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Will man den Wehrdienst verweigern und Zivildienst ableisten, dann sollte man in der Gewissensprüfung darlegen können, warum man sich denn keinen Dienst an der Waffe vorstellen kann. Und mehr als einmal dürfte dann als Begründung die Lektüre von Erich Maria Remarques Im Westen nicht Neues folgen.

Dieser Roman schildert aufs Eindringlichste die schauerlichen Erlebnisse des Soldaten Paul Bäumer an der Westfront des Ersten Weltkrieges, wo sich Deutsche und Alliierte in einem grausamen Grabenkrieg gegenüberstanden. Aber eigentlich sind Schauplatz und Zeit bedeutungslos, beherrschend ist das sinnlose Töten und die zu reinem Menschenmaterial degradierten Soldaten, die schon lange den Glauben an den "gerechten Krieg" aufgegeben haben. Hier ist kein Platz für klischeehaft mutige Helden, Verlierer sind sie letztlich alle, die da im Schlamm der Schützengräben liegen.

So mancher Leser wird nach diesem Roman seine Meinung zu Krieg und Militärdienst geändert haben. Wer heute noch glaubt, Krieg könne eine heldenhafte Sache sein, der kennt das Buch wahrscheinlich nicht und sollte einmal einen Blick hinein werfen. Danach ist er entweder eines besseren belehrt oder scheinbar schon völlig abgestumpft. --Joachim Hohwieler

221 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1928

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About the author

Erich Maria Remarque

120 books5,076 followers
Experiences of German-born American writer Erich Maria Remarque in World War I based All Quiet on the Western Front (1929), his best known novel.

People most widely read literature of author with pen name of Erich Paul Remark in the twentieth century.

German history of the twentieth century essentially marks biography of Remarque and fundamentally influences his writing: Childhood and youth, the Weimar Republic, and most of all his exile in Switzerland and the United States. The first publication attained worldwide recognition, continuing today.

Examples of his other novels also internationally published are: The Road Back (1931), Three Comrades (1936, 38), Arch of Triumph (1945), The Black Obelisk (1956), and Night in Lisbon (1962).

Remarque's novels have been translated in more than fifty languages; globally the total edition comes up to several million copies.

The complete works of Remarque are both highly interrelated with his Osnabrück background and speaking thematically of a critical examination of German history, whereby the preservation of human dignity and humanity in times of oppression, terror and war always was at the forefront of his literary creation.

Έριχ Μαρία Ρεμάρκ (Greek)
Эрих Мария Ремарк (Russian)

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5 stars
182,214 (41%)
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3 stars
77,610 (17%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 16,695 reviews
Profile Image for Warwick.
844 reviews14.6k followers
July 18, 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.
Profile Image for Maureen .
1,448 reviews7,062 followers
May 15, 2022
There are already thousands of reviews for this deeply moving and heartbreaking book here on Goodreads, and I don't know that I could add anything new. It simply broke my heart. However I do feel really strongly that I should describe the vivid imagery that I'm left with.

Bright red poppies in bloodied fields
Where death stalked its victims.
It cared not for age, creed, or nationality

What would they have achieved in life,
These young men, with so much yet to experience,
So many dreams to fulfil
If duty hadn't called, and they hadn't answered

When the sun set for one final time
It set on the lives they never lived
Profile Image for Daniel.
203 reviews
July 24, 2009
I don't know why it took me so long to get to "All Quiet on the Western Front," but I'm glad I finally read it and am grateful to my friend Rose for recommending it. The book, first published in the late 1920s, is an absolutely heartbreaking, wonderfully written novel about the permanent damage done to those who fight in wars. Few anti-war novels written since have matched Erich Maria Remarque's unsettling book, and I doubt any have surpassed it.

Given how famous "All Quiet" is, there's little need for me to say much about it here. (Plus, it's so much easier to write negative reviews than positive ones, and I have absolutely nothing bad to say about this book.) There are several heart-rending passages that I expect will stick with me for a long time, though, and that I feel the need to mention: Paul Bäumer's leave, during which he finds it nearly impossible to relate normally to his family after his experiences on the front; Paul's time in a shell hole with French soldier Gérard Duval; the brief interlude Paul and his comrades spend with a group of French girls, and how the gal with whom he'd been paired treats him in the end; and, of course, the scene near the book's end involving Stanislaus Katczinsky, easily "All Quiet"'s most interesting character. (I won't say anything about the scene with Kat so as not to spoil it for those who haven't read the book yet.)

One final thought, which I bring up because of Logan's comment that he didn't like "All Quiet," which he last read in high school. I've talked about this before, most recently in my review of "The Sea Wolf," and I feel the need to bring it up again: Many American readers, it seems, have bad memories of great works of literature they were made to read in school. That they were forced to read the books is, of course, part of the problem, but I also think schoolchildren often are assigned books they're not yet ready for. I don't mean that they're not smart enough to read and understand the books, but rather that they're not mature enough to have the books resonate properly with them. This would definitely be true of "All Quiet." It would be the most unusual of high school students -- one in a hundred, perhaps, if that many -- who could truly appreciate the issues raised in this book.

I would encourage anyone who hasn't read "All Quiet" yet to check it out. And for those who read it in school and were left with a bad taste in their mouths, it's probably time to revisit the book. That means you, Logan.
Profile Image for Zain.
1,461 reviews154 followers
September 24, 2023

I was just beginning to reach the age when you become critical of the world around you, when I first read this book.

You know, a teenager on her high-horse.

But re-reading this book still makes me feel the same. The futility of war. The utter waste of life. What a shame.

Why can’t the generals go down into the trenches? Let them fight it out!

Would not be a lot of wars.

Five stars. ✨✨✨✨✨
Profile Image for Vit Babenco.
1,467 reviews3,636 followers
October 18, 2020
They were young. They were twenty-year-old. The war has stolen their youth.
To me the front is a mysterious whirlpool. Though I am in still water far away from its centre, I feel the whirl of the vortex sucking me slowly, irresistibly, inescapable into itself.
From the earth, from the air, sustaining forces pour into us—mostly from the earth. To no man does the earth mean so much as to the soldier. When he presses himself down upon her long and powerfully, when he buries his face and his limbs deep in her from the fear of death by shell-fire, then she is his only friend, his brother, his mother; he stifles his terror and his cries in her silence and her security; she shelters him and releases him for ten seconds to live, to run, ten seconds of life; receives him again and often for ever.

The war has changed the values and priorities in man’s life – instead of learning the art of love and living one had to learn the skill of staying alive for however a short while longer.
Erich Maria Remarque was a humanist who could vividly portray the atrocity of war in all its terrors.
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. I see that the keenest brains of the world invent weapons and words to make it yet more refined and enduring. And all men of my age, here and over there, throughout the whole world see these things; all my generation is experiencing these things with me. What would our fathers do if we suddenly stood up and came before them and proffered our account? What do they expect of us if a time ever comes when the war is over? Through the years our business has been killing;—it was our first calling in life. Our knowledge of life is limited to death. What will happen afterwards? And what shall come out of us?

The rich, for whom it’s All Quiet on the Western Front, get filthily richer while the young and innocent and able pay with their lives for the riches of those who wield power.
Profile Image for Lisa of Troy.
434 reviews4,267 followers
August 27, 2023
All Quiet on the Western Front is a book about a 20-year-old German boy named Paul. He is serving in World War I – this is hand-to-hand combat, trench warfare, barbed wire, bayonets, and gas.

All Quiet on the Western Front is about the devastation of war, and that no one survives even if the soldier returns from war.

Personally, this book is okay. It is very character driven (not plot driven), and I don’t usually enjoy character driven books. The narrator is a bit detached, but maybe that is supposed to show that to survive the soldier has to become desensitized.

All Quiet on the Western Front is a relatively short book, 160 pages, and it does raise some good points. Paul’s schoolteacher encouraged his classmates to enlist. While the schoolteacher is patting himself on the back, most of the new recruits have perished.

On his journey, Paul runs into someone while on leave. This is a person who has not served in the military (let alone the front lines); however, this person has big opinions and doesn’t mind sharing them (no matter how improbable or unrealistic his plans).

