- Publisher: Vintage (2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0099560836
- ISBN-13: 978-0099560838
- ASIN: B0080R5B2M
- Product Dimensions: 18 x 10.4 x 1.5 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (341 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,478,099 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT Paperback – 2011
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All Quiet on the Western Front
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The 2 stars is for the fact the type face is so small it makes it very hard to read. It is of course an amazing book but if you can't read it....Published 6 days ago by Amazon Customer
When will we learn?...and for what?....cornfields, grain, more space, more greed to benefit the rich few? Generations led to slaughter by anonymous power hungry nobodies.Published 1 month ago by toppers review
Wonderful tragic book that can stand asan anthem to lost youth, who were allowed to be butchered on all sides to satisfy the arrogance of old men, who did not every have to share... Read morePublished 1 month ago by William Reilly
Have seen the film's which are very good but the book surpasses them. Found it both horrific and sad, having served myself for some 33 years could equate to the futility of war.Published 2 months ago by Chris
It seems presumptuous to give anything less than 5 to such a classic - reading other reviews almost no one else disputes its greatness. Read morePublished 2 months ago by D. J. Favager