Sunday, 31 July 2011
All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
World War I in this novel is seen through the eyes of a young German solider called Paul Baumer. Paul naively joins up along with a band of school friends with the encouragement of their teacher. He is sent to the front where he is quickly confronted with the realities of warfare in the trenches. His hardships are all detailed and include the lack of food, the filth and his friends joining the casualties as the war goes on. Paul hates and resents his situation but he copes, he copes with having to kill people, he copes seeing his friends die and in doing so he begins to change in himself. He eventually comes to the conclusion that he has essentially died inside.
This novel is devoid of politics and the bigger picture is never revealed, even the enemy themselves are often referred to as 'the ones over there' . The novel instead focuses solely on the humanity and the solider giving a honest vivid account on the torrents of war.
Don't run away with the idea that his book is depressing. Certainty its moving and dark in places, but the overall writing is very matter of fact and to the point leaving you with images or scenes that you are unlikely to ever forget.
Posted by Jess