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The Storm of Steel | [Ernst Jünger]

The Storm of Steel

This classic war memoir, first published in 1920, is based on the author's extensive diaries describing hard combat experienced on the Western Front during World War I. It has been greatly admired by people as diverse as Bertolt Brecht and Andre Gide, and from every part of the political spectrum. Hypnotic, thrilling, and magnificent, The Storm of Steel is perhaps the most fascinating description of modern warfare ever written.
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Publisher's Summary

This classic war memoir, first published in 1920, is based on the author's extensive diaries describing hard combat experienced on the Western Front during World War I. It has been greatly admired by people as diverse as Bertolt Brecht and Andre Gide, and from every part of the political spectrum.

Hypnotic, thrilling, and magnificent, The Storm of Steel is perhaps the most fascinating description of modern warfare ever written. Out of the maelstrom of World War I emerge scenes which could have come straight from Dante's Inferno. Once you begin listening, you cannot stop. And it never relents: nerve pounding bombardments, agonizing gas attacks, sudden death that takes down a comrade next to you, and the occasional weeks of relief to restore the spirit when leave is granted to visit some attractive French village...all enveloped in the ghostly confusion of war.

Ultimately, survival comes down to sheer luck. Jünger displays no anger toward his enemies, and near the end he grows fatalistic and weary, even as he redoubles his resolve and maintains his patriotism. Jünger's great book calmly conveys the mysterious attraction of war, the exhilaration of battle, and the undeniable glory of brave men. But he also describes the scenes of soldiers preparing for battle as though they were "some terrible, silent ceremonial that portends human sacrifice."

Public Domain (P)2010 Audio Connoisseur

What Members Say

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  •  
    Charles Fred Smith Plano, Texas 08-11-10
    Charles Fred Smith Plano, Texas 08-11-10 Member Since 2006
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    "World War I from a German Viewpoint"

    Junger's excellent diary of four years' war is put down in highly descriptive prose. He never looses sight of the beauties of nature in a time of horror. The comparison with the descriptions of the same tragedy by Graves and Sassoon will not escape the reader. Junger's unflinching love and support of the Motherland shows through until the end. It is easy to compare the values of the three writers under similar conditions. Junger was in constant combat for four years and served in most of the major battles of the Western Front. He was wounded seven times and received the "Pour le Merit" (Blue Max) for his service. The only fault I found with this great book is that he makes it somewhat difficult to relate his descriptions of war in a limited area to the overall engagement. This is the view from the trench as he watched it unfold and is a classic work of military literature.

    18 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lexi 04-14-13
    Lexi 04-14-13 Member Since 2011

    I am an eclectic person who loves to learn.

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    "Essential listen"
    If you could sum up The Storm of Steel in three words, what would they be?

    Invigorating, poetic, enlightening.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Storm of Steel?

    They broke up chapters of the book with the sounds of artillery and machine gun fire. This made you feel like you were in the trenches. The language was clever and insightful. You felt more respect for those men with every word. Honorable account of the trenches.


    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 11-09-14
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 11-09-14 Member Since 2010

    I am an avid eclectic reader.

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    "A Witness to War"

    “Storm of Steel” was published in 1920 and has been revised a total of six times, the last being with the 1961 re-publication. The structure of the book parallels the structure of the war. The book was a copy of his diary he kept during the war. There is no information about his life prior to 1914. He was 18 when he volunteers for the Army in 1914 and starts his diary. The book is his first person descriptions and features no other person other than Junger. Junger writes a straight forward account of what he did and where he was without very much in the way of soul-searching. The only thing he complains about was that the rations got worse as the war went on. He provides vivid descriptions of the experience of combat. He describes what it was like to undergo an artillery barrage. This is primarily an uncensored account of what war was like for a German soldier on the Western Front.

    Junger was deployed in the 73rd Hanoverian Regiment, also called the Rifle Regiment of Price Albrecht of Prussia. In 1915 he deployed to the Champagne region of France. He received many wounds the first in 1915. Following his recovery of this first wound he was redeployed to the Arras region of Northern France and participated in the battle of the Somme in 1916. He defended the City of Guillemot from attack and later fought in the battles of Arras, Ypres, and Cambrai. During the German Spring Offensive of 1918 he suffered the most serious of his wounds, a shot to the chest that ended the war for him. He ended the war as a lieutenant and was one of the most decorated soldiers in the German Army; he was awarded the Iron Cross First Class, the Knight Cross, the Ritterkreuz and the Pour le Merite (the German equivalent to the Medal of Honor or the British Victoria Cross)

    This book provides the reader with what is was like on day by day bases to be a German soldier during WWI. Charlton Griffin did a good job narrating the book.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dan Greene CHATTANOOGA, TN, United States 10-12-10
    Dan Greene CHATTANOOGA, TN, United States 10-12-10 Member Since 2008
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    "Storm of steel is right!"

