريبة..بين الهدوء المسطنع و الترقب و الإستعدادا و التأهب , لا عليك كلنا مررنا بتلك الحالة..أو لأصارحك أكثر..أنا الآن مثلك تماما إلا أنني اكتسبت بمرور الوقت عادة التظاهر . أعود لأكمل ما التبس عليك , هم أعداؤنا و في نفس الوقت ليسوا بأعدائنا..و أحيانا يتساوى النقيضان و يصبح كل منهما صحيحا في نفس الوقت..أراك تهت مرة أخرى..لا عليك..أنت ذكي و لكن أن تكون ذكيا وسط الميدان..في غير أمور النجاة و القتال أمر صعب نوعا ما , سأبسط لك الأمر , هو عدوي لأنه ببساطة يريد سلب حياتي مني و أنا أريد المثل..و ليس بعدوي لأنني لم أختر التواجد هنا فهو لم يفعل لي شيئا..و لم يسبق لي أن رأيته من قبل , فكيف أصنف شخصا لم أقابله و لا أعلم حتى إن كان متواجدا على هذه الأرض أم لا..كيف أصنفه على أنه عدو..أراك تبتسم..نعم..هئ هئ هئ.. دعنا من الفلسفة و هيا نتمشى قليلا , نتجول , اخفض رأسك قليلا..نعم..أكثر..هكذا أحسنت , لا عليك هو مجرد إحتراز فالسماء هنا تمطر شظايا , شظايا القنابل التي تمر مصفرة كبلبل يغرد و حيدا في قفص و كل شظية منها لها حكاية تحكيها بصفيرها..و علاقة غرام تربطها بطرف من أطراف الجسم..فهنا نقول " إن لكل شظية علاقة حب , و وراء كل علاقة حب حكاية " . فترى الواحد منا يمشي و إذا به فجأة يلقي نفسه فوق الأرض يحضنها و تحضنه , و إذا عاصفة من الشظايا تتطاير حوله كل واحدة منها تبحث عن حبيبها لتحوله إلى كتلة من اللحم و الدم , و لكن الحافز الداخلي في ذواتنا هو ما يكون بالمرصاد , تلك البصيرة الداخلية الناتجة عن الغريزة الحيوانية داخلنا . عفوا..عفوا..و لكن لا تضرب الأرض بقدميك بعنف..لن تفهم ما أقول و لكن هذه الأرض بالنسبة لنا هي كل شيئ..هي الصديق و الأخ و الأب و الحبيبة و الأم , إن الواحد منا حينما يتمدد فوقها و يحتضنها بقوة و يدفن وجهه و أطرافها بقوة داخلها خوفا من نيران العدو و شظايا قنابله ليحس بالوحشة و الحنان و الحب و كل عاطفة جياشة عذبة أخرى, هذه الأرض هي كل شيئ..أراك تبتسم مرة أخرى..لا عليك..لن أغضب..و لن أجرح..فأنا أتحدث بصراحة ما بعدها صراحة . فمن الأرض نستمد القوة و إلى الأرض نعود بقوة . ارفع رأسك قليلا..تلك هي خطوطنا الخلفية و التي كانت في يوم ما خطوطا أمامية و التي سترجع عاجلا أم آجلا إلى خطوط الأعداء..هذه هي سنة الحرب , لا..لا..ليست روحا إنهزامية و لكن قل روحا بائسة يائسة عرفت أن نهاية هذه الحرب هي الإنهزام , روحا رغم نضارة الشباب لم تعرف غير اليأس , و الموت , و الأحزان , و الخوف . روحا شريدة , ضائعة , تائهة فقدت الأمل و ذاقت الألم..فخبرت الدنيا من أبشع زواياها و هي زاوية الحرب .هل الإنسان العائد من الحرب هو نفسه الذي ذهب قبل مدة إليها , هل الإنسان الذي قتل و دمر و فجر و اعتدى و اقتحم و جرح و عاش أشد الأهوال و بات تحت المطر و فوق الأرض و شعر بأشد أنواع البرد و أشد أنواع الحرارة هو نفسه ؟ , هل الإنسان الذي شاهد أصدقاءه يموتون أو تقطع و تبتر أعضاؤهم..و شاهد سكرات الموت و سمع صرخات الفزع و أنين المصابين و توسلاتهم و بكاءهم هو نفسه ؟ , هل الإنسان الذي ألف التعايش وسط الحرب يغذي احتياجاته الفطرية و فقط و مع أول رصاصة ننقبل إلى حيوانات ضارية شرسة لأن ذلك هو السبيل الوحيد لنجاتنا سيبقى هو نفسه ؟ هل الإنسان الذي تكون قمة سعادته عندما يعود من الميدان إلى الخطوط الخلفية فيجد أن الطعام قد أعد لمئة شخص مثلا و هو عدد كتيبته و لكن عدد الراجعين لا يزيد على ثلاثين شخصا فيسعد سعادة عظمى بهذه الوفرة من الطعام هو نفسه الإنسان الذي ذهب إلى الحرب قبل مدة ؟ أرى الدموع في عينيك..هل تشفق علي ؟ أم تشفق على حالي ؟..هئ هئ هئ..لا عليك فأنا أمثل جيلا..جيلا من شباب غض قد ضاع بين مطرقة الحرب و سندان ما بعد الحرب , جيل نشأ على مهمة واحدة هي القتل و الذبح..و كيفية البقاء أحياء أي إن عصارة كل هذه السنوات لم تتجاوز حدود الموت ,لقد ذهب التهذيب و الثقافة من حياتنا و حل محلها الجزع و اليأس..آه..ما أصعب هذا الإنتقال فنحن أصبحنا فجأة في وحشة هائلة مروعة , فالآن فقط زالت الغشاوة عن أعيننا..و أصبحنا في مواجهة الحقيقة المرة..نحن الآن وحدنا وحيدون متوحدون . image gratuite لقد سمعت صرختي في البداية..فانقلها بأمانة رجاءا..واكتب تحت هذه الصرخة عنوانا يليق..اكتب مثلا..صرخة شبح يعلن أن كل شيئ هادئ في الميدان الغربي . *********************************** رواية جميلة و مؤلمة جدا..تستحق القراءة و التأمل

