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The Road Back

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

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  3,956 ratings  ·  164 reviews
Peace has come. The last tortured flames of history's most brutal inferno have died out. And now the soldiers - the survivors, the 'lucky' ones - brutalized by four years of living Armageddon, return to a shattered post-war world.
Paperback, 208 pages
Published 1979 by Mayflower/ Granada (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…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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4.32  · 
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 ·  3,956 ratings  ·  164 reviews

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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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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!
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
Tracey the Bookworm
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
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 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
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
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
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
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Considered by the author and sold by the publishers as a sequel to All Quiet on the Western Front this is and isn't such a thing. There are references to the characters of the first book, none of which actually appear in this novel other than a name in someone's recollections, but this definitely takes place in the immediate aftermath of that book.

And what's incredible is that even if the first book is the more well known, the more widely read, Remarque's second is an even more powerful condemn
Dec 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lost souls

Home from the war to a nation that doesn’t care about the sacrifices, the crippling wounds, the war shock the veterans deal with (what we now call PTSD) ... sound familiar? Remarque writes eloquently and with a powerful rawness about the end of WW1 and the life (or rather lack of life) he and other German soldiers returned to. Occasionally, he gets preachy in his anger at how veterans were mistreated and ignored by the Fatherland, but overall the book is a strong swift read full of be
May 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In his seminal novel ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT, Erich Maria Remarque brings the horrors of war up close for the reader to see in gruesome detail. In its sequel THE ROAD BACK, WWI is over; the few remaining soldiers of a decimated platoon come home, only to face an existence so different from what they have been living in the trenches, with its own set of life and death challenges. Very few of them can cope with peacetime.

This is another unflinching look at what war does to its youth, how it
Himel Rahman
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some books aren't just books. They're something else. Something that hit you so hard and cry out loud, "well? Are you feeling me?"
And you certainly do not just read them, so you just say, "Yeah, I do feel you."
Fahad Hossain
Feb 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is something to he said about the brilliance of a writer that can horrify and enrapture you with their writing. Remarque is and will forever be a literary giant that current day authors just can't hope to achieve. A must read.
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well, I thought "All Quiet on the Western Front" would be the best book I've ever read about the first World War. I was wrong.
Learning about a often overlooked period of time directly after the first World War has been a great experience.
Remarque's writing is, as usual, depressing while being stunning at the same time.
While "All Quiet on the Western Front" could truly capture the feeling of existing at the Western Front, this book does this equally well while also conveying the further developm
Feb 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Road Back by Erich Maria Remarque follows German soldiers returning home from losing WW1. It describes the struggles and food shortages, political unrest and inflation that the soldiers face, as long as the shell shock from their time spent in the trenches.
Remarque uses brilliant words and symbolism to describe the hardships that the soldiers experienced. At first he uses peaceful words to describe surrender and words that really hit home the struggle of the soldiers.
Mar 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book portrays the lasting struggle and melancholy of war-torn soldiers. We witness that even in times of peace and quite, the emotions persist. Similarly to All Quite on the Western Front, the essential theme is comradeship and its lack of. I was a bit disappointed in not learning more about some characters, especially Tjaden, who was introduced to us in the 1st book. Also I thought Remarque jumped around a lot and found the book a bit hard to follow. On the plus side, Remarque included a f ...more
Aksi Kukalev
Feb 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The more I read #Remarque, the more thought-provoking and heart-breaking it gets. I dare you. #Read. The Road Back links All Quiet on the Western Front and Three Comrades. It also scratches your soul. I dare you. Read.
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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
“Educationalists who think they can understand the young are enthusiasts. Youth does not want to be understood; it wants only to be let alone. It preserves itself immune against the insidious bacillus of being understood. The grown-up who would approach it too importunately is as ridiculous in its eyes as if he had put on children's clothes. We may feel with our youth, but youth does not feel with us. That is its salvation.” 14 likes
“I have been running all 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 to forget; but it fled always before me like a will-o'-the-wisp; it fell away without a sound; it crumbled like tinder at my lightest touch. And I could not understand.--Surely here at least something of it must remain? I attempted it again and again, and as a result made myself merely ridiculous and wretched. But now I know. I know now that a still, silent war has ravaged this country of my memories also; I know now it would be useless for me to look farther. Time lies between like a great gulf; I cannot get back. There is nothing for it; I must go forward, march onward, anywhere; it matters nothing, for I have no goal” 12 likes
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