All Quiet on the Western Front reminded me a great deal of Nick by Michael Farris Smith where Nick also serves in World War I and has a very similar detached narrator vibe.

2023 Reading Schedule
Jan Alice in Wonderland
Feb Notes from a Small Island
Mar Cloud Atlas
Apr On the Road
May The Color Purple
Jun Bleak House
Jul Bridget Jones’s Diary
Aug Anna Karenina
Sep The Secret History
Oct Brave New World
Nov A Confederacy of Dunces
Dec The Count of Monte Cristo

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Profile Image for Lyn.
1,883 reviews16.6k followers
December 20, 2018
The greatest war novel?


This was one of the first books that made me think that even though I wanted to be a writer someday, maybe I did not have what it takes.

This was a sharp, swift kick in the gut; a none too subtle reminder that there are somber, very real and poignant moments captured in literature that escape petty categorization and cynicism, there are real moments that cannot be trivialized and placed on a genre specific bookshelf.


** 2018 - This book, as a war novel, is cautionary. No doubt there are those novels that glorify and even romanticize battles, and there are others whose goal it is to revel in the martial experience. Remarque, though, has crafted a simple story that focuses instead on the individual and how this ugly time affects his life. In doing so Remarque declares the value of that individual life, in all life, and shines a discerning, damning light on war.

Profile Image for Nicole.
514 reviews14.3k followers
October 23, 2022
Październik 2022:
Udało mi się. Po trzech podejściach skończyłam. Przesłuchałam audiobooka w wykonaniu Krzysztofa Gosztyły i nie mogłabym wyobrazić sobie lepszego lektora. Praktycznie do końca myślałam, że obniżę ocenę, bo jednak nie mogłam przejść przez jej początek, ale ostatnie zdanie, które tak naprawdę tłumaczy sens tytułu doprowadziło mnie do płaczu. Zostawiam 5 gwiazdek i mocno polecam.

Początek 2022:
40% DNF
Miałam do niej już podejście w 2021, ale po roku muszę ją ponownie odłożyć. To nie jest na nią czas.
Profile Image for Nataliya.
785 reviews12.5k followers
November 12, 2022
It’s been over a century since Remarque’s Paul Bäumer went through the meatgrinder of the senseless brutal war, and not a single fragging thing has changed except for better weapons.

It’s still the perceived offense of one country over whatever seems so important to those idiots in charge - the ones who are safe and whose families are safe no matter what happens, and who will benefit from the senseless slaughter - that sends a bunch of regular people to slaughter other regular people, the violence begets violence, and the wheel turns grinding everyone under its relentless trudge.

Kropp had it right:

“Kropp on the other hand is a thinker. He proposes that a declaration of war should be a kind of popular festival with entrance-tickets and bands, like a bull fight. Then in the arena the ministers and generals of the two countries, dressed in bathing-drawers and armed with clubs, can have it out among themselves. Whoever survives, his country wins. That would be much simpler and more just than this arrangement, where the wrong people do the fighting.”

“How long has it been? Weeks—months—years? Only days. We see time pass in the colourless faces of the dying, we cram food into us, we run, we throw, we shoot, we kill, we lie about, we are feeble and spent, and nothing supports us but the knowledge that there are still feebler, still more spent, still more helpless ones there who, with staring eyes, look upon us as gods that escape death many times.”

Simple but poignant, without a shred of overwriting and overwroughtness, without descending into misery porn, without moralizing, without dropping anvil messages, in compact couple of hundred pages Remarque does what is not easy to achieve. He gets his point through in the way that is so effectively unsettling that those final two paragraphs - just four short lines - make the world sway for just a minute. And that’s more than I can say about 99% of literature out there.
“At once a new warmth flows through me. These voices, these quiet words, these footsteps in the trench behind me recall me at a bound from the terrible loneliness and fear of death by which I had been almost destroyed. They are more to me than life, these voices, they are more than motherliness and more than fear; they are the strongest, most comforting thing there is anywhere: they are the voices of my comrades.
I am no longer a shuddering speck of existence, alone in the darkness;—I belong to them and they to me; we all share the same fear and the same life, we are nearer than lovers, in a simpler, a harder way; I could bury my face in them, in these voices, these words that have saved me and will stand by me.”

The youth spent on satisfying others’ need for violence. Survival and camaraderie borne of that. The intersection of cynicism and idealism. The clear-headed realism too tired to be angry.
“Tjaden reappears. He is still quite excited and again joins the conversation, wondering just how a war gets started.
“Mostly by one country badly offending another,” answers Albert with a slight air of superiority.
Then Tjaden pretends to be obtuse. “A country? I don’t follow. A mountain in Germany cannot offend a mountain in France. Or a river, or a wood, or a field of wheat.”
“Are you really as stupid as that, or are you just pulling my leg?” growls Kropp, “I don’t mean that at all. One people offends the other—”
“Then I haven’t any business here at all,” replies Tjaden, “I don’t feel myself offended.”

Remarque’s book is the work of genius.

5 stars.

Buddy read with Dennis.

(Review courtesy of a very delayed plane flight).


Also posted on my blog.
Profile Image for Candi.
623 reviews4,718 followers
January 8, 2019
"It’s unendurable. It is the moaning of the world, it is the martyred creation, wild with anguish, filled with terror, and groaning."

This slim novel about the horror of the World War I trenches and the senselessness of war was published in 1929. If you open this book up today, it is absolutely just as relevant now as it was decades ago. It is powerful and breathtaking. I finished my second reading of this last month and barely a day goes by without me thinking about it. I had read “All Quiet” for the first time ages ago and the haunting feeling I had then has stayed with me all these years. If you have not ever read this book, you must do so. It is that meaningful.

"Shells, gas clouds, and flotillas of tanks – shattering, corroding, death. Dysentery, influenza, typhus – scalding, choking, death. Trenches, hospitals, the common grave – there are no other possibilities."

This is a story of a German soldier, Paul Bäumer, and his comrades. Since the book is so widely known and reviewed here on Goodreads, I won’t go into plot details. But I want to make note of some portions that affected me quite deeply. For instance, Remarque so clearly reflects the feeling of camaraderie that these men, most of them not even twenty years old, experienced in the field and on the front. These were some of the most moving passages of the novel.

"These voices, these quiet words, these footsteps in the trench behind me recall me at a bound from the terrible loneliness and fear of death by which I had been almost destroyed. They are more to me than life, these voices, they are more than motherliness and more than fear; they are the strongest, most comforting thing there is anywhere; they are the voices of my comrades."

I’ve never read such stirring words about the soldier’s intimacy with not a woman, but rather with the very earth itself. The writing is truly remarkable.

"To no man does the earth mean so much as to the soldier. When he presses himself down upon her long and powerfully, when he buries his face and his limbs deep in her from the fear of death by shell-fire, then she is his only friend, his brother, his mother; he stifles his terror and his cries in her silence and her security; she shelters him and releases him for ten seconds to live, to run, ten seconds of life; receives him again and often forever."

When Paul goes home on leave, he finds that the life he once knew and loved no longer has the same meaning. His books, his case of butterflies and his piano no longer bring him the joy they once had. He cannot speak of what he has seen; he feels that those that have not been on the front and mired in the trenches can truly understand him. He feels alone. I was heartbroken when he cried out for his lost childhood.

"Ah! Mother, Mother! You still think I am a child – why can I not put my head in your lap and weep? Why have I always to be strong and self-controlled? I would like to weep and be comforted too, indeed I am little more than a child; in the wardrobe still hang short, boy’s trousers – it is such a little time ago, why is it over?"

I don’t know if a book exists that so effectively conveys the meaninglessness of war. If there is another, I have yet to read it. I suspect that Remarque had a marked influence on many authors writing about the topic since, but I don’t think this one can be beat in its simple yet passionate and well-expressed message. There were moments of fleeting pleasures and true companionship that allowed me to intermittently rejoice along with Paul and dream of a future when the war would be ended. But I also keenly felt his moments of hopelessness and despair. I nodded my head when he recognized in the enemy a man much like himself. His sense of humanity truly shined at these times. Something as basic as the sharing of cigarettes with the Russian prisoners was very telling.

"I take out my cigarettes, break each one in half and give them to the Russians. They bow to me and then light the cigarettes. Now red points glow in every face. They comfort me; it looks as though there were little windows in dark village cottages saying that behind them are rooms full of peace."

