GoodReads Summary: In 1914 a room full of German schoolboys, fresh-faced and idealistic, are goaded by their schoolmaster to troop off to the ‘glorious war’. With the fire and patriotism of youth they sign up. What follows is the moving story of a young ‘unknown soldier’ experiencing the horror and disillusionment of life in the trenches.
I was sure that in the forewords there was something about "this is not a book to promote war" or anything of the sorts. But alas, the forewords are
This book is to be neither an accusation nor a confession, and least of all an adventure, for death is not an adventure to those who stand face to face with it. It will try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped shells, were destroyed by the war.
... which basically describes the whole book.
The book follows the story of a young German soldier from the beginning of World War I till almost its end. In following him, we learn how training was, how going to the battle front was like, how friendships were forged, how soldiers survived with the small support from the higher ups, how the rest of the society view and treated those who were in the front and how society lived while the war was raging.
Again, my surprise was the "promote war" foreword that I thought existed. 'Cause the book goes far away from it. From it's gory description of the battles, from it's depressing tales of how the society lived, from the sad state most were left when the tides of war changed against those fighting, to the complete desolation of describing how it is to lose someone who fought and helped others in the front, this is far from being a "promotion" of war; if such, it's more of a long story about how governments would engage war without worrying with the poor souls (real people!) who actually got guns in their guns and run against other poor souls that also didn't appear as a single bleep in their government plans.
It's a brutal, sad description of what war really yes.