Top positive review
Then comes the great chapters that overtly comment on the horror
on 29 April 2018
The novel comes alive in the last third. Before this, it features dialogues between loose bands of friends who shuffle through each day, tiny glimpses of the universality of struggle. This new translation renders the vernacular more closely to the ideal of how these soldiers would have spoken. Then comes the great chapters that overtly comment on the horror, the machine of war. I have read little that can equal Barbusse's final chapter, as the baselessness of war is laid bare, the commonality of all men is described, alongside the perpetual echoes of why it all happens, why it is all inevitable in the mouths of those who perpetuate it. This is a great novel to stand with those other great commentaries of The Great War. I think it is profoundly important to read accounts from all the nations to glean how awful the war was, viewed by those who were forced to take part.