14 Quotes from Books About War
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I have been collecting these for a while, while reading my favorite war novels. Some, like Slaughterhouse-Five, I love and read over and over. Some, like All Quiet on the Western Front, were far too devastating and while I adore them for what they are, I don’t know that I’ll be reading them again.

Today seems as apt as any to share these quotes from books about war:

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“And I asked myself about the present: how wide it was, how deep it was, how much was mine to keep.”
Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Slaughterhouse-Five

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“It is just an illusion here on Earth that one moment follows another one, like beads on a string, and that once a moment is gone, it is gone forever.”
Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Slaughterhouse-Five

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“I’ve always envied people who sleep easily. Their brains must be cleaner, the floorboards of the skull well swept, all the little monsters closed up in a steamer trunk at the foot of the bed.”

David Benioff, City of Thieves 

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“Anything worth dying for … is certainly worth living for.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22

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“’Why are they going to disappear him?’
‘I don’t know.’
‘It doesn’t make sense. It isn’t even good grammar.’”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22

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“Life’s under no obligation to give us what we expect. We take what we get and are thankful it’s no worse than it is.”
Margaret Mitchell, Gone With the Wind

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“But now, for the first time, I see you are a man like me. I thought of your hand-grenades, of your bayonet, of your rifle; now I see your wife and your face and our fellowship. Forgive me, comrade. We always see it too late. Why do they never tell us that you are poor devils like us, that your mothers are just as anxious as ours, and that we have the same fear of death, and the same dying and the same agony–Forgive me, comrade; how could you be my enemy?”

Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front

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“While it is better to be loved than hated, it is also far better to be hated than ignored.”

Viet Thanh Nguyen, The Sympathizer

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Quote from This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald

“I don’t want to repeat my innocence. I want the pleasure of losing it again.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise

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“They carried the sky. The whole atmosphere, they carried it, the humidity, the monsoons, the stink of fungus and decay, all of it, they carried gravity.”
Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried

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“The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.”

Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms

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“Like most misery, it started with apparent happiness.”
Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

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“I wanted to tell the book thief many things, about beauty and brutality. But what could I tell her about those things that she didn’t already know? I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race-that rarely do I ever simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant.”
Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

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Quote from The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien

“But this too is true: stories can save us.”
Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried

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2 thoughts on “14 Quotes from Books About War

  1. Evelina says:

    I love Vonnegut’s work, I’ve read loads of his books, but for some reason, Slaughterhouse-5 has been one of the lesser favorites of mine. Everyone else seems to love it so much though! I loooooove Remarque though.

    1. Savanah says:

      I love it, though in terms of his books I like his others more 🙂

      Remarque’s novel was intense for me. I found it absolutely brilliant, and I thought it captured the reality of war and how the kids felt way better than any other I’d read, but I don’t think I could read it again.

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