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Remarque Erich Maria (2017 Most Popular Book Lists)

1. Arch of Triumph
2. Heaven Has No Favorites
3. Arch of Triumph
4. All Quiet on the Western Front:
5. Arc De Triomphe (German Edition)
6. All Quiet on the Western Front
7. Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet
8. The Night in Lisbon
9. Three Comrades
10. Spark of Life
11. Erich Maria Remarque: The Last
12. The Road Back
13. Flotsam
14. A Time to Love and a Time to Die
15. Im Westen nicht Neues. Großdruck.
16. Der Funke Leben : Roman / Erich
18. Station am Horizont.
19. Erich Maria Remarque 1898-1970
20. Drei Kameraden (German Edition)

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1. Arch of Triumph
by Erich Maria Remarque
Paperback: 464 Pages (1998-01-27)
list price: US$23.00 -- used & new: US$15.26
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0449912450
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review


It is 1939. Despite a law banning him from performing surgery, Ravic--a German doctor and refugee living in Paris--has been treating some of the city's most elite citizens for two years on the behalf of two less-than-skillful French physicians.

Forbidden to return to his own country, and dodging the everyday dangers of jail and deportation, Ravic manages to hang on--all the while searching for the Nazi who tortured him back in Germany. And though he's given up on the possibility of love, life has a curious way of taking a turn for the romantic, even during the worst of times. . . . ... Read more

Customer Reviews (16)

4-0 out of 5 stars Vauw! Remarque is a cool writer!
This is a great book. Erich Maria Remarque is a great writer! This is a story about a german refugee living in Paris just before Germany declares war, that is around 1939. He is living there as an illegal refugee under the cover name Ravic. He seems deeply disillusioned about life, having partaken in WW1, he knows without much doubt that war is coming back. He is a very skilled surgeon, but he seems quite detached from life, apparently his wife was also killed in Germany before he managed to flee. Sometimes when he knows some of his patients are going to die, but he refuses to inform them about it. I must admit that I found that a little strange, it appeared to me as rude and insensitive, yeah kind of like psychopatic. Like there is no contact, maybe like there is noone. So he kind of flows through life, mostly he is friendly and tries to relieve the suffering even to his own great cost, but he can't really have any deeper relationships with anyone, maybe he is broken deep down? Ravic is a man of great resourses, in the end of the novel a remarkable indifference fills him, nothing really seems to matter to him anymore.

5-0 out of 5 stars a message for life
since I had read the book before and I was so impressed with its contents, I wanted to purchase a new edition since I lost my original copy

4-0 out of 5 stars See Smell Smoke And Drink In France 1939
I believe they call this style of writing good literature.When a book from a different era can transport a reader back across decades to that era, The gift of reading a good writer is realized.

The Arch of Triumph is not so much a great story, but the way the story is told with such realism hypnotizes the reader.It's that much more intriguing if you have a bit of post-WWI and pre-WWII European political knowledge.

The book carries the flavor of the time it portrays.Feels a bit like the movie Casablanca, but with much more street smarts.I wouldn't have thought that a novel in 1945 would talk about abortion and prostitution so openly without censorship. I suppose after a second World War in twenty years, innocence is shattered.

I felt the story did get slow at times, but always looked forward to the next chapter when something or someone new was introduced revealing more of the dreaded past or dreaded future of the many characters.

I liked the way the author shared Ravic's internal thoughts as a surgeon who'd operated anonymously on characters and later had dealings with the unsuspecting former patient.Though it is a love story, the sense of the inevitable approaching doom makes for a dark, dreary and lonely place to discover anything worth loving.

Unfortunately, political prisoners are still being beaten and tortured throughout the world today, which makes the main character Ravic that much more a man of all times.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of My Favorites of Remarque's Later Works
Another work where Remarque uses the war and the refugee situation to explore a number of big issues.This time, Ravic, the OB-GYN doctor who fled Nazi Germany to pre-invasion Paris (he's not Jewish), is working on the side and living at the Hotel International (complete with the usual array of characters, from the Russian doorman to the big-hearted hotel owner).Some of the same issues appear here as in Flotsam, Heaven Has No Favorites, Night in Lisbon, etc.The dying woman, the refugee scene, the world-weary WWI vet, the no-strings-attached relationship.Not quite as good as A Time to Love and a Time to Die, but Remarque writes with a wit and wisdom born in the trenches and hardened in the tragedies of the early 20th c.Wonderful book, though, sadly few read more than AQWF.The film version with Anthony Hopkins isn't bad either.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Book
I stumbled across this jewel of a book along with The Black Obelisk,and A Time To Love And A Time To Die in an old junk shop. I remembered that this was the same guy who wrote All Quiet On The Western Front (which I have never read -- but am vaguely familiar with). I remember alot of people had to read it (AQWF), and I figured I would one day . . . . In any case it wasn't in the batch that I picked up. The covers were interesting and I bought them and forgot about them. Well, I happened to pick this one up out of an old box Saturday and started reading. I've read the first hundred pages or so and love it. At times I feel like I'm transported to Paris and am viewing a side of the Casablanca movie I hadn't seen (with mention of the Bel Aroure -- the birds behind the glass in the walls, was that this restaurant?) And then the other restaurant with the tables lit from under the glass table tops. I can picture the shadowy, eerily lit faces, the elegance as the woman performs a throaty, raspy-voiced rendition of whatever the song might be. . . There seems to be nothing like the 30's (between the Wars) in Paris even with the feeling of despair. At other times I feel like I'm reading George Orwell's Down And Out In London And Paris (the author of 1984 - which I did have to read in school). And then again, with that ever present feeling of despair and all the drinking of Calvados,etc. I feel like I'm reading Hemingway. There are also the gritty descriptions and characterizations which remind me of a John D. MacDonald novel (especially when Ravic goes to visit the fat lady in the Kimono who performs abortions to try and retrieve the girl's money -- very Travis McGee-esque). Remarque is both gritty and poetic in descriptions and you are immediately transported to wherever the character is at in the story.And then again, the book resembles Le Carre's The Spy Who Came In From The Cold. All of this rolled into one book.And I'm only at just over one hundred pages. . . I can't wait to read the rest. There is a movie of this book though I couldn't find Remarque's name or the book mentioned on the back of the dvd. Anthony Hopkins plays Ravic and Leslie Ann Downs plays Joan. As usual, and probably more the case with this book -- the movie won't do the book justice. All in all, it is a gritty, meaty book of substance with romance (though I would have preferred a little less romance or at least toned down a bit, though I guess that's mainly what the book is about and all the rest is backdrop, but what a backdrop) -- A Great Book! ... Read more

2. Heaven Has No Favorites
by Erich Maria Remarque
Paperback: 302 Pages (1998-06-09)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$80.00
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0449912493
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Lillian is charming, beautiful . . . and slowly dying of consumption. But she doesn't wish to end her days in a hospital in the Alps. She wants to see Paris again, then Venice--to live frivolously for as long as possible. She might die on the road, she might not, but before she goes, she wants a chance at life.

Clerfayt, a race-car driver, tempts fate every time he's on the road. A man with no illusions about chance, he is powerfully drawn to a woman who can look death in the eye and laugh. Together, he and Lillian make an unusual pair, living only for the moment, without regard for the future. It's a perfect arrangement--until one of them begins to fall in love. . . . ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Classic
Even if you are the type to read Remarque's works, this is the most touching and real book i have read.It gives deep insights into love and live in general.The perfect book any hopeless romantic.I will rememberthis and insights forever.

