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All Quiet on the Western Front (1929)

by Erich Maria Remarque

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Remarque's Great War Duology (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
15,817347252 (4.09)1 / 1020
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.
  1. 90
    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. 80
    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. 61
    Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo (usnmm2)
  4. 50
    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. 83
    Goodbye to All That by Robert Graves (Nickelini, chrisharpe)
  6. 62
    Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks (Simone2)
  7. 30
    Three Comrades by Erich Maria Remarque (Anonymous user)
  8. 52
    The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien (chrisharpe)
  9. 10
    Generals Die in Bed by Charles Yale Harrison (charlie68)
    charlie68: Also gritty front line portraying of the Great War.
  10. 10
    1948: A Soldier's Tale - The Bloody Road to Jerusalem by Uri Avnery (Polaris-)
  11. 10
    The Donkeys by Alan Clark (charlie68)
  12. 10
    The Guns of August by Barbara W. Tuchman (charlie68)
  13. 10
    The Wars by Timothy Findley (Cecrow)
  14. 10
    Four Soldiers by Hubert Mingarelli (susanbooks)
  15. 11
    Fall of Giants by Ken Follett (mcenroeucsb)
  16. 11
    The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers (aliklein)
  17. 00
    Arch of Triumph by Erich Maria Remarque (AlexandraBal)
    AlexandraBal: Descreve muito bem as movimentações antes da 2a guerra Mundial.A ação
  18. 11
    A Long, Long Way by Sebastian Barry (starfishian)
  19. 11
    Johnny the Partisan by Beppe Fenoglio (UrliMancati)
  20. 00
    Beaufort by Ron Leshem (SqueakyChu)
    SqueakyChu: Both books look at the personal toll of war.

(see all 29 recommendations)

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Showing 1-5 of 312 (next | show all)
Paul Bäumer, enlists into the German army during World War I alongside his classmates. They become soldiers with youthful enthusiasm but soon come to realise that in the mud of Flanders honour and glory is meaningless, comradeship and survival is far more important.

The book is divided into five parts. There is the battlefield, a time when he goes home on leave for a short while, goes back to war, gets wounded and spends some time in an army hospital, and finally returns to war. This organization helps represent how different people in Germany saw the war. You have the detached view of the people back home, who have not experienced war first hand and you have hardened soldiers like Paul who have learnt how to stay alive and new recruits who haven't.

The biggest theme is this book is the pointlessness of war and there are periods of philosophical ruminations but on the whole Remarque plays it straight. There is the facing of artillery barrages, the attack and counter-attack where neither side really gains ground, the screams of wounded and being stranded in no-man's land. The author doesn't shy away from the gruesome details of war, from men getting blown apart or suffering lingering deaths. But alongside these outbreaks of violence there are intervals of relaxation and simple happiness, the scavenging for food and the defying of petty authority. There is joy and happiness, pain and despair but above all there is comradeship.

By the end of the book Paul is still only twenty-years old but, like so many of his generation on both sides of this war, has already given up hope of any future.

"We are forlorn like children, and experienced like old men, we are crude and sorrowful and superficial-I believe we are lost."

Often regarded as the finest novel to emerge from WWI and it is undoubtedly depressing, it is written from the point of a view of an experienced and embittered soldier, but it is also a beautiful book. The characters are interesting, the themes are moving and well-expressed. Remarque juxtapositions the image of false patriotism and nationalism that leads to war as represented by a bombastic schoolmaster and contrasts that with the horrible realities of war. Remarque portrays a realistic picture of the life of a soldier during WWI, as he himself lived.

