Erich Maria Remarque, who was born in Germany, was drafted into the German army during World War I. Through the hazardous years following the war he worked at many occupations: schoolteacher, small-town drama critic, race-car driver, editor of a sports magazine. His first novel, All Quiet on the Western Front, was published in Germany in 1928. A brilliant success, selling more than a million copies, it was the first of many literary triumphs. When the Nazis came to power, Remarque left Germany for Switzerland. He rejected all attempts to persuade him to return, and as a result he lost his German citizenship, his books were burned, and his films banned. He went to the United States in 1938 and became a citizen in 1947. He later lived in Switzerland with his second wife, the actress Paulette Goddard. He died in September 1970.
"The world has a great writer in Erich Maria Remarque. He is a craftsman of unquestionably first rank, a man who can bend language to his will. Whether he writes of men or of inanimate nature, his touch is sensitive, firm, and sure."-The New York Times Book Review
This World War I narrative was originally published in 1929, while the senseless destruction of the Great War was still fresh in the minds of those who lived through its horrors. Hearing 19-year-old Paul Baumer describe his experiences as a German recruit, the depth of his deprivation in the trenches, the cruel loss of life, and the cumulative devastation on mind and body is heart wrenching. Muller's understated performance, with its steady pacing and paradoxically soothing vocal timbre, enhances the lyrical language and elicits a palpable sense of the terror faced by Paul and his friends through the unrelenting close combat. In 1930, the movie adaptation won the Academy Award for best picture and best director and is now in the Library of Congress's National Film Preservation Board's Film Registry (http://ow.ly/kwRp2). (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.