  19. 5 out of 5

    Joey Woolfardis

    This is the second book that I've very nearly given five stars this year. All Quiet on the Western Front is the story of one young man fresh out of school who is sent to the front line with his classmates and must survive the horrors of war. I have a deep interest in the First World War in particular and I've never read anything (not even a poem) that deals with war in such a way as this. It is unforgiving and unapologetic in it's truth. The horrors of war are laid bare and every single thought t This is the second book that I've very nearly given five stars this year. All Quiet on the Western Front is the story of one young man fresh out of school who is sent to the front line with his classmates and must survive the horrors of war. I have a deep interest in the First World War in particular and I've never read anything (not even a poem) that deals with war in such a way as this. It is unforgiving and unapologetic in it's truth. The horrors of war are laid bare and every single thought that passed through every single soldier, regardless of nationality, during that war are right here in these pages. It doesn't matter whether the protagonist Paul is German, or French, or British, each and every single one of them felt these exact words during that conflict and it is such a hit to the heart that it brings emotions that even poetry cannot. Why didn't I give it five stars? Again, like Scaramouche, there were just little niggling things that put me in doubt. It is a wonderful novel, emotional and harsh and completely bleak, but, and this is possibly because of the translation, it seemed to have a slight gloss over the top of it that stopped me from truly loving it. Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest | Shop | Etsy

  20. 4 out of 5

    Emer

    "I am young, I am twenty years of age; but I know nothing of life except despair, death, fear, and the combination of completely mindless superficiality with an abyss of suffering. I see people being driven against one another, and silently, uncomprehendingly, foolishly, obediently and innocently killing one another. I see the best brains in the world inventing weapons and words to make the whole process that much more sophisticated and long-lasting. And watching this with me are all my contemp "I am young, I am twenty years of age; but I know nothing of life except despair, death, fear, and the combination of completely mindless superficiality with an abyss of suffering. I see people being driven against one another, and silently, uncomprehendingly, foolishly, obediently and innocently killing one another. I see the best brains in the world inventing weapons and words to make the whole process that much more sophisticated and long-lasting. And watching this with me are all my contemporaries, here and on the other side, all over the world - my whole generation is experiencing this with me. What would our fathers do if one day we rose up and confronted them, and called them to account? What do they expect from us when a time comes in which there is no more war? For years our occupation has been killing - that was the first experience we had. Our knowledge of life is limited to death. What will happen afterwards? And what can possibly become of us?" There are no victors in war. Only victims. What All Quiet on the Western Front does is it shows the humanity behind the inhumanity of war. It doesn't speak to sides, to enemies or to divisions of perceived rights or wrongs. Instead it tells the story of young men, barely more than children, and the horrors that they saw, the horrors that they carried out, and all that they endured during World War I. My words are meaningless here. Anything I try to write feels trite. There is an afterword in the edition I have read written in 1994 by the translator, Brian Murdoch, that I wish to quote from, because he is far more eloquent at expressing what this novel so accurately portrays. "The novel shows us very clearly that war is something else: war is not about heroism, but about terror, either waiting for death, or trying desperately to avoid it, even if it means killing a complete stranger to do so, about losing all human dignity and values, about becoming an automaton; it is not about falling bravely and nobly for one's country, but about soiling oneself in terror under heavy shellfire, about losing a leg, crawling blinded in no mans land, or being wounded in every conceivable part of the body. The narrator and his fellow soldiers discuss the nature of the war and war itself, but they do not come to any real conclusions - nor could they. They are too young, they lack the background. But their naïveté, their very inability to articulate an answer is the point of the book... And the reader is left to draw the conclusion." This is one of those books that everyone should read. It's not easy to read about the grim realities of war and its atrocities, but it is important to educate ourselves. To attempt to understand the ills that humanity inflicts upon itself. To understand our past so as to not repeat those mistakes. And to somehow try to better ourselves and see that there is no such thing as victorious outcome, just a trail of death, destruction, sadness and of broken innocent people. four and a half stars rounded up to five "I watch their dark figures. Their beards blow in the wind. I know nothing about them except that they are prisoners of war, and that is precisely what shakes me. Their lives are anonymous and blameless; if I knew more about them, what they are called, how they live, what their hopes and fears are, then my feelings might have a focus and could turn into sympathy. But at the moment all I sense in them is the pain of the dumb animal, the fearful melancholy of life and the pitilessness of men. An order has turned the silent figures into our enemies; an order could turn them into friends again. On some table, a document is signed by some people that none of us knows, and for years our main aim in life is the one thing that usually draws the condemnation of the whole world and incurs its severest punishment in law. How can anyone make distinctions like that looking at the silent men, with their faces like children and their beards like apostles? Any drill-corporal is a worse enemy to the recruits, any schoolmaster a worse enemy to his pupils than they are to us. And yet we would shoot at them again if they were free, and so would they at us. Suddenly I'm frightened: I mustn't think along those lines any more. That path leads to the abyss. It isn't the right time yet - but I don't want to lose those thoughts all together, I'll preserve them, keep them locked away until the war is over. My heart is pounding; could this be the goal, the greatness, the unique experience that I thought about in the trenches, that I was seeking as a reason for going on living after this universal catastrophe is over? Is this the task we must dedicate our lives to after the war, so that all the years of horror will have been worthwhile?"

  21. 4 out of 5

    Vit Babenco

    They were young. They were twenty-year-old. The war has stolen their youth. “To me the front is a mysterious whirlpool. Though I am in still water far away from its centre, I feel the whirl of the vortex sucking me slowly, irresistibly, inescapable into itself. From the earth, from the air, sustaining forces pour into us—mostly from the earth. To no man does the earth mean so much as to the soldier. When he presses himself down upon her long and powerfully, when he buries his face and his limbs de They were young. They were twenty-year-old. The war has stolen their youth. “To me the front is a mysterious whirlpool. Though I am in still water far away from its centre, I feel the whirl of the vortex sucking me slowly, irresistibly, inescapable into itself. From the earth, from the air, sustaining forces pour into us—mostly from the earth. To no man does the earth mean so much as to the soldier. When he presses himself down upon her long and powerfully, when he buries his face and his limbs deep in her from the fear of death by shell-fire, then she is his only friend, his brother, his mother; he stifles his terror and his cries in her silence and her security; she shelters him and releases him for ten seconds to live, to run, ten seconds of life; receives him again and often for ever.” The war has changed the values and priorities in man’s life – instead of learning the art of love and living one had to learn the skill of staying alive for however a short while longer. Erich Maria Remarque was a humanist who could vividly portray the atrocity of war in all its terrors. “I am young, I am twenty years old; yet I know nothing of life but despair, death, fear, and fatuous superficiality cast over an abyss of sorrow. I see how peoples are set against one another, and in silence, unknowingly, foolishly, obediently, innocently slay one another. I see that the keenest brains of the world invent weapons and words to make it yet more refined and enduring. And all men of my age, here and over there, throughout the whole world see these things; all my generation is experiencing these things with me. What would our fathers do if we suddenly stood up and came before them and proffered our account? What do they expect of us if a time ever comes when the war is over? Through the years our business has been killing;—it was our first calling in life. Our knowledge of life is limited to death. What will happen afterwards? And what shall come out of us?” The rich, for whom it’s All Quiet on the Western Front, get filthily richer while the young and innocent and able pay with their lives for the riches of those who wield power.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Perry

    The Power of Words in Depicting War Based on the real life war experiences of its author, this novel is the most vivid I've read on the horrors of war. It's certainly the best-known book about the atrocities of trench warfare in World War I. The novel struck me speechless by the end, stunning me most by the dichotomy of its fresh and immaculate prose against the bleakness and despair of the war's death and destruction, all in such a relatively short novel. This combination of words, war and brevi The Power of Words in Depicting War Based on the real life war experiences of its author, this novel is the most vivid I've read on the horrors of war. It's certainly the best-known book about the atrocities of trench warfare in World War I. The novel struck me speechless by the end, stunning me most by the dichotomy of its fresh and immaculate prose against the bleakness and despair of the war's death and destruction, all in such a relatively short novel. This combination of words, war and brevity make this a massive gut punch of a book that I hope is required reading in all military academies and strongly suggested reading for all commanders-in-chief. A stinging reminder—yes, we apparently need one—every soldier is a human being with hopes, dreams, love, and peccadilloes, as well as a family and people who care deeply. Highly recommended, maxi-potent read.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Dem

    Yeah ! My first 5 star read of 2014. Excellent- A mesmerizing and vivid account of war. I bought this novel as an audio book for $2.95 on Audible's daily deal and firstly I have to say the narrator was excellent but after a few pages I realized I just had to have the physical book as the writing was so beautiful I needed to have the book in my hand and re-read some of the wonderfully constructed sentances. This is a story about Paul, a young German soldier who goes to war along with some of his Yeah ! My first 5 star read of 2014. Excellent- A mesmerizing and vivid account of war. I bought this novel as an audio book for $2.95 on Audible's daily deal and firstly I have to say the narrator was excellent but after a few pages I realized I just had to have the physical book as the writing was so beautiful I needed to have the book in my hand and re-read some of the wonderfully constructed sentances. This is a story about Paul, a young German soldier who goes to war along with some of his comrades to fight for his country. Through Paul's eyes we travel with him on his journey to witness the horrors of warfare and experience the physochical struggles of these young men whose hopes and dreams are forever shattered. There were times I felt I was in the trench with Paul and I could feel the muck and the rats and the lice. What a wonderful writer that can make you feel you are part of the story and portray such spectacular sense of time and place. The story is told simply and yet powerfully and one memorable sentence follows another and had me re -reading paragraphs just to enjoy the writing. The most vivid and memorable scene for me was when Paul went on leave home. it was wonderfully written and very real. Books like this stay with me for a long long time. Another book A Long Long Way bySebastian Barry made a similar impression on me. There are wonderful quotes in this book and the following is a favorite of mine. " Equal rations, equal pay, war's forgotten in a day" This novel is not for everybody as some people don't want to read war novels. But it is a short book and readers who like to read about war will certainly find this novel is extremely well written. Its a book that takes you to war and throws you into the trenches whether you like it or not. A well deserved 5 stars.

  24. 5 out of 5

    BAM The Bibliomaniac

    "Terror can be endured if one simply ducks" A spellbinding portrait of the atrocities experienced by the young population who fight to defend their country. I phrased it such because although this book is a poignant description of WWI, the events are experienced today; just update the technology. I can never know what my friends have gone through on active duty, but if it's even half of this inhumanity, I will never look at them the same. Our soldiers are our true super heroes. Never forget Audio "Terror can be endured if one simply ducks" A spellbinding portrait of the atrocities experienced by the young population who fight to defend their country. I phrased it such because although this book is a poignant description of WWI, the events are experienced today; just update the technology. I can never know what my friends have gone through on active duty, but if it's even half of this inhumanity, I will never look at them the same. Our soldiers are our true super heroes. Never forget Audio reread #99

  25. 4 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    This book is an extremely powerfully written book highlighting many of the horrors the men who fought in WWI experienced. Telling it from the viewpoint of a young man, Paul, who we first meet as a student makes it more personal for the reader. They enlist with the bravado of the young, fighting for their country, a sense of adventure that once in the trenches they quickly lose. The nightmare that was trench warfare, seeing your friends killed and many times not sure where your next bit of food wo This book is an extremely powerfully written book highlighting many of the horrors the men who fought in WWI experienced. Telling it from the viewpoint of a young man, Paul, who we first meet as a student makes it more personal for the reader. They enlist with the bravado of the young, fighting for their country, a sense of adventure that once in the trenches they quickly lose. The nightmare that was trench warfare, seeing your friends killed and many times not sure where your next bit of food would come from all leas to disillusionment and eventually that those fighting on the other side were the same as you. Even giving leave they find out they no longer fit into their old lives, wounded they receive substandard treatment from doctors and nurses who are overworked or in some cases want to use the injured soldiers for experimentation. A hard book to read in many ways but such a very good and important one.

  26. 4 out of 5

    qwerty

    Προχθές ήμασταν ακόμη στη φωτιά, σήμερα κάνουμε το χαζό και ζούμε όπως έρχεται. Αύριο θα ξαναγυρίσουμε στο χαράκωμα. Πραγματικά, όμως, τίποτα δε λησμονούμε. Όσο βρισκόμαστε στην εκστρατεία, οι περασμένες μέρες του μετώπου πέφτουν σαν πέτρες στα βάθη του είναι μας. Γιατί είναι πάρα πολύ βαριές και δεν αντέχουμε να τις φέρνουμε στο νου μας. Αν το κάναμε, θα καταστρεφόμασταν. Γιατί το 'χω προσέξει αυτό: Η φρίκη είναι υποφερτή όσο περιορίζεσαι να σκύβεις το κεφάλι, σκοτώνει όμως σαν τη συλλογιέσαι.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    Audiobook performed by Frank Muller 6h 56m Well....... I suppose this wasn't my best choice for an Audiobook as I dived into my spring cleaning the May holiday weekend in Canada. Text: 5 stars Audio: 3 stars I have been musing over how exactly I want to approach my first encounter with this well known WWI classic told from the perspective of a young German soldier. What I Liked : 1) A perspective on the Great War that focuses on the soldiers and doesn't turn out to be a romance. It's bleak and it Audiobook performed by Frank Muller 6h 56m Well....... I suppose this wasn't my best choice for an Audiobook as I dived into my spring cleaning the May holiday weekend in Canada. Text: 5 stars Audio: 3 stars I have been musing over how exactly I want to approach my first encounter with this well known WWI classic told from the perspective of a young German soldier. What I Liked : 1) A perspective on the Great War that focuses on the soldiers and doesn't turn out to be a romance. It's bleak and it's dark and that makes it all the more realistic. 2) Originally published in German in 1929, it truly explores the daily stresses of the soldiers and the difficulty of trying to reintegrate in civilian life. It's a " classic" that has aged well. 3) There is this beautiful chapter where the main protagonist, Paul, goes home to visit his mother. There is this whole internal struggle going on within Paul of all that he is feeling and wants to say, but decides he cannot because of fear and love. What I Didn't Like 1) The audio performance. Call me crazy BUT I would have assumed that the narrator would have a German accent since the perspective is from a German soldier. Often the narrators of audio adopt the accents of their characters. This narrator's pronunciation on some words made the soldiers sound like they were American soldiers at times. I know that I shouldn't focus on this aspect but lacked some authenticity for me as a listener.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jo (An Unexpected Geek)