4-0 out of 5 stars Theme:Live life to the fullest and be happy.
This book wasn't the best Remarque book that I've read.In short it isabout a race car driver, Clerfayt, who falls in love with a terminal illpatient, named Lillian.She finds a new lease on life after leaving thesanatorium with Clerfayt.Clerfayt leads a risky life on the edge, whereas Lillian has lead a quiet, "safe" life in an attempt to becured.Realizing her time is growing short, she feels she is ready for abig change.

Their roles reverse as the course of the book plays out,each gaining insight to the fallacies of the other person's lifestyle. Remarque throws a lot of wit and wisdom in the conversations and thoughts,which to me didn't seem normal.However, Remarque's characters, in all ofhis books, tend to be deep and thoughtful.

Overall, though, it wasenjoyable departure from his typical WW2 books.Worth reading, but he hasother better ones. ... Read more

3. Arch of Triumph
by Erich Maria Remarque
 Hardcover: 248 Pages (1945)

Asin: B001BTSXAI
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Editorial Review

The woman veered toward Ravic. She walked quickly, but with a peculiar stagger. Ravic first noticed her when she was almost beside him. He saw a pale face, high cheekbones and wide-set eyes. ... ... Read more

4. All Quiet on the Western Front: The Illustrated Edition
by Erich Maria Remarque, A. W. Wheen
Hardcover: 206 Pages (1996-09)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$88.88
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0821223127
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars All Quiet on the Western Front
All Quiet on the Western Front is a captivating story about a young German solider in World War I. The author, Erich Maria Remarque, tells us of the horror and violence Paul Baumer and his comrades face during their combat in the trenches. These soldiers are forever torn away from their youth. All Quiet on the Western Front is one of the greatest war books around. I give it my highest recommendation.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Books Ever Written
This book puts a face on the enemy soldier. He is no longer just a rifle, a bayonet, a grenade, but a living breathing human being. The book is told from the perspective of a World War I German Soldier, and while you are reading it you can not help thinking how much he sounds just like any other 20 year old boy regardless of whether he is a German, American, French, Russian, or British soldier. As an American male, Germany was our enemy and was always looked upon as being evil. You are not supposed to think of these people as human beings. It would make fighting them that much harder to learn that their foot soldiers really were not much different than ours. The fact that they had mothers, fathers, and loved ones at home praying for their safety, just as ours did, is moving.

The book does not bother going into details of the cause of the war, which is good, but just focuses on the foot soldier who is actually fighting it. The book is fictitious, but it gives surprisingly accurate descriptions of the war, and gives you a good perspective of what they went through. This illustrated edition is great and helped clarify in my mind actually what was described in the book.

You can also see hints of the feeling of the country preceding World War II. At the end of World War I, Germany was defeated, but their foot soldiers felt that they were not out classed, but only out manned. Also most of the fighting was done in other countries, so Germans were not subjected to images of giant craters which had ripped apart most of the landscape. Those at home in Germany suffered, but their elders were disillusioned regarding the superiority of their military might, and the consequences war was costing them.

The prospective on the war propaganda is magnificent. Scenes of teachers instilling in their students the image that war is glorious and prompting them to rush out and enlist, only to find that war is hell, and death is all that awaits most of them is very powerful. Older gentleman in town arguing over how the war should be won, without any real concept of the consequences are great. Realistic problems which these youths suffered upon returning home from the war are also raised. It is mentioned of how this generation of Germans would have trouble fitting back into society because war was all they knew reminds me of our American soldiers returning from Vietnam. Both were at war for long periods of time and returned home from a losing war.

I picked this book up because I saw it mentioned on a list of "The One Hundred Greatest Books Ever Written". After reading it, I believe they were justified in including it on that list.

P.S. The movie was just as good.

5-0 out of 5 stars A classic account against war...
I first read this book when I was 15 years old and had the opportunity again to read it recently (the illustrated edition). Although fictional, it is a classic account of the devastation and tragedyof World War I. It changed my whole outlook about war, and it succeeds again after all these years.

Arguably the best anti-war novel of all time, it is told from the perspective of a young German soldier (Paul Baumer) who tells of his adventures with his classmates, their enlistment and experiences in the war.He describes how only in such terrible hardship and mind boggling terror can one attain real genuine comradeship.The book no doubt was excerpted from some of the war experiences of Remarque, who was drafted in 1916, wounded in 1917 and then saw no further action.Obviously appalled by the enormous loss of life and devastation, "Im Westen nichts Neues" was publishedin Germany in 1929--and became an instant best seller.Devoid of all romanticism, he describes in graphic and burning prose the tragedy of war wherethe individual could not surmount but be battered and eventually destroyed by blind and illogical hatred not of his own making.No wonder that Remarque became a 'persona non grata' in the Third Reich, for the Nazis, true sons of the war were angered by Remarque's pacifism and anti-militarism, eventually stripping him of German citizenship.

A book destined to be a classic, for sheer fascination it rivals the most thrilling modern novel, for it is readable, interesting, and easy to understand.And these are the very qualities which characterize classical books: simplicity, interest and readability.

3-0 out of 5 stars All Quiet???

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best war novels written
The first time I read this book it was for a school assignment.Now I must have read it about a hundred times.It is an anti-war novel.Always in school, at least in American, we are always taught that the Germans arethe "bad guys" and they are the ones to blame.However, thisbook isfrom a German soldier's point of view.The more I read the more Ibegan to sympathize and the more I realized that they were in the exactsame boat as our doughboys.It touches on points based on politics andhumanities.This book does have a lot of action in it and it is not forthe squirmish.The illustrated edition is particularly interesting becauseof the photographs of the soldiers.(It really got me in the mood.)Thankyou for reading my review.:-) ... Read more

5. Arc De Triomphe (German Edition)
by Erich Maria Remarque
Paperback: 498 Pages (1998-05-01)
-- used & new: US$12.36
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 3462027239
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6. All Quiet on the Western Front
by Erich Maria Remarque Translated by A.W. Wheen
Hardcover: Pages (1991)
-- used & new: US$26.76
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: B000OR923U
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7. Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front (Bloom's Modern Critical Interpretations)
Hardcover: 224 Pages (2009-03)
list price: US$45.00 -- used & new: US$30.77
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 160413402X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

ONE OF TWELVE TITLES IN VINTAGE'S A FORMAT WAR PROMOTION The Greatest Novel about the First World War and an International Bestseller All Quiet on the Western Front is probably the most famous anti-war novel ever written. The story is told by a young 'unknown soldier' in the trenches of Flanders during the First World War. Through his eyes we see all the realities of war; under fire, on patrol, waiting in the trenches, at home on leave, and in hospitals and dressing stations. Although there are vividly described incidents which remain in mind, there is no sense of adventure here, only the feeling of youth betrayed and a deceptively simple indictment of war - of any war - told for a whole generation of victims. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (496)

4-0 out of 5 stars A book full of atmosphere that puts you right in the situation of war
This is a great book that puts you in a position to see how a soldier lived his daily life in World War One. It shows much emotion in a very soft and dreamy way yet within the reality of a cold, hard and fatal war. It follows a soldier who is naive yet learns his way through his war and touches the heart through his perception of the mysterious paths that he crosses. As his experience grows he finds the good and bad in his journey and he expresses much of what a soldier may feel in his youth. It is a sentimental walk in and out of war and a genuine look at a soldiers life in one of the most historic and important times.

4-0 out of 5 stars A little beat up, but good.
This, along with one other book, was the first to come in. They were pretty fast in getting here, which is good, and the price was right. You can tell its well used, but not beyond further use especially got the class its for.

