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All Quiet on the Western Front (Critical…
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All Quiet on the Western Front (Critical Insights)

by Brian Murdoch

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I was very interested in reading this as my husband and I travelled to the battle sites of of WWI and WWII in the spring of 2016. We saw many battlefields and graveyards in the Netherlands, Belgium and France
Paul Baumer is the narrator of this story of the first world war. We follow Paul and his 6 schoolmates as they endure the camaraderie, training, combat, horror, death, destruction and hope. Until the last paragraph, he is the only survivor in Oct. 1918 and then he dies.
In my view, this is an excellent anti-war book. Paul starts out full of hope that the war won't last long but as it goes on, his opinions of the leadership of all governments involved become negative. He witnesses horrible battle sites, maiming of young men, trench warfare with rats and mud and dysentery. His comrades die and yet he still clings to a hope that he will make it out alive. He worries what life will be like after the war and whether the generation. The story studies the idea that this war was a battle of the egos of its leaders and was completely unnecessary and fruitless. It's a visceral account of a soldier's life as he faces the futility and destruction of the war. ( )
  MaggieFlo | Aug 30, 2016 |
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Essay selections include a comparison of All Quiet on the Western Front to Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms, a comprehensive survey of the novel's popular and critical reception, an examination of the novel's often overlooked subtleties of tone, characterization, and plot, and Remarque's startling direct style and his relevance to twenty-first-century readers. Previously published essays offer a close reading of the novel and its themes of comradeship, and the devastating effects of war on those who live through them as well as an account of the production and reception of the 1930 film adaptation.… (more)

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