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Der Weg zurück

(All Quiet on the Western Front/The Road Back #2)

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  4,810 ratings  ·  229 reviews
November 1918 - der Erste Weltkrieg ist vorbei, endlich Frieden. Eine Gruppe junger Frontsoldaten kehrt heim nach Deutschland. Doch aus den Helden sind Bettler geworden und statt der einstigen Kriegbegeisterung schlägt ihnen Verachtung entgegen. Geblieben ist ihnen nur noch ihre Kameradschaft. "Der Weg zurück" ist Remarques Fortsetzung seines Weltbestsellers "Im Westen nic ...more
Paperback, 413 pages
Published 2014 by Kiepenheuer & Witsch (first published 1931)
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Saša Romić I have just read the book. The main character and narrator is Ernst Birkholz. Soldiers from All Quiet on the Western Front were his friends, and he me…moreI have just read the book. The main character and narrator is Ernst Birkholz. Soldiers from All Quiet on the Western Front were his friends, and he mentions them sometimes when talking about war tragedies. Tjaden was in the first part and he didn't die. He is one of the guys from the group in second part.
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Vit Babenco
Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The last combats and skirmishes… Peace is nearing… However death still keeps doing its dire work… And the dread doesn’t let go.
“Gas shells!” shouts Willy, springing up.
We are all awake now and listening intently.
Wessling points into the air. “There they are! Wild geese!”
Moving darkly against the drab grey of the clouds is a streak, a wedge, its point steering toward the moon. It cuts across its red disc. The black shadows are plainly visible, an angle of many wings, a column of squalling, strang
Mar 20, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book perfectly describes the aimlessness after a war and the state in which people are left. The scars for life and why we have had so many grandparents who can only talk about the war - they never got over it. The lack of care and understanding cuts to the bone.
WW1 has come to an end. German soldiers, young and less young, go back home and resume their former lives... supposedly.


=> A neverending demobilization :

Back in Germany, it dawns on the soldiers that their relatives have carried on with their lives during the war, and aditionally, that they have done admirably without them. Those hoping for a warm welcome, help and support, or some token of gratefulness only meet with torpid indifference.

As a whole, the civilians can't care less a
How near they come together, yesterday and today, death and life!
A vague, threatening something seems to be sneaking upon me; it retreats when I try to grapple with it, it disperses when I advance upon it, and then it gathers again behind me and watches.
I see now that it has all been in vain—I have been running about and about, I have knocked again at all the doors of my youth and desired to enter in there; I thought, surely it must admit me again, for I am still young and have wished so much
Feb 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On completion of this book one feels wiped out. A book about war and its aftermath should leave you upset.

The Road Back is the second in a series of two, the first being All Quiet on the Western Front. The first is a tremendous book, a book EVERYONE should read. This second should also be read, but it does not reach up to the caliber of the first. The first takes place in the trenches of France during the First World War. The second takes place in Germany after the war. What makes both books par
Of all the prose writers I have yet read, none can surpass Remarque. No writer I have encountered understands the human condition as deeply as he does. For Remarque's characters, life is a symbiosis; death and loss on the one hand, camaraderie and one's ability to enmesh oneself in the wonder of nature, with all its hopeful, healing potential, on the other.

A fitting yet unique follow up to its notorious predecessor, this novel is a scathing indictment of war and the betrayal of not just a gener
Jul 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Road back, although less well known than All Quiet on the Western Front, is just as thought-provoking and, in subtle ways, even more heart breaking.

The story begins during the last few days of WWI. As battle rages around them, a group of young German soldiers contemplate what peace will be like and dream of returning home with both fear and longing. They grieve for lost comrades who won't be returning with them but anticipate the joy of being back with friends and family, of returning, final
Elie F
Mar 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: german-austrian
This novel is the sequel to Remarque's most famous All Quiet on the Western Front. It is a collective portrait of the returning soldiers from the Great War who failed to reckon with the make-believe peace that followed. The experience at the front shattered them from the rest of the world. This is no longer our world; the trenches ousted it. The loss of comradeship, mostly due to the divisive force of revolution, also featured as a major source of despair. Things were simpler at the front where ...more
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war
This is the sequel to All Quiet on the Western Front. That one,is a favourite book of mine. I had high expectations of the sequel. It left me a bit disappointed.

Its predecessor was a hard act to follow. I'm not exactly surprised,that the book is not as good. Also,the first book was about the war,and was much more intense.