5-0 out of 5 stars No glory here
The events of this book are apparently fiction, yet it is reality. It is a reality which Remarque knew from experience, and which he urgently sought to impress on a world which piously said, "lest we forget", yet had never really known to begin with. Forged in this fire, Remarque emerged with a mission to warn the world of the Beast of War, resulting in this, possibly the most powerful of all novels of war. It does not preach of the wrongs of war. It simply describes life in the trenches, a war that the 19th-Century glory-seeking sensibilities of the politicians and the patriotic gullibility of the public at home never imagined.

Remarque, born Remark and later re-adopting the earlier, French spelling, was born in Osnabrück, a town where I spent some years, and lived his last years in Switzerland, a country where I am now spending some years. He fought in the trenches, knowing whereof he writes, and was wounded several times, in a country I also know fairly well and where every single village churchyard has a monument bearing lists of names of the fallen longer than today's telephone book. This book speaks from the first person of a young man who has enlisted before he was old enough to know any other trade, and learned to survive on the front. His core of friends, slowly whittled away, are the old lags of their section of the lines. With instincts that tell them when to duck an incoming shell and where to forage up a stolen goose, they live only for the day and for their few friends as the German army slowly starves and rusts, while the French and British and finally the Americans eat their plentiful corned beef, develop their tanks, and grow stronger.

Remarque's writing style is rivetting. Spare and clean, his sentences in the English translation light a fire in the mind. I went through this book in two days, a rate at which I have not read for a decade.

"Earth with thy folds, and hollows, and holes, into which a man may fling himself and crouch down. In the spasm of terror, under the hailing of annihilation, in the bellowing death of the explosions, O Earth, thou grantest us the great resisting surge of new-won life."

"...just think of those pamphlets the prisoners have on them, where it say that we eat Belgian children. The fellows who write those lies ought to go out and hang themselves. They are real culprits."

"We are forlorn like children, and experienced like old men, we are crude and sorrowful and superficial - I believe we are lost."

Harrowing reading, and an indispensable lesson for the budding patriot.

5-0 out of 5 stars An anti-war statement without peer...from a German soldier, yet
All Quiet on the Western Front has been on book lists since my high school days.I should have read and re-read it many years ago.It is only the first statement I ever read from a German Foot Soldier...a hero in my eyes.The author, Erich Remarque, was wounded five times in the "Great War".The book was Banned by the Nazis, maybe the best reason to read it.It begins in naive sounding prose, giving the background for the strong friendships that develop later, under fire.The first-person account of Paul Baumer relates the painful deaths of his buddies, one by one, and his first wartime kill...a French soldier who jumps into his shell crater.In hand to hand combat, Paul fatally stabs the soldier, but vainly attempts to save him, as he reasons that neither should be in the situation.The final straw is the unsuccessful attempt he makes to save his closest buddy, Kat.The sadness is palpable and intense.I must re-read this magnificent work.

5-0 out of 5 stars good book
This book came fairly quickly and I was very satisfied with the condition it's in. Nice doing business with you! ... Read more

8. The Night in Lisbon
by Erich Maria Remarque
 Mass Market Paperback: Pages (1964)
-- used & new: US$19.95
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: B001K2UGII
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (18)

3-0 out of 5 stars It's a "B" Movie Starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
"The (long, long) Night in Lisbon" is an unevenly plotted and an unevenly written story of early World War II refugees fleeing from the increasing, terrorizing horror of the Nazis.

Refugee Schwarz (B. Pitt), as primary narrator, tells his captive audience listener (played by James Franco), the secondary narrator and primary listener, about his harrowing escapes from Germany, Switzerland and France, accompanied through most of the year-long travail by his wife, Helen (A. Jolie), who is a little nutty and very sick.The telling of and listening to the tale takes all night (in Lisbon). The reading of the book takes longer.

This double narrative structure, while quite clever and interesting in theory, is cumbersome and stifling in its execution. But, as is, it would make a great "B" Hollywood movie. Did actress Paulette Goddard, Remarque's wife, influence his thinking for this book, originally published in 1961? At one point, about two-thirds of the way through the story, the "listener" remarked to himself that he was weary of listening to Schwartz' story. This moment coincided precisely with my own feeling of annoyance with the structure of the book and its hard-to-believe escapades.

At times very exciting, the story was often simply too unbelievable -- even for fiction, when ordinarily you're all too happy to suspend belief. Do you really find an abandoned chalet in Southern France in which to crash for days and weeks on end, complete with a wine cellar, vegetable garden and fruit-bearing trees? Or later, a car to steal, full of gas?Or, sympathetic doctors to prescribe morphine (which you locate easily at a pharmacy) for your dying wife? Or, seemingly endless supplies of money and odd jobs to sustain you? And, forced separations from your wife, followed by highly improbable and surprising re-unions?No.

Yes, there are many descriptions, passages of pages-long predicaments and clever life-saving maneuvers that are exciting, heart-wrenching, and filled with real-life pathos, affection and fear. Remarque was a masterful writer. But "The Night in Lisbon" is not - definitely not - the stunning "All Quiet on the Western Front," or his equally sensational "Three Comrades."

Page 44, in a rare, risky passage comparing Christians with Nazis, he insightfully speaks through the story-teller's mouth, "...I was looking upon these same transfigured faces as outside, the same ecstatic sleepwalkers' eyes, full of unquestioning faith and yearning for security without responsibility."

And why do we tell our (all too often) sad, pathetic life story to someone - to anyone, even a stranger?Page 135-136, "...You'll keep it safe, with you there's no danger. Your memory won't try to wipe it away to save you, as mine does to save me. With me, it's in bad hands..."

"The Night in Lisbon," in the end, despite much excellent writing and uplifting philosophy, utilizes too many stereotypes, too many miraculous events (Cavalry riding in to temporarily stave off disaster to prolong the story), and a totally unbelievable man-woman love story, a truly pathetic couple trying and failing to understand each other in time of war, falsely protecting each other with undisclosed secrets.

The end of the book was unsatisfying.Hollywood would do better.

It's a 2.75 on Amazon's rating scale rounded up to a 3.Sorry Remarque.

2-0 out of 5 stars For teenagers untainted by any historical knowledge
Forty five years ago I read "All Quiet on the Western Front", and was very impressed by it (as a result, I even snobbishly started to drink Rhein, or Mosel, I forget which, white wines). The present book, which I read some months ago, confirms alas IMO that Remarque wrote only one great story, and this isn't it.

The argument is very sinple: a non-Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany living in Switzerland decides in 1940, five years after his escape, to return to Osnabruck (Remarque's own town) to fetch his wife and flee to the US (even if at the time he's not aware of his resolve to do this). He enters Germany via Austria, sees his wife, and thereafter in the following two years manages, in her company and almost in a fit of absentmindedness, because they almost never know what they'll do next, to reach Portugal via France and Spain (acquiring in the process two steamer tickets to New York and two American visas). All and everything, to paraphrase Gurdjeff, happens to them: encounters with the Gestapo and other police forces and Government officials, numberless flights across hostile regions with documents that don't stand up to careful scrutiny, internment in concentration and other types of camps, train rides and Long Marches, you name it. In Lisbon something happens that dissuades him from further flight, and he gives his tickets and passports to the first stranger who accepts spending a whole night with him to listen to his tragic story, which unfolds in a series of flashbacks.

There are two first-person narrators: the listener (who of course is also a refugee with a wife, broke, with no tickets nor visas, waiting hopelessly for the end) and the non-Jewish German racconteur, who gets the lion's share of the book. It's a very artificial setting, and I don't understand why Remarque should have appealed to it instead of the main character telling his story directly to the reader, a time-honoured device.

