Comments: 3
OMG. And he wrote that in 1931 ...

Thanks for the reminder. This finally needs to move from my virtual TBR to my physical one ... and from there onto my "read" shelf.
BrokenTune 3 months ago
This is set in 1918/19, so "relatively" close to the time he wrote this still, and very obviously based on his own experiences as the main character Ernst seems to resemble some of R's own biography.
There are few words for how gut-wrenching this book is from the first scenes of the group of soldiers not believing that the war was over to them having to return to their school to finish their classes (which just seems insane!) to them trying to find a way back into civilian life.

The fact that he perfectly captures the rise of fascism at a much earlier stage than many others just makes the book so much more tragic. And the fact that there are so many comparisons to be drawn between the rise of nationalism and people hijacking the historical events to advocate for their own purposes at the time that R. wrote this and some of the things that are going on right now is just sad and rage-inducing.

I thoroughly recommend this. There are also some rare references to the 1919 revolutions and criticisms of the Freikorps and other things that I haven't seen all that much of in other books of the same time. It left me in no doubt why he left for Switzerland as soon as he could.
Yes -- it's frightening how many books from that time sound so incredibly relevant again right now (so do Hannah Arendt's). In honour of the upcoming armistice centenary, our locak paper just had an extra insert edition featuring photos of soldiers returned from WWI wounded and maimed, and struggling to settle back into civilian life. I want to take each one of those photos and shove it under the noses of the hatemongers stoking up the public public debate these days.