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All Quiet on the Western Front Paperback – 1987

4.6 out of 5 stars 1,207 customer reviews

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Paperback, 1987
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 295 pages
  • Publisher: BaIantine; 1st. Ballentines Edition edition (1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0449213943
  • ASIN: B004U90962
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,207 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #630,399 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on April 13, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I was supposed to read this novel around 25 years ago, for a high school English class, and decided to skip it and just read the back cover and take notes in class. Turns out the joke was on me. I finally got around to reading this classic book, and let's just say that it's all the good things you've heard about and will read about below. The story is told simply but powerfully. One memorable scene follows another, and the battle scenes are particularly strong and at times even overpowering. But somehow the strongest scenes describe our protagonist--Paul's--thoughts when he realizes, during quieter moments, such as when on leave, that the war has changed him and made him no longer able to fit into society. And the scene where Paul shares a shellhole with a dying French soldier, and contemplates on the brotherhood of man, and on our universal commonality, and of the utter uselessness of war, is so memorable that...well, if you don't get a lump in your throat while reading this scene, you're better than me! Me recommending this book to you is like someone saying "Citizen Kane" is a good movie or that the Beatles were a swell group. Let's just say that if you deprive yourself of this emotionally moving reading experience, as I did for so many years, you'll really be missing out. 'Nuff said.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Erich Maria Remarque (1898-1970) served in World War I, where he received wounds five times in battle. The searing images of trench warfare left indelible scars on Remarque, who then attempted to exorcize his demons through the writing of literature. "All Quiet on the Western Front" is Remarque's most memorable book, although he wrote nine others dealing with the miseries of war.
"All Quiet on the Western Front" is the story of Paul Baumer, a young German soldier serving in the trenches in France. Baumer's story is not a pleasant one; he volunteered for the war when his instructor in school, Kantorek, urged the class to join up for the glory of Germany. After a rigorous period of military training (where Paul and his buddies meet the hated drill instructor Himmelstoss, a recurring character throughout the book), Baumer and his friends go to the front as infantrymen. Filled with glorious ideas about war by authority figures back home, Baumer quickly discovers that the blood-drenched trenches of the Western Front are a quagmire of misery and violent death. As soon as the first shells explode in the mud Paul and his friends realize everyone back home is a liar, that war is not the glorious transformation of boys into men but rather the systematic destruction of all that is decent and healthy. As Paul's friends slip away one by one through death, desertion, and injury, Paul begins to wonder about his own life and whether he will survive not only the war but also a world without war.
Remarque's book exposes all of the insanities of war. The incongruities of violent battle versus long periods of boredom repeatedly appear throughout the book. On one day, Paul and his friends sit around discussing mundane topics; the next day they are bashing French skulls during an offensive.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I never suspected that when I began reading All Quiet for my 10th grade History class, it would completely revolutionize my perspective on war. This novel flawlessly captures the confusion, bitterness, futility, and hopeless loss of human life on the battlefield. At the same time Remarque eliminates the false perception that war is glorious and honorable. The way in which the author accomplishes this is, in my opinion, without a single flaw. Written through the narrative of a young German soldier, Paul Baumer, this book succeeds in revealing an entirely new perspective to the reader. To an American reader, Baumer is "the enemy" since he is a German soldier in WWI. But through the expression of Baumer's thoughts and emotions, one quickly realizes the harsh commonality between soldiers of both sides, and the inevitable futility of war, with scores of men dying for a few inches of dirt. The images are intense and painful- choking in poison gas, trembling with fear of being shelled, and the eternal loss of faith in life itself once one has been forced to kill and be killed namelessly, facelessly, and heartlessly. The impact it has on the reader is beyond words- one has to read this book to understand the reasons why war is not all what we have been led to believe. I have never been a fan of war novels, but this book goes beyond being just another war novel. Besides offering a revolutionary new perspective on the grim truth about war, it taught me much about the sanctity of saftey, peace, freedom, and life. Although I could never truly feel what soldiers undergo physically and emotionally in war, this book is as close as one can get. All Quiet on the Western Front is a truly phenomenal novel, and I feel that everyone should read this book. It will change the way you think.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT is not the story of military strategy, or a tale concerned with the mass movement of armies and people. It is not a novel about the higher view of war, the way it is seen by governments and generals. It is, in fact, the story of one man caught up in a war that he doesn't even seem to fully comprehend. He and his friends are battered and wounded, and simply trying to survive each day as it comes. The book is powerful and memorable. Erich Maria Remarque shows us what war is like, and shows us a tale of people trying to stay alive, but becoming more and more alienated from the regular world they left behind.
The story is gritty, dirty and depressing. It probably isn't exactly explaining what life was like for the German soldiers during WWI, but my guess is that it comes extremely close. The men have trouble finding food, they are ordered around by sadistic officers, they are cold, and hungry - and there's a war going on, the nature of which means that literally at any second they could be killed or horribly maimed. The book focuses on the death associated with the war, but it also spends a lot of time going over the suffering and the pain. Remarque tells us of the soldiers wounded, of those slowly dying in no-man's land with no hope of being rescued or of dying a clean death. The lucky ones are the ones who die quickly; the unlucky are in agony for days or weeks.
There really isn't much of a plot, which would certainly seem to be in keeping with the way an average solider would view the war. The narrative bounces us around from the front lines, to the rear camps, to civilian villages in a sequence as random as it would have appeared to anyone involved in the war.
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