Remarque evidently wanted to paint a vast canvas of refugee suffering in 1935/42 continental Western Europe, and in this he succeeds (in fact, not long ago I met a West-European Jew who endured more or less the same misadventures as the novel's main character, except that, being younger, he didn't have a wife). But the narrative is very contrived, full of contradictory details, and clichéed (the invariable Nazis' diabolic but stupid evilness!). For example, somebody wades the Rhine naked, holding his clothes in a bundle above his head, and afterwards sleeps and spends a day in the forest, where he drinks water from a stream and eats some sandwiches he fortunately had. Or somebody, after spending days in a wood hiding from everybody, and therefore presumably dirty, unkempt and bearded, can still fool a camp's guards and pass for a doctor, a mechanic, etc. Or a murdered German official's car travels through France and Spain without anybody detecting it. Or obvious but undetected mortal illnesses come and go.

The husband-wife relationship is completely unrealistic, as is the philosophical and otherwordly bend of the main narrator's thoughts: I think only Walter Benjamin, of Franfurt School fame, might have entertained such.

To summarize, I said above that Remarque succeeds in describing a typical refugee's sorrows: he does, but for ten-year-olds (decorous brief sexual scenes and innuendos excepted).

4-0 out of 5 stars Better than you are told
For some reason, Erich Maria Remarque and Somerset Maugham have found themselves ranked in the second tier of 20th Century English Language Novelists. "The Night in Lisbon," which is not his greatest novel, is far better than Hemingway's lesser works. Remarque was a remarkably consistent writer of quality, thought-provoking literature. Two or three of his books should always be required high school and college reading. I highly recommend this book and I can't imagine anyone, who likes quality fiction, who would be disappointed.

3-0 out of 5 stars Somewhat overwrought and somewhat dated
The story is a compelling one, but the telling is less so.

First the story: The narrator, a refugee from Nazi-occupied Europe, is in Lisbon seeking passage on a ship to America for himself and his wife.He meets another refugee who, inexplicably but miraculously, offers him two tickets on the ship (and, later, passports and visas) on the condition that the narrator listen to his tale during the night before the ship sails.So the second refugee, "Schwarz", relates in detail the story of sneaking back to his hometown in Nazi Germany (specifically, Osnabruck, which was Remarque's hometown) from exile, presumably for some political offense rather than ethnicity, finding his wife Helen, and then escaping Germany with her and going through numerous travails in trying to get to America, via Switzerland, then Paris, then southern France, and finally through Spain to Lisbon.Through it all, the relationship/marriage of Schwarz and Helen is continually tested and must continually evolve in order to survive. The quest for America and marital harmony ends abruptly in Lisbon; therefore Schwarz relinquishes his tickets to the anonymous narrator.

Now, the problems with the telling and with the novel:The narrative structure of a detailed first-person tale (Schwarz's) within another first-person tale (that of the anonymous narrator) is not handled very deftly; it is overly cumbersome and, to the contemporary reader, unrealistic and outdated.There is far too much melodrama and heavy-handed writing, particularly in the portrayal and condemnation of the Nazis.Schwarz himself is overwrought, much too prone to half-baked, sentimental, romantic philosophy -- a 20th-Century "Young Werther".And Helen is so fraught with neuroses that she too is an unlikely heroine.

When I read "All Quiet on the Western Front", I found it remarkably modern, although some of its anti-war themes are now commonplace.THE NIGHT IN LISBON, though written over thirty years later, seems strangely antiquated.In any event, it does not begin to measure up to the work that made Remarque famous.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful
I couldn't stop reading! This book evokes a lot of emotions and is expertly written. It has adventure, intrique, suspense--even a nasty brother-in-law. I would defintely recommend it. ... Read more

9. Three Comrades
by Erich Maria Remarque
 Mass Market Paperback: Pages (1958)

Asin: B003YPXVV8
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (32)

2-0 out of 5 stars A cheap translation for a great writer
I had read the book about 15 years ago in Albanian translation, and just because I loved it so much back then, I wanted to read it in English translation as well. I was shocked with the awful translation of A. W. Wheen. It doesn't do justice to Remarque's greatness and it takes away so much value and purpose from the book.
The book's value is FIVE great stars, but the translation makes sure the writer is not appreciated for what he has achieved.

2-0 out of 5 stars No title
This seller failed to do me the courtesy of notifying me that the book I ordered was not in stock. I waited almost a month before I was advised of this and this was not until I e-mailed the seller.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Third of the All Quiet Trilogy
A wonderful work, which is more of a transition between Remarque's first two books (All Quiet on the Western Front and The Road Back) and much of his later material (Arch of Triumph, Flotsam, Heaven Has No Favorites, The Black Obelisk, Night in Lisbon).Connecting to the earlier works, this deals with the veterans of WWI and how they manage in the post-war era.Also, there is a heavy dose of the events of the time--in particular the rise of radical parties.However, there is also a move towards the thoughts on sickness and death--particularly of the young female characters--which informs many of Remarque's later works.He uses this as a means to discuss death, illness, life, its meaning, etc.These two themes--WWI vets who know what's what and the sickheroine--provide a powerful mixture which adds great weight to his writings.The novel is also an altogether enjoyable read, with interesting characters and Karl the Road Spook.Karl also introduces a sub-theme of road racing that Remarque returns to in Heaven Has No Favorites (along with the ill heroine).

3-0 out of 5 stars A Bad Translation of a Marvelous Book
Without a doubt, "Three Comrades" is the saddest story I have ever read and one of the most beautiful. This novel is vastly under-rated. It should be on every "classics" list of great fiction. There is not a rating category high enough for it.

Many lovely pictures emerge page after page -- of Berlin in the late 1920's. Take page 129 as a small example:"We walked on. Then we came to the graveyard. The trees rustled, their tops were no longer visible. As the mist continued to thicken the fairy light began. May bugs came reeling drunk out of the limes and buzzed heavily against the wet panes of the street lamps. The mist transformed everything, lifted it up and bore it away, the hotel opposite was already afloat like an ocean liner with lighted cabins on the black mirror of the asphalt, the grey shadow of the church behind it became a ghostly sailing-ship with tall masts, lost in the grey-red light; and now the houses, like a long line of barges, came adrift and began to move."

The characters are remarkable, and their stories are heart-breaking, while at once ringing with humor and pathos.Some episodes are hilarious; others make you cry unabashedly.

Three Comrades is a love story - no it's several love stories. One is of Robby and Pat (yes, unusual names for a story about young Germans). Another is among the abiding friendships and devotion between the three young men, their triumphs and travails, as the deteriorating social structure of pre-Hitler Germany crumbles around their feet, ruining their lives. The final love story is the heart-warming thread of true care and care-taking shown by the wider circle of the gloriously depicted players in this story, some sad and forlorn, others happy-go-lucky and still others greedy and vile. The mix is, of course, sensational, real and vivid. Every single character speaks with clarity in his or her own voice.

The story itself (once you pass through the first 40 pages) is simply compelling.You sense quickly the doom that is bound to come; you know that some will die; you know that tragedy will eventually win. You know all of this, and it does not matter. You cheer and root for these young people. You want them to live and thrive. You hope against hope that everything will be all right. You laugh, cry and exult with them. And in the end you are moved in your soul by their plight.

The story is - in a word - sensational.As to the fate of the characters, page 375: "'No,' said I, `I don't want to betray anything. But I do want that not everything we touch should always go to pieces.'" On the German social order, page 402: "'...They don't want politics at all. They want substitute religion.' He looked around. 'Of course. They want to believe in something again - in what, it doesn't matter. That's why they are so fanatical, too, of course.'"

You will laugh and you will cry and you will be unable to put this book down or stop yourself from thinking about these people long after you finish it.

While it might help, you need not read "All Quiet on the Western Front" first.Three Comrades stands on its own merits.