This one is more about returning,and defeated,German soldiers trying to fit back into civilian life. While trying to evade death was their constant preoccupation at the front,li
Lee Klein
Nov 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
PTSD in post-WWI Germany, the sequel to All Quiet on the Western Front. Episodic, not always linear, first-person narrator although it sometimes feels more like a close third, or even a sort of omniscient first-person when, thanks to Ernst's deep connection with his troubled former comrades, scenes are dramatized that the narrator couldn't know about (friend returning to the trenches alone at night and then shooting himself; how a room feels after another friend cuts open an artery and bleeds ou ...more
Lora Grigorova
May 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Road Back:

I am quite astonished that The Road Back is much less known than its famous prequel All Quiet on the Western Front. For me The Road Back is a heartbreaking story, that left me crying myself quietly to sleep in the middle of the night. In All Quiet on the Western Front Erich Maria Remarque was not quite himself – the author I know for dissecting human relationships and for philosophizing about life and love. Instead he was focused exclusively
Jul 07, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the sequel to All Quiet on the Western Front, and it may be more quietly powerful. There are some of the snippets of gruesome battle scenes, but this book that takes place after World War I shows the soldiers disillusioned with the war's purpose, alienated from their friends and life before the war and adrift when they try to resume their lives at home. Trained as soldiers in a brutal war, they have a hard time finding their place in society and find themselves missing the camaraderie of ...more
Jimmy Fahey
Aug 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front many years ago. I re-read it while travelling through Europe and wanted to read more of his novels. I heard about the Road Back in an article about Kevin Power's brilliant Yellow Birds, a novel about the Gulf War.

There are a lot of novels about the First World War, but very few books about the experience of returning soldiers. The Road Back poignantly captures the difficult task returned soldiers face of reintegrating into society after years of
classic reverie
When I heard that "All Quiet on the Western Front" (AQOTWF) was the beginning of a trilogy last year even before reading this well known story, I wanted to read all three in a row. My reading plan for 2018 has several series that are on my list. Having read AQOTWF, I was wondering how Remarque would handle the next two books especially given the ending of the first, but as Frances Hodgson Burnett talked about how she expanded on her short story which blossomed into "A Little Princess" by charact ...more
Rick Slane
This was the volume that followed All Quiet on the Western Front. The German soldiers were not victorious. Look for similarities with American soldiers returning home from Viet Nam. ...more
First time in 2014 I've read a book worthy of 5 stars. It's a brilliant book, I'm still overwhelmed by this book. It's so intense, so powerful and dramatic (not melodramatic), that I simply wasn't able to concentrate on anything while I still had some pages left to read.
It's been six years since the last time I read All Quiet on the Western Front, which still remains one of my favourite books, and only a couple of months ago I started to wonder whether Erich Maria Remarque had written any more b
Nov 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another Remarque classic, another one of the Greatest novel I've read. This is THE ABSOLUTE PERFECT followup there can be to the epical greatness of the story of All Quiet on the Western Front. A must read for anyone who ever heard of World War 1/2, or ever had a friend, or just ever read even a single book!
Remarque is clearly a pacifist. But his pacifism isn't the naive hold hands and sing kumbaya kind of Cat Stevens or John Lennon. His is driven by the disillusionment and rage of having experienced the trenches for years and having borne the scars, physical and emotional, of the great war, an exercise that yielded little but laid bare the entire lie of an existence of his generation before him. There was no truth to the fatherland, all ideals of glory and noble sacrifice for the good of the realm ...more
Christian D.  Orr
A worthwhile sequel to AQOTWF

THE ROAD BACK by Erich Maria Remarque

A top-notch sequel to the same author’s “All Quiet On the Western Front;” it’s still considered a sequel, even though the protagonist from the first novel in the series, Paul Bäumer, was killed at the end, as Paul and several other characters (such as Kat) are still referenced here.

While this novel is mainly about the transition from WWI to peacetime for these youthful soldiers (led by new protagonist Ernst) of a freshly defeated
Apr 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In a word- phenomenal. If All Quiet on the Western Front was brutal in its depiction of trench warfare and ugly violence, The Road Back is far more subtle in showing how war shattered the emotional stability and peace of these men.

"But we let ourselves be taken in by their phrases; and instead of fighting against them, we fought for them. We thought it was for the Future. It was against the Future. Our future is dead; for the youth is dead that carried it. We are merely the survivors, the ruins
Nov 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the sequel to All Quiet on the Western Front. If you have read that I recommend that you be sure to read this. The two go hand in hand.