Ah, if only this book could be read everywhere by everyone. Perhaps then we could all see the reflection of ourselves, our mothers, our fathers, our brothers and sisters, and our lovers in the face of another human being. Could we then avoid the devastation of war? This book deserves a place on your bookshelf. Grab a copy if you haven’t already. Mine is sitting on my all-time favorites shelf.

"I think it is more of a kind of fever. No one in particular wants it, and then all at once there it is. We didn’t want the war, the others say the same thing – and yet half the world is in it all the same."
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews41 followers
August 31, 2021
(Book 667 From 1001 Books) - ‭‎Im Westen nichts Neues = A l'ouest rien de novreau = All Quiet on The Western Front = In the West Nothing New, Erich Maria Remarque

All Quiet on the Western Front is a novel by Erich Maria Remarque, a German veteran of World War I. The book describes the German soldiers' extreme physical and mental stress during the war, and the detachment from civilian life felt by many of these soldiers upon returning home from the front.

عنوانهای چاپ شده در ایران: «در جبهه غرب خبری نیست»؛ «در غرب خبری نیست»؛ نویسنده: اریش ماریا ریمارک؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز دهم ماه آوریل سال 1972میلادی

عنوان: در غرب خبری نیست؛ نویسنده: اریش ماریا رمارک؛ مترجم: هادی سیاح سپانلو؛ تهران، کتابخانه ابن سینا؛ 1309؛ در 220ص؛ چاپ دیگر سال1334؛ در 192ص؛ موضوع: داستانهای و یادمانهای نویسندگان آلمان - خاطرات جنگ جهانگیر نخست - سده 20م

عنوان: در غرب خبری نیست؛ نویسنده: اریش ماریا رمارک؛ مترجم: سیروس تاجبخش؛ تهران، فخر رازی: موسسه انتشارات فرانکلین، 1346، در324ص؛

نیز با همین عنوان ترجمه جناب آقای پرویز شهدی، صدای معاصر، 1392؛

عنوان دیگر: در جبهه غرب خبری نیست؛ ترجمه از متن انگلیسی: رضا جولایی، 1385، در 254ص

در جبهه ی غرب خبری نیست؛ رمانی با موضوع جنگ، اثر «اریش ماریا رمارک»، نویسنده ی «آلمانی»، که در سال 1929میلادی منتشر شده، و یکی از آثار مشهور ادبی جهان است؛ داستان به صورت اول شخص، از زبان شخصیت اصلی داستان (سرباز) نقل می‌شود، به جز خط آخر کتاب که خبر از کشته شدن شخص راوی می‌دهد؛ در این کتاب سعی شده، تا به معنای وا��عی جنگ، و پیامدهای بلند مدت آن، اشاره شود

نقل از متن: (سربازهای مسن‌تر به زندگی‌های گذشته‌شان وابستگی دارند؛ آن‌ها زن دارند، بچه دارند، خانه و زندگی و کسب و کار دارند، دلبستگی و وابستگی آن‌ها به زندگی گذشته‌شان آن‌قدر قرص و محکم است، که جنگ هم نمی‌تواند آن را پاره کند؛ اما برعکس ما بیست ساله‌ها جز پدر و مادر و احیانا یک رفیقه چیز دیگری نداریم که آن هم قابل نیست؛ چون در این دوره و زمانه نفوذ پدر و مادر روی بچه‌ها تقریبا هیچ شده و دخترها هم که هنوز دست‌شان به ریش ما بند نیست؛ از این یکی دو چیز که بگذریم دیگر چیز چشم‌گیری پیدا نمی‌شود که به آن فکر کنیم جز چند خاطره خوش و چن�� تا سرگرمی و ...؛ محیط مدرسه؛ همین و بس؛ و امروز از همین‌ها هم اثری نمانده است؛ «کانتورک» می‌گفت که ما به آستانه ی زندگی رسیده‌ ایم؛ و انگار حرفش حسابی بود؛ هنوز نهال زندگی ما ریشه ندوانده بود، که سیل جنگ آن را از جا کند و برد؛ برای آن‌ها که مسن‌ترند جنگ حکم مرخصی را دارد؛ آن‌ها برای زندگی بعد از جنگ نقشه‌ها می‌کشند؛ در حالیکه ما با آنکه در گیرودارش هستیم، نمی‌دانیم کارمان به کجا خواهد کشید؛ فقط می‌دانیم که آدم‌های بیخود و بی‌مصرفی شده‌ ایم؛ دیگر حتی متاثر هم نمی‌شویم؛ دل‌مان به حال خودمان هم نمی‌سوزد، و این عجیب و غم‌انگیز است.)؛ پایان نقل

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 20/07/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 07/06/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Ilse (away until November).
475 reviews3,128 followers
March 27, 2023
A man cannot realize that above such shattered bodies there are still human faces in which life goes its daily round. And this is only one hospital, a single station; there are hundreds of thousands in Germany, hundreds of thousands in France, hundreds of thousands in Russia. How senseless is everything that can ever be written, done, or thought, when such things are possible. It must be all lies and of no account when the culture of a thousand years could not prevent this stream of blood being poured out, these torture chambers in their hundreds of thousands. A hospital alone shows what war is.
February 20, 2023
“I am young, I am twenty years of age; but I know nothing of life except despair, death, fear, and the combination of completely mindless superficiality with an abyss of suffering. I see people being driven against one another, and silently, uncomprehendingly, foolishly, obediently and innocently killing one another. I see the best brains in the world inventing weapons and words to make the whole process that much more sophisticated and long-lasting..”

All wars create heroes, all heroes have they own stories, and all brilliant stories have words that illicit powerful emotions, inspire future generations, and in the process, immortalise those who gave so much. Yet the needless loss of life is best explored in this daring book, where freedom was dispensed with for force and the costly effect of war is told through the eyes of one German soldier and his young army friends.

The plot unfortunately feels very real and grim, but the messaging and characterisation was outstanding. The irony of the story exists in the lives of four young naïve soldiers who went to war with a sense of adventure only to find there was no glory in war, only death, anger, and despondency. Best expressed in a quote that is so powerful and heart wrenching.

“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.”

Although the characterisation in the book was superb, one of the most unlikely heroes in this story was not a book character but the author himself for writing this novel that no doubt will continue to take its rightful place in literary history. Considering the period, this book was brave, but it was also dangerous for the author to have written such an anti-war story. The messages are universal and provides an opportunity to reflect on the many lives lost through the ambitions of small men who learn nothing from history.

I have read so many war time stories both fictional and non-fictional but this one got to me, and the tears flowed, perhaps heightened because of the needless deaths in our world today, and perhaps because it was so affecting to have heard the trauma that most young lads (everyone really) would have faced in the trenches, regardless of which side they were on. Yet for me it was the writing style that cannot be overlooked because this was persuasive writing at its best and when it mattered. To have had these glimpses into the thoughts, memories, and emotions of the people on the front line was dramatic and overwhelming at times when they talk about the “onslaught of oblivion”, “abyss of isolation”, “I am so alone and so devoid of any hope that I cannot confront them without fear”.

Incredibly emotional, sobering, and effective. Also raw, authentic, and terrifying with the lens on the vulnerable and largely innocent people who if given the opportunity would have chosen not to go to war. My thoughts go to the innocent lives lost in the world wars and to the people of Ukraine, including the innocent people on all sides who have been forced into war against their will.

And for the people that know something of fighting in pointless wars….
“While they went on writing and making speeches, we saw field hospitals and men dying: while they preached the service of the state as the greatest thing, we already knew that the fear of death is even greater.”… “Only a military hospital can show you what war is”

These vintage classic novels are proving a great find. This is one of many I have been collecting and enjoying because they are unique, works of art, evocative, and timeless. Incidentally many were originally banned but censored is probably a more fitting description. I will start to list these because they are less well known but certainly do deserve to be up there on the podium with other literary giants.


Other 'Vintage Classics' titles worthy of a 5 star rating

Wide Sargasso Sea, by Jean Rhys
Ballad of Sad Cafe by Carson McCullers
The Heart's a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
For Esme—With Love and Squalor, by Salinger
The End of the Affair by Graham Greene (4 Stars)
Profile Image for J.L.   Sutton.
666 reviews925 followers
May 5, 2022
“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.”

