All Quiet on the Western Front

Thoughts by Erich Maria Remarque, Random House Trade 2013 (orig 1928), 227 pages, translated from the German by A.W. Wheen

Challenge: for Classics Club 50 list #2, #WiaN2023 – Category QXZ in title

Genre/Theme: War – WW1

Type/Source: Trade Paperback / Library

“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…we creep in upon ourselves and with big eyes stare into the night…and thus we wait for morning.”

What It’s About: Paul is 20 years and realizing his time on the front will permanently impact any hopes of his having any “normal” life, assuming he survives the horror, the filth, the lice, and the inhumanity.

“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.”

Thoughts: This was beautifully written and struck me hard.

Rating: Five slices of pie. No pie mentioned.

“We are not youth any longer. We don’t want to take the world by storm. We are fleeing. We fly from ourselves. From our life. We were eighteen and had begun to love life and the world; and we had to shoot it to pieces.”

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6 thoughts on “All Quiet on the Western Front

  1. I’d read it in middle school and forgotten most of it, but I went to see the new movie adaptation which was very well done but WOW it is harrowing and intense. I saw it on a big screen and it was pretty overwhelming. (It’s not just a remake of the earlier movies, it’s a new adaptation of the book). I think I may have to reread it again.

    1. Harrowing = “Acutely distressing”, yes. The body counts from that war are staggering. And to think the next war was just over a decade later; it is difficult to fathom.

  2. This is one of my favorite war books because it is so well-written and powerful! I think its portrayal of the Great War is better than anything you will see in a movie or get in a history book. Jim and I watched the newest movie as well, and while I think it is equally as powerful, it still cannot adequately portray the mental trauma that Paul experiences. Still worth the watch though!

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