Mount Readmore Book Review, 2017 99/100
All Quiet on the Western Front By Erich Maria Remarque
Finished on 11/20/2017
Description: 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.
Genres: Fiction, Classic, Literature, WWI, Historical, Military Fiction
A Study in Doom
This was the best book I read this year, and maybe the best book I’ve ever read.
Have you ever read a book which was both great and terrible? A book which rings out your emotions like water from a wet sponge? This, for me, was such a book.
If I were to simply describe this book, this is a case study in how a man develops PTSD over the course of a war. And as suffering makes for good drama, this book contains lots of drama which isn’t melodramatic.
Part of the reason why I liked this book so much was the fact that I knew so much cultural context behind the story and setting. If I didn’t know so much about the background events of WWI I would be a lot more confused, and I wouldn’t understand just how much the main characters were suffering.
But I’ll provide some constructive criticism.
The characterization was less than I’d expect. Paul, Albert, Stanislaus, Haie and the rest didn’t have super clear back stories or distinct personalities.
The passage of time was muddled at best. Did this book take place over the course of years, or months?
Speaking of muddled, what is the context of the story itself? Is the text of this book supposed to be Paul’s diary? Or is it his train-of-thought reflections? I can’t tell.
Highly recommended if you want to read a powerful, but somewhat depressing book.