All Quiet on the Western Front

I had seen the film a decade or so ago (probably on VHS, that is how long ago it was), but with the 100th anniversary of theGreat War arriving, I decided I would read the original novel by Erich Maria Remarque.

It turns out that the war was pretty horrible.

It was not the shocking moments of horror that you might encounter when watching Roman Polanski’s The Pianist. It was the relentless horror, sometimes sparse in the detail, but the fact that you can gloss over such issues, reflects the nightmare of trench warfare. Other times the details are not spared. Of course we all know it was horrible, but simultaneously cannot imagine what it was really like; so such attempts are probably useful.

It would be nice to think we had learned our lesson. Of course, that probably is not the case. Even aside from the two world wars, Nassim Taleb wrote in The Black Swan that after the huge war that raged across the whole of Europe, people presumed we would have realised war was a stupid idea and would never do it again – that was the Napoleonic Wars.

Anyway, back on the book. I knew the ending from the film, so the impact was not as powerful as it could have been. Nevertheless, it is still a bold one.

All Quiet in the Western Front

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This entry was posted on Monday, August 18th, 2014 at 11:06 am and is filed under Books. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.