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 Post subject: All Quiet on the Western Front
PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2016 11:05 am 
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Journeyman
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I can't believe I read this book in high school and it left no mark on me.
I remember reading it then, but I could recall nothing of it.

A friend and I were recently talking about WWI and I mentioned that the only book on the topic I ever read was All Quiet.

I decided to read it again. And wow..... I have to repeat: I can't believe this book left no mark on me the first time.

This is one of those books that will stick with me for a long time now. I can feel this activity somewhere inside of me, spurred on by this book.


Also, the author, Erich Maria Remarque was a devout Catholic.

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 Post subject: Re: All Quiet on the Western Front
PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2016 12:35 pm 
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Sons of Thunder
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As a young man, I read Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo. It DID make a lasting impression on me.

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 Post subject: Re: All Quiet on the Western Front
PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2016 10:17 am 
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Trumbo, however, was decidedly NOT a devout Catholic.

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 Post subject: Re: All Quiet on the Western Front
PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2016 10:17 am 
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p.falk wrote:
I can't believe I read this book in high school and it left no mark on me.

I'm sure this is no solace, but I read it in my junior year of high school, and it left no mark on me, either. I haven't re-read it, but it sounds like I should.

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 Post subject: Re: All Quiet on the Western Front
PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2016 4:23 pm 
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I brought my copy up from the basement--there is not a mark in it and I haven't a clue when or why I got it. I quickly read the first few pages, and the last few, and unlike, for example, Red Badge of Courage, I don't get any vibration that there's much in "Front" that I really want or need to read.
As a Vietnam-era high school graduate, I spent a lot of time rereading Red Badge of Courage, wondering if I would fight or run. I applied for the military academies but didn't get accepted, and was strongly encouraged to go to college, where I also didn't get accepted for ROTC, and then waited to see what happened with the draft. By the time I graduated from college I had a wife and child, a badly separated shoulder, and wasn't drafted. Most of my friends served in the war, and I have enormous gratitude and admiration for their courage, stamina, and sacrifice.
I think the viewpoint of a German soldier must have been enormously different from that of an American--the German ordered to fight for conquest, domination, even annihilation (like Muslims today), not in defense of freedom and peace as Americans have fought.
I can imagine fully enough the horror of war--and my intent is to celebrate the heroism of our veterans--not to bemoan their shortcomings or mistakes.


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 Post subject: Re: All Quiet on the Western Front
PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2016 9:26 pm 
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Fair enough...
however, I do think there's a lot in between the first few and last few pages that make it quite a good book.

Thanks for the "Red Badge of Courage" suggestion. I'm sure that's another one I read in my youth that just didn't stick with me. So I'll have to give it another chance as an adult.

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 Post subject: Re: All Quiet on the Western Front
PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2016 9:36 pm 
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TreeBeard wrote:
As a young man, I read Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo. It DID make a lasting impression on me.


When I picked up this book at the book store near my work the clerk was trying to get me to but "Johnny Got His Gun"...
When he described the premise of the book to me I thought of some old Metallica video from years ago. Not a Metallica fan, but the concept of the song stuck with me.

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 Post subject: Re: All Quiet on the Western Front
PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 7:48 am 
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p.falk wrote:
TreeBeard wrote:
As a young man, I read Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo. It DID make a lasting impression on me.


When I picked up this book at the book store near my work the clerk was trying to get me to but "Johnny Got His Gun"...
When he described the premise of the book to me I thought of some old Metallica video from years ago. Not a Metallica fan, but the concept of the song stuck with me.

Their song "One" was based on Trumbo's book, and the video used scenes from the movie version of the book. :fyi:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WM8bTdBs-cw

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 Post subject: Re: All Quiet on the Western Front
PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 8:36 am 
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Interesting. I'm always intrigued to find out when literature makes it into popular culture.

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Formerly: Greg.

- I try to have a little something for everybody in my posts. If you notice a spelling, grammar, or punctuation error... well... I put that in for you.

- I remember a lot of things. (Some of which actually happened.)

- Even the best of men may be born in times unsuited to their virtues.


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 Post subject: Re: All Quiet on the Western Front
PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 3:43 pm 
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Journeyman
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gherkin wrote:
p.falk wrote:
TreeBeard wrote:
As a young man, I read Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo. It DID make a lasting impression on me.


When I picked up this book at the book store near my work the clerk was trying to get me to but "Johnny Got His Gun"...
When he described the premise of the book to me I thought of some old Metallica video from years ago. Not a Metallica fan, but the concept of the song stuck with me.

Their song "One" was based on Trumbo's book, and the video used scenes from the movie version of the book. :fyi:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WM8bTdBs-cw


Ha!
Did not know that it was the inspiration for it.

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 Post subject: Re: All Quiet on the Western Front
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 10:03 pm 
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It is a great book, I have read it twice, once in high school and again in college.

What makes it especially effective is the fact that it is completely non-accusatory, and doesn't appear to have any kind of clear agenda. In the introduction, Remarque says that the book is not an accusation and does not advocate any position either for or against the war, but it was written simply to describe the experience of the common soldier. So there is a complete lack of the kind of preachiness or self-righteousness that ruins so many other 'anti-war books', in its place is a simple, direct style of unbiased description of events. That is what makes it so effective.

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 Post subject: Re: All Quiet on the Western Front
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 10:59 pm 
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Journeyman
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I noticed that too and also liked that part of it.
It wasn't preachy.

The only thing that seemed to be the focus of his regret was the loss of his own youth and his inability to go back there. When he was on leave, in his room, and he was begging for his books to talk to him like they once used to.
The part where he's in his mother's room attending to her.... wishing that he could be an innocent boy again, with innocent pains of youth and his mother could be the one comforting him.

But, even here.... he made some pretty strong statements about how this part of his life is forever cut off from him. But, shortly after that he makes the comment that maybe he's mistaken and maybe time can still heal some or many of the emotional and psychological scars.

The very end of the book though.... I kind of wish that last half of the page wasn't even there. It just seemed like nihilistic punch to the gut.

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 Post subject: Re: All Quiet on the Western Front
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 11:03 pm 
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Do you have any idea how many readers never even notice the last page of the novel? He kind of hid the 'real ending' from everyone who wasn't paying really close attention.

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