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Erich Maria Remarque was born in Osnabruck Germany on June 22 1898 He was drafted into the army at the age of 18 to serve his country in the first World War During his four month stay at the front Remarque was wounded five time and eventually released Upon returning home he floated from job to job ironically enough he spent some time selling tombstones before becoming a writer for a Swedish car magazine It was with those literary skills that he wrote All Quiet on the Western Front Published in 1928 All Quiet on the Western Front enjoyed immediate success selling 1 million books during its first year as well as being translated into English and French where it amassed a similar fan base In 1930 Remarques novel had already been translated into twenty-five different languages as well as put on the silver screen in a grainy black and white film that was a hundred and three minutes of director Louis Milestones version of the book Using the main theme of the institutionalization and depersonalization of war Remarque tells the story of Paul Baumer a 20 year old German solider who is fighting in France with his schoolmates The novel follows Paul and his friends Kat Leer Muller Albert Kropp and Tjaden through their quest to survive The Great War Along the way they realize how the war has stripped them of their emotional attachment to anything other then basic survival and friendship Through Pauls actions and experiences Remarque draws the reader into the book in such a way that he achieves an almost omnipresent state among the audience Because of this the reader feels that indeed Paul could actually BE anyone a relative a friend or the reader himself he identifies with Paul in such a way that he himself feels at times the he is experiencing the sheer horror that unfolds itself to Paul and his friends with every day
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