The story begins in Flanders with men still fighting and dying and being maimed, whilst the talk of peace ripples along the front line with a mixture of hope and disbelief.

Those who 'survive' slowly make their way home only to discover that nothing is as they remember because they themselves have been forever changed by the horrors of war.

There is a real
Nov 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-great-war
"Yes, it is a hard thing to part, but to come back again, that is sometimes harder."

This sequel to All Quiet on the Western Front (AQ) is less famous, but I liked it better. While AQ focused on men in the trenches during WWI and the horror they faced, The Road Back tells of the same men as they return to their old homes.

Many of these guys went off to the war while they were still boys, full of piss and vinegar and patriotism. As they lived the horrors described in AQ for 3 or 4 years, everything
Apr 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A sort of sequel to All Quiet on the Western Front, although only one minor character from that book makes an appearance. This is a group of young men from the same area, so some of the dead, including Paul Baumer, are referenced. These are still very young men, for the most part. At 19 or 20 they return to school to get their degrees so they can have some future. This covers the first year after the war and the book effectively conveys the frustration and melancholic mood of the these former so ...more
Ellie Midwood
An incredibly touching and tragic follow-up to the most remarkable anti-war novel “All Quiet on the Western Front,” “The Road Back” is a must-read for everyone who enjoys great literature and history combined. The plot follows Ernst and his comrades who, after the Great War is over, find themselves restless and abandoned by their own country and compatriots. The armistice has just been signed, yet for them, the road back to civilian life will be long and difficult, and not everyone will be able ...more
Michael J.
Aug 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I heartily recommend this novel. Here is why:

Khizr Kahn’s speech at the Democratic National Convention and Donald Trump’s response to it has focused attention on the concepts of “homeland,” “patriotism,” and “sacrifice.” In these contentious times thoughtful debate about them is otiose. Literature may help us more to understand the concepts. With a book in hand a reader can damp down the discourse on social media and quietly contemplate the writer’s story. Now, there have been some very good nov
James Hardy
May 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Way Back doesn't grab you by the shoulders and rattle you like its prequel All Quiet but it does a great job in bringing out the disenfranchisement of the War's demobilised survivors. Without glamorising the war or lauding the heroism of those at the front-line the novel is highly successful in highlighting the dissension between ex-servicemen and civilian, both of whom live in equally incomprehensible worlds to the other.

Friendship, nature, life, death, murder, revolution thrown in to the
May 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story about the bleakness faced by German soldiers when they returned battle-weary from the front at the end of WWI is well-told, but somewhat depressing at the same time. I'm a fan of Remarque's, having read and enjoyed - or maybe appreciated is a better word - both All's Quiet on the Western Front as well as his Arch of Triumph.
Of the three, I liked this one the least, in a large part because of the translation, which had a heavy 'English' aspect to it. For example, the translator's inter
Sam Reaves
Aug 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Outside Germany, everyone knows Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front, but few people are aware of his other novels, which is a pity, because some of them are terrific, particularly those set in the turbulent Germany of the twenties. Remarque continued to write until his death in 1970, his novels reflecting an active life that saw him leave Germany in the thirties and live in exile, eventually settling in New York and becoming a U.S. citizen.
The Road Back is a sequel to All Quiet, depicting
Jan vanTilburg
Very powerful. And...not a cheerfull experience.
But... with a hopeful end. It took some time but Remarque seemed to have found some peace at last. But the Road Back was not an easy one:
Gloom and doom for the comerades. But that is clearly what Remarque wanted to convey and he does it masterfully. The message comes over loud and clear: War is horrible. It destroys lives, even when one survives.

Starts where “All quiet on the Western Front” ends. The first chapter describes the end of the war and
Apr 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Note that the version of “Der Weg züruck” that I read was the 2019 translation by Brian Murdoch entitled “The Way Back”, which, as the translator explains, more accurately reflects the soldiers’ attempts to find a way back into society.

This is one of the best books I have ever read, and it amazes me that I’ve read two books that match that description in less than a year, and that it has taken me decades to find them both (the other one was Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove). This book, an autobiog
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Erich Maria Remarque (pen name of Erich Paul Remark) is one of the best known and most widely read authors of German literature in the twentieth century.

Remarque's biography is essentially marked and his writing fundamentally influenced by German history of the twentieth century: Childhood and youth in imperial Osnabrück, World War I, the Weimar Republic, and most of all his exile in Switzerland

Other books in the series

All Quiet on the Western Front/The Road Back (2 books)
  • All Quiet on the Western Front

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