This is the testament of Paul Bäumer, who enlists with his classmates in the German army of World War I. These young men become enthusiastic soldiers, but their world of duty, culture, and progress breaks into pieces under the first bombardment in the trenches.
Through years of vivid horror, Paul holds fast to a single vow: to fight against the hatred that meaninglessly pits young men of the same generation but different uniforms against one another... if only he can come out of the war alive.
The real reason I read All Quiet on the Western Front was to listen to Frank Muller’s narration, but it turned out to be a beautifully written, thought-provoking novel.
It’s a war novel, but it’s not about the war. It’s about its effects on the men who go to war.
“This book is to be neither an accusation nor a confession, and least of all an adventure, for death is not an adventure to those who stand face to face with it. It will try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped shells, were destroyed by the war.”
I feel quite devastated by All Quiet on the Western Front, really. A great book leaves an impact, and there are definitely scenes in this one that will remain with me always. It’s a remarkable read.
“We were eighteen and had begun to love life and the world; and we had to shoot it to pieces.”
If you’re into audiobooks, I highly recommend the audio version. Frank Muller was an exceptional narrator.
8/10: Great Read