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

by Erich Maria Remarque

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10,636225269 (4.08)1 / 738
Member:vancouverdeb
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
Rating:*****
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. 41
    Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks (Simone2)
  5. 31
    Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo (usnmm2)
  6. 10
    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.
  7. 32
    The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien (chrisharpe)
  8. 11
    The Unknown Soldier by Väinö Linna (andejons)
  9. 00
    Beaufort by Ron Leshem (SqueakyChu)
    SqueakyChu: Both books look at the personal toll of war.
  10. 11
    Fall of Giants by Ken Follett (mcenroeucsb)
  11. 00
    1948: A Soldier's Tale - The Bloody Road to Jerusalem by Uri Avnery (Polaris-)
  12. 01
    The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers (aliklein)
  13. 01
    Soldier from the Wars Returning by Charles Carrington (John_Vaughan)
    John_Vaughan: As a contrast and comparison All Quiet is written from the experiences of a soldier in the German trenches.
  14. 01
    Border Crossings - An Aid Worker's Journey into Bosnia by Aubrey Verboven (Aubrey_Verboven)
  15. 01
    Life in the tomb by Stratēs Myrivēlēs (ten_floors_up)
    ten_floors_up: A different perspective on trench warfare in the First World War. Fictional experiences of a Greek soldier on the Macedonian front, written in a less earthy, more florid style by a veteran of that campaign.
  16. 01
    Heeresbericht by Edlef Köppen (Dekki)
  17. 01
    Adjusting Sights by Haim Sabato (SqueakyChu)
    SqueakyChu: Both books look at war without mentioning the politics that go along with it.
  18. 01
    Johnny the Partisan by Beppe Fenoglio (UrliMancati)
  19. 01
    Zero Hour by Georg Grabenhorst (lmichet)
  20. 01
    A Long, Long Way by Sebastian Barry (starfishian)

(see all 22 recommendations)

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English (200)  French (5)  German (4)  Dutch (3)  Yiddish (3)  Finnish (2)  Spanish (2)  Swedish (2)  Portuguese (1)  Hebrew (1)  Czech (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (225)
Showing 1-5 of 200 (next | show all)
Whilst known as "All Quiet..." in English, the original German title is "Nothing New....". I read this book as my nod to the centenary start of the First World War. Whilst most World War films, books etc are Hollywood influenced, where the Brits and the Americans are the winners, this is a story told about the German soldiers sent to the front line.

Paul Bäumer , along with the rest of his 18 year old classmates, enlists with the army near the start of the war, and after some training, all get sent to the front. Before they are even 20, they have seen things they should never have seen and realised that what they were taught in school would never have trained them for the real world.

I am young, I am twenty years old; yet I know nothing of life but despair, death, fear, and fatuous superficiality cast over an abyss of sorrow. I see how peoples are set against one another, and in silence, unknowingly, foolishly, obediently, innocently slay one another.

As the war gets worse for the Germans, more recruits are sent to the front, younger every time, with less and less training and only good for cannon fodder as they cant even tell the difference between the different types of basic artillary.

At school nobody ever taught us how to light a cigarette in a storm of rain, nor how a fire could be made with wet wood-nor that it is best to stick a bayonet in the belly because there it doesn't get jammed, as it does in the ribs.

Paul has realised that bayonets are of no use now in fighting (only good for the enemy to hack off German noses from German corpses), and that fighting is now a matter of guns, grenades, tanks and planes.

It is a thin book - circa 200 pages, but each page is filled with lyrical but graphic descriptions of war, where whole platoons can live, die and be buried in a trench, spending days without food and little water, fighting for what is left with desperate fat rats.

This is as much about comradeship and family as it is about the fighting itself. Paul has an extended leave, and manages to return to his home town only to find how much he has changed - he can no longer get any joy from staying with his family, and is fed up talking about the fighting at the front with the people of the town. As the war goes on, more and more of the original 7 are lost through death and injury until only Paul is left and then.....
  nordie | Aug 29, 2014 |
A funny, horrific, touching, maddening, poignant book which everybody should read. The story of a group of school friends who enlist in the army to fight WWI in the trenches of France; a group which is relentlessly decimated and diminished.

There is no overt political message, no rights and wrongs of the conflict. This is the experience of the front-line soldier, and could have been told from either side. It hardly matters that the soldiers we follow are German. They could have easily been French, Russian or English and their hopes and fears, camaraderie and isolation, lives and deaths would be equally effecting.

