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on February 12, 2016
Not only one of the best war books. Its one of the best books of all times.

My wife reads 5 books a week and agrees.
Emotionally powerful, in a very low key way.
Brilliantly written
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on August 11, 2013
I received the Kindle copy of "All Quiet on the Western Front" immediately after having ordered it. Having read the paperback edition a number of years ago, I recalled just how vivid the description of conditions on the front from the German point of view are in this book. The Kindle edition is of course faithful to the original print version and I have been finding my long-buried thoughts to have emerged full strength. The book is excellent, heart-felt and is not written for the faint-hearted reader. There is much brutal realism here that cuts to the heart of the matter.
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on April 18, 2014
All Quiet on the Western Front chronicles the story of Paul Bäumer and his classmates, a group of twenty-year-olds who volunteered for service in the German army during the First World War.

Most of the novel focuses on their time near the front and the horrific experiences therein—the terror of artillery bombardment, near misses by enemy snipers, and the gruesome wounds beyond the capabilities of 1916 medicine. The most distinctive part of the novel (to my eye, anyway) occurs when Paul momentarily loses his bearings and jumps into an unfamiliar artillery crater during a patrol. In the darkness, he hears another man jump in, and Paul immediately and unflinchingly stabs him in self-defence, without even verifying his allegiance. As the sun rises, Paul is relieved to find the soldier a Frenchman, but is horrified to see that he's still clutching to life, dying a slow, agonizing death.

Other parts of the novel detail Paul's time on leave or in the hospital after moderate injury. Overall these passages highlight the gaping chasm separating life on the front from life at home (though the hospitals are made out to be nearly as bad as the front itself). Similarly, there is also a huge disconnect at the front between downtime (in which the soldiers play cards and trade black humour) and the terror of actual combat. The overarching theme in all of this is the loss of youth to the horrors of war in all their forms, and Paul's loss of hope of ever returning to a normal life.

One detail I appreciated about All Quiet is its historicity—at the beginning, Europe is locked in trench warfare, but by the end, improvements in technology (mainly tanks) have helped to break the stalemate in favour of the Allies. Rumours of a ceasefire start to swirl in the summer of 1918, but Paul has mixed feelings: killing is all he's known for years—how will he adjust if he makes it out of the war alive?

Final remarks: All Quiet has been labelled "the greatest war novel of all time". As in my review of Dune ("science fiction's supreme masterpiece"), I don't think I can make a well-qualified judgement on that ranking, but Remarque's book certainly makes a lasting impression, and I can definitely give it a solid four stars.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon December 30, 2013
Erich Maria Remarque did a great job with his story. Being first person in view gave you the feeling that you were there. To add to this he is a very good writer.

Not being in the Great War, I can only imagine the technology of the time and trust in old war movies. In addition, this is a foreign culture in a foreign time. People there had a tendency to trust and respect their elders unquestionably.

Being of the Vietnam era, I could however relate to the parts about the different personalities and some of the war situations and attitudes. I could appreciate the river crossing at night and the defending of the deserted town. I even liked the cat that they befriended in the story. We had a dog that was named Followme, which was one of the few that did not end up in a pot. I even could feel the anxiety of not fighting and just waiting for action. The only major difference is the question of do you want the people to be behind you to push you on or cheer you on, or doing the same job with people that are indifferent or not supportive?

Anyway even with the graphic description of the actual battle is more of a description of war, not a reason to sue for peace at any cost. The story is more of a, "don't let someone pull the wool over your eyes," with the talk of the glory of war. A movie with that theme is "The Americanization of Emily" (1964)". Also, don't let Authority blindly lead you into the army with the condos as in, "Private Benjamin" (1980).

This is not the end but the key statement that pretty much sums it up, "He fell in October 1918, on a day that was so quiet and still on the whole front, that the army report confined itself to the single sentence: All quiet on the western Front."

All Quiet on the Western Front (Universal Cinema Classics)
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on August 19, 2012
This has to be my favourite book of all time, it is from the German perspective in WW1 and it depicts the gruesome battles and sights these soldiers must go through. I initially bought this for an assignment, but then I fell in love with it and it was not tedious in any way! BUY IT! READ IT! ENJOY IT!
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I was torn about whether or not to give this book four or five stars. At the time it was released, it was definitely a five star book. It removed the fog of war from the battlefield and allowed readers to be transported to the horror of war. Remarque was not the first veteran to comment on the horror of war. U.S. Civil War general/hero Sherman said, "I am tired and sick of war. Its glory is all moonshine. It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, for vengeance, for desolation. War is hell." So Remarque wasn't saying anything new here about war. What he did do that was new was talk about it in depth and include the effects on the men who survived. For even those whom war didn't kill, war destroyed. That's perhaps a little strong, but there's no doubt that war causes deep, deep mental and emotional scars on almost all soldiers who are thrust into the thick of combat.

So why only four stars? Well, I've read a lot of real war memoirs before turning to this fictional WW1 story. And for me, real memoirs hit home harder. If anything, it is sadly the truth that reality is harsher than fiction when one reads the stories of brutal war veterans (brutal war, not brutal veterans). Books like Blood Red Snow: The Memoirs of a German Soldier on the Eastern Front,With the Old Breed, or Japanese Destroyer Captain are all real, non-fiction stories that equal or surpass the horror and impact of All Quiet. So for me personally, it didn't have the impact that it might otherwise have.

