Book Report: All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque (1928, 2002)

Book coverI bought this book in May 2008, when I was young and life was good. Little did I know I would be reading it in the hellscape of 2024 almost sixteen years later. Did I say, “hellscape”? Damned autocorrect! I started typing “2024 Winter Reading Challenge.”

Originally, I’d planned to use this book in the Historical Fiction Outside the U.S. category as it was slightly historical fiction when it was published in 1928. Set in World War I France, it tells the story of a group of school boys who enlisted in the German army together and who end up on the front lines in France. The first-person main character, Paul, has a bit of a poetic soul, and one can imagine him keeping this as sort of a diary although the book doesn’t mention that–but I seem to remember that the 1979 television movie adaptation had John Boy writing in a little book (but I could be mistaken, as I saw that film in school while it, the adaptation, was fairly new).

The book details how the group goes through training with a sadistic leader, and then they go off to the front. The book details the conditions on the front, in the trenches, and how the soldiers lived. It zeroes in on a couple of incidents: A charge over the top; Paul’s month-long liberty, when he visits his home and family a changed man; Paul’s presence on a reconnaisance which traps him in a shell hole when an attack comes, leading to his stabbing a French soldier and watching him die; an interlude where the group guards a supply depot in an evacuated village and get to live well until the French advance; Paul’s trip with a comrade to a hospital after they’re wounded, and then finally the return to the front, where the group dies one-by-one until Paul dies right before the armistice.

So the book kind of blends themes from The Red Badge of Courage along with Night Thoughts of a Classical Physicist. Anti-war with insights into German deprivations during the war.

Paul demonstrates enough admiration and affiliation with an older soldier to likely have kept students in homoeroticism theme papers for decades, but not enough to slot the book into the LGBTQ+ Character category, so I’ll put this into Made Into A Movie/TV Show, although ever the pedantic, I feel like I’m cheating because this has not been adapted into a movie, but it has been made thrice into films or a television movie. None of which I have seen in over thirty years.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

1 thought on “Book Report: All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque (1928, 2002)

Comments are closed.