Now, why did I not give this book a 5 star rating, one that it clearly deserves and that most reviewers correctly award to it?It is because of the translation by A. W. Wheen.The feeling that the characters in this story are German and that the story takes place in Germany in the late 1920's is completely lost by the "over-the-top," slangy 100% British translation. This is not a British movie about Germans. This is a German language novel in need of a good English language translation. But, the way these people talk --- via this translation --- completely neutralizes their German-ness.The story could be in Southampton, or even Denver for that matter.I grew tired of the colloquial British-isms.Why not keep some of the German language --- un-translated?Except for an occasional "Ach!" we are forced to read this story in rather low-level British English --- a complete travesty. I don't want to see the word "lorry" or the word "kerb" or "tyres" or the phrase "...knocked the car down to us" in this story. Such a translation is an insult to the book, the author, and the historical value of the tale.

I implore the publishers to consider commissioning and publishing a sensible American English translation of this marvelous book, while at the same time keeping the tone, feeling and ethos of the German language, the German sensibilities and its very German setting.I detested reading what may have been an intentional de-Germanization of this glorious book by virtue of this horrible British translation.

Thus, it is because of the translation alone, not its literary value, that I decided to rate the book a mere 3.On its merits, the book is a 5++.But, alas, a translated book is only as good as the translation. Remarque deserves better.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Quintessential novel of the German Lost Generation
It has been generally accepted view that Remarque was never a great writer. I largely agree with the verdict. However, he was a very good writer whose expertise was touching the sentiment of general readers , if not those ofliterary critics. Three comrades is definitely my favorite along with Black Obelisk , not only among Remarque's works but also any form of literature I have been consuming for years. Similar to his early novels , such as All quiet on the western front and the sequel "The Road Back" , Remarque usedfirst person narration. Robert Lohkamp , narrator of the novel, is the archetype of"Lost generation" from the other side of hill.Robert(or Bob or Robby)'s psyche was so pulverized by the experience of the Great war and its terrible aftermath that he seems to lose all meaning in his life. Bob , Otto and Gottfried are main characters whose life were forever marred by the war . But, they find a consolation from strong comradeship and endless drinking.

By accident, Lohkamp and his comrades met Pat. Although three of them all fell for her. It was Lohkamp , with his comrades' help , falls in love with the mysterious and consumptive beauty Pat. Much of the novel is about daily harship, and the slow change of Bob from despaired and jaded realist to idealistic romantic who can do anything for his love , Pat.
The book conveys sundry aspects of love through contrasting author's ideal notion of love and life and harsh reality that doesn't seem to allow little preciousness ordinary people longed for.(especially, Bob's neighbor Hasse's case)

I particulary enjoy Remarque's humane description of characters in the last stage of the tumultous Weimar Republic. Remarque maintains objective but symphathetic observation on these people whose lives are obviously shattered and go down to the nadir by uncontrollable economic difficulties and political turmoil.

The other attractive aspect of the book is the author's description of subtle changes Lohkamp goes through. First several chapters , he was one of those hardened veteran who doesn't have any aspiration in his life and so full of weltschmertz. Yet after meeting and falling in love with Pat , Robert slowly changes himself and finally last several chapters and its tragic ending . Lohkamp is the man who doggedly resist toward desiny he himself so well aware of.

In fact, the last few chapters shows how talented Remarque really was. If he had not indulged himself into hedonism and been as disciplined as Thomas Mann, surely Remarque would have written some master pieces .

When Remarque wrote this book, he was under severe pressure from both his own life and publishers who expected another best-seller. There are a bit of cliche, kitsch and strong resembrance to Mann's "Magic Mountain" in the last several chapters.In spite of these weaknesses, the book will surely touch sentiment and make you want more about Remarque's other works. It's one of the most touching love stories you will ever read and at the same time honest representation of ordinary people's every day difficulties in one of the terrible moment in the modern German history. It's a deeply pessimistic book ,but the beauty of Remarque's pessimism somehow penentrates your souleven though it was written almost 80 years ago. All in all, very renumerative reading and I am not hesitate to recommend the book to anyone who still value human decency over profit and sentimental romanticism over artistic pretence and intended complex.
Please read it after the western front and Road back. you will grip how the most promising generation became the victim of its own passion and forces beyond their comprehension. I hope the book will be republished . ... Read more

10. Spark of Life
by Erich Maria Remarque
Paperback: 365 Pages (1998-01-27)
list price: US$3.99 -- used & new: US$39.64
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0449912515
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review


509 is a political prisoner in a German concentration camp. For ten years, he has persevered in the most hellish conditions. Deathly weak, he still has his wits about him and he senses that the end of the war is near. If he and the other living corpses in his barracks can hold on for liberation--or force their own--then their suffering will not have been in vain.

Now the SS who run the camp are ratcheting up the terror. But their expectations are jaded and their defenses are down. It is possible that the courageous, yet terribly weak prisoners have just enough left in them to resist. And if they die fighting, they will die on their own terms, cheating the Nazis out of their devil's contract.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars Struggling to Stay Alive.
Erich Maria Remarque (1898 - 1970) was projected to popularity by his novel "All Quiet in the Western Front" (1929). He was a militant pacifist with no strong political views. Nevertheless the Nazis burned his books and he was forced into exile. He was stripped from German nationality in 1938 and never was returned to him. This was a deep wound in his soul that never healed.

"Spark of Life" (1952) is not one of his most famous books, but is a deep heartbreaking tale of the life in a concentration camp.
509 is an old prisoner that miraculously survives year after year of daily horror. He feels war is ending and redouble his efforts to stay alive. His deeds and those of his campmates, Lebenthal and Ashver and Neubauer are described vividly by Remarque.
This is a dark and sorrowful literary piece; however is a monument to the "spark of life" that every human being treasures in his inner soul. Is a monolith to the "spark" of freedom that authoritarian regimes, of any sign, try always to quench and never succeed to achieve.

A recommended read for those interested in historical subject and more specifically in WWII and concentration camps.
Reviewed by Max Yofre.

5-0 out of 5 stars Staying Alive.
Erich Maria Remarque (1898 - 1970) was catapulted into popularity by his novel "All Quiet in the Western Front" (1929). He was a militant pacifist with no strong political views. Nevertheless the Nazis burned his books and he was forced into exile. He was stripped from German nationality in 1938 and never was returned to him. This was a deep wound in his soul that never healed.

"Spark of Life" (1952) is not one of his most famous books, but is a deep heartbreaking tale of the life in a concentration camp.
509 is an old prisoner that miraculously survives year after year of daily horror. He feels war is ending and redouble his efforts to stay alive. His deeds and those of his campmates, Lebenthal and Ashver and Neubauer are described vividly by Remarque.
This is a dark and sorrowful literary piece; however is a monument to the "spark of life" that every human being treasures in his inner soul. Is a monolith to the "spark" of freedom that authoritarian regimes, of any sign, try always to quench and never succeed to achieve.

A recommended read for those interested in historical subject and more specifically in WWII and concentration camps.
Reviewed by Max Yofre.

5-0 out of 5 stars When you think your life is hard, think again!
This is a wonderful book of hope by my favorite author Erich Maria Remarque! I love the way he writes!

5-0 out of 5 stars Horror, Sorrow and Struggle to Stay Alive.
Erich Maria Remarque (1898 - 1970) was catapulted into popularity by his novel "All Quiet in the Western Front" (1929). He was a militant pacifist with no strong political views. Nevertheless the Nazis burned his books and he was forced into exile. He was stripped from German nationality in 1938 and never was returned to him. This was a deep wound in his soul that never healed.

