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Book List 2019 – All quiet on the Western Front by E.M. Remarque


 

 

vintage classics

So this is the first book I’ve read this year. If only we all studied this one maybe the world would be different in a good way? “wars are an orgy of forgetting”  Daša Drndicfrom  the Croatian  writer says in her newest book E.E.G. ( Which is on my definite to read list ).  Much of Remarque’s book is a series of forgetting – what it was like to be school boys, what it was like to fight for glory, what it was like to be human…. But I take it also a step further, this forgetting – its a selective thing. Generation after generation we forget the whole truth and once more take up the gauntlet of heroism, glory, allegiance to the cause, crown and country. For my generation it was Vietnam after which a whole bunch of folks swore to the American people and to the world that there would be no more “Vietnams”. You can google that one to see how long we remembered those lessons.

Remargue does not preach, does play politics, nor does he lower his story to propaganda. Rather it is a plain truth lesson based on his own experiences during the “War to end all wars” Word War 1. Unfortunately it is a lesson still relevant and needing to be learned today and much as it was since its first publication in 1929. I would wager that every veteran of any conflict since would, while maybe not agreeing with me , would definitely be able to relate to what All Quiet On The Western Front has to say about the experiences of men during warfare.

Rather than go one my own tangent I am including excerpts from the work so it might speak for itself. I think Remarque’s words much more poignant and elegant than my own would ever be. The photographs are taken by Morgan Lyons from a 1996 Vintage Classics edition.

 

 

1996 Vintage Classics Edition

 

 

1996 Vintage Classics

Vintage Classics p.69

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erich_Maria_Remarque

During World War I, Remarque was conscripted into the German Army at the age of 18. On 12 June 1917, he was transferred to the Western Front, 2nd Company, Reserves, Field Depot of the 2nd Guards Reserve Division at Hem-Lenglet…..

In 1943, the government arrested his youngest sister, Elfriede Scholz, who had stayed behind in Germany with her husband and two children. After a trial in the “Volksgerichtshof” (Hitler’s extra-constitutional “People’s Court”), she was found guilty of “undermining morale” for stating that she considered the war lost. Court President Roland Freisler declared, “Ihr Bruder ist uns leider entwischt—Sie aber werden uns nicht entwischen” (“Your brother is unfortunately beyond our reach—you, however, will not escape us”). Scholz was beheaded on 16 December 1943, and the cost of her prosecution, imprisonment and execution—495.80 Reichsmark—was charged to her sister Erna.[9]

 

In his spoken introduction to the 1956 CBS Radio Workshop adaptation of his novel Brave New World, Huxley said: “The price of liberty, and even of common humanity, is eternal vigilance.”

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