Sunday, December 6, 2015

All Quiet on the Western Front - Erich Maria Remarque

Title: All Quiet on the Western Front
Author: Erich Maria Remarque; translated by A. W. Wheen
Pages: 296
Published: 1987 (originally published 1928)
Genre: Historical Fiction, War Fiction, Classics
Edition: Mass-Market Paperback
Source: Personal

Description: This is the testament of Paul Bäumer, who enlists with his classmates in the German army of World War I. These young men become enthusiastic soldiers, but their world of duty, culture, and progress breaks into pieces under the first bombardment in the trenches. 

Through years of vivid horror, Paul holds fast to a single vow: to fight against the hatred 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. (via Goodreads)

Thoughts: This was my book club's selection this past June and the third time that I have read the book.  It was interesting to read the book on my own for the first time (first two times I read the book were for course work; the first time was for my grade 12 English class and the second time was for a 100-level History course).  Overall, I liked the book, even though I had difficulty getting through the first half of the book.  

What I really liked was how Remarque used language to evoke what it was like to be in the those trenches a hundred years ago. My favourite scene was when Remarque described the fog rolling in, filling in where the shells had hit the ground.

Bottom line: While the book is fairly short, it a book packed with emotion and imagery, both bad and good.  It probably will leave the reader questioning the nature of warfare and wondering what it does to the soldier on both sides of a conflict.  Highly Recommended.

Rating: 4.75/5

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