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Storm of Steel

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  8,115 ratings  ·  632 reviews
One of the great war memoirs, published here in a stunning Deluxe Edition for the centenary of World War I and the Battle of the Somme — and featuring a foreword by the New York Times bestselling author of Matterhorn

A worldwide bestseller published shortly after the end of World War I, Storm of Steel is a memoir of astonishing power, savagery, and ashen lyricism. It illumi
Paperback, 320 pages
Published May 31st 2016 by Penguin Classics (first published 1920)
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Sam It's rated high for lots of reasons, but your question seems to be really asking "why is this book rated so high even though it appears to glorify…moreIt's rated high for lots of reasons, but your question seems to be really asking "why is this book rated so high even though it appears to glorify war?"

Junger is a voice for an era that is hard to imagine for modern people. Soldiering had been a respectable profession (in Britain) or so entrenched in society through conscription (France and Germany/Prussia) that it permeated the way people of that time thought. Almost non-existent in Western society today, a sizable portion of populations of numerous nations supported war not just as a way to further national interests, but as a way to ensure that moral and ethical standards were maintained. Without war, materialism and consumption would cripple or destroy society as they knew it.

To cast off this book simply because it glorifies war or violence would ignore that it stands as valuable piece of history that helps us understand the way some felt about the savage conflict in which they found themselves.

Also, Junger denounced the Nazi's and refused to lend his considerable respect and admiration of the German people for Hitler or Goebell's propaganda purposes. Although Junger felt strongly about German identity, Junger was not a Nazi. He did serve as an officer for the Wehrmacht, spending much of the War in occupied Paris. (less)
Martin I am half way through this book currently and from what I have seen so far there is nothing I can see that would be inappropriate for your younger…moreI am half way through this book currently and from what I have seen so far there is nothing I can see that would be inappropriate for your younger brother. The descriptions of the carnage of war - the injuries and slaughter - whilst unflinching and at times detailed, even matter-of-fact, are not overly graphic or explicit. Whilst obviously patriotic and a passionate supporter of his side during the war there is a lot of respect given to the enemy and an understanding that both sides faced the same problems and level of onslaught.
Whether the way the book was subsequently used, by the Nazis for example, is another matter but shouldn't detract from the book itself and what it conveys about this ghastly conflict

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Jan 06, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-war-i, war
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
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
Jun 21, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This is probably the cheeriest war memoir ever. While Jünger 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. Based on his other hobbies (travel, hunting, joining the French Foreign Legion, dangerous political conversation, taking all available drugs) he seems to have quite the adrenaline junkie. Kind of amazing that he lived to over a hundred.

Appearances can be deceiving: this man is totally stealing your h
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
Sep 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Funny how everyone has heard of ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT, but hardly anyone recognizes that other major German-language battlefield novel of the First World War, STORM OF STEEL, in German In Stahlgewittern (1920). Of course, ALL QUIET is resolutely pacifist while STORM is not -- it's an in-your-face battle story, not unlike Norman Mailer's breakthrough novel The Naked and the Dead twenty-six years later. It is relatively apolitical, unlike author Ernst Jünger's later leanings: in the late ...more
Roy Lotz
War means the destruction of the enemy without scruple and by any means. War is the harshest of all trades, and the masters of it can only entertain humane feelings so long as they do no harm.

Ernst Jünger was a born soldier: neither risk-averse nor foolhardy, able to command the loyalty of others and to follow orders without question, able to fight without malice and kill without scruple. These are his captivating memoirs of his service in the First World War.

The consensus of posterity regardi
This has to be the best bit of WW1 writing I've experienced so far. I've often maintained that the Great War was the last major conflict in which the combatants regarded the foe with a certain amount of respect and chivalrous conduct. They were equals at arms, with neither side having an ungodly edge in technology, as we see today. Junger was typical of young officers of the time, whether they wore the grey or khaki: he was keen to fight, and did so energetically. His aggressive nature can be de ...more
Jul 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't help associating this WWI memoir with what I've read recently, particularly Speedboat and Sleepless Nights, that wouldn't seem related at all on the surface but definitely shared a sense of fragmented cohesion, or cohesive fragmentation. This one and those two novels by late-'70s NYC intellectual women offer minimal to zero plot and characterization but excel thanks to unique voice, setting, and perception/vibe. Storms of Steel is just as fractured as "Speedboat," with just as many fl ...more
Bryan Alexander
Feb 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-war-i, lit
This is an excellent and unusual World War I novel.* It's unusual in that most WWI fiction and memoires are anti-war, dark and furious at the appalling human waste.** Ernst Jünger, in contrast, had a grand time.

