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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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  • Overall

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.

22 of 22 people found this review helpful

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Horror and randomness of war

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.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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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.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Jean
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 11-09-14

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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Dan Greene
  • CHATTANOOGA, TN, United States
  • 10-12-10

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.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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The best war memoir ever read

Junger's account is very detailed and exciting. I've read the book twice and listened to the audio 3-4 times now. It's enjoyable every time.
The narration is excellent.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • George
  • Converse, TX, United States
  • 02-14-12

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

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Extraordinary

Junger challenges how we understand modern warfare, exulting in it; finding in it what a contemporary described as a "desperate glory." And all this written by a young veteran in the immediate aftermath of the "Great War." A bookend to "All Quiet on the Western Front" in any reading list of books on the First World War.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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All Quiet on the Western Front.............NOT!

Would you listen to The Storm of Steel again? Why?

No once is enough unless I have a specific need to do so. I feel that way about most books however.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Ernst Junger the main character and author.

What about Charlton Griffin’s performance did you like?

He did a nice job of putting life in the story

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No. Too long with too much detail and frankly some of it was dull.

Any additional comments?

Starts way too slow. But once engaged the action is fast and very furious. Very descriptive. Witten from a WW1 vet perspective not WW2. He is unburdened with the coming NAZI legacy and has none of the apologies. In fact his attitude is a portent of things to come with sentiments that enabled the NAZI movement. It's all there. The "stab in the back" from the homefront politicians., the withdrawal (not defeat) of the Germany army from France and the lack of understanding of the mass starvation and food riots in German cities because everything was being sent to the war. All in all a good glimpse back on warfare 100 years ago.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Best war journal ever

Amazing book, very detailed description of life in the trenches of WWI. Performance is great as well.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful