Posts Tagged With: All Quiet on the Western Front

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

Date of Publication: 1928 (my edition, 1982 Ballantine Books)

Number of Pages: 296

Synopsis (from back cover): This is the testament of Paul Bäumer, who enlists with his classmates in the German army of World War I. These young men become enthusiastic soldiers, but their world of duty, culture, and progress breaks into pieces under the first bombardment in the trenches.

Through years of vivid horror, Paul holds fast to a single vow: to fight against the hatred and meaninglessly pits young men of the same generation but different uniforms against one another…if only he can come out of the war alive.

Review: This has been called the greatest war novel of all time, and it certainly deserves this praise. Not only does the author accurately portray the experience of a soldier during World War I (Remarque himself served in the German army during the war), but he delves deeply into the emotional toll of war that is universal to all soldiers: the loss of hope, the feeling of foreignness at home, and the joy of companionship with your comrades. Paul and his fellow soldiers quickly become accustomed to the horrors of war, and even going home seems to be no longer an option. The story remains relevant today, as thousands of our troops remain in Iraq and Afghanistan, and will remain so as long as there is still war.

Rating: 9/10

Reviewed by Sarah

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All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

The ‘Blurb’
In the trenches, one by one the boys begin to fall…

In 1914 a room full of German schoolboys, fresh-faced and idealistic, are goaded by their chauvinistic schoolmaster to troop off to the ‘glorious war’. With the fire and patriotism of youth they sign up. Their disenchantment begins during the brutal basic training and then, as they board the train to the front, they see the terrible injuries suffered on the front line – their first glimpse of the reality of war


Probably the most famous anti-war novel about the horrors of the Great War, this book tells the story of Paul Bäumer, a young recruit who leaves for the Western Front with a group of school friends.

Not only set at the front, the novel also focuses on the feelings of detachment that soldiers felt when returning home on leave, which was a rare event and left the soldiers feeling unsettled – wanting to return to the familiarity of the trenches, and yet knowing they were returning to certain death.

Although largely about the futility of war, and the horrific suffering of the soldiers, there are also light-hearted moments in this book.

Having read quite a few novels about WW1 for my A level, it was good to read one from the German perspective which shows that the German soldiers were just lads like our own – just ordinary men that became unwitting pawns in a bigger game.

I really enjoyed this – it’s just a pity that my dentist decided to tell me a huge spoiler when I was only on page 42!

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