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All Quiet on the Western Front Paperback – 3 Jan 1996

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (3 Jan. 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099532816
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099532811
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (277 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,607 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Remarque's evocation of the horrors of modern warfare has lost none of its force" (The Times)

"Remarque is a craftsman of unquestionably first rank" (New York Times Book Review)

"There are some books that should be read by every generation... Remarque's story of German trench soldiers of the 1914-18 war gains even more authority in the context of the loss of life in wars that still rage" (Chris Searle)

"Brian Murdoch's new English translation shows that Remarque's evocation of the horrors of modern warfare has lost none of its force" (The Times)

"The book conquers without persuading, it shakes you without exaggerating, a perfect work of art and at the same time truth that cannot by doubted" (Stefan Zweig)

Review

'Remarque has written quite the most extraordinary book I have ever read...poetic and lyrical prose...un-putdown-able and I highly recommend it'.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Bob Salter TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 28 July 2009
Format: Paperback
With the recent sad passing of Harry Patch "The last Tommy", who was the last man alive to have fought in the trenches of the Great War, I feel saddened that the last living link with my grandfathers generation has been lost. He will be buried in the village of Monkton Combe a short drive away from where I live, making it doubly poignant. Harry didn't speak about the war until he was a hundred years old, such was the mark it left on him. In his last years he was outspoken against war and its waste. That war to end all wars almost annihilated a generation and left mental scars on the survivors that would never heal.

There were two things that I did with my children out of respect for that generation. I took them all to see the Menin Gate at Ypres in Belgium with the names of the dead engraved on it. On his first trip out of the country since the war this was the first place Harry Patch visited. If you have not done this, then do it. The second thing I did for my son was to read him Erich Maria Remarque's story "All Quiet on the Western Front". It was a bit too violent for my daughters who are of a more delicate disposition. My son often reminds me that he still has the mental scars from the book. He still asks what sort of father would do that to his son. But he remembers it vividly. I have read it three times now and it is a book that is as powerful today as when it was first published in book form in 1929 when it caused a sensation. It is the daddy of all the anti war books.

We see the war through the eyes of an innocent and naive young soldier Paul Baumer who is fresh from school. After some initial training he is sent to the front where he witnesses the realities of trench warfare. Life becomes very cheap indeed, but Paul adapts and learns how to survive.
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53 of 53 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 11 Jan. 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Both the title itself and other reviewers' comments provide you with an overview of the subject matter of this novel so I won't dwell on that. What I would say however is that I disagree with the notion expressed by other reviewers that this book is applicable to any war and supports the notion that all conflicts are futile. (Although I appreciate that the latter was the intention of the author.)
The reason I say this is because the Western Front during WWI was arguably (bar Stalingrad) the ultimate manifestation of a war of attrition at the battlefield level. Plainly and simply the winner was the side which could sustain the greatest number of casualties yet still keep going. Shamelessly, both sides pursued this strategy relentlessly which only serves to make the futility of this particular conflict all the more poignant.
The most moving passages for me are the protagonist thinking back to the bravado of his teacher encouraging his pupils to join up having bought the propaganda hool, link and sinker; the little things in life that are so meaningful to Paul given that they may be the last time he gets to experience them; the period of leave when he returns to his family who could not begin to understand what he has experienced, and above all the description of what it was like waiting in the bunkers while the shells rained down on them, knowing that at any moment the next shell could be for them. The last passage and action both during and after the barrage are truly amazing.
It's been six months since I read this book and thinking about it something has become clear to me. Once you're read this book you're more of a person that you were before. Gushing maybe but true. There is no higher praise than that.
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41 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Michael Kipping on 17 Sept. 2011
Format: Hardcover
Having read all 72 previous reviews there were one or two in which the reviewer stated that Remarques book in one way or another did its part to make WWII possible. Being a German born in 1966, with family members - as I found out later (not by being told but by asking unwelcomed questions) - being faithful followers of the impersonated evil during the 1930s and 1940s, in this country's darkest years, I'd like to give a comment and I hope my English is not failing me.

Remarque did not mean to write an anti-war book. As a matter of fact he called it "unpolitical". But the very first lines of the book, placed before the first chapter, do put things into perspective. Yet he still insisted that his novel was not written to convince people to oppose war for he said that "everybody is against going to war anyway." He later corrected this misconception of his. In an interview as late as 1963 he revised his original statement: (translated: "I always believed that everybody was against going to war - until I realized there were some folks who do want to go to war, particularly those who don't need to go themselves."

Remarque himself did not go to war in 1917 voluntarily. He only served in the trenches for a few months until he got wounded by shrapnel and got shot through the neck. He was sent to a military hospital where he listened to (and took notes of) the reports of other soldiers who had seen so much more of the war than he did. What he noted was what became the foundation of his book. And this book, although fictional, became what it is today. It has become an anti-war book by accident because it was received as such. Erich Maria Remarque had no intention of making his fellow Germans more peaceful or more aggressive.
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