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
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.
Member since 2000
Somehow, against incredible odds, Ernst Junger served and survived the entire duration of the First World War. Junger relates the death and devastation he witnessed as though he was more than a participant engaged in a titanic struggle. It's as if he were a reporter relating the hell he witnessed. His words evoked images in my mind as though I was sitting on some hillside watching it all. Of the many first hand accounts of battle I have read, and there have been dozens, none compare to this one. Any reader who enjoys the kind of book that leaves them wanting more will relish this memoir.
I am an eclectic person who loves to learn.
Invigorating, poetic, enlightening.
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.
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.
I am an avid eclectic reader.
“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.
Everything, its a great account from the other side.
The detail of his experience you get the feeling of being there with the great description.
The description of the final offensive of 1918
Never read or heard a WW1 account like this. Outstanding account and highly recommend
Absolutely. It was very interesting and wonderfully performed. It was great to hear from an actual soldier's perspective.
The perspective and the detail of daily existence in the trenches.
Ernst Junger himself.
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.
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.
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.
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
When the lead character first encounter death.
If you're lucky you will just get wounded.
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.
This is a memoir of a guy who fought in the trenches in World War 1, and liked it.
So the message isn't All Quiet on the Western Front by any means. The style is different too. It's a bit like a series of after action reports combined with the Iliad. A lot of emotionally detached we did this and that and probably should have done that instead, etc, but also a lot of very gruesome Iliad-like depictions of battle -- the shell exploded and the guy's intestines were draped all over the wire, etc. He writes beautifully, even in translation, which makes his fanaticism for battle even more disturbing. He's like a Nazi, but with more class. Indeed, the Nazis loved him, but he disliked them -- he's a bit of an intellectual and social snob, too.
Even the writing has limits:he gives a lot of well-written, even poetic descriptions of nature, and frankly discusses the mixture of fear and helplessness that overtakes even the bravest man (which has got to be this guy -- he won every medal there was) under heavy shelling. His shortcomings are that he offers no 3D (or even 2D really) depictions of other human beings. A lot of this guy was a good soldier, then he died in this terrible way and then his replacement died in this other way, and a third guy got it a bit later.
German propaganda made a lot of soldiers who allegedly had Nietzsche in their knapsacks. Well, apparently this guy believed in that stuff, and never got disillusioned no matter how many times he got hit (and it was a lot) and how many died around him. I think that's the crazy part.
In summary, I think this is a good book if you are, like me, a history buff who wants an unflinching but well-written account about what it was like in the trenches in WWI. If you are looking for a well-rounded, anti-war literary piece, like the English war poets or Remarque, definitely not what you want.
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