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4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  3,322 ratings  ·  295 reviews
A memoir of astonishing power, savagery, and ashen lyricism, Storm of Steel illuminates not only the horrors but also the fascination of total war, seen through the eyes of an ordinary German soldier. Young, tough, patriotic, but also disturbingly self-aware, Jünger exulted in the Great War, which he saw not just as a great national conflict but more importantly as a uniqu ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published August 2008 by Ajatus Kirjat Oy (first published 1920)
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I have often lamented the lack of German World War I perspectives. Erich Maria-Remarque aside, I usually read works by British and French scholars, memoirists, diarists, and novelists. Fortunately here is a fine memoir translated from the German by the esteemed Michael Hofmann. I like its very flat spare prose. Everything is simply allowed to stand for itself: bravery, death, corpses, blood, shrapnel, friendship, dreams. Plainly declarative, there is no unnecessary coloration, no prolixity, no s ...more
Expecting a Marinetti-like vociferation, an avant-garde hymn to mechanical war, I initially found Jünger’s narrative a little flat. In The Great War and Modern Memory Paul Fussell makes Jünger sound entertainingly gauche, a gas-goggled steampunk berserker with a will-to-power prose style. I was bored by the 100 pages preceding “chapter” 7, “Guillemont,” whose evocation of the Battle of the Somme finally hooked me:

A runner from a Württemberg regiment reported to me to guide my platoon to the fa
Ernst Jünger is an insurance actuary’s worst nightmare — he smoked, drank, experimented with drugs, served in two world wars, sustained multiple injuries, and yet died only one month shy of 103. And his exploits on the front! You couldn’t make this stuff up. I confess to not knowing many Germans, but the national stereotypes (organized, efficient, not a lot of laughs) were more than born out in his memoir.

One of the things that struck me the most about the book was how different it was from Brit
An oddly jaunty memoir of the Western Front, characterised by what Jünger describes somewhere as his ‘strange mood of melancholy exultation’. I am surprised so many people have found his prose ‘clean’, ‘sparse’, ‘unemotional’ – I thought the opposite, that it was rather over-literary in many places; not overwritten exactly, but with touches of a grand Romantic sensibility that I haven't found in English or French writers of the First World War:

The white ball of a shrapnel shell melted far off, s
Feb 16, 2009 Terence rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: history/memoirs of war fans
Recommended to Terence by: Classics for Pleasure (Michael Dirda)
Ernst Junger's memoir of his time on the Western Front (1914-1918) is a powerful glimpse at what it's like to be a soldier, made all the more powerful because it's unadorned with philosophical introspection or politics. The reader joins Junger as he joins his unit in Champagne and leaves him during his final convalescence in a Hanover hospital. In between, we vicariously experience the daily life of a German officer and his men - and "vicarious" is about as close as any rational person would wan ...more
Jünger's account of the brutal fighting on the western front in WWI makes an enlightening contrast with Robert Graves's Goodbye to All That. Graves's account is comic and ironic, while Jünger's writing is almost completely dispassionate, even while describing his friends being torn to shreds by British artillery and sniper fire--an example of the so-called Neue Sachlichkeit applied to trench warfare. It's hard not to see the difference as an expression of a difference in national character betwe ...more
An interesting book, at points intense, dull, moving, surprising, bloody, and repetitive. I am glad I read it, not particularly for any information it bestowed upon me about the war (there's not much), but more for giving me the flavor of what WWI was like from a first-person perspective. Particularly, the first-person perspective of a person who DIDN'T feel like it was the war to end all wars: in fact, he expresses chagrin at the very idea that war would end, because he considers it an essentia ...more
Apr 10, 2008 Benjamin rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Quimby Melton, Brian Blessinger
"Disturbingly self-aware." Killing did not trouble Junger too much - his ability to move through absolute carnage on an industrial scale cannot but fascinate. The first World War was the charnel house of charnel houses, a maw consuming men and nations whose aftershocks reverberate today not only in Berlin but even in Baghdad. Junger stands in vivid contrast to the ranks of writers who rejected the war and everything it stood for; he found it a positive experience and did not agonize over his exp ...more
Jul 23, 2008 Newengland rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: war lit. fans; WWI buffs, historians
STORM OF STEEL offers WWI from a German soldier's point of view, but Erich Maria Remarque it ain't. All told, author Ernst Junger was shot multiple times, yet would live not only to write this book (and many others) but to celebrate his 103rd birthday (attended by an unusually patient Grim Reaper-in-Waiting). In the penultimate page of this book, he writes: "Leaving out trifles such as ricochets and grazes, I was hit at least fourteen times, these being five bullets, two shell splinters, one shr ...more
This was fantastic. Ernst Junger was in WWI on the German side. His deadpan, factual account of what the war was like for him is riveting & horrific. He describes what trench warfare was like, the victories, defeats & deaths. He also describes the boredom, the terror & the conditions. Often times horrible conditions are described more by the thin assets of the situation, such as getting a pair of good, woolen socks from a captured bunker or being lucky enough to only pick up some shr ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
A book I recommend but with a caveat...I'd say be prepared for a memoir of day to day war. This is an interesting book. If you read the introduction (and I recommend you do) you'll find some insight and some commentary.

