Item description for The Road Back by Erich Maria Remarque...
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.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.9" Width: 5.9" Height: 0.9" Weight: 1.1 lbs.
Publisher Simon Publications
ISBN 1931541744 ISBN13 9781931541749
Availability 57 units. Availability accurate as of Jan 20, 2017 12:05.
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More About Erich Maria Remarque
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.
Erich Maria Remarque was born in 1898 and died in 1970.
Erich Maria Remarque has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about The Road Back?
Good book Jul 24, 2007
"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 the new 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 service has 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.
Even better than "All Quiet" Dec 20, 2006
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.
Much harder than surviving the war Jun 22, 2006
"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 this site, 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.
This could be a book about P.T.S.D. Feb 1, 2005
This is an excellent story about a group of young men who try to to put some semblance of normality back into their lives after experiencing the horrors of war. One cannot help feeling sympathetic for these men. Perhaps they were the enemy, perhaps they were on the "other side". But for the most part they were ordinary young men, generally decent and not so different from men in the U.S., Britain or Canada. They went to war with the same ideals of patriotism and duty as allied soldiers, and came back scarred physically and emotionally. As well as feeling disillusioned to find that their sacrifices had been for nothing, the people at home seem to be almost indifferent and have no understanding of what they went through. What they experienced then, seems to be very similar to what soldiers of today are experiencing. Post traumatic stress disorder.
Remarque nailed it early on... Nov 8, 2002
There seems to be a plethora of both novels and non-fiction books now about the ravages of war and its aftermath, describing both the physical and emotional scars, now that the world has gone through World War II, Vietnam, and scores of other wars. However, when Remarque was writing, there was very little literature of this sort. He nailed it early on, when the Allies were still celebrating their triumphs after the War to End All Wars, and no one outside Germany really cared what happened there. In the West, even today, we have been conditioned to think of Germany during the World Wars as an army of emotionless automatons who blindly followed orders and suffered no moral apprehension. This novel, and others by Remarque, show this to be untrue. The Germans died, cried, loved, lost, and suffered, both physically and emotionally, as much as any soldier of any army. This is the fitting sequel to "All Quiet on the Western Front" (Paul Baumer even gets a passing mention as the protagonists remember lost comrades), and while it lacks the grit and guts of Remarque's wartime novel, it shows the sense of loss, grief, and hopelessness felt by many on both sides after the Great War, and other wars as well.