What a great work of fiction. Feeling ashamed that I had never read this novel but heard so much about it, I finally got a copy and burned through the pages in 3 days. It certainly lived up to its name and legacy. The writing is to the point, Hemingway-esque, and rarely slows. Every fifth paragraph leaves one a jewel phrase or entire sentence that can qualify as a memorable quote. For example: "What do they expect of us if a time ever comes when this war is over? Through the years our business has been killing;--it was our first calling in life. Our knowledge of life is limited to death. What will happen afterwards? And what shall come of us?"
In my opinion, the Nazis burned Remarque's books not because he changed his name to a non-German name, but because this book is filled with anti-war sentiment cloaked as it had to be in 1928 when this was first published. To have lived through war in the trenches as Remarque did, qualifies him to speak to the insanity of mass killing that is war.
Let us all read his pages and imbibe the message of the cruelty and senselessness of war. I feel as if I want to go out and obtain a copy of every book Remarque ever published. Let his experience be our teacher; let his message endure. Let every school-kid in the world read and study these pages, so they come to know what war is. Let the decision-makers of the world pore over every passage, and ask themselves whether they will send their children to war. Let Remarque's works guide their decision.
Truly a classic.