About this Event
The German Consulate General is looking forward to hosting the distinguished EU Book Club, focusing on the world-renowned masterpiece of anti-war literature “All Quiet on the Western Front” by Erich Maria Remarque in October this year. This highly acclaimed novel, which inspired the Oscar-winning Netflix adaptation, catapulted Remarque to global fame, offering a timeless portrayal of the harrowing realities of modern warfare.
In the gripping narrative, a young high school graduate volunteers for military service, only to undergo a harrowing journey in the trenches of World War I that shatters his illusions as he witnesses the tragic loss of his comrades and, ultimately, extinguishes all hope. However, this book holds significance beyond its compelling story. It marked a pivotal moment in German literary history, as Remarque and his publisher Ullstein embarked on a groundbreaking marketing campaign in late 1928.
The impact was immense, with printers struggling to keep up with demand, workers pooling their resources to acquire a copy, and war veterans penning heartfelt letters of gratitude. All Quiet on the Western Front sold 2.5 million copies in 22 languages in its first 18 months in print. But with success came a fierce counterattack. Remarque faced criticism from all sides, labeled as a slanderer, deceiver, pacifist, and war novelist. The strongest voices against Remarque came from the emerging Nazi Party and its ideological allies. In the tumultuous year of 1933, as the Nazis ascended to power, All Quiet on the Western Front found itself condemned to the flames, becoming one of the initial targets of their infamous book burnings, as part of their campaign against what they deemed “degenerate” literature. Yet, Remarque staunchly maintained that his book was “completely apolitical,” raising questions of naiveté or strategic calculation. Remarque remained silent, unwavering in his core message: never again war.
We are pleased that Dr. Florian Gassner from the Department of Central, Eastern, and Northern European Studies at UBC will be joining us as a guest speaker to discuss these and other interesting aspects of the book.
We are looking forward to a thought-provoking discussion in the company of fellow book lovers, accompanied by light refreshments! This EU book club will be held at the beautiful bookstore Upstart & Crow on Granville Island, where you can also purchase a copy of the book in advance.
This is a free event, registration is required.
Event Venue & Nearby Stays
Upstart & Crow, 1387 Railspur Alley, Vancouver, Canada