    This book is so significant in attempting to understand the profound effect that war has on an individual. All quiet on the western front is about a man who has just left school, and with his classmates, he is sent to the front line to endure the horrors of war. I have always had an interest in the first World War, as I was never really taught anything about it in school, it was always the second World War that was covered,but yet the first is so important. What I liked about this book in particu This book is so significant in attempting to understand the profound effect that war has on an individual. All quiet on the western front is about a man who has just left school, and with his classmates, he is sent to the front line to endure the horrors of war. I have always had an interest in the first World War, as I was never really taught anything about it in school, it was always the second World War that was covered,but yet the first is so important. What I liked about this book in particular, is the way in which we hear the thoughts from each soldier, regardless of nationality. War affects people in different ways, and has such a physical and psychological impact on a person, and this is described in poignant and powerful detail in this book. This was a grim, devastating read, and it definitely toyed with my emotions, but there was something that prevented me from completely loving it and giving it five stars, and I'm not even sure what that was. Even so, I am definitely glad I read this classic.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jan-Maat

    When a spade is called an entrenching tool, and an entrenching tool is the ultimate weapon I read this at school and I'm not sure how much I remember from the book and how much from seeing film versions. Taking in the civilian side from school days and the homefront gives a different impression than the military focus of the British war poets. Re-Reading I'm struck how the narrator is self-effacing, like in the old days the teacher writing on the board in chalk but half rubbing each word off unco When a spade is called an entrenching tool, and an entrenching tool is the ultimate weapon I read this at school and I'm not sure how much I remember from the book and how much from seeing film versions. Taking in the civilian side from school days and the homefront gives a different impression than the military focus of the British war poets. Re-Reading I'm struck how the narrator is self-effacing, like in the old days the teacher writing on the board in chalk but half rubbing each word off unconsciously with their sleeve, so too the virtual non-existence of the first person narrator, named only indirectly and in parts during the course of a very brief novel, is perhaps a preparation for the inevitable. However while the narrator only exists in relation to others : soldier, son, wounded man, comrade, and is a ghostly figure haunting his own life with no future ahead of him, since he volunteered before sitting his school exams (as did the whole class at the urging of one of their teacher'0, however the material world is palpable throughout, lice, mud, food, even the most basic things with out spices are immediate and fully present, cold beans, potato pancakes, foraged cigars. One might say the entire book is structured around education. Formal and informal schooling, formal and informal teachers - the narrator as a school boy earning his book money through coaching other boys - and as a narrator what is he doing but coaching the reader - take cover, keep an eye out for extra food, a wound can send you home, but sometimes too far home, mostly importantly he teaches us that the student learns the lessons they are taught not perhaps the formal subject of the lesson but certainly the informal lesson provided by the teaching style. Violence begets violence. We can see another Catholic war veteran's story Wanderer komst du nach Spa... as a response to this one. If you want to address the fruits of war and adult violence look to the roots - where the learning is done.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Ashleigh

    “I am young, I am twenty years old; yet I know nothing of life but despair, death, fear, and fatuous superficiality cast over an abyss of sorrow. I see how peoples are set against one another, and in silence, unknowingly, foolishly, obediently, innocently slay one another.” This quote sums this book up best. The main character is a modern soldier who fights in a war he considers senseless. Read this book because it is short and if you like it — read Johnny Got His Gun too.

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