By the way. There are multiple editions of this book it has been released many times. The edition I read went with the author's words and Michael Hoffman translates and does an introduction. Mr. Hoffman notes (among other things) that at times Junger uses the wrong word in the te
Being generally anti-war as well as knowing - as anyone does - in which direction post-WWI Germany ultimately turned, this book was chilling for me to read. It is now used as an example of post-WWI militarism in Germany in direct opposition to the anti-war movement epitomized in "All Quiet On The Western Front" by Remarque and "War Against War" by Friedrich. So this book is indeed interesting and important to read, thus I gave it 2 stars, but I can't say I enjoyed the macho aggressive propaganda ...more
Forget Remarque; this is the most important German account of the Great War that I've read. It's scary stuff; Jünger's clinical detachment in regard to the carnage in service of the cult of the warrior shows in itself why it wasn't the war to end all wars. In terms of his international acclaim, his time table of December 1914 to summer 1918 which allowed him to ignore issues of "frighfulness" at the beginning and the "stab in the back" at the end I suspect is the only thing that made this story ...more
Ernst Jünger's account of his years fighting as a German soldier on the Western Front during World War One is one of the most graphic I have ever read in terms of descriptions of injuries and violence. That said, much of a soldier's life is routine and boring, and Jünger covers this aspect too.

I was surprised by Jünger's matter-of-factness. Although the book is all written in the first person it all feels at one remove. Jünger is a consummate professional, accepting everything that comes his way
The classic WW1 fighting memoir is told with honesty, bravado, and an unexpected understanding toward the enemy. The reader will be astonished that Jünger somehow survived the war. Over his nearly fours years of service, from December, 1914, through August, 1918, he was wounded many times, which he tallies with clear pride after it's all done:

Leaving out trifles such as ricochets and grazes, I was hit at least fourteen times, these being five bullets, two shell splinters, one shrapnel ball, fou
This is probably the cheeriest war memoir ever. While Junger occasionally remembers to throw in the the requisite "oh the horrors of war" comment, most of the time it is clear he is having a blast.
Jean Poulos
“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 accou ...more
Karsten Vestergaard
"I stålstormen" er en interessant bog, om ikke andet så fordi den giver et indblik i en usædvanlig personlighed.

Tyske Ernst Jünger meldte sig til infanteriet ved første verdenskrigs udbrud i 1914 og kæmpede ved fronten helt frem til krigens afslutning fire år senere. Undervejs blev han såret alvorligt ikke færre end 15 gange(!), og var ved fredsslutningen avanceret til løjtnant og højt dekoreret.

"I stålstormen" er i høj grad baseret på Jüngers krigsdagsbøger, og skildrer krigen set fra skyttegr
I think Junger is reflecting a lot of the duality or conflict that many soldiers in combat feel; an intense feeling of camaraderie and living on the edge that brings reality into sharper focus. Yet on page 260 (Penguin edition) he says: "...I felt I had got tired, and used to the aspect of war, but it was from this familiarity that I observed what was in front of me in a new and subdued light. Things were less dazzlingly distinct. And I felt that the purpose with which I had gone out to fight ha ...more
How in the world did the writer survive to pen this memoir? On the penultimate page, he recounts the wounds himself and says, not counting ricochets and grazes, he was wounded fifteen times. This over four years on and off at the front, yo-yoing from position to position (though mostly all within the same regiment).

He doesn't linger too long on any one thing, with a couple of exceptions, like his piecing together of memory of what he calls The Great Battle. Otherwise it's just a description of t
This book is interesting to read, as I did, almost back-to-back with Barbusse's Le Feu. The experiences of the two authors are clearly very similar - you will find the same extremely disturbing imagery treated with what seems almost indifference, as exposure to horrors has worn away their susceptibility to shock. However, while Barbusse seems to refute the possibility of a 'right' or 'wrong' in the context of filth, decay and the unreasoning perpetuation of the conflict, Jünger takes most of the ...more
Wow....a very intense description of Ernst's experience fighting in the trenches of World War One.

Really incredible and terrifying.

Also incredible how brave the men were and i found really strange the
gentlemanly attitude of sportmanship and fair play a lot of the time.
Almost every page had descriptions of people getting blown to bits by
hugh artillery rounds and horrendous descriptions of gas attacks and the conditions in the trenches.