All Quiet On The Western Front | Programs

From its opening in the trenches with the German Army in WWI to an end replete with utter hopelessness, Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front presents a devastating picture of a soldier at war. What's clear is that our protagonist, Paul, could be a soldier of any country; his concerns and emotions could be those of a soldier of this century rather than the beginning of the 20th century. In fact, despite the images we associate with WWI (such as the gas attacks and brutal conditions in the trenches), there is something very modern about All Quiet on the Western Front. It may well have to do with Remarque's attitude toward war. From the outset, we are warned that this is not an adventure; even those who manage to escape the war unscathed are damaged. In effect, a generation is destroyed by the war.

In trying to make sense of the war, Remarque explores the powerlessness of soldiers on the front lines. From a belief in their government's rationale in going to war, soldiers increasingly focus on their own deliverance. The end is utterly bleak. All the promise of youth is destroyed by disease, starvation and ultimately death. Those who come back from this war are still damaged; there is no way they can go through the horrors of war without the scars.
Profile Image for Kiekiat.
69 reviews126 followers
January 5, 2020
This is the best war novel I've ever read! I'm not sure how much that's saying about me or the book, since I haven't exactly read a great many war novels.

I've been on a World War I jag lately, which should not be misinterpreted as READING a great many books about WW I. Rather, I have been BUYING a great many books about World War I. All Quiet on the Western Front is a book I've owned about 25 years and this was actually my second try at reading it. The only reason I know this is that I noticed upon reading that it had passages underlined ending on page 64. I remembered nothing of what I'd read couldn't recall ever trying to read the novel. Senescence is a cruel affliction!

Why was this the best war novel I've ever read? Well, the book told the truth. It was the truth of the author but, I suspect, it is a truth shared by many infantry soldiers who've been engaged in trench warfare or any close combat. There are exceptions to this. Ernst Junger fought in the trenches much longer than Erich Remarque and was wounded nine times--yet he wrote an account of The Great War very different, in some ways, than Remarque's. Remarque survived the war, but came away with a damaged psyche and horrific memories that, fortunately, he was able to rise above to become a successful novelist. I think his writing actually helped exorcise his demons from the war.

Junger saw the war as a patriotic struggle and a test of his mettle. That is, he saw (or created) a purpose for the war, with the ultimate purpose being victory for Germany and personal victory which required that he stay alive. Interestingly, Adolph Hitler was another who apparently enjoyed the perils of fighting in The Great War. This is not an indication, though, that Junger and Hitler were similar men. Junger despised Hitler from all accounts I have read.

Remarque has courage even while admitting to being scared, as anyone would be while being fired upon by artillery, shells, mustard gas and aerial bombardments. But his view of The Great War is far different. He views the war as pointless and futile and the work of a group of old men who won't have to fight who decide based on shaky or spurious pretexts that, suddenly, this nationality is our enemy, another is our friend. Remarque's thinking was more in line with the Bob Dylan song, "Only a Pawn in their Game." Soldiers were cannon fodder, and when they died, as they frequently did, other recruits were brought in as more cannon fodder--young boys of 19, many who enlisted at the urging of their schoolmasters--men who would not have to sleep standing up in a trench as bombs dropped around them and lice ate them and rats battled for their bread. When/if the war ended, it was because these same gray eminences met again in some far-off city and signed pieces of paper saying that, despite all the carnage, the nations were once again friends.

Human instinct propelled survival and experience in battle and taught one the skills to survive; though in Remarque's world, even survival skills were often trumped by sheer luck. Old heads could talk of duty to the "Fatherland" but all war really meant to the combatants was a fight for reasons they could not understand, created by powerful men in faraway rooms who signed documents allowing men to commit atrocities that under normal circumstances would have led them to the gallows or the firing squad.

I'm a bit torn over whether Remarque's war experiences are universal or whether they reflect his particular personality or the particular war he was fighting? WW I was a gruesome, protracted conflict. It probably could have been fought at the negotiation table, as internecine European squabbles are settled nowadays. No doubt it was easy for the common foot soldier on all sides to forget that the war started because an heir apparent to the throne of a dying empire was shot by a Bosnian youth who wanted his country free from the yoke of this decaying empire. Ironically, he killed a man and his wife who were sympathetic to his cause.

Perhaps, as General Sherman said, "War is hell" and is hell under any conditions but especially hell for a soldier on the front lines in a ground war. I have heard interviews with fighter pilots and Navy SEALS, among other elite forces, where the retired soldiers said they missed the war and there was never a time when they felt more alive than when fighting in battle. It appears that some revel in the conflicts and get a thrill from combat, though I'm guessing that a great many more, upon reflection, might hold a view closer to Remarque's, and a great many, if you got them under the hot lights, might allow that war has its downsides, too.

Perhaps in wars like WW II, where soldiers on the allied side had a real sense of purpose, such dissonance as Remarque felt was far less common? Perhaps if soldiers can be convinced of the necessity of the war then doubts a combatant might harbor can be dispelled. I suspect, though, that combatants in most wars are battling demons, with varying degrees of success, after experiencing the horrors of war.
Profile Image for مجیدی‌ام.
213 reviews127 followers
August 27, 2021
خب خب خب
حالا که خوندن این اثر رو تموم کردم، دوست دارم یک کیسه پلاستیکی بردارم و هر کتابی که در مورد جنگ جهانی اول و دوم خوندم رو بریزم توش و از پنجره پرت کنم بیرون، البته به جز این کتاب! :))

در غرب خبری نیست، کتابیه که چون در مورد جنگ جهانی اوله، مدتی توی کتابخونه‌ام خاک خورد تا اینکه بعد از خوندن کتاب اتاق افسران، تصمیم گرفتم از جنگ جهانی اول بیشتر کتاب بخونم... پس برداشتمش!
و در همون فصل اول و صفحات اول به خودم گفتم که ای دل غافل، من چرا انقدر دیر سراغ این شاهکار اومدم..!

نقدها و تعاریف زیادی در ستایش این کتاب نوشته شده که من حقیر شاید نتونم به زیبایی اون‌ها، در موردش حرف بزنم.
فقط این رو بگم که این کتاب یک نکته‌ی جالب داشت که من در هیچ اثر ضد جنگ دیگه‌ی ندیده بودم. و اون نکته اینه که در این کتاب، نویسنده نمی‌خواد جنگ رو یک حماسه نشون بده! نمی‌خواد خواننده با خوندن کتابش احساس کنه که جنگ از یک آدم معمولی، قهرمان می‌سازه! اتفاقا برعکس! قهرمانان زندگی عادی در زمان‌های قبل از جنگ هم، در طول دوران جنگ تبدیل به ترسوترین و بزدل‌ترین آدم‌ها میشن!
معلمانی که با چرب‌زبونی، دسته دسته دانش‌آموز می‌فرستن به میدان‌های نبرد و وقتی خودشون اعزام میشن، مدام در جبهه دنبال سوراخ موش می‌گردن!

در این کتاب، سربازان موجوداتی فناناپذیر و قوی نیستن! مردان سلحشور نی��تن! بلکه جوانان نوزده ساله‌ای هستن که به شدت دلتنگ خانواده‌اند، شکننده‌اند و ناامید، و در حسرت بازگشت به زندگی‌های عادی خودشونن!
که البته همین جوانانی که اوایل جنگ به فکر برگشتن به زندگی عادی و ساختن رویاها و عاشق شدن و فتح دنیا هستن، به مروز زمان، از درون پوسیده و پیر میشن! با گذشت روزها و ماه‌ها در جبهه‌ی جنگ، دیگه آرزویی ندارن!
انقدر در جبهه‌ها می‌مونن که حتی در ایام مرخصی هم حوصله‌ی خانواده و مادر خودشون رو ندارن!
جوانانی که اوایل جنگ از هر اتفاق کوچیکی برای خودشون سرگرمی درست می‌کردن!
جوانانی که در اوج بمباران‌ها به فکر یک آتیش گرم و یک وعده غذای چرب و خوشمزه بودن!
جوانانی که در اوج جنگ، در یک کشور غریب، برای دقایقی کام گرفتن از دخترانی که حتی زبان همدیگه رو هم نمی‌فهمن، بصورت شبانه و در سرما، با وجود نیروهای گشتی و نگهبانان متعدد، دل به دریا زده و عرض رودخانه‌ای سرد رو شنا می‌کنن!
در غرب خبری نیست، داستان زوال روحی سربازانیه که در امتداد جنگ خرد میشن، میشکنن و روحشون از بین میره!
همون جوانانی که وقتی خبر پایان جنگ رو می‌شنون، بجای شادی، ناراحت می‌شن! چرا که هویت اونها در جبهه معنا پیدا کرده و خارج از این جنگ و در زندگی عادی هیچی نیستن! نه اونقدر پیر هستن که به گوشه‌ای پناه برده و منتظر مرگی آرام باشن و نه اونقدر روحیه و جوانی دارن که بخوان از اول شروع کنن! جوان هستن ولی در جوانی مرده‌ان!