Having said that, I have no problems with someone else rating it five stars. It certainly is a profound introduction to the horrors of war. I can understand why it's a classic, and even though I might recommend non-fiction before it, I definitely have no reservations about recommending this work of fiction for anyone who wants to understand war. If anything, it is less exaggerated and horrible than the real accounts. Most importantly, fiction or not, these kinds of books remind us all that while war may sometimes be an absolute necessity (e.g., against Hitler), war is about as close to hell as you can get to on this Earth. That, along with the sacrifices made by veterans for us, is something we should all never forget.
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on August 16, 1999
Not to be a non-conformist or anything, but I wanted all you one star reviewers to read this...
Do not be dismayed by it's gore, it's seemingly tedious and boring day to day reflections and un-characterizations. This book reflects, as close as possible, the grim realities of WWI. Paul's accounts are vivid and at times, plain...just like his reality was. I related to Paul even before I was in the military, and believe this book to be one of the greatest and definitely my favorite book so far in this life.
I normally read non-fiction WWI accounts, but this book is quite the exception with it's amazing beauty and symbolism. And who wouldn't want to see their "dictator" teacher shown the bitter reality they so proudly proclaim they know firsthand?
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon April 14, 2008
Erich Maria Remarque did a great job with his story. Being first person in view gave you the feeling that you were there. To add to this he is a very good writer.

Not being in the Great War, I can only imagine the technology of the time and trust in old war movies. Also this is a foreign culture in a foreign time. People there had a tendency to trust and respect their elders unquestionably.

Being of the Vietnam era I could however relate to the parts about the different personalities and some of the war situations and attitudes. I could appreciate the river crossing at night and the defending of the deserted town. I even liked the cat that they befriended in the story. We had a dog that was named Followme, which was one of the few that did not end up in a pot. I even could feel the anxiety of not fighting and just waiting for action. The only major difference is the question of do you want the people to be behind you to push you on or cheer you on, or doing the same job with people that are indifferent or not supportive?

Anyway even with the graphic description of the actual battle is more of a description of war, not a reason to sue for peace at any cost. The story is more of a, "don't let someone pull the wool over your eyes," with the talk of the glory of war. A movie with that theme is "The Americanization of Emily" (1964)". Also don't let Authority blindly lead you into the army with the condos as in, "Private Benjamin" (1980).

This is not the end but the key statement that pretty much sums it up, "He fell in October 1918, on a day that was so quiet and still on the whole front, that the army report confined itself to the single sentence: All quiet on the western Front."
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon July 23, 2006
Erich Maria Remarque did a great job with his story. Being first person in view gave you the feeling that you were there. To add to this he is a very good writer.

Not being in the Great War, I can only imagine the technology of the time and trust in old war movies. Also this is a foreign culture in a foreign time. People there had a tendency to trust and respect their elders unquestionably.

Being of the Vietnam era I could however relate to the parts about the different personalities and some of the war situations and attitudes. I could appreciate the river crossing at night and the defending of the deserted town. I even liked the cat that they befriended in the story. We had a dog that was named Followme, which was one of the few that did not end up in a pot. I even could feel the anxiety of not fighting and just waiting for action. The only major difference is the question of do you want the people to be behind you to push you on or cheer you on, or doing the same job with people that are indifferent or not supportive?

Anyway even with the graphic description of the actual battle is more of a description of war, not a reason to sue for peace at any cost. The story is more of a, "don't let someone pull the wool over your eyes," with the talk of the glory of war. A movie with that theme is "The Americanization of Emily" (1964)". Also don't let Authority blindly lead you into the army with the condos as in, "Private Benjamin" (1980).

This is not the end but the key statement that pretty much sums it up, "He fell in October 1918, on a day that was so quiet and still on the whole front, that the army report confined itself to the single sentence: All quiet on the western Front."
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on June 7, 2004
The novel All Quiet on the Western Front depicts the battle of the Germans during World War I. It is narrated by Paul Baumer, a twenty year old German, and reveals the events that take place during he and his comrades lives as they fight the war. Unfortunately, the young men soon have to deal with combat wounds, killed friends, and despair. The men are frequently presented with so many indicences of death before they have even really begun to live their lives.
This novel tells the story of World War I from the German perspective. Although the Germans were thought of as the "enemies" to almost half of the world during the war, I did not see them as such as I was reading this novel. Instead, they just seemed like regular soliders that did not really have a choice about their involvement in the war. They felt no real glory for being soliders and their only desire was to remain alive.
One of the key themes that I though was apparent in the novel is that war is an inhumanity for both sides; there are really no "good and bad" guys when it comes to the soliders that are fighting. All soliders are just fighting and killing because they do not have a choice to do otherwise. This theme can be seen by Paul's willingness to give food to Russian prisoners, and the gulit that he feels after taking the life of an ally solider.
I found the writing style of Remarque appealing. Although I cannot tell how much of the style of the novel was lost in translation, I can say that I found the English translation very straightforward and unadorned. Yet, the sentences still had a certain charm to them and were never banal (as I have often found Hemmingway's to be). Remarque's style reminded me a little of Crane's The Red Badge of Courage. But All Quiet on the Western Front is by far the better book. Its prose flows freely and it is quite a page turner.
If you are at all interested in war stories, I would reccommend reading All Quiet on the Western Front. I warn you that it is by not means an uplifting book and that it can be very graphic at times. But if you would like to experience a first hand account of World War I from the German side then you should read this book. It is the anti-war book for all wars.
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