Lest we forget

To mark Remembrance Day, I’ve just finished re-reading and being put through the wringer by All quiet on the Western Front.

It’s hard to do justice to it in words-  Remarque’s brevity, brutal honesty and black humour make the novel hard to read but even harder to put aside.  I’m quite simply overwhelmed all over again by how monstrous the first world war was.

Remarque’s own words say it best I think:

“This book is intended neither as an accusation nor as a confession, but simply as an attempt to give an account of a generation that was destroyed by the war- even those of it who survived the shelling.”

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20 thoughts on “Lest we forget

  1. I have not read this book since my high school days – I remember it being powerful then but I think it’s impact on me as an adult would be even stronger.

  2. Paul, I can relate to having an unachievableTBR list, but hope you do manage to get to Remarque one day. I haven’t read Junger yet, if I do will be interested to see how they compare.

    I hadn’t seen the poetry site, so thanks for the link.

    Karen, I last read it at school as well- I was surprised by how powerful it was on re-reading it and would obviously recommend doing this.

  3. Oh Sarah, this is one of those books I have been wanting to read for the longest time. I really must do it. I think it’s one of those books that is right up my alley but I just haven’t got to it yet.

  4. An appropriate post! At times I’m tempted to read it again, for the first time since high school, but I honestly don’t know that I could handle reading about the horses again. It still haunts me.

  5. Elitist I have to admit I had to keep putting the book down because some of the scenes are so terrible, the horses among them. I’ve been meaning to re-read it for years and only worked up the nerve to do so this year.

  6. This was a hard book to read: I read it earlier in the year, and it led to reading several other war novels. All good, to a greater or lesser degree, but Remarque captured an essence of the horror which I was spared in the others.

  7. Seachanges, this is certainly worth making time for as it is very powerful.

    Jenny and Sarah, glad to hear you agree. It’s certainly the best book about war that I have read to date.

  8. All Quiet on the Western Front was on the optional reading list in high school and I have still yet to read the book! That is just another classics added to my reading pile. :)

  9. Eva, I know what you mean about having to gear yourself up read books about war (and similarly heavy subjects!) I’ve been meaning to re-read this for the last few years but only recently steeled myself to do so. I hope you and Matt get to it soon.

    Mrs Fidelius, thanks for stopping by. I completely agree.

  10. I normally have mixed feelings about books about war; they tend to be boring, with a lot people just sitting around in between monotonous fights (i.e. the Red Badge of Courage), but I remember being enthralled by All Quiet on the Western Front.

  11. Hi Eric, I enjoyed The Red Badge of Courage so may have a higher tolerance of monotonous fighting in books, but am glad to hear you found Remarque’s book enthralling.

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