در غرب خبری نیست، کتاب تلخیه، زیباست، اما تلخه.
اگر دنبال یک شاهکار به تمام معنا در قفسه‌ی کتاب‌های ضد جنگ می گردین، تردید نکنین و این کتاب رو بخونین!
بی برو برگرد بهترین کتابی بود که از جنگ های جهانی خوندم! پنج ستاره کامل، وسلام...
Profile Image for Marquise.
1,751 reviews614 followers
November 5, 2022
Update 30/October/2022:
Finished watching the new German-language adaptation of the book on Netflix with the fiancé, a non-book reader, and it was crushing. I hate the Entente, I hate the Alliance, and I hate every single one of the powers that be for dragging us all into the stupidest of stupid wars, wasting millions of young, healthy, and handsome men's lives who will never father beautiful babies, find a cure for cancer, and make the world better than it is today. Props to Herr Remarque for this stupendous novel that is still so relevant over a century later.

The fiancé's review? Oh, he said: "Alright, so from what I’ve heard about the book that probably wasn’t the greatest adaptation (weren’t there a couple at-home scenes that were extremely impactful that this just…didn’t have?), and I wasn’t a huge fan of the soundtrack (although, except the one specific track, it wasn’t too abrasive).

That said, independent of its source material, I think it was a fantastic WW1 movie. I prefer when military movies have a bit more character focus/development than this did, but it communicated the brutality and hopelessness, so it’s good for the war and good for the purpose of the original book."

I gotta get him the book as a Christmas present, he can't go one more year without reading this masterpiece. The rest of you should read this book, too.


This is one of those famous classics I've always seen, heard about & read quotes from everywhere since forever, but always missed picking it up. No conscious effort to avoid it, simply no push towards it through circumstances or interest.

Until I happened to see this poignant illustration by dahlieka whilst getting my daily dose of art gorgeousness some four years back:

That made me acquire my own copy of the book and take a mental note to read it soon. Funnily, I again missed reading it for years, until yesterday. It was the centennial of WWI, and I figured I'd read something related and so I opened this book after a pair of also WWI-themed lighter reads. It's heartwrenching, very brutal at times, not a read for late in the night and when you're not in the best of moods. Paul, the protagonist, will drag you through the trenches, and leave you sad for the youths and angry at all the fools in power who wasted so many millions of lives in the stupidest of wars. And the ending . . . well, suffice to say I definitely shouldn't have read the whole book in the wee hours of the night.

Not that I'm lamenting reading it, no. It was worth the read, it's an excellent book that I'll probably reread someday, at least the passages I liked for the beauty of Remarque's description of the brutality in the trenches. And also, I finally know the scene dahlieka's drawing illustrates: it's in Chapter IX and is Paul's first kill.
Profile Image for JD.
718 reviews338 followers
February 8, 2023
This truly is a masterpiece. The author draws on his frontline experiences during World War 1 to bring the honest brutality and inhumane face of war to light and at what cost war is fought. The book follows Paul Bäumer, where after a few years in the trenches he has become a hardened veteran and has lost all his enthusiasm for fighting, but also does not know what he will do without it. He is surrounded by his comrades from many battles where they have become like a family, and then he starts losing them which leaves him with strange emotions as he deals with everything around him, from going on leave, killing an enemy face-to-face to being wounded. The ending is apt for the book as it shows how a generation was lost, for all humankind, not just the Allies or Central Powers.

Written in the 1920's, it shows what the horrors of the trenches was like for the young soldiers that had to do the fighting, and what horrendous wounds they suffered and all they had to give up of their lives. The book was banned by the Nazis in the 1930's and you can see why. Great book and highly recommended reading to all.
Profile Image for Duane.
828 reviews432 followers
February 10, 2018
It has to be the defining novel of World War I, told from the point of view of a German soldier fighting in the trenches of France. This is not a novel of romance, intrigue, and adventure; it is a stark and frightingly realistic description of what it must have been like trying to survive from one day to the next, and almost always failing. Difficult and disturbing to read, it nevertheless is a narrative of how war is horrible, and hopefully why the telling of it may help deter future wars.
Profile Image for Lisa.
991 reviews3,320 followers
July 19, 2017
I was finishing a phase of reading and teaching facets of the First World War, and it would not be complete without this fictitious, but realistic portrait of a soldier's life in the trenches on the Western front...

I was reading excerpts from "All Quiet On The Western Front" in class, with students staring at me, some of them understanding for the first time what it really meant to be a soldier in the trenches, sent out to die under the banner of nationalism - which was an entirely positive word back then. They had read the facts in their textbooks, and also checked additional sources, such as small parts of Churchill's brilliant The World Crisis, 1911-1918 or the highly informative The First World War: A Very Short Introduction. They had even familiarised themselves with quite graphic photographs and documentaries. But nothing prepared them for the voice of the young soldier in the novel that took them directly into the situation, and made the numbers from the history books become real people with feelings and worries.

All of a sudden, the information that 20,000 English soldiers died on the first day of a specific attack was no longer just statistical data to be memorised. It meant 20,000 letters sent home to parents, siblings, wives and girlfriends, all with the same sad news ...

"Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori", that old lie, which made soldiers die by the millions, or suffer life-altering mutilations, forever remembered through The Poems Of Wilfred Owen, is put into brutal contrast with the reality of a soldier on the German side. The soldier could just as well have been English or French, as the experience was the same on both sides of No Man's Land, with the exception that German soldiers recognised they were lucky to conduct the war outside their home country, seeing the destruction of the whole countryside around them:

"The feeling of nationalism that the ordinary soldier has are expressed in the fact that he is out here. But it doesn't go any further: all his other judgements are practical ones and made from his point of view."

The sense of idiocy, conspiracy, or irrationality behind the suffering is omnipresent. Soldiers discuss how they ended up in a situation that presumably nobody wanted but that everyone is now involved in. They read the papers, see the propaganda machines, know the lies. They are young, were recruited from school, and trained quickly to lose all previous ideals, to be prematurely old in their minds:

"We had joined up with enthusiasm and with good will; but they did everything to knock that out of us. After three weeks, it no longer struck us as odd that an ex-postman with a couple of stripes should have more power over us than our parents ever had, or our teachers, or the whole course of civilization, from Plato to Goethe. With our young, wide-open eyes we saw that the classical notion of patriotism we had heard from our teachers meant, in practical terms at that moment, surrendering our individual personalities more completely than we would ever have believed possible even in the most obsequious errand boy. Saluting, eyes front, marching, presenting arms, right and left about, snapping to attention, insults and a thousand varieties of bloody-mindedness - we had imagined that our task would be rather different from all this, but we discovered that we were being trained to be heroes the way they train circus horses, and we quickly got used to it."

The bitterness of the situation is expected by any reader familiar with the First World War. The hard conditions, the dying, mutilation and boredom are not new. What got under my skin rereading this novel for probably the fourth time now, were the details showing what was left of those individual characteristics the young men were asked to surrender to the cause. The compassion and understanding they are able to feel for Russian prisoners. The joy they experience on an adventure involving girls. The passionate happiness when they receive the slightest comfort, or the unspeakable sadness when they visit their families and realise they have lost touch with them and can't share their knowledge. The complete loneliness when a mother asks how it really is, and the teenage son has to protect her from a truth that she won't be able to digest.

