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All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich…

All Quiet on the Western Front (original 1929; edition 1987)

by Erich Maria Remarque

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11,184247251 (4.08)1 / 814
Title:All Quiet on the Western Front
Authors:Erich Maria Remarque
Info:Ballantine Books (1987), Edition: 1, Mass Market Paperback, 304 pages
Collections:Your library, 1001 books to read before you die
Tags:WW1, antiwar, historical fiction, German Literature, classic

Work details

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque (1929)

  1. 70
    The Road Back by Erich Maria Remarque (DeDeNoel)
    DeDeNoel: Also by Remarque, The Road Back is often considered a sequel to All Quiet. It has some of the same characters and alludes to others.
  2. 60
    Storm of Steel by Ernst Jünger (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Taken together, Jünger's memoir and Remarque's novel present a pair of radically different views of the German experience in World War I.
  3. 72
    Goodbye to All That by Robert Graves (Nickelini, chrisharpe)
  4. 30
    Lay Down Your Arms! by Bertha von Suttner (MarthaJeanne)
    MarthaJeanne: Two anti-war novels written in German. Suttner wrote before WWI about how war affects the families, Remarque after the war about how it affected the soldiers.
  5. 41
    Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks (Simone2)
  6. 31
    Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo (usnmm2)
  7. 32
    The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien (chrisharpe)
  8. 00
    1948: A Soldier's Tale - The Bloody Road to Jerusalem by Uri Avnery (Polaris-)
  9. 00
    Three Comrades by Erich Maria Remarque (Anonymous user)
  10. 11
    Fall of Giants by Ken Follett (mcenroeucsb)
  11. 11
    The Unknown Soldier by Väinö Linna (andejons)
  12. 00
    Beaufort by Ron Leshem (SqueakyChu)
    SqueakyChu: Both books look at the personal toll of war.
  13. 01
    Zero Hour by Georg Grabenhorst (lmichet)
  14. 01
    The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers (aliklein)
  15. 01
    Adjusting Sights by Haim Sabato (SqueakyChu)
    SqueakyChu: Both books look at war without mentioning the politics that go along with it.
  16. 01
    Johnny the Partisan by Beppe Fenoglio (UrliMancati)
  17. 01
    A Long, Long Way by Sebastian Barry (starfishian)
  18. 01
    Border Crossings - An Aid Worker's Journey into Bosnia by Aubrey Verboven (Aubrey_Verboven)
  19. 01
    Heeresbericht by Edlef Köppen (Dekki)
  20. 01
    Going After Cacciato by Tim O'Brien (SqueakyChu)
    SqueakyChu: Both books take a personal look at war.

(see all 23 recommendations)


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English (221)  French (5)  German (5)  Dutch (3)  Yiddish (3)  Finnish (2)  Spanish (2)  Swedish (2)  Portuguese (1)  Hebrew (1)  Czech (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (247)
Showing 1-5 of 221 (next | show all)
I enjoyed this novel over a long period of time--it was one for which I could read a few chapters, reflect, and put it aside for a few weeks. Of course, this is quality literature, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this type of book again. However, I wonder if any war novel will ever compare to Tim O'Brian's "The Things They Carried." That moved me so much more.... nothing else measures up! ( )
  engpunk77 | Aug 14, 2015 |
All Quiet on the Western Front – A Superb Classic

All Quiet on the Western Front is one of the classic books ever written set in the First World War, written by the German Erich Maria Remarque. Remarque’s work was banned and burned by the Nazis in 1933 when he left Germany and moved to Switzerland, he was seen as not a true German by the Nazis.

Remarque did not set out to write an anti-war book in fact he himself called this book ‘unpolitical’ and he did not set out to tell people not to go to war. He always felt those most in favour of war would never go themselves, but send and encourage others, today we call those type of people politicians.

Remarque did not go to war himself until 1917 and then spent time in a military hospital after he was injured. While there he made notes on what the other injured soldiers recounted about the war in the trenches, so it is not just his experience of war but that of other German soldiers. What Remarque crafted from those notes is without doubt one of the best war novels ever written, that brings home modern warfare and all its horrors. All Quiet on the Western Front has lasted the test of time and will continue to do so for many years to come.

We see the story of the war through the eyes of the fresh recruit Paul Baumer who like a number of his schoolboy friends were goaded in to join the ‘glorious war’ by their schoolmaster. We experience the war through the eyes of a naive schoolboy who has fire in his belly to fight the good fight and patriotic Germans will stand up for their country. What we get is the story of a German soldier who goes from idealistic patriotism, to the experience of warfare and the horrors of the trenches.

Paul sees the difference from the parade ground where they are trained and drilled by the ex-postman Himmelstoss who enjoys giving the new recruits a hard time. When they are sent to forward positions an old soldier, Katczinsky, takes them under his wing, and teaches them the art of survival. When Himmelstoss we see the wonderful juxtaposition of the bully being a coward in the face of war, when the bombs are falling all around.

The book is an excellent commentary on how seven naive schoolboys set out to a glorious war to be see their innocence destroyed and how alike they are to the enemies on the other side of the trenches. As we see the inner turmoil and their souls destroyed in the attempt to survive but the ending is a blissful release for Paul and a sad ending at the same time. ( )
  atticusfinch1048 | Aug 5, 2015 |
This is a slight novel at just under 200 pages, however, there is nothing slight about the story. There is a lot crammed into this little book.

