My Grandfather’s Copy
… of All Quiet on the Western Front (Erich Maria Remarque)
This book was written by a German who was conscripted into the German Army late in the war at age 18.
It tells the story of a young German soldier and his buddies during the war and covers many typical events and tragedies experienced by all soldiers of World War 1.
This book was written in 1927 and serialized in 1928 in a German newspaper.
It was published in book form in 25 languages in 1929 and sold 2.5 million copies during its first 18 months - including this one.
This copy was given to my grandfather (a Canadian veteran of World War One) by his wife. He died before I was born.
The book and the American film (1930) were both banned in Nazi Germany.
The significance of the title phrase comes from the shock and tragedy experienced by the reader at the end of the book in two short paragraphs. The first one follows with a modern translation added …
‘He fell in October 1918, on a day that was so quiet and still on the whole front, that the army report confined itself to the single sentence: There was nothing new to report on the western front.’