"Spark of Life" (1952) is not one of his most famous books, but is a deep heartbreaking tale of the life in a concentration camp.
509 is an old prisoner that miraculously survives year after year of daily horror. He feels war is ending and redouble his efforts to stay alive. His deeds and those of his campmates, Lebenthal and Ashver and Neubauer are described vividly by Remarque.
This is a dark and sorrowful literary piece; however is a monument to the "spark of life" that every human being treasures in his inner soul. Is a monolith to the "spark" of freedom that authoritarian regimes, of any sign, try always to quench and never succeed to achieve.

A recommended read for those interested in historical subject and more specifically in WWII and concentration camps.
Reviewed by Max Yofre.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Tale of Human Triumph
In 'Spark of Life' Remarque proves once again that he is one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century.A combination of literaryskill, gripping story, and truly real characters put this novel on par withhis most famous work, 'All Quiet on the Western Front.''Spark' deals withthe final months of World War Two in a German concentration camp.509, oneof the longest held prisoners in the camp, is convinced that despite whatthe SS tell them the war will soon be over and the camp liberated.509'sfellow inmates, old and young, Jews and politicals, all draw strength from509 and his will to not just survive, but to somehow stay human in a worldwhere savagery is king.While the prisoners themselves hold to this hopetightly, the SS have their own worries.The camp commamdant's holdingsthroughout the small town are going up in flames as the British andAmericans continually bomb the area and the guards are left with a choice: Run from the camp and risk treason against the Fuhrer, or exterminate allthe surviving prisoners in one final orgy of blood.Once again Remarquehas created a world so real, so certain, it both moves and educates thereader.All the horror, death, fear, and ultimatly the triumph of thehuman spirit that existed in these dark times are brought to life by amaster story-teller. ... Read more

11. Erich Maria Remarque: The Last Romantic
by Hilton Tims
Paperback: 240 Pages (2004-06-20)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$4.66
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0786713577
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

For more than seventy years Erich Maria Remarque's startlingly realistic and intensely moving anti-war novel All Quiet on the Western Front has remained a worldwide best seller. A political and literary sensation when it was first published, Remarque's masterpiece was banned and burned in the 1930s by the Nazis. Remarque was forced to flee Germany, and eventually, in 1939, he immigrated to America. Haunted by the horrors of Nazi Germany and embittered by his exile from the country he loved, Remarque strove to protect his privacy. In Hollywood glamour, in wealth, in the fame gained by successive hits like Arch of Triumph, Remarque hid his torment and buried his fears. Love, too, held its woes for Remarque. He was tortured by the infidelities of his first wife, whom he divorced and then remarried to save her from the Nazis. A turbulent, long-running affair with Marlene Dietrich, who helped him escape war-torn Europe, was followed by romantic liaisons with some of the film world's most seductive stars like Greta Garbo, Dolores de Rio, Maureen O'Sullivan, and Paulette Goddard, who became his second wife. The portrait that emerges is as extravagantly lit by romance as it is shadowed by anguish. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars A good approach to Remarque
This biography will satisfy most readers of Erich Maria Remarque's fiction. The author doesn't take a scholarly approach to Remarque's work, but then his novels probably don't deserve such serious treatment.
Tims successfully provides an interesting account of the author's life and times. A good read.

3-0 out of 5 stars Impotent on the Western front?
This is a decent, enjoyable biography of the author of "All's Quiet on the Western Front." I originally acquired this book because I saw quotes from Remarque's "The Road Back" in a book on posttraumatic stress syndrome (Shay's "Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming"). I decided to read about and from Remarque, which led me to this biography.

Remarque wrote "In Westen Nichts Neues" in 5 weeks with the aid of large quantities of caffeine and tobacco. At this point, he was discouraged by the commercial failures of his first two novels and did not realize he had a future in writing.Remarque just put the manuscript away, with "no idea of the bombshell waiting to detonate in the desk drawer to which he had consigned his new manuscript." When he did publish it, it was an immediate success and was published in America under the more well-known name "All's Quiet on the Western Front". (I have read speculation elsewhere that the American title was based on the frequent Civil War era newspaper line "all's quiet along the Rappahannock.")

Remarque is a much better-known author than many realize. The Nazis were forever trying to use him for propaganda purposes. At the beginning, his books were burned. Later, the Nazis offered to give Remarque a prominent government role if he would just move back from Switzerland to Germany. Remarque's not only declined the Nazi's offer, he kept a suitcase packed most of his life so he could leave at a moment's notice.

As the Nazis gained power, Remarque left Europe for America. He worked in Hollywood for some time, mostly as a writer, but also playing a small but significant role in the film of his novel "A Time to Love and a Time to Die."

A large portion of the book is about Remarque's personal life. He dated an astonishing number of Hollywood actresses, and had a friendship with Marlene Dietrich until the end of his life.

My only disappointment is the gossipy feel of large sections of the book. Remarque's alleged impotence is mentioned entirely too often. The author quotes one of Remarque's friends, Luise Rainer: "I don't believe for one moment that he was impotent. It would be just like Erich to say that. A joke. One reason I think he didn't totally go for me in those days was that he liked demanding women and I didn't come into that category. I distinctly remember him telling me, with the greatest glee, how Lupe Valez had... taken off one of her shoes in an tantrum and hit him hard with it, and he thought that was wonderful." Remarque also allegedly impregnated a famous starlet while she was married to someone else. You don't need to dwell on his alleged impotence any more than this.

In contrast, the author mentions that Remarque's childhood friend Kristen Kranzbühler was the model for Western Front's Kemerich. If some effort had been put into describing why scholars believe this, that would have been more interesting and more valuable than explorations of alleged impotency.

I predict that someday we'll have a much better biography of Remarque. This one is an interesting and memorable read and held my attention during my commute. The author does not pretend to write a book on literature. This is written for general audiences and he succeeds. Had the author not dwelled on Remarque's sexual life so much, I'd recommend it for teenaged readers who wanted a biography to dovetail with "All Quiet on the Western Front".

petervtamas@mail.com ... Read more

12. The Road Back
by Erich Maria Remarque
Paperback: 352 Pages (2002-02)
list price: US$35.95 -- used & new: US$29.88
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 1931541744
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

After surviving several horrifying years in the inferno of the Western Front, a young German soldier and his cohorts return home at the end of WW1. Their road back to life in civilian world is made arduous by their bitterness about what they find in post-war society. A captivating story, one of Remarque's best. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (13)

4-0 out of 5 stars Cracking Up After War
"The Road Back" by Erich Maria Remarque is dark and foreboding, a grim reminder of the psychological toll that combat takes on foot soldiers. Re-adjustment back home is actually impossible in the black market milieu and the harsh realities of an ignorant and uncaring civilian populace, who can behave only as they did in years past. There really is no "Road Back," just more misery. The soldiers would prefer the trenches than their disillusionment and despair back home. They all felt betrayed and that their sacrifice was for nothing. The story is irredeemably sad, and it is often painful to read. Remarque's remarkable talent to describe the beauty of nature, the skies and the changing seasons do not diminish the overall tone of the book. It is a book that is remembered for the somber, disquieting mood it sets and maintains. The reader is absorbed into this mood.

I believe that the book was probably beautifully written in its original German language, but to tell the truth (my view), the translation is inconsistent and very often quite unacceptable. I just did not understand why the translator, A. W. Wheen, chose so many "strange" English language words and phrases. To be blunt, much of the translation read as if it were performed by a German national, who perhaps had a fair-to-middling understanding of English, but a very poor vocabulary, and who, in a panic, resorted to literal, old-fashioned, dictionary-style translations - perhaps a British 19th Century dictionary.Too much of the translation is just "out of left field" for an American reader in 2010. Many times, I wrote the word "huh?" in the margin, puzzled once again by such a poor choice of words by Wheen. The lingo and speaking style of the modestly educated characters in the story would not be lost by an elevated 21st Century re-translation. I doubt that anyone reading this book in the original German would have such a criticism. The translator's style almost ruined the reading of this wonderful book for me.