Remarque wrote the story from his own experiences at the front while fighting as a German soldier. And, as you can guess, it is no different than the stories told from the French and British and American side. Limbs are lost, intestines spill onto the ground, brains fly through the air, and yet the fighting continued for over 4 years. Remarque left Germany after the war and moved to Switzerland. From there he moved to America, and became a U.S. citizen in 1947. His books were banned by Nazi Germany.

All Quiet follows a group of young soldiers who have been goaded into signing up for the war by their professor. Told through the voice of Paul Baumer, it follows the young men as they fight on the front lines, have rest periods just behind the lines, forage for food, and even for clothing. The company with which they fight starts out with 150 soldiers, and by chapter 7 they are down to 32 men. Until replacements arrive, this means more rations - more food, more drink, more cigars, and more cigarettes. Replacements are sent in to fill in the gaps, and sent to the front lines as Paul says, "before they know what cover means". Paul goes home on leave, and finds he no longer wants to be home.

"I imagined leave would be different from this. Indeed, it was different a year ago. It is I of course that have changed in the interval. There lies a gulf between that time and today. At that time I still knew nothing about the war, we had only been in quiet sectors. But now I see that I have been crushed without knowing it. I find I do not belong here any more, it is a foreign world. Some of these people ask questions, some ask no questions, but one can see that they are quite confident they know all about it; they often say so with their air of comprehension, so there is no point discussing it. They make up a picture of it for themselves."

As the end of the war approaches those who are left feel that they have nothing to go home to. They have been trained for nothing other than killing. It comes down to one last push and then a day where few sounds are heard and the dispatch sent home reports "All quiet on the western front'.

Remarque's anti-war message seems clear, and reading this, it points out that regardless of which side the soldiers were fighting for, it was brutal, and needless, and so many young men died on both sides wondering what they were fighting for.

Read July 2014 ( )
  NanaCC | Jul 26, 2015 |
Brilliantly evocative account of Trench Warfare from the viewpoint of a German soldier: All the more remarkable because it was written in the 1920s and along with the WW1 tomes of Sapper (British) set the tone for a much more realistic and therefore more brutally tragic descriptions of the mindless slaughter August 1914 - November 1918.
Should be compulsory text reading for every 14+ school boy and girl. Removes every bit of gloss and glory and literally cuts to the teeth and bone of the factual reality at back of Dulce et Decorum! ( )
  tommi180744 | Jul 20, 2015 |
Enlisted by the patriotic pressure of their community, Paul and his just-graduated classmates attempt to survive the seemingly unlimited depravity of the Western Front of WWI: "Life is simply one continual watch against the menace of death; - it has transformed us into unthinking animals in order to give us the weapon of instinct - it has reinforced us with dullness, so that we do not go to pieces before the horror, which would overwhelm us if we had clear, conscious thought - it has awakened in us the sense of comradeship, so that we escape the abyss of solitude - it has lent us the indifference of wild creatures, so that in spite of all, we perceive the positive in every moment, and store it up as a reserve against the onslaught of nothingness. Thus we live a closed, hard existence of the utmost superficiality."

I was surprised at how many times a passage/incident/phrase made me smile - even amidst horror there is kindness and humor (albeit of a darker variety). But still: "It must be all lies and of no account when the culture of a thousand years could not prevent this stream of blood being poured out, these torture-chambers in their hundreds of thousands. A hospital alone shows what war is." Fuck.

Would have been fascinating/depressing to witness Paul's re-immersion into or further isolation from society following the armistice, but... war. ( )
  dandelionroots | Jun 25, 2015 |
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This book is to be neither an accusation nor a confession, and least of all an adventure, for death is not an adventure to those who stand face to face with it. It will try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped shells, were destroyed by the war.
First words
We are at rest five miles behind the front.
The war has ruined us for everything.
We were eighteen and had begun to love life and the world; and we had to shoot it to pieces. The first bomb, the first explosion, burst in our hearts. We are cut off from activity, from striving, from progress. We believe in such things no longer, we believe in the war.
But now, for the first time, I see you are a man like me. I thought of your hand-grenades, of your bayonet, of your rifle; now I see your wife and your face and our fellowship. Forgive me, comrade. We always see it too late. Why do they never tell us that you are poor devils like us, that your mothers are just as anxious as ours, and that we have the same fear of death, and the same dying and the same agony.
Every little bean should be heard as well as seen.
We are little flames poorly sheltered by frail walls against the storm of dissolution and madness, in which we flicker and sometimes almost go out.
- page 298
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Men are committed,
Slouching toward Bethlehem.
Death is generous.

Boys go off to war;
Surprise! Germans have feelings.
Disregard all flags.


Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0449213943, Mass Market Paperback)

Paul Baumer enlisted with his classmates in the German army of World War I. Youthful, enthusiastic, they become soldiers. But despite what they have learned, they break into pieces under the first bombardment in the trenches. And as horrible war plods on year after year, Paul holds fast to a single vow: to fight against the principles of hate that meaninglessly pits young men of the same generation but different uniforms against each other--if only he can come out of the war alive.
"The world has a great writer in Erich Maria Remarque. He is a craftsman of unquestionably first trank, a man who can bend language to his will. Whether he writes of men or of inanimate nature, his touch is sensitive, firm, and sure."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:25 -0400)

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The testament of Paul Baumer, who enlists with his classmates in the German army of World War I, illuminates the savagery and futility of war.

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