Having read many war novels (and quite a bit of non-fiction) I was not sure what this book would offer. Instead I find a book which portrays war with a shocking brutality I would not have expected from 1928. One can only imagine (although it is worth researching) the impact this book had on people at the time. Remarque's greatest strength lies in his calm retelling of all the horrors. While at times in the book he goes into theoretical discussions of war and its horrors, in the midst of battles, of hospitals, of craters, and everywhere else, he simply describes what he sees. What he sees is pure horror. Young men dying slow, agonizing deaths. Bodies blown to pieces, hospitals which cannot keep up with the wounded, dysentery which can kill, moldy food which is prized, battles against rats, the emotional breakdown of many soldiers, all simply a part of war. As Paul, the narrator, recalls these issues we sometimes next find him in town on leave, wondering how he will ever live such a life again.Most of my reading has been around Vietnam, but the issues are the same. In some ways that is what is most disheartening. Remarque's words have been for naught, they have not brought the changes he hoped for. He lived to see this as WW II exploded into new cruelties, but the individual pain never changes. Somerset Maugham's "The Razor's Edge" features an American who survives WWI, but is never the same afterward. This novel tells you why.A must read book.