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|Description||One by one the boys begin to fall...In 1914, a room full of German schoolboys, fresh-faced and idealistic, are goaded by their schoolmaster to troop off to the 'glorious war'. With the fire and patriotism of youth, they sign up. What follows is the moving story of a young 'unkwn soldier' experiencing the horror and disillusionment of life in the trenches.|
|Author Biography||Erich Maria Remarque was born in 1899. He fought and was injured in the trenches in the First World War when he was eighteen years old. He was exiled and his works were burnt by the Nazis. He lived in America and Switzerland and married and divorced his first wife twice before marrying the celebrated Hollywood actress Paulette Goddard. He published several novels after All Quiet on the Western Front, the most famous of which is The Road Back. He died in 1970. Brian Murdoch was born in 1944. He is Professor of German at Stirling University.|
|Author(s)||Erich Maria Remarque|
|Date of Publication||03/01/1998|
|Place of Publication||London|
|Country of Publication||United Kingdom|
|Translated by||Brian O. Murdoch|
|Format Details||B-format paperback|
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History come alive in storyform that everyone should read!
This story helps us understand the experiences of our forebears who lived and died through the 1914-18 period. I appreciate that it was told from the perspective of the German soldier. It is easy to relate to, no matter which nation you were born into and evokes empathy for every soldier sent to war. It helps create an understanding of suffering on both sides. There is a love and respect for the common man in all armies which is captured warmly and honestly by the writer. Remarque writes with an easy style and a sound grasp of life on the battlefield viewed through the eyes of young men, as he was himself during that time. The account of young men's banter including the simple and short statement that ...'the wrong people are fighting'.. makes it clear that on both sides, the innocent die to satisfy the ambitions of the powerful. Despite knowing this, we follow their plight and see how moments of comradeship keep them going. Short-lived and simple pleasures are embraced even as bombs explode around them. We also come to understand a constant internal struggle. They face the desire for wounds bad enough to rescue them from the battlefield and almost certain death, followed by the fear of medical treatments which will ensure they return to the front. Accounts of day to day activities in the war zones,described simply yet in great detail, often with humour are interlaced with gripping accounts of life-threatening situations that would rank equal with those in any modern day thriller. The reader follows the personal struggles of young men trying to focus on the tasks at hand and so avoid thoughts of life at home. We learn how the job of fighting to stay alive, fuelled by fear and anxiety, creates a dog eat dog mentality. This alternates with a sense of compassion for their opponents as they lay dying in the shell holes beside them. Since many soldiers' records have been lost, the works of people like Remarque, who have recorded the daily lives of men sent to the Western Front, and who can make their stories come alive, remain invaluable. It's a powerful story which will no doubt continue to fill a gap in the official history of individual men missing or killed in action for years to come. A thoroughly worthwhile read.