"There is my mother, there is my sister, there is the glass case with my butterflies, there is the mahogany piano - but I am not quite there myself yet. There is a veil..."

The protagonist fell in October 1918, just before the armistice, during the very last weeks of the war, just like Wilfred Owen in real life. He fell on a day that was so unspectacular that the newspaper reported all was quiet, nothing new on the western front. That is the most heartbreaking part of the novel, that this individual, intelligent young man, forced out to die for an ideal he did not believe in, was not even considered noteworthy in the news. Heroism of the quiet death, which is neither sweet nor appropriate.

Reading a novel like this puts the big drama of the facts into perspective, turning the attention to the human beings and their lives again, away from the leadership on both sides fighting for causes the soldiers did not understand or benefit from in the least.

"All Quiet On The Western Front" is as important now as it was when it was written: it yells out in capital letters that we are playing with humans, not resources!

It yells out a warning against blind patriotism, nationalism and weak, egocentric leadership. It yells out against carelessness and pride, and the lopsidedness of the suffering.

My students read poetry along with the excerpt from this novel, and at one point the question came up how many of the decision makers were blinded, mutilated, amputated? How many of them died in the trenches? "None!" was the answer.

"Then how dare they force those young men out there!" yelled my students. And I was quiet.

In the hope that the hubris of power will never again rise to those monstrous proportions, I keep teaching, adding Remarque, Böll, Owen and others to Plato and Goethe and the rest of the course of civilisation.
Profile Image for Guille.
785 reviews1,749 followers
June 25, 2020
“En aquella época incluso nuestros padres tenían presta la palabra «cobarde» para echárnosla al rostro.”
¿Por qué leer otra novela de guerra? Total, seguro que ya están convencidos del horror que es toda guerra, de que la mayoría de ellas solo sirven a los intereses de unos pocos, esos que en tiempo de paz joden a los que morirán por ellos y los mismos que seguirán jodiendo a los que queden con vida después. Entonces, ¿qué puede aportar otra novela sobre los desastres de la guerra?

Nada más y nada menos que una lectura estremecedora, vibrante y brillante. Una novela que les arrojará en medio del fregado, directo a las trincheras. Estarán ante un relato que se lee con la misma rapidez con la que les gustaría salir de allí, nada se interpone en la carrera con la que los ojos recorren con ansiedad sus frases cortas, directas, sujeto, verbo y predicado, pocos adjetivos, diálogos concisos y precisos, mucha acción, una acción que les dejará con el corazón encogido.
“Teníamos dieciocho años y empezábamos a amar el mundo y la existencia; pero hemos tenido que disparar contra esto. La explosión de la primera granada nos destrozó el corazón. Estamos al margen de la actividad, del esfuerzo, del progreso… Ya no creemos en nada; sólo en la guerra.”
Yo, que he tenido la desgracia de hacer la mili, me siento absolutamente identificado con todo lo que cuenta el soldado Paul Baümer sobre sus jornadas de instrucción previas a su marcha al frente. La impotencia que se siente ante el abuso de poder que es norma en los que ostentan el mando, mayor cuánto menor es su graduación (“y cuánto más cagones eran en la vida civil, más ínfulas tienen aquí”), sus bromas soeces, su ensañamiento con los más débiles delante de toda la compañía (con los homosexuales no, esos tenían su tratamiento en privado, no quiero ni imaginar cómo). Yo he vivido la humillación del corte de pelo al cero, la aparente estupidez que es tener que fregar un suelo diez veces para que el cabo vuelva a ensuciarlo intencionadamente y fregarlo por undécima vez, el trato vejatorio, indiscriminado y gratuito, los castigos generales ante infracciones individuales… Todo es así durante la instrucción, una forma de negarnos la individualidad, sí, en efecto, de convertirnos en soldados. Aunque etimológicamente la palabra “soldado” se refiera a la persona que recibe un sueldo, no deja de ser una maravillosa coincidencia que en castellano sea también un sinónimo de pegados, ligados, los que se mueven a una, todos juntos, a la vez, solo obedeciendo órdenes, sin pensar nunca por sí mismo ni en sí mismo pues no eres más que un media mierda que no pinta nada si no es formando parte del grupo (“ya no son hombres, son una columna”).

Afortunadamente no he vivido ninguna guerra, por lo que no he podido sentir la importancia que tiene la tierra para un soldado cuando, pegado a ella, hundida en ella su rostro, oye el estruendo del fuego enemigo sobre su cabeza. Tampoco he sufrido el cólico del frente en mi bautismo de fuego ni un ataque de delirio en medio de una avanzada, ni como la oscuridad enloquece, tiembla y se enfurece, o la angustia hasta comprobar que efectivamente la máscara antigás estaba bien cerrada. No he tenido que cargar con un soldado herido sabiendo que solo estoy retrasando su muerte unos días en los que sufrirá terribles dolores, ni he tenido que enfrentarme a su madre para darle la noticia de su muerte, ni nunca me ha importado saber que el vientre es el mejor lugar para clavar la bayoneta porque no se encalla como en las costillas o que es mejor tener el estómago vacío en el caso de recibir justo ahí una bala. Jamás he tenido que intercambiar comida por cigarrillos, ni lanzar una granada hacia la zona donde dos ojos me miran fijamente. No he tenido que odiar a otros hombres hasta querer matarlos ni he sentido el odio de otros hombres que querían darme muerte, no he confiado mi vida a unos camaradas, ni ellos la suya a mí. No me he atormentado pensando en la mujer del hombre al que acabo de asestarle tres puñaladas, ni he sentido con terror como el azar se impone como dios de mi destino. Nunca he visto a nadie seguir corriendo aunque ya no tenga cabeza, o sin pies, destrozándose los muñones buscando refugio, a nadie sujetándose los intestinos que le cuelgan, a cuerpos sanguinolentos enganchados en las ramas de un árbol, a hombres sin boca, sin rostro, nunca he sido herido en el vientre, en la columna vertebral ni me han tenido que amputar brazos o piernas, no me han destrozado los maxilares ni hecho desaparecer mi nariz ni cegado mis ojos, no he sufrido heridas en los pulmones, en la pelvis, en las articulaciones, en los riñones o en los testículos… En fin, nunca he sentido, como Paul Baümer, que nunca podré volver a tomarme en serio la vida, que me repugna su insignificancia, que todo lo escrito, hecho o pensado hasta ahora por cualquier ser humano ha sido in��til si todo esto sigue siendo posible, y todo porque nunca he estado en el frente.
“Mientras ellos seguían escribiendo y discurseando, nosotros veíamos ambulancias y moribundos; mientras ellos proclamaban como sublime el servicio al Estado, nosotros sabíamos que el miedo a la muerte es mucho más intenso. Con todo no fuimos rebeldes, ni desertores, ni cobardes; amábamos a nuestra patria tanto como ellos y al llegar el momento del ataque, nos lanzábamos a él con coraje. Pero ahora distinguíamos. Ahora habíamos aprendido a mirar las cosas cara a cara y nos dábamos cuenta que, en su mundo, nada se sostenía. Nos sentimos solos de pronto, terriblemente solos; y solos también debíamos encontrar la salida.”
Profile Image for Henk.
875 reviews
April 12, 2023
Dehumanization, comradely behavior under enormous pressure, spells of incredible dullness and terrible, faceless bombardments. An artificial numbness, a degeneration of humanity to survive the madness is rendered in a terrifying way
Let the months and year come, they can take nothing from me, they can take nothing more. I am so alone and so without hope I can confront them without fear.

A deeply humbling and powerful read, and a still incredible relevant call against the idiocy of war and the cost to normal people. In All Quiet on the Western Front 19/20 year olds dying is a normal occurrence and Paul, the main character is discovering enormous pressures amidst periods of extreme boredom. One especially visceral scene is of Paul lying to comfort people, teenage comrades, dying. In these circumstances discipline and social conditioning act as a bandage to keep people relatively sane. However of 20 of the class, 7 are dead, 4 wounded and 1 mad.
How can a man take all that stuff serious once he has once been out here? Paul asks himself while dealing with rats on bread.
The drudgery and permanent adrenaline rush act as a dampener: I soon found out this much: terror can be endured so long as a man simply ducks, but it kills if a men thinks about it.

