While attending high school, there were a lot of books that I was exposed to that were of vastly varying quality. There was the boring but harmless (The Grapes of Wrath, virtually every short story ever written), there were the works of obvious and stunning quality (Of Mice and Men, To Kill A Mockingbird) and there were pieces of such maliciously awful tripe that I think they were given to us as a test to see if we would complain (The Great Gatsby, The Great Gatsby Again). But on some rare occasions we would get a book that would really get inside me and alter the way that I viewed the world. Watership Down was one, Cathcer in the Rye was another, but neither had the power of All Quiet on the Western Front.To a teenage boy cresting the waves of manhood, this story of young German kids stuck in a war they can't understand the scope of as Germany is systematically emptied of all of its resources and soldiers is deeply affecting. As the characters in the book changed with the passing of time and each new horror that came their way, in some way, miniscule in comparison, I changed too. As such, this is probably the single most important book I read while growing up. Messages of honor, sacrifice, but more important, of handling things that come that seem unbearable but must be borne. If you are a teacher, please let your kids read this. If you're a parent, get your kid into it. Its a downer and a half, no doubt about that, but its worth it.