The One Book to read on Veterans Day / Remembrance Day

If there is a single book that one ought to read on this Veterans Day / Remembrance Day, then it ought to be the All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque. You will gobble it up and ask for more. In which case go for The Road Back, Arch of Triumph, A time to Love and a Time to Die, Three Comrades, and The Black Obelisk, by the same author.

“But now, for the first time, I see you are a man like me. I thought of your hand-grenades, of your bayonet, of your rifle; now I see your wife and your face and our fellowship. Forgive me, comrade. We always see it too late. Why do they never tell us that you are poor devils like us, that your mothers are just as anxious as ours, and that we have the same fear of death, and the same dying and the same agony–Forgive me, comrade; how could you be my enemy?”

“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: All quiet on the Western Front. He had fallen forward and lay on the earth as though sleeping. Turning him over one saw that he could not have suffered long; his face had an expression of calm, as though almost glad the end had come.”

Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front

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