Well, that's a bit flip. Storm of Steel is full of savagery, physical suffering, squalor, and an ultimate sense of frustration. But the narrator also exults in war. He delights in daredevil acts, charging the enemy, organizing his troops, and appreciating details of life in the rear. Jün
Dec 30, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  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
Mar 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written. Junger has extraordinary gifts as a writer. The one thing that makes it harder to connect with his accounts was his cool detachment in his presentation of events and experiences. Beneath the surface is a bit of soft nationalism which is obnoxious but not completely blind or extreme, at least not as blind or extreme as one would expect from a French or German citizen/soldier who was constantly indoctrinated with this nationalistic state propaganda of the times. It really is p ...more
Apr 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Unsettling memoire from a German officer who fought throughout the first world war. He took thirteen wounds and survived, having fought in many of the key battles on the western front. The book gives a sense of what the war was like, full of monotony, terror, comradeship and blood and guts.

A touch vain glorious for my taste, and the author shows little sense of regret. Very matter of fact about death and destruction. I suspect that one becomes inured to death if one faces it every day.
“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
Mar 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don’t think I’ve read a memoir of WW1 written by a German. It was therefore interesting, to say the very least. It is extremely well written. He is intelligent, well read a very fine warrior and leader of men at such a young age.

The pages are heaped with carnage which starts to numb after a while. Each side respects the other’s prowess which does not dilute the hatred needed to fuel the fight but there is generally a shared code of honour between them. Each side indulges in the dirtiness of ch
Mathijs  Aasman
May 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book. Vivid descriptions of combat make you feel as though you are there. A counterpoint to the views of Remarque et al. who came out of the war with a far less exalted view of the crucible of war as Junger, not to say that WWI was a 'good war'.
Mar 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 13, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  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
George (BuriedInBooks)
A journey of ups, downs and gore.

The war years of Ernst Jünger are filled with gore, drama and bloodshed. Storm of steel really does not hold back when it comes to describing the gore and stark reality of The Great War.

Ernst's story consists of rapid rises through the ranks of the Imperial German Army. And the many difficult decisions that follow that cost the life's and save life's of his fellow soldiers.
Ernst's journey takes him through the most awful battles of the Great War, The Somme,
Sotiris Karaiskos
I learned about the existence of this book from a rather unlikely source, a Dutch extreme metal band, God Dethroned, released a series of albums with the theme of the First World War and as one of their sources of inspiration stated this book. Now that I have read it, I can understand this influence, although certainly in many places this influence is less. The certain thing is that it is a book that shows the brutal reality of this confrontation from within. The author was actively involved in ...more
Elizabeth (Alaska)
This is an account of one German soldier's experience in World War I. He was wounded at least 11 times, patched up and sent back to the front. Not very interesting, eh? Junger was an extraordinary observer who kept a diary from the first day of the war to its conclusion. His was the first such soldier's account to be published after the war. From that diary he gave us enormous insight. The prose is so much better than one might expect - even his occasional quoting of that diary.
The stream poured
Apr 09, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  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
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
Free download in German available at Project Gutenberg.

The train stopped at Bazancourt, a small town in Champagne, and we got out. Full of awe and incredibility, we listening to the slow grinding pulse of the front , a rhythm we were to become mighty familiar with over the years.
Apr 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
As the son of a Second World War combat veteran, there is something about November 11th that resonates deep within me. That day brings into sharp relief the sacrifices made by the veterans of the First World War. For that reason, while scanning my library a few days ago, I resolved to read an eyewitness account of the war --- from the German side.

For the author, Ernst Jünger (1895-1998), the war was a long one, spanning from 1915 to 1918. During those years, he saw a considerable amount of acti

Read By: Charlton Griffon
Copyright: 2010
Audiobook Copyright: 2010
Genre: History

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Blurb: 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,
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
Jan 29, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ww1
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
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
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Around the World ...: Discussion for Storm of Steel 4 55 Nov 06, 2016 01:59PM  
Jocko Podcast Boo...: Storm of Steel 1 16 Mar 29, 2016 03:02PM  
Jocko Podcast Boo...: Jocko Podcast #14 - Guilty Pleasures, Training, Discipline 2 13 Mar 16, 2016 11:09AM  
level_bo: Книга февраля (2015) - В стальных грозах 40 66 Mar 17, 2015 04:18AM  
Comparisons 3 52 Jan 05, 2015 02:16AM  

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Ernst Jünger was a decorated German soldier and author who became famous for his World War I memoir Storm of Steel. The son of a successful businessman and chemist, Jünger rebelled against an affluent upbringing and sought adventure in the Wandervogel, before running away to briefly serve in the French Foreign Legion, an illegal act. Because he escaped prosecution in Germany due to his father's ef ...more
“Habent sua fata libelli et balli [Books and bullets have their own destinies]” 29 likes
“These moments of nocturnal prowling leave an indelible impression. Eyes and ears are tensed to the maximum, the rustling approach of strange feet in the tall grass in an unutterably menacing thing. Your breath comes in shallow bursts; you have to force yourself to stifle any panting or wheezing. There is a little mechanical click as the safety-catch of your pistol is taken off; the sound cuts straight through your nerves. Your teeth are grinding on the fuse-pin of the hand-grenade. The encounter will be short and murderous. You tremble with two contradictory impulses: the heightened awareness of the huntsmen, and the terror of the quarry. You are a world to yourself, saturated with the appalling aura of the savage landscape.

p. 71”
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