In all this there is some enjoying oneself with French women across the river who exchange sex for rations. In general the civilian population is rather bad off, with almost no food.
The strangeness of civilian life behind the frontlines is heightened by the observation of Russian prisoners of wars: I am frightened I dare think this way no more, this way lies the abyss
And with any respite from the front the doom of the return is there as well:
But every gasp lays my heart bare

Back in the trenches After all war is war people risk their lives for pancakes, running between artillery shots, while cigars, cigarettes and other food or alcohol serve as bribes to be send back home. The best one can hope for is to be discharged with a reasonably non-fatal injury.
A hospital alone shows what war is however, and amputations and sickness are rampant.

Paul dives deeper and deeper into this shadowy world, stripped of his agency or choice, which has profound repercussions: An artificial numbness, a degeneration of humanity to survive the madness
Court marshal on deserters make nearly no impact: We will be superfluous, even to ourselves

Erich Maria Remarque wrote a remarkable book, bleak and full of horrors that resonate as much today as nearly a century ago at publication. An impressive book that deserves reading and contemplation.
Profile Image for Diane.
1,081 reviews2,720 followers
May 13, 2016
Five heartbreaking stars for this classic novel about World War I.

I first read All Quiet on the Western Front my freshman year of college, thanks to Dr. K's humanities course. During this re-read, I paused not only in appreciation of what soldiers and their families suffer during war, but also for all the great teachers who spend their days trying to inspire students to have Perspective and Big Ideas and to Think Critically. I remember how meaningful it was to read this book when I was 19, and it helped shape how I think about history and conflict and war. I was reminded of this quote from Pat Conroy: "If there is more important work than teaching, I hope to learn about it before I die."

I've been thinking a lot about my freshman humanities course because All Quiet on the Western Front was recently chosen as a Common Read for the college campus where I work, and I'm helping to plan the program that will hopefully inspire hundreds of other students to read this book. It's giving me a contented circle-of-life feeling.

Back to the novel itself, which follows German soldier Paul Bäumer and his fellow classmates who enlisted in the war. We see their stoicism and also their mental and physical stress. We suffer with them when they are hungry, and we rejoice when they are fed. We spend an anxious night with Paul when he is stuck in No Man's Land during an attack, and witness his anguish when he kills another man for the first time. We follow him as he goes home on leave to visit his sick mother, and we understand why he can't answer his family's questions about the front. He lies and says it's fine, the stories are exaggerated, the soldiers are treated well. But nothing will ever be fine again, and we all know it.

While reading this book, I used countless post-its to mark quotes. This is a classic that is both easy to read and astonishingly beautiful in its clarity of writing. Highly recommended.

And finally, three cheers to you, Dr. K. Thank you for everything you've done to inspire students.

Favorite Quotes
"The soldier is on friendlier terms than other men with his stomach and intestines. Three-quarters of his vocabulary is derived from these regions, and they give an intimate flavor to expressions of his greatest joy as well as of his deepest indignation. It is impossible to express oneself in any other way so clearly and pithily. Our families and our teachers will be shocked when we go home, but here it is the universal language."

"For a moment we fall silent. There is in each of us a feeling of constraint. We are all sensible of it; it needs no words to communicate it. It might easily have happened that we should not be sitting here on our boxes to-day; it came damn near to that. And so everything is new and brave, red poppies and good food, cigarettes and summer breeze."

"While they taught that duty to one's country is the greatest thing, we already knew that death-throes are stronger ... We loved our country as much as they; we went courageously into every action; but also we distinguished the false from the true, we had suddenly learned to see. And we saw that there was nothing of their world left. We were all at once terribly alone; and alone we must see it through.

"The war has ruined us for everything."

"We have become wild beasts. We do not fight, we defend ourselves against annihilation. It is not against men that we fling our bombs, what do we know of men in this moment when Death is hunting us down..."

"Modern trench-warfare demands knowledge and experience; a man must have a feeling for the countours of the ground, an ear for the sound and character of the shells, must be able to decide beforehand where they will drop, how they will burst, and how to shelter from them."

"Bombardment, barrage, curtain-fire, mines, gas, tanks, machine-guns, hand-grenades — words, words, but they hold the horror of the world."

"Thus momentarily we have the two things a soldier needs for contentment: good food and rest. That's not much when one comes to think of it. A few years ago we would have despised ourselves terribly. But now we are almost happy. It is all a matter of habit — even the front-line."

"Terror can be endured so long as a man simply ducks; — but it kills, if a man thinks about it."

"But our comrades are dead, we cannot help them, they have their rest — and who knows what is waiting for us? We will make ourselves comfortable and sleep, and eat as much as we can stuff into our bellies, and drink and smoke so that hours are not wasted. Life is short."

"We were never very demonstrative in our family; poor folk who toil and are full of cares are not so. It is not their way to protest what they already know. When my mother says to me 'dear boy,' it means much more than when another uses it."

"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. I see that the keenest brains of the world invent weapons and words to make it yet more refined and enduring. And all men of my age, here and over there, throughout the whole world see these things; all my generation is experiencing these things with me."

"And men will not understand us — for the generation that grew up before us, though it has passed these years with us already had a home and a calling; now it will return to its old occupations, and the war will be forgotten — and the generation that has grown up after us will be strange to us and push us aside. We will be superfluous even to ourselves, we will grow older, a few will adapt themselves, some others will merely submit, and most will be bewildered; — the years will pass by and in the end we shall fall into ruin."
Profile Image for A.E. Chandler.
Author 4 books180 followers
October 5, 2021
This is one of my favourite books, a very open, authentic account of WWI from the perspective of a German soldier. The images can really stick in your head.
Profile Image for Piyangie.
530 reviews494 followers
September 29, 2023
"This book is to be neither an accusation nor a confession, at least of all an adventure, for death is not an adventure for 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 its shells, were destroyed by the war."

In All Quiet on the Western Front, it is what Remarque has done exactly - to tell of a generation of men who were forever scarred by the war. This harrowing account of the Frist World War, written from the point of view of a soldier, brings to life the destruction that is caused to those who are the first-hand victims - the soldiers. Perhaps, some may disagree with my calling them "victims", but wouldn't it be the near truth? Aren't they the first people who have sacrificed their lives, ambitions, hopes, and above all, their youth? If they are not the victims of war, what are they? "I'm young, I'm twenty years old; yet I know nothing of life but despair, death, fear, and fatuous superficiality cast over an abyss of sorrow." When they step on to the battlefield, all is lost to them forever. They may physically survive the war, but never emotionally. The scars, the ghosts will haunt them forever.

Remarque gives a nightmarish account of both the physical and mental traumas the soldiers go through. It is both horrifying and heartbreaking. I also had a very disturbing sleep overnight. Imagine, if a nearly truthful account of war can disturb one thus, how disturbing it might be to those who have faced it, every day? How hopeless they might feel life would be for them, even if they be lucky enough to live through it? " 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 lives. We were eighteen and had begun to love life and the world; and we had to shoot it to pieces." And for what have they sacrificed their lives, hopes, dreams, and youth? There lies the unanswerable question? The most likely answer to be given would be through patriotism. If both factions of the war act out of patriotism, who is in the right? "We are here to protect our fatherland. And the French are over there to protect their fatherland. Now who's in the right?" Who is in the right? The answer will always be subjective, but it can never be objective.

Remarque's account of the gruesomeness of war, written about the First World War nearly a century ago, speaks true for all subsequent wars, be it world war or civil wars. The horrors of it and the subsequent mental destruction they caused on those directly connected with it are all factual certainties. If we are to avoid history being repeated, these factual certainties must be accepted. I think this is what Remarque wanted to tell the world, especially its rulers. But did they listen to him? Is anyone listening even now?
Profile Image for Kemper.
1,390 reviews6,976 followers
October 16, 2010
My copy of this was a paperback that I had picked up somewhere in my high school years. It was printed in the ‘50s and cost 60 cents per the cover price. The pages were yellowed and an old dog of mine (dead 20 years now) chewed on a corner of it at one point, and his teeth marks are still on it. But I held onto that copy over the years through multiple changes of residence and numerous paperback dumps to used book stores and library donations. When I was trying to organize some of my stuff packed away in the basement, I found my battered old copy and felt the immediate need to read it again.

