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Paul Bäumer is just 19 years old when he and his classmates enlist. They are Germany’s Iron Youth who enter the war with high ideals and leave it disillusioned or dead. As Paul struggles with the realities of the man he has become, and the inscrutable world to which he must return, he is led like a ghost of his former self into the war’s final hours. All Quiet is one of the greatest war novels of all time, an eloquent expression of the futility, hopelessness and irreparable losses of war.
I wish it were possible to award six or seven stars for a book and reader. This would be my choice for that combination. Listen and weep.
51 of 52 people found this review helpful
A novel's greatness can often be seen in its timelessness and it globalness. This novel escapes the boundaries of time and place. It is as real today as it must have been when first publlished. There is something both poetic and banal in the solidarity and brotherhood that surrounds war, death and the madness of man's struggle for survival in the midst of the dark and chocking abyss that floats in the trenches of war.
48 of 50 people found this review helpful
This book moved me in the way the movie “Saving Pvt. Ryan” did (especially that movie’s initial D-Day scene). There are countless war movies and books, but these are the only two I am familiar with that were capable of bringing home the horror of war. My father fought in WWII and never told war stories or even talked about combat other than in vague ways. In his view war was a senseless “meat grinder”. I never felt I knew what he was getting at until after I'd seen Saving Pvt. Ryan and read “All Quiet on the Western Front”.
All Quiet is written by a WWI combat veteran and tells tells the story of Paul Baumer who, along with his classmates is encouraged to join the war with a great deal of patriotic talk by those who, by virtue of their age or position, need never fight themselves. Paul soon discovers that, as U.S. Gen. Sherman said:
"I am tired and sick of war. Its glory is all moonshine. It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, for vengeance, for desolation. War is hell."
"There is many a boy here today who looks on war as all glory, but, boys, it is all hell."
I finished this book thinking, for mankind to evolve, wars should simply be banned (or, as suggested by Paul and his comrades, turned into life-and-death tournaments between the world leaders and generals who declare them).
The narrator is perfect and really does the material justice. And the writing itself is beautiful. Unreservedly recommended. A+
19 of 20 people found this review helpful
This book, from the story to the narration, was pure perfection. I have read hundreds of books and seen thousands of films in my life, yet none came close to the the horrors of war depicted in this book. No wonder the Nazi's wanted the author's head! This book gave me a whole new perspective on WWI that I never had before. I cannot recommend enough. Should be required reading for all the peoples of earth.
36 of 39 people found this review helpful
Phenomenal depiction of the horror and monotony of war.
Paul Bäumer at 18 is convinced along with his classmates to join the WWI war effort. They meet an older soldier, Stanislaus Katczinsky or Kat, who becomes a mentor and helps them survive initially.
Overall the grisly descriptions and absolute hopelessness is relentless. It's easy to see why the Nazis banned and burned this book.
Frank Muller is one of my favorite narrators, and his work on this book made it even more incredible.
30 of 34 people found this review helpful
This is an old book about a German soldier going through the machine of war on the Western front. Due to how old it is, I did not expect it to be that brutal, but it was actually pretty tough at parts. It is like a more raw, stripped down version of For Whom the Bell Tolls. It has a few funny parts to break up all the horror, but overall it successfully brings you into a battle and does not let you out alive. It was almost too heavy, but I liked it.
34 of 39 people found this review helpful
All Quiet on the Western Front reaches much farther than the battlefield and stretches to ages well beyond youth. There is much about the nature of life and the loneliness that comes with understanding that no one can truly know the depths of our experiences... also, how do we live during times when all actions are futile, when the world becomes a prison-- such situations and realizations occur again and again through life, and the book intensifies this understanding because it takes place in horrific circumstances.
It's easy to see why the Nazis banned and burned the book. Not many books are so eloquently anti-war, both in overt statements and also structured into the story. Hitler didn't want citizens or soldiers to know the truth of war, or be exposed to questioning of authority and breeches of discipline.
I don't know German, but this translation is often poetic. The excellent narrator senses and brings out the beauty of such passages.
27 of 31 people found this review helpful
What made the experience of listening to All Quiet on the Western Front the most enjoyable?
This is a classic book. Frank Muller (narrator) performance elevates this book to a five star.
23 of 27 people found this review helpful
Where does All Quiet on the Western Front rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
I have downloaded almost 200 audiobooks from Audible - this ranks in the top 10.
What did you like best about this story?
The truth of it......sad, but compelling. The futility of war....so much pain and loss at the human level. Kids killing kids - dreams shattered, and for what? But it was a very well done story, despite the grim subject matter. And also very thought provoking.
What about Frank Muller’s performance did you like?
The evenness and matter of factness of his tone really brought out the truth of the story. He expressed the reality of the characters lives very well. I thought he was top notch, and did a fantastic job.
Who was the most memorable character of All Quiet on the Western Front and why?
The main character, Paul. It was HIS story, but it could have been any one of the character's story, or any soldier's story. I think that was possibly the author's point.
Any additional comments?
Everyone should read this, particularly any young person considering joining the military. This story may have been about WW1, but I think it is just as relevant in today's world. War is war. And war is hell.
26 of 31 people found this review helpful
If you could sum up All Quiet on the Western Front in three words, what would they be?
It never gets old. Third listen over the years to this story about school boys thrown into the horrors of trench warfare. Frank Muller has the perfect voice and cadence to add to this great story. A must listen.
12 of 14 people found this review helpful