The story's main problem, is that it goes nowhere. Perhaps the structure of the story reflects the psychology described - men adrift back home after a horrible war experience. The book reads a little like a serial publication, one that might have been published weekly over time, with one chapter not necessarily leading to the next, but rather becoming a somewhat disconnected group of episodes in the lives of the returned war soldiers.There are vague thematic threads in the story that continue from beginning to end, however. The book's ending was too sweet and too hopeful, given the bulk of the story line, and the ending (epilogue) was almost unrelated to the main story. I did not like the ending at all. It didn't fit.

Life after World War I in pre-Hitler Germany, just before the great depression killed the old Germany for good, was in fact awful. Remarque truly brings that reality to life, as well as the tensions between the Communists and the Old Order. But the full effect of the Treaty of Versailles had not yet taken its economic and psychological toll on the German people. However, one can see the handwriting on the wall: Germany will rise again, and it will not be a pretty sight when it does.

Notwithstanding its two great flaws (an awful translation and a story that reads more like a painting than a tale with a beginning, middle and end), the book is still sensational. It may not be Remarque's best work ("Three Comrades" and "All Quiet on the Western Front" are superior), but nonetheless it is excellent and gives a clear and convincing view of war's psychological damage on all people - whether soldiers or not. Remarque is at his best when showing how civilians, who never were near the front lines, have no idea at all who these soldiers really are, could never have any idea of what life was like in the trenches and what the soldiers went through. It's a gruesome reminder of that truism: if you haven't been there, you don't know. It doesn't matter what war is under discussion. The same phenomenon happens again and again. In this way, history does fatally repeat itself, and humankind does not learn.

I liked Ernst, the narrator, although he was a bit of a drama queen. His role at the "trial" near the end was almost entirely out of keeping of his personality developed throughout the early part of the book. The trial itself was unrealistic and was the worst part of the book. But the trial provided Remarque with a platform to make his political points, driving them home again and again and again.There's lots of anger in this book. We got it.

All in all, a 4 on Amazon's rating scale.

5-0 out of 5 stars Remarque's Best
By far, this is Remarque's best work.His writing style is much more mature than in All Quiet and the themes, while similar, are far more complex.Anyone interested in PTSD should read this book--from the nightmares to the flashbacks, Remarque has it all here. The vividness is such that I find it difficult to imagine that he himself did not experience something close to what he describes.Ultimately, Remarque is interested in showing those who did not serve in war what the true consequences are for those who did.In All Quiet, the emphasis was the life of the trench soldier.In The Road Back, he focuses in on the failures of soldiers to reintegrate into life. Along the way, Remarque criticizes the bourgeoisie, the upper classes, the war profiteers, the petty officials, and the REMFs.In the end, he finds meaning for the veterans in just being useful, but then, this is not enough to stop the renewed militarism which leads to the Nazis--something Remarque acknowledges.Read A Time to Love and a Time to Die for a post WWII follow up.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good book
"The Road Back" is Remarque's sequel to the famous "Alls Quiet on the Western Front". It is an excellent work, dealing with a difficult subject - Germany's WWI veterans and their return home (which, I might add, is probably poorly understood in the US).

This book is not, however, the equivalent of Alls Quiet. The theme is more complicated, of course, but it also does not quite have Remarque's "from the gut" or "from the heart" simplicity writing that shines so well in Alls Quiet. The Road Back seems to me to be more of a 'deliberate' effort. It has more characters, and more themes. Some of these, like the conflict between Weil and Lt Heel (a Jewish soldier and a German officer, respectively) do not go in depth as far as post war anti-Semitism...I suppose that could be just Remarque's style.
The timelines and people can also be difficult to follow: for example Ernst seems to be a student when he is called up, presumably after Paul Baumer's grade class ("form"), but on his return they enter a Teacher's College as though they were previously enrolled there...Was he Paul's contemporary (same age?) or a later recruit to the same Company? There seemed to be other timeline inconsistencies, to readers who notice such.

The reader must also know a lot more about the German politics of the time to truly understand some of the overall plot. This puts it at odds with the more basic human themes of Alls Quiet, in my view. But perhaps that is what Remarque wanted - to introduce thenew complications to their lives as opposed to the simple survival efforts of Paul Baumer. Unfortunately, I believe Remarque fell short of fully developing this idea, if that was his intention. The book is too short for that.

Though I'm not certain why, I get an uneasy feeling Remarque was almost deliberately writing The Road Back to be sold, perhaps due to the success of Alls Quiet ?? It would take an examination of his life, the time he wrote the book and all that to verify or refute this.
I still loved the book !
As an aside, Remarque himself is a bit of an enigma - his war servicehas been studied and questioned (he did not spend much time at the front) and he's been described as something of a fantasist, who misrepresented his own war experiences. If true, this may bear on his writing.

5-0 out of 5 stars Even better than "All Quiet"
I read this book for a course on Inter-war Europe and I absolutely devoured this book.Admittedly, you need to have a basic grasp on German history during the first few years after World War I, but I think that this would be a useful book for creating a better understanding of those who return home from war.As much as "All Quiet" was great for it's strong anti-war messages, "The Road Back" really hits home because it is about life after and away from war.It is about families and friendship and estrangement.It is a book about life.And life, in the confines of this book, is excruciatingly beautiful.Well worth a read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Much harder than surviving the war

"Yes, things were much simpler at the Front; there, so long as a man was still alive, all was well."

The sequel to "All Quiet on the Western Front," this novel explores the lives of the surviving members of Paul Baumer's regiment, as they attempt to integrate back into society in postwar Germany. Peace has come at last, yet the "road back" to civilization is a hard, arduous journey that countless ex-soldiers lose their way.Although the war has ended, the youth whose lives were ever changed are still soldiers at heart, trained to kill.The years in the trenches have rendered the soldiers hollow and incapable of recovering their former innocence.Whereas life in the trenches taught comradeship and survival, life back at home is a tedious, mind-numbing process of seemingly petty trifles and inconveniences.

No members from the original novel, save for Tjaden, appear, but there are references made to the original gang (who were killed, of course).The novel is told in the first person by Ernst Birkholz, and 18-year old student who returns home after the armistice. In style and form, Remarque delivers a novel similar to the original.In a terse and direct style, Remarque paints a portrait of Ernst as he struggles with disillusionment and fear, for the battle back in civilization is far more arduous and heart-wrenching than the trenches.

Throughout the novel, Ernst attempts to recapture his youth, for it is his youth that was taken from him.Although he has survived the war, he was irrevocably damaged psychologically.Everything has changed.Even the simple pleasures of a pre-war existence have vanished, although they may physically be the same.For, once a boy becomes a soldier, he can never recapture his youth.

Yet, for all the broken soldiers, Remarque does deliver hope.Not all of his comrades have fallen victim to the ravages of war.Tjaden, Arthur, and Bruno show that one can find happiness back in society.In the midst of the chaos of the Weimar Revolution, there can be found peace and contentment.Although he fails to find it until the very end, it seems as if Ernst has discovered the secret to navigating the "road back."

