I read this novel many years ago as part of the Open University's "War and Society" course. I was deeply moved at the time. I have just re-read it as background for a novel I myself am writing, and am even more affected now by Barbusse's chilling account of the Hell of the fighting on the Western Front. If ever there was a book which so devastatingly portrays man's sheer stupidity, this is it. All the technological ingenuity and industrial might of many nations devoted to slaughtering each other's young men in their thousands. And to what end? Especially when one considers the irony that the ending of WW1 sowed the seeds for an even greater carnage twenty years later. Grim reading perhaps. Not for the squeamish certainly. But a great great novel.