It seems to me the generals did not care for one individual li
Gail Kirby
This is a diary account of a German soldier in WW1. I've recently re-read All's Quiet on the Western Front and several selections from Charles Todd's Ian Rutledge detective series (a WW1 survivor) as well as a non-fiction history, G.J. Meyers' A World Undone, and I was surprised at the tone of Storm of Steel. It was almost without any emotion. The events (mostly individual battles) were presented as detailed facts including friends that are killed, jaunts into No Man's Lands and detailed descrip ...more
Egor D
Seldom war diary which describes war so realistic so it gives feeling of you being in fields, being shoot on, being together in trenches. The book gives also a sight on First WW on Western front (Somme and other places in France, Nederlands and Belgium)where are weapons of mass destruction of that time were on its high (such as ship canons of large caliber, landmines, gas and tanks). A lot of small stories of everyday life of unterofficer in German army gives a lot of information about communica ...more
I read a lot of war memoirs and what I liked best about this one is that it's told from the german point of view. Not something that I usually read about from WW1. It was written in a very detached and matter of fact way, with little emotion. More a telling of battles, places and dates, which got a little repetitive, though they were well conveyed. Only 2 stars might seem like I didn't like the book, but that's not the case, I'm just harsh with my ratings and this one was simply okay.
Emily Petroff
Everyone should read this book. It's hard to read in places and overall quite tragic, but it's a first-hand account of the battles of the first world war and writing like this is hard to come by. Junger has an amazing way of weaving all his diary entries into a story that flows well. Unlike a lot of men coming out of WWI Junger isn't really anti-war or shell-shocked to the point of misery. He actually enjoyed his time during the war and it makes the book fun to read even though the things happen ...more
Jonathan Norton
Memoirs of a German infantryman. Junger arrived in the trenches in late 1914 and was stuck in defensive mode for most of the next 4 years, until the final Ludendorff Offensive. Along the way he picked up quite a few wounds that necessitated several periods of convalescsnce back home.

The descriptions of action are chaotic and, to be honest, pretty tedious and hard-to-follow. The modern popular image of the Western Front is of monotonous trench-occupation interspersed with suicidal charges over w
Tim Edison
A powerful journal of a German soldier on the western front in the First World War. He miraculously survives the entire war and is wounded at least twenty times. The prose is simple and effective, portraying with great vigour and sentiment the horror of a true apocalypse.
Roughly 100 years after the start of the First World War, Jünger's autobiographical novel summarizing his experience 1914-1918 on the western front still makes for interesting reading.

Having just read the Odyssey I couldn't help but think that some God must have been with him like Athena was with Odysseus - bullets constantly kill everyone around him, people are torn to shreds, he is wounded about 15 or 16 times, most of these wounds are just minor but close (several times bullets enter his head
Very powerful account of the trench warfare experience of the first world war. Most of the book is very descriptive. Many die grisly deaths and it's clear that they would be anonymous among many others save their recording in this book. The author himself is wounded more than once, and it's amazing he isn't dead given the near constant bombs going off around him. His descriptions of the heavy artillery barrages are intense and terrifying.

Moments of reflection are somewhat infrequent. But when th
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level_bo: Книга февраля (2015) - В стальных грозах 40 46 Mar 17, 2015 04:18AM  
Comparisons 3 40 Jan 05, 2015 02:16AM  
Bright Young Things: "Storm of Steel" by Ernst Jünger 21 31 Oct 29, 2014 01:08PM  
KC - Book Club /int/: Book #2 Storm of Steel - Ernst Jünger 8 28 Oct 06, 2014 11:22AM  
Storm of Steel 4 53 Jan 30, 2013 01:05PM  
  • The Price of Glory: Verdun 1916
  • Her Privates We
  • Under Fire
  • Undertones of War
  • The Somme: The Darkest Hour on the Western Front
  • Goodbye to All That
  • Black Edelweiss
  • The Great War and Modern Memory
  • The First Day on the Somme
  • The Marne, 1914: The Opening of World War I and the Battle That Changed the World
  • The Eastern Front 1914-1917
  • Eye-Deep In Hell: Trench Warfare In World War I
  • July 1914: Countdown to War
  • The Face of Battle
  • The Beauty and the Sorrow
  • In Deadly Combat: A German Soldier's Memoir of the Eastern Front (Modern War Studies (Paper)
  • Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age
  • Gallipoli
German writer. In addition to his many novels, he is well known for Storm of Steel, an account of his experience during the First World War.

Many regard him as one of Germany's greatest modern writers and a hero of the conservative revolutionary movement following World War I. Others dismiss him as a militarist or reactionary.

More about Ernst Jünger...
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“Habent sua fata libelli et balli [Books and bullets have their own destinies]” 10 likes
“Throughout the war, it was always my endeavour to view my opponent without animus, and to form an opinion of him as a man on the basis of the courage he showed. I would always try and seek him out in combat and kill him, and I expected nothing else from him. But never did I entertain mean thoughts of him. When prisoners fell into my hands, later on, I felt responsible for their safety, and would always do everything in my power for them.

p. 58”
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