3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: WAR (Paperback)
Ludwig Renn's (pen-name) book is a novel telling the experiences of an NCO on the Western Front from 1914 through to 1918.
Although the book is written as a novel it is clearly autobiographical. Check 'Renn's' details and you find that he was an officer on the Western Front for four years. It's not clear why he wrote it as a novel from the point of view of an NCO rather than as a straight memoir of an officer. Memoirs may be 'spiced up' somewhat anyway. It's very clear from the small details he describes that it is based on his experiences. 'War' was published some years after Junger's 'Storm of steel', it is similar and perhaps Renn was inspired by Junger's book.
After I had read a little way I nearly stopped. The writing style is a bit jagged in places. Thankfully I persevered and it is clear that the main problem is failings in the translation. Perhaps as I got further in I adjusted to the style. What I discovered was a book in the same class as Junger's 'Storm of Steel'. Junger rewrote his book numerous times to 'improve' it and went on to become a well-regarded writer, and thankfully there has been a very good new translation of his book. Although 'War' would benefit from some minor editing and a better translation it is well worth reading and stands as a forgotten classic. Strongly recommended in order to get the view of the front-line experiences from the German side.
It is odd how 'All quiet on the western front' is regarded as the only German book, particularly since I have seen English veterans openly doubt that Remarque was ever in the front line.