Saturday, 18 April 2009

All Quiet on the Western Front

Title: All Quiet on the Western Front

Author: Erich Maria Remarque

Number of pages: 215

Started: 16 April 2009

Finished: 18 April 2009

Opening words:

“This book is intended neither as an accusation nor as a confession, but simply as an attempt to give an account of a generation that was destroyed by the war - even those who survived the shelling.”

'We are in camp five miles behind the line. Yesterday our relieve arrived; now our bellies are full of bully beef and beans, we've had enough to eat and we're well satisfied. We were even able to fill up a mess-tin for later, every one of us, and there are double rations of sausage and bread as well ' that will keep us going.'

Plot summary:

Paul Baumer enlisted with his classmates in the German army of World War I. Youthful, enthusiastic, they become soldiers. But despite what they have learned, they break into pieces under the first bombardment in the trenches. And as horrible war plods on year after year, Paul holds fast to a single vow: to fight against the principles of hate that meaninglessly pits young men of the same generation but different uniforms against each other--if only he can come out of the war alive.

What I thought:

This was an excellent book. I wasn’t actually sure that I wanted to read it, as I thought it might be a bit morbid. In reality it was an incredibly readable book that gave an account of the First World War from the perspective of a German soldier. It showed his humanity and how similar those in the trenches were, regardless of which side they were fighting on. It was a simple (but sometimes horrifying) read with a very powerful message behind it. Well worth reading.


Kahless said...

I am so impressed with the amount you read.

Kahless said...

Read any more John Steinbeck?

Random Reflections said...

Kahless - I do have long tube journeys, where I get most of the reading done. Then I usually read for a few minutes before bed. When i used to drive to work, I didn't read anywhere near as much.

I haven't read any more John Steinbeck as yet, but was looking at a couple the other day and might read some more soon.