All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque: Summary & Notes

Rating: 9/10

Available at: Amazon

Related: Man's Search for Meaning


Set in WWI, and told from the perspective of a German soldier, this novel describes the horrors and daily reality of the war.

It lives up to billing as one of the greatest war novels of all time. A great novel for gaining some perspective.


  • Everything must have been fraudulent and pointless if thousands of years of civilization weren’t even able to prevent this river of blood, couldn’t stop these torture chambers existing in their hundreds of thousands. Only a military hospital can really show you what war is.
  • Because one thing has become clear to me: you can cope with all the horror as long as you simply duck thinking about it – but it will kill you if you try to come to terms with it.
  • An order has turned these silent figures into our enemies; an order could turn them into friends again. On some table, a document is signed by some people that none of us knows, and for years our main aim in life is the one thing that usually draws the condemnation of the whole world and incurs its severest punishment in law.
  • We became tough, suspicious, hardhearted, vengeful and rough – and a good thing too, because they were just the qualities we needed. If they had sent us out into the trenches without this kind of training, then probably most of us would have gone mad.

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