This novel was written as a warning not to let such a pointless, bloody war to happen again but as history tells us that message went unheeded. It fully deserves to be regarded as a classic and whilst I recognise that not everyone will enjoy it's subject matter I personally found it to be writing at its very best. ( )
  PilgrimJess | Jul 26, 2021 |
Once of the best books I've ever read. Can't believe I missed this classic novel, and am glad I finally picked it off my reading stack. Remarque's descriptions of the effects of war on front line soldiers, those back home, and society at large is brilliant. It's written from the viewpoint of a German soldier in WWI but is, I imagine, equally applicable to all others engaged in the horrors or trench warfare, or front line warfare everywhere. Brilliant! ( )
  wildh2o | Jul 10, 2021 |
What an amazing book. The writing is so vivid and poetic, but believe me no punches are pulled and parts are achingly hard to read. Then too parts are funny and stirring. But it is timely as can be as a vision of war which can never be worth the cost. The way war, whether in 1918 or 2016, marks soldiers and the way that their experience alienates them from life before and after, seems as true now as then. Now we call it PTSD. Remarque writes:

"... [the] tanks are machines, their caterpillars run on as endless as the war, they are annihilation, they roll without feeling into the craters, and climb up again without stopping, a fleet of roaring, smoke-belching armour-clads, invulnerable steel beasts squashing the dead and the wounded--we shrivel up in our thin skin before them, against their colossal weight our arms are sticks of straw and our hand-grenades matches."

And this image:

"The days stand like angels in blue and gold, incomprehensible, above the ring of annihilation."

Or this:

"But perhaps all this that I think is mere melancholy and dismay, which will fly away as the dust, when I stand once again beneath the poplars and listen to the rustling of their leaves. It cannot be that it has gone, the yearning that made our blood unquiet, the unknown, the perplexing, the oncoming things, the thousand faces of the future, the melodies from dreams and from books, the whispers and divination of women; it cannot be that this has vanished in bombardment, in despair, in brothels."

I just loved it! ( )
  jdukuray | Jun 23, 2021 |
This book has been sitting on my TBR pile for a while now, I think coming up on 2 years. Seeing as though I like reading about the wars its a surprise that it has taken me this long to get round to it. Initially it wasn't going to be the next book I read, in fact it wasn't even on my horizon to be read any time soon. The only reason I grabbed it off the shelf is that I was heading out to the doctors and I knew I would be in for a bit of waiting around. I wanted something nice and small and this was the first thing that came to hand, being just over 200 pages it was perfect.

Within the first few pages I knew it had picked a winner and I was hooked in. Although I have read extensively about the second world war, the first world war has passed my reading by a little. Remarque covers the subject with great skill, mixing in soldier humour, worries, hardship and humanity all at the same time.

There is no doubting, parts of the tale make horrific reading and you can't help but have the heartstrings pulled when a comrade falls. It's the human side of the soldier's story that got me more than anything else. There is no bravado over the fighting from the soldiers, that all comes from people back home who aren't fighting on the front line. This becomes very evident when Paul goes home on leave and realises he wishes he hadn't. People want to tell him how proud they are and what a great war it is, all he can think about is the waste of human life and how his mates are getting on back on the front line. There is also the ludicrous episode when an officer on civvy street bawls him out for not saluting properly which understandably makes his blood boil.

Paul's thoughts are not only with his comrades but also with the people who he his fighting. They are going through the same as they are he often comments, although their food is better. There is no real emotion in the killing of them, its a mechanical action, kill or be killed. In the moments of reflection however, there is real regret at the war and the situation it has put both sides of soldiers in. This is reinforced when it comes to using face to face combat to save his own life. He wounds an enemy soldier but can't bring himself to finish him off though and he suffers a slow death. He promises himself that he will write to the family of his victim. That feeling passes when he is back on his own line, back in the business of war fighting.

The ending left me with mixed emotions but in a good way. I can't really go into details with posting a spoiler so I won't comment further. This is an incredible book in many ways and it is one I can see myself re-reading many times over. It really has stood the test of time and I would highly, highly recommend it to everyone regardless of your like or dislike or war stories. ( )
  Brian. | Jun 19, 2021 |
The "greatest war novel of all time" lives up to its billing. In the person of young Paul Baumer, a soldier in the German army during World War I, Remarque vividly and beautifully depicts the horrors of senseless killing. ( )
  Jimbookbuff1963 | Jun 5, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 312 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (56 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Remarque, Erich MariaAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Österling, AndersTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bournac, OlivierTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bournac, OlivierTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Faulks, SebastianIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hämäläinen, ArmasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hella, AlzirTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Keeping, Charlessecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lawrence, TomReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Murdoch, BrianTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Westphalen, TilmanAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wheen, A.W.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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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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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