All Quiet on the Western Front

German title: Im Westen nichts Neues. I would unpoetically translate that to “Nothing new from the West.” Translated from German quite lyrically by AW Wheen.
The perspective of a German soldier through the long years of trench warfare during the First World War. Truly excellent book; billed as the “Greatest War Novel of all Time” and I’m inclined to let the hyperbole stand. Paul and his classmates volunteer for the army at the urging of their schoolmaster, get thrown into the muck and mire of seeing people get bits blown off, fighting rats for bread, watching their numbers dwindle to nothing. Taking leave once a year to travel home is even harder than the front line, having to hear the civilians tell him he doesn’t know anything about the big picture, persistent questions about how it was, it’s bad right?
Philosophical questions about what will happen to them after the war… they are damaged goods, no one will understand it who didn’t go through it. The older generation will slide back into their pre-war life, the younger generation will shove them aside and not understand.
Excellent classic. Reminded me of Sartre’s The Reprieve, written about the time between WWI and WWII.