All Quiet on the Western Front
Erich Maria Remarque & Arthur Wesley Wheen
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Considered by many the greatest war novel of all time, All Quiet on the Western Front is Erich Maria Remarque’s masterpiece of the German experience during World War I.
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. . . .
This is the testament of Paul Bäumer, who enlists with his classmates in the German army during World War I. They become soldiers with youthful enthusiasm. But the world of duty, culture, and progress they had been taught breaks in pieces under the first bombardment in the trenches.
Through years of vivid horror, Paul holds fast to a single vow: to fight against the principle of hate that meaninglessly pits young men of the same generation but different uniforms against one another . . . if only he can come out of the war alive.
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“The world has a great writer in Erich Maria Remarque. He is a craftsman of unquestionably first rank, 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
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Too Shocked To Cry
As Paul had said in the book you cannot think about these things then they become uncontrollable (I paraphrased there). I could not imagine what the author was thinking while writing this book after spending 6 months at war. It is already hard enough to comprehend the horrors of war told in this book.This book may require a second reading especially for younger people to fully understand it. After reading this after reading about all of Paul's friends die and then eventually himself I was unable to and I am unable to put into words how I felt. At that point the tragedies throughout the story were all amplified. Everything that the young men had went through had been for nothing. Paul's had been utterly destroyed by the war he even felt a calmness when he was dying because he could not bear what had happened. The ending was sadder than Where The Red Fern Grows and Old Yeller but I wasn't sad. The events were just too much. Someday though I will revisit this book when I am able to fully comprehend it.
I really enjoyed reading this book. I am not big on reading but this kept my interest. The story is very well told.
A must-read at the centennial of The Great War.
I never read this as a young adult, and in a way, I'm glad I didn't. There are things in here that require maturity and life experience to put into perspective. War is no video game. It is awful, ugly, bloody and painful, especially for the front line soldiers who have no control over anything except their commitment to following orders. I'm not someone who thinks all war is pointless, or that there is never a time when war is justified and necessary. However, anyone who would support a war in a given situation should consider the horrors that await, and this book lays them bare in unequivocal terms.
G.J. Meyer's anti-American screed at the end contributed absolutely NOTHING to the eBook, so if you're someone who has never read "All Quiet" before, save yourself some time and skip the last 12 pages. Meyer, whomever he is, is no Erich Maria Remarque, and using the tail-end of one of history's finest novels of wartime as a platform to hurl thinly-veiled "blame America first" and "I hate BUSHITLER" epithets does a disservice to Remarque's great work.