    By the time you get through this the thought of 5 or 6 guys shooting rifles at you seems like no big deal - a bit annoying but no reason to jump in a shell hole or anything. I can't believe anyone survived this war at all- especially 4 years of it. Apparently 1914 to 1918 was no holds barred artillery pounding village leveling madness! And listening to Ernst tell his stories about this attack or that manuever or the hellish clatter of a machine gun is amazing. The whole world must have been making shells and bombs and bullets during this time - the scale of firepower is staggering.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    George Converse, TX, United States 02-14-12
    George Converse, TX, United States 02-14-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Excellent!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
    What did you love best about The Storm of Steel?

    Everything, its a great account from the other side.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The detail of his experience you get the feeling of being there with the great description.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The description of the final offensive of 1918


    Any additional comments?

    Never read or heard a WW1 account like this. Outstanding account and highly recommend

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Clark 02-22-13
    Clark 02-22-13
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    "The Side doesn't matter War is Hell"
    What did you love best about The Storm of Steel?

    I'm not sure I loved anything about Storm of Steel. I feel the word love is out of place in this context. Storm of Steel is a view of World War One from a German soldier. I enjoyed the stark reality of what war is all about


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Storm of Steel?

    When the lead character first encounter death.


    Which character – as performed by Charlton Griffin – was your favorite?

    The Lead


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    If you're lucky you will just get wounded.


    Any additional comments?

    Very interesting view from the German side however the overwhelming tone is one of incredible violence which almost becomes the norm, without much sympathy for the individual. Well worth reading if your into the history of Early 20th Century Europe.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 01-15-13

    I grew up on Golden Age Radio, and while I love to read, I typically consume more books via audio thanks to a job that lets me listen while I work. As an aspiring writer, I try to read a great deal of non-fiction in addition to a variety of fictional genres. I especially love history, historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and old-style gothic horror.

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    "World War I - Klingon Style!"

    This account is completely unlike any history book I've ever read or listened to, especially in regards to the First World War. This account, from the journals of Ernst Junger, is one of the most patriotic accounts of this war I've come across. But Junger is not so much fighting for his country as he is fighting for personal glory that only the thrill of battle can bring.

    Interestingly, there's nothing glossy about this account. He tells everything from festering wounds to the actual conditions of trench warfare, and all of the hideousness you'd ever come to expect from the Great War. This account is fast, matter-of-fact, and no holds barred. And yet, it's awkwardly optimistic, as though he didn't understand what was going on. Thing is, he did understand, and he reveled in it. He'd get injured, take leave, recover, and be back on the battlefield seemingly in no time, ready to prove himself all over again. I'd expect this sort of thing if I were reading about Leonidas and the 300 Spartans, or if I were reading about Klingons in a Star Trek novel, but it seems almost unreal here in an historical setting not too far removed from our own time. It's here for you to take in and judge for yourself how it comes across.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Greenberg New York 11-24-14
    David Greenberg New York 11-24-14 Member Since 2008
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    "war, war, war"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Yes. I would listen to it again.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The clear description of the quotidian aspects of life in the German trenches was enlightening. Problem was, it went on and on in the same vein. Without intending to criticize the author, the message of the book appears to be that soldierly bravery is the true measure of both a man and a country. The implication at the end that Germans may again have the opportunity to show "what they are made of" to me shows that he is unreflective and did not really see outside the trenches. They were his world.
    Contrast this with "All Quiet on the Western Front", which the Nazis rightly considered and antiwar book. This leans to a pro-war book.
    However, that is NOT a reason not to read it.


    Have you listened to any of Charlton Griffin’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have not but his reading was excellent. I could have done without the guns and explosion sounds between chapters. They were only irritating.


    Did The Storm of Steel inspire you to do anything?

    No


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roger A Guffey 11-05-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Highly Recommended"
    Would you listen to The Storm of Steel again? Why?

    Absolutely. It was very interesting and wonderfully performed. It was great to hear from an actual soldier's perspective.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The perspective and the detail of daily existence in the trenches.


    Which character – as performed by Charlton Griffin – was your favorite?

    Ernst Junger himself.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    His description of what being shelled was actually like was very moving. It painted a picture of something that is hard to imagine in a way that made you understand it on an emotional level.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steve Medina, NY USA 07-22-13
    Steve Medina, NY USA 07-22-13 Member Since 2011

    Eclectic and mindful. Enjoy literary forensics with an eye on how the effects of postmodern deconstruction shapes our worldview.

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    "A helmet view of trench warfare"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Storm of Steel to be better than the print version?

    Like Sledge's "The Old Breed" this is one soldier's account that describes his experience and humanity in war. With a bit of Victorian reticence the author omits detailed descriptions of death and defragmentation that now is expected in 21st century writing. For those of us who have been there we know that some things are best left unsaid. If you are looking for a modern gory personal account of what war is like then read Restropo. This book nests nicely with Tuchman's Gun of August."


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The Author


    Have you listened to any of Charlton Griffin’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    My reaction was one of mindful reflection and respect for the individual soldier regardless of side trying to survive. It also demonstrates the expectation of humanity and brutality in an individual way that balances one's moral sense in order to faces chaos.


    Any additional comments?

    None

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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