Each time I read All Quiet on the Western Front I'm surprised that I've forgotten how good it is. Each time I want it to end differently, but inevitably the machinery of war does its work. ( )
  Michael.Rimmer | Aug 1, 2014 |
Man, I need a break. I've been reading about the First World War solidly since December and I've had enough now. There's only so many times you can go through the same shit, whether they're English, French, German, Russian – oh look, another group of pals from school, eagerly jogging down to the war office to sign up. Brilliant. Now it's just a matter of guessing which horrible death will be assigned to them: shrapnel to the stomach, bleeding to death in no-man's-land, drowning in mud, succumbing to dysentery, shot for deserting, bayonetted at close range, vaporised by a whizz-bang, victim of Spanish flu. It's like the most depressing drinking game ever.

I wish, after spending many months reading around this subject, that I could pick out some obscure classic to recommend (and perhaps I will still find some, because I intend to keep reading about 1914–18 throughout 2014–18), but I have to say that this novel, famously one of the greatest war novels, is in fact genuinely excellent and left quite an impression on me, despite my trench fatigue. Remarque has the same elements as everyone else – because pretty much everyone in this war went through the same godawful mind-numbingly exhausting terror – but he describes it all with such conviction and such clarity that I was sucker-punched by the full horror of it all over again.

The story is studded with remarkable incidents that linger in the mind: roasting a stolen goose in the middle of a barrage, for instance, or stabbing a Frenchman to death in a fit of panic while sheltering in the same shell-hole. The arrangements made to allow a hospital inmate to enjoy a marital visit with his wife, while the rest of the patients in the room concentrate on ‘a noisy game of cards’. I loved the moment where our narrator and his friends swim across a river to have a drink with some local French girls, arriving naked because they couldn't risk getting their uniforms wet. And back in the trenches, an infestation of huge rats, ‘with evil-looking, naked faces’, is described with more than Biblical loathing:

They seem to be really hungry. They have had a go at practically everybody's bread. Kropp has wrapped his in tarpaulin and put it under his head, but he can't sleep because they run across his face to try and get at it. Detering tried to outwit them; he fixed a thin wire to the ceiling and hooked the bundle with his bread on to it. During the night he puts on his flashlight and sees the wire swinging backwards and forwards. Riding on his bread there is a great fat rat.

There is also a fair bit of philosophising. While guarding a group of Russian prisoners-of-war, our narrator is overcome by the arbitrariness of the whole situation:

An order has turned these silent figures into our enemies; an order could turn them into friends again. On some table, a document is signed by some people that none of us knows, and for years our main aim in life is the one thing that usually draws the condemnation of the whole world and incurs its severest punishment in law. How can anyone make distinctions like that looking at these silent men, with their faces like children and their beards like apostles? Any drill-corporal is a worse enemy to the recruits, any schoolmaster a worse enemy to his pupils than they are to us. […] I don't want to lose those thoughts altogether, I'll preserve them, keep them locked away until the war is over. […] Is this the task we must dedicate ourselves to after the war, so that all the years of horror will have been worthwhile?

I found this quote and this resolution very moving, because Germany's post-war history rendered it so utterly futile. When the Nazis came to power in 1933 – just four years after this was published – they set about burning the book, which tended to be their first response to any problem. While Ernst Jünger's vision of a German people purified and hardened by the war was venerated (poor guy), Remarque's text was denounced as an ‘insult to the German soldier’. He took the hint, and sailed to the US in 1939. The German state, in what amounted to a fit of pique, cut his sister's head off instead and then billed what was left of his family for wear and tear to the blade.

So – as can't be said enough – fuck them. The insights that Remarque and Barbusse and Sassoon and Genevoix and Manning found in extremis – of the essential commonality of human beings – are, we like to think, now accepted by society over the alternatives, despite what we sometimes have to infer from the content of our newspapers.

With all of that said, this is a novel. It is not a memoir. Remarque only spent a month on the front lines (whereas Jünger, who apparently had the time of his life, was there for years).

This 1994 translation from Brian Murdoch is excellent and reads entirely naturally; he also contributes a thoughtful and unassuming essay which – finally, a publisher that gets it! – is helpfully placed as an Afterword so as not to spoil the novel itself. All in all a very powerful and moving piece of writing: if I had to recommend just one contemporary novel from the First World War, so far this is probably it. ( )
1 vote Widsith | Jul 23, 2014 |
I really liked this book. I didn't really know what to expect, to be perfectly honest. It was quite... poetic, for lack of a better term. It almost didn't feel like I was reading a soldier's tale of WWI. It almost felt more like... I can't even really put it into words. It was beautiful. At the same time, however, I believe it did an amazing job of showing the hardships the German soldiers faced. It was really interesting to hear a tale from the other side of the trench. It's true, that the victor writes the history books and we end up hearing nothing of how the losing side fared. I know it's fictitious, but I really feel like this book paints an accurate picture of what was going on in the German trenches.