I must say that I am surprised this novel hasn't generated more interest on Amazon, as I am only the 9th reviewer.Although the novel doesn't have quite the edge of the first one, which is a war novel afterall, it does deliver a poignant image of struggle and redemption.And the novel is not totally devoid of war scenes, for flashbacks occur periodically, particularly the haunting image of the English captain whose legs were blown off by Ernst's grenade.This is a superb book and is a brilliant sequel to the original. ... Read more

13. Flotsam
by Erich Maria Remarque
Paperback: 444 Pages (2002-02)
list price: US$35.95 -- used & new: US$31.24
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 1931541736
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Fleeing police from country to country, the plight of illegal aliens is depicted in this love story of Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany just before WW2. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

2-0 out of 5 stars "Flotsom"
"Flotsom" may have had relevance when it was written, but without any timeliness to sustain it the novel shows Eric Maria Remarque at his worst. The book is mercilessly padded and amounts to little more than the expetriences of two men moving back and forth across the border. The plight of the stateless as Europe was about to erupt deserves far better.

4-0 out of 5 stars While not his best, still worth the read
Flotsam is the first of Remarque's refugee works (followed by Arch of Triumph and Shadows in Paradise).The themes he explored in The Three Comrades are here--the ill heroine, the WWI war veteran, etc.However, here the emphasis is on the absurdities that the nationless must face to survive.The work is interesting from a literary standpoint in that Remarque's writing is maturing, though he does seem to return to the same characters over and over--here, the Steiner figure is similar to Ravic in the Arch of Triumph, who, is similar to the main characters of Heaven Has No Favorites, Night in Lisbon, Shadows In Paradise and The Black Obelisk.Be that as it may, it is always a pleasure to read Remarque's world-weary wisdom of the old soldier.

5-0 out of 5 stars This is a book that deserves more than 5 stars
A detail and powerful portrait of all people who lived under the oppressive regime of Nazi Germany. The reader of the book will have a deep appreciation for the feelings of hopelessness of the oppressed under an evil and powerful government.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Time to Live and a Time to Survive
I'm more used to the images and tales of concentration camp victims and exterminations. This story of lost souls forced to drift around the European continent (mostly on foot) in pre-World War II -- people denied passports or any other identification papers -- was a revelation to me.

Anyone interested in what the period between the two World Wars meant to the common German citizen should seriously consider reading this fine novel. I have not found anyone better to describe man's inhumanity to man than Erich Maria Remarque.

Who is to decide who is human detritus? Flotsam, indeed!

3-0 out of 5 stars Good , not great
Flotsam is the third Remarque book I have read and unfortunately it lacks the power and emotion of 'All Quiet On The Western Front' and 'A Time To Love And A Time To Die' which I consider two of the best novels I've read.The book is set in Europe preceding World War 2. It concerns Kern, a jewand Stiener, a political disidant, both made stateless refugees by naziGermany.Both are tossed from country to country like hot potatoes.Therest of Europe, disgustingly unconcerned for them and thousands of othersin their plite. While an interesting subject and quite a good read, I neverfelt I was close to the characters and it tended to meander a little. MaybeI expected too much. ... Read more

14. A Time to Love and a Time to Die
by Erich Maria Remarque
 Hardcover: Pages (1974)

Asin: B003KYK60M
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (13)

4-0 out of 5 stars 1961 panther pb, back-cover:

ernst Graber wondered as he lay in the Russian mud, the greasy stink of death in his nostrilsand in his ears the roar of artillery and the whine of machine-gun bullets. And then out of the habitual sight of horror and desolation he discovered, in the passion of a brief tragic interlude, that there was love well as hate, and at last he found an answer....and a vindication.

4-0 out of 5 stars Increases your understanding of humanity
This is a very interesting and frightening book, exploring such a dark theme as war and what it does to soldiers as well as civilians. Ernst Graeber is a very young soldier, but from his outlook on life you would expect him to be middle-aged ... at the very least. Of course, it is the war that has aged him. As the title suggests: for him it is really a time to love, although the times are so horrible.

The book begins with scenes from Russia, where Graeber is stationed. He knows in his heart by now that Germany will not win the war, and that they in fact are retreating, no matter what is said on the radio. Graeber is able to think surprisingly clear on the subject.

When Graeber gets leave (which is since long overdue) he is very surprised. However, he is certain that he will come home to Germany as it was when he left it. To his great sorrow, he discovers that he has not left the war, only discovered another frontier of it. His home town is bombed and much destroyed, and his parents are nowhere to be found. He cannot understand the sense of it all. But he meets a friend from his childhood, Elisabeth, and they have a short, almost unreal, love story.

Graeber makes inquiries about his parents, and therefore he meets lots of people. Almost everybody is looking for somebody else - somebody who is missing or not accounted for. Thus, Graeber gets to see into many other people's minds, and understand what the war does to them, to them all. People do not wear so many masks - there is no energy left to that. Graeber meets mankind uncovered.

Remarque is very good at describing mankind at is worst, and he shows us that cruelty has no mother tongue - it is a universal language.

4-0 out of 5 stars this review analyses the ending too
I planned on reading this book for several years. When I finally got around to it, with a fine old first edition from a used book store, I was at first pleased with the writer's style. The sentences were short, clear, crisp, and were an improvement upon Hemingway's frustrating lack of punctuation. However, in the last several pages my opinion of Remarque did an about-face as complete as that of the German army, for it seems that Ernst Graeber is offered as a hero rather than a traitor to friends and family back home. However this character was meant to be appraised by readers, we finally learn that a soldier who murders a comrade, frees the enemy, hands them his gun, and is shot with the same weapon in return for his kindness deserves exactly what he gets. I wonder if Elisabeth was eventually killed with the same gun.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Time to Love and a Time to Die
I loved this book.It is definitly one Remargue's best.The way he describes the war and his surroundings is just perfect.He bends words to his will.I've read Remargue's Three comrades and it was pretty good, but not as captivating as a time to love.Me being a 15 year old girl I couldn't even imagin what a war wouldbe like, but Remarque does excellent job of describing the affects of war on a person's life.How so much can be created and destroyed in 3 weeks of leave. Its now one of my favs. I recommend it to everyone.

5-0 out of 5 stars Underrated
This book should be read in every high school in America. The shocking beauty of the words cannot help but transform the reader and his opinions about the effect of World War II on the ordinary German people. Remarque is sadly known only for "All Quiet on the Western Front". His best work and my personal favorite is "Arch of Triumph" but no ones time would be wasted on reading any of his work. If this man wrote the telephone book I would read it. ... Read more

15. Im Westen nicht Neues. Großdruck.
by Erich Maria Remarque
 Hardcover: Pages (2003-06-01)

Isbn: 359880038X
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16. Der Funke Leben : Roman / Erich Maria Remarque
by Erich Maria (1898-1970) Remarque
 Paperback: Pages (1963)

Asin: B0036PPZP6
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17. OPPOSITE ATTRACTION: The Lives of Erich Maria Remarque and Paulette Goddard
by Julie Gilbert
Hardcover: 540 Pages (1995-06-13)
list price: US$32.50 -- used & new: US$19.99
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0679415351
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Editorial Review

Drawing on personal interviews and excerpts from diaries and letters, the author of Umbrella Steps offers a portrait of the romance between Erich Maria Remarque, an exile from Nazi Germany and successful Hollywood screenwriter, and actress Paulette Goddard. 17,500 first printing. ... Read more

18. Station am Horizont.
by Erich Maria Remarque, Thomas F. Schneider, Tilman Westphalen
Paperback: 229 Pages (2000-04-01)
-- used & new: US$9.98
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 3462029126
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19. Erich Maria Remarque 1898-1970 (German Edition)
Paperback: 147 Pages (1988)

Isbn: 3922469353
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20. Drei Kameraden (German Edition)
by Erich Maria Remarque
Paperback: 398 Pages (1998-12-31)
-- used & new: US$23.99
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 3462027298
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