But I also decided to invest in a better edition. Frankly, I was scared the old one would fall apart, but I’ve carefully packed away that copy again. I’m thinking about putting it in my will that I should be buried with it. That gives you an idea of how highly I regard this book.

My new copy says on the cover that it’s the greatest war novel of all time. I’m not going to argue about that statement. I’ve often thought that this book should be required reading for any politician with the power to declare war. Only a madman or Dick Cheney could send troops into combat after reading this.

Paul is a 19 year old German soldier in World War I. Living though artillery shellings, gas attacks, trench warfare and seeing a generation of men blown to bits has made Paul old before his time. He has a soldier’s profound weariness and cynicism. Some of the more heartbreaking parts of this are when Paul and his fellow soldiers realize that they’ve been changed far too much to ever care about anything but survival again. Paul and the other soldiers try to find small comforts where they can since there’s almost no chance they’ll survive the war unscathed.

On the very short list of books that I think everyone should read at least once.

Trivial Side Note or No, I Don’t Work for the Kansas City Tourism Board

The National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial is something I recommend to anybody who likes this book, or has any interest at all in these types of things. (My wife is usually not interested in war stories or memorabilia at all, but she found this museum fascinating.) It’s got tons of actual equipment from the war, interactive multi-media displays, and some truly eye-opening exhibits.

For example, there’s one room you walk into that is a recreation of what it looked like when a large shell hit a French farm house from the basement perspective. So you walk in and it feels like you’re in a giant crater with house debris above you. There are also recreations of the trenches and one battlefield set done below a wide screen documentary playing that gives a vivid and eerie feeling of what a hellish landscape was created by the war.

Check it out here: http://www.theworldwar.org/s/110/new/...
Profile Image for Matt.
3,821 reviews12.9k followers
November 9, 2021
Please enjoy the review after my annual re-read of this classic for this time of year!


This enthralling novel by Erich Maria Remarque provides the reader with a stellar look at a soldier’s life during the Great War. Told through the eyes of a young German soldier, the story pulls the reader in and personalises events in such a way that it almost seems palatable, without justifying or downplaying the atrocities at any point. All Quiet on the Western Front is sure to stir up emotion in those readers who have an interest in military discussions, as well as those who love war-time history.

This is the story of Paul Bäumer, a nineteen year-old fighting for the German Fatherland in France during the middle of the Great War. Having signed up voluntarily alongside a number of his classmates, Bäumer hoped things would be as exciting as they sounded. All that was dashed after the weeks of basic training, in which the young men are broken down and put through their paces before being tossed on the front lines, where the beauty of nationalism is replaced by the horrors of death. Now, these young men live in constant physical terror as explosions rock their every night.

The story explores the trials and tribulations the war brings to those who witness it first-hand. Bäumerl finds himself fighting to justify his presence in France and tries to survive on poor rations, barely enough for survival. He also witnesses how decimating the war can be, when only a handful of his training class survive after a short stint on the front.

Bäumer is also forced to sober up to the realities of life, which turns sensitivity on its head and permits pragmatism to surface. After a soldier dies in front of them, the fight is on for his supplies, something the surviving soldiers need more than the corpse. This creates a refreshing look at life and the lessons that come with it, leaving manners back in Germany when every day could be your last.

There are moments of harrowing action, as Bäumer accompanies the others to lay barbed wire and finds himself trapped under artillery fire. Scared and pinned down, the men talk about their own thoughts about how the war could be more effectively fought, as well as what might have changed the minds of the politicians who are sitting in their ivory towers, far away from the bloodshed.

When a bloody battle with enemy leads to men being blown apart with severed limbs and torsos, Bäumer sees the most gruesome part of the war, something that he was not told about when first he agreed to serve. Rats feast on the dead and Bäumer expresses a sense of being animalistic, trusting his instincts alone to save him. The casualty list is high and Bäumer tries to erase what he’s seen when he is given leave and encounters a few French girls, eager to help him forget.

Bäumer takes some extended leave to return home for a family visit. He feels like an outsider, unable to discuss his trauma with anyone. His mother is dying of cancer and she hopes that he can be proud of what he is doing, but wants him to come home as soon as possible. This surely pulls on his heartstrings and Bäumer is left to wonder what the fighting will really do, as he cannot be with family when they need him most.

After witnessing the horrors of a prisoner-of-war camp, Bäumer is determined to help bring the war to an end, vowing never to be captured or enslaved by the enemy. The months push onwards and the German army begins to lose control of its fate. Bäumer watches his friends die in combat, eventually leaving him as the only one left from his original class. By the fall of 1918, Paul Bäumer can see the end is in sight and hears much talk about an armistice, which would bring the bloody war to an end, something he’s wanted ever since arriving at the Western Front.

Erich Maria Remarque does a masterful job painting the image of war and how it truly gets into the pores of those who are fighting on the front lines. It is less about strategy and troop advancement than the blood and gore faced by those young men who were pulled from their schools in order to fight for their country. While many in the West see the Germans as the evildoers (in both World Wars), Remarque offers this wonderful look at the war through the eyes of one man, to show that there was nothing but pure fear within him. No matter whose sides was right, young men perished without knowing what they were trying to do. Their task, kill or be killed. Their horror, to be maimed or brutally injured. All this comes to the surface throughout this piece, which will surely shock the attentive reader.

There are many characters whose lives progress throughout the book, though I will not list them. Remarque seeks more to tell a story of the war through their experiences than to inject a deeper plot with the Great War as a backdrop. The horrors of war spill out from every page, as well as the senselessness of men who could barely shave being the pawns of an international political disagreement. This theme is echoed throughout, in twelve strong chapters. While many will likely turn away from the book because they disagree with war or have ‘read too much about it’, I would encourage everyone to give it a try to see just how deeply it affects you. Especially with November 11th just around the corner!

Kudos, Mr. Remarque, for this sensational piece that had me enthralled throughout. It has stirred up some real emotions within me.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
- Canadian Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae

Love/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at:

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...
Profile Image for Metodi Markov.
1,344 reviews319 followers
August 26, 2023
Тази книга, както и продължението ѝ "Обратният път", са най-антивоенните книги, които съм чел!

И то по няколко пъти, още преди да бъда насила зачислен в редовете на БА, която си беше все още една чиста армия на НРБ - с некадърни, необразовани и малоумни офицери и старшини, мизерия, безумни заповеди и порядък.

Бях дълбоко отвратен от тази 18 месечна реалност, която обаче ме закали и ме научи, че на простотията се отвръща с песник в дръгливата муцуна, а това си е ценен урок, макар и да нямаше нужда да го уча толкова дълго, аз съм си схватлив. :)

Като през цялото време се надявах, че пожарът който бушуваше в съседна Югославия няма да успее да прескочи и отвъд нашата граница...

Четете Ремарк млади, много ще ви даде и ще ви научи на безценни морални норми и устои!

Личност като Ремарк, която и години след кончината си прави света по-добър и по-човечен е абсолютен пример за подражание.
Profile Image for Chrissie.
2,780 reviews1,458 followers
February 14, 2021
I am silent. What can I say? Here I have been, for the last year or two, searching for books on WW1. I have read fiction and non-fiction and biographies. This thin little book has more of an impact than any other I have read.

This is a book to be read many times.

Not only is it profound in message, but the author writes beautifully.

Can humor be incorporated into a book with such a serious message? Yes, Remarque pulls this off too.

This thin book perfectly captures

- war in the trenches
- mustard gas
- being home on leave
- medical care on the front
- the strength of comradeship
- rational and irrational fear
- our innate will to live

not only with factual content, but more importantly with the emotional impact on the individual in the war. Also the impact on those not there in the trenches, not doing the fighting, but in heart out there with the combatants.

This book points an incriminatory finger at all of us who let wars continue.

Stunning narration by Tom Lawrence. Listen to THIS audiobook version of Remarque's masterpiece.

P.S. This book doesn't throw in other issues, such as politics or romance, as so many other contemporary books do. Such topics are totally superfluous given the gravity and intensity of the central theme so well drawn with Remarque's eloquence. I will definitely be reading more by Remarque.
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