K.D. Absolutely's Reviews > All Quiet on the Western Front

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
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's review
Dec 03, 2013

really liked it
bookshelves: 1001-core, war
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
Read from February 28 to March 04, 2011 — I own a copy , read count: 1

A good companion to Timothy Findley's The Wars. Why? Both of them are novels about WWI. But All Quiet on the Western Front is the German side and The Wars is the Allied side. Put them side by side in your mind. Run the stories in a parallel manner. You have a whole new novel with complete casts and both warring sides represented. How un-different the young soldiers thoughts are. How much they think that the same war, where their young comrades die left and right, to be senseless. Neither of them does not have any idea of what the other thinks. But as I reader, I know because I happened to have just read both of their stories. This is just awesome experience!

When All Quiet came out in 1928, Hitler forces banned it as it an anti-war book and for them betrayed their ideologies. The Wars, published in 1977, won awards but as it was peacetime, did not create any controversies. All Quiet was originally written in German so somehow the cadence of its sentences was affected. The Wars was written, brilliantly at that, by a native English-speaker so the narrative is sweeping yet succinct, melodious yet gripping. However, I think that The Wars would not have been written if there was no All Quiet in the first place as it was the book that started all these. So, even if The Wars is definitely better in most aspects than All Quiet, we should give due credits to this Erich Maria Remarque's masterpiece.

Paul Baumer is a 19-y/o German soldier who, together with his 4 other classmates, is encouraged by his teacher to join the army and find himself fighting in the French warfare. He is the first-person narrator in All Quiet. Robert Ross, also 19, decides to join the Canadian army due to the death of his sister and finds himself in the same trench as Paul. Robert is also the first-person narrator this time of The Wars. All Quiet has more characters and gave more pages in the actual battlefield scene particularly the bombings and the scattering of human bodies to bits and pieces and rats, lice, stumps and men squatting at night because of diarrhea. I particularly liked the first time Paul killed a man and he has to talk to its corpse. However, Robert in The Wars fought and rebelled, in his own way, against the stupidity of war. Paul died and the new unknown narrator takes over at the last chapter of the book and deriving my own conclusion dampened the beauty of what I thought to be its striking message: War is stupid but does it have to be proven by death? Does it have to be proven at all?
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Reading Progress

06/16 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-10 of 10) (10 new)

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Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly this may have been 2 or 3 stars for me had i read this during my gr time.

K.D. Absolutely Yes, I am not yet halfway but it is dragging. Might still change. Let's see. But I still prefer The Wars by Findley. That one rocks!

message 3: by Apokripos (new) - added it

Apokripos Nice, short review K.D.!

When I come to read this one I think I'll borrow your copy of The Wars by Timothy Findley to compare the two novels.

Have a nice day! ^_^

message 4: by K.D. (last edited Mar 04, 2011 06:30PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

K.D. Absolutely Yes, Jzhun. It is nice to know that we readers have the option of making our reading more interesting by joining 2 or more novels in our minds. Wonderful reading option. We can create totally new stories in our mind having all the viewpoints!

message 5: by Tintin (new)

Tintin Great review! Your review and summary make more sense and are more informative than the crap summary here at Goodreads!

K.D. Absolutely Thanks, Tintin!

message 7: by Jay (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jay Remarque's novel was an extraordinarily strong statement about war and its human impact. I am not familiar with Timothy Findley's work but have added it to my reading list based on your strong recommendation. Have you read Hemingway's Farewell to Arms?

K.D. Absolutely Yes, I've read that one too. Thanks.

Pepijn Thanks a lot

message 10: by K.D. (new) - rated it 4 stars

K.D. Absolutely Pepijn, no worries. I see that you liked it too.

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