I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone. Particularly those interested in historical fiction, but really everyone should read this. I really wish I could better explain why it was so excellent. ( )
  cebellol | Jul 22, 2014 |
This book, by Erich Maria Remarque, is a classic book and a classic example of innocence lost in youth. This book follows the endeavors of Paul Baümer and his friends who join the German front lines in World War 1, he constantly faces danger and also returns but not without some sort of loss, faith, a friend, or a limb.
The book starts with Paul and his friends being urged to go help the war by his school teacher, and he is soon deployed with them, Tjaden, Albert, Müller and a few others. They meet a older veteran who becomes Paul's mentor and guidance through the war. Each battle they are sent into seem to have no significance and are either when and then lost the next day, and this only serves as a way to show what Paul is to the war, just a insignificant soul and no one would care if he died or not, everyday he sees new recruits that he says, "Haven't even learned what cover means" come in and be slaughtered, this isn't helped by the poor conditions that he is already lived in and he often remarks that hey are lucky to have died, and not have seen what it was really like. Not bravery or courage were shown in battles, but pure fight for survival.
Paul receives new that he will be given a couple weeks of leave, he isn't joyed by the fact of it, but saddened, as he would not know when he would ever see his friends again, and he wonders how he village is fairing opposed to the war. Upon arrival he finds that nothing has changed, and that he feels he doesn't belong here, it's a foreign world to the front lines, his father asks him questions of his experiences, and fights though he doesn't know that, as Paul says, " A man cannot talk of such things". The only person he still connects to is his dying mother who understands what he feels, and they share concern for each other while the others only talk of the physical part.
Upon return he is glad to return as most of his friends are alive par Müller, and they accept a patrol job, and Paul kills a man for the first time I hand to hand combat, this shakes Paul mentally and he stays in the trench for hours withy the body asking it for forgiveness, and when he tells Albert about it he just says it's for the good of the war. They then take a job on a very heavily bombed village, to evacuate villagers, they find a pig and multiple foods and cook and share. But the enemy see the smoke and start bombing, in their greed and lust for the succulent food they try and carry it out but Paul and Albert a injured. They are then taken to a church hospital where they're needs are attended to at a basic level and he finally sees the full extent if the misery that the war has done to everyone, when Albert's leg is amputated.
Paul is released from the Church and returns to his former station after his leg healed. He returns to find that from the 7 of his classmates who joined he is the last one left, or the last one he knows of as Albert most likely committed suicide, as he threatens it in the Church, Müller was shot, Kemmerich was killed in the beginning, and Tjaden is missing. Kat is the he only one left and he soon dies in Paul's arms as a piece of shrapnel pierced his head and killed him. Paul realizes that his death and his friends deaths mean nothing to war, as it is almost over and Germany has lost.
He kills himself and on that day , the war was pretty much over, and it was so quiet the headlines on that days paper was "All Quiet On The Western Front" symbolizing that even though he and his friends died no one really noticed or cared in the scheme of things.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book, Its beginning really pulls you in with the youth and optimism of the young soldiers and then while you read it, yourself seems to realize their horrors, and the harsh conditions they are facing. The book is paced fantastically and when the action is heating up you know its going to live up to your expectations, then even overcomes it at times. The overall theme was constantly there and you could feel it the whole way through, the constantly diminishing innocence and heart of the soldiers on the front lines, as they realize more and more of their part in the war. Eric Remarque does a wonderful job portraying something he himself was a part of, and it shows in the words and the actions of not just Paul, but everyone in the war. ( )
  br14alre | May 22, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (76 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Erich Maria Remarqueprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Murdoch, BrianTranslatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wheen, A.W.Translatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Groth, JohnIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hansen, HarryTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hämäläinen, ArmasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jacini, StefanoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Westphalen, TilmanAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
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.
Dedication
First words
We are at rest five miles behind the front.
Quotations
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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Book description
Haiku summary
Men are committed,
Slouching toward Bethlehem.
Death is generous.

(one-horse.library)
Boys go off to war;
Surprise! Germans have feelings.
Disregard all flags.

(one-horse-library)

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."
THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:27:39 -0400)

(see all 11 descriptions)

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.

(summary from another edition)

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