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Storm of Steel by Ernst Jünger
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Storm of Steel (1920)

by Ernst Jünger

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907None9,664 (3.99)50
  1. 41
    All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Taken together, Jünger's memoir and Remarque's novel present a pair of radically different views concerning the German soldier's experience in World War I.
  2. 00
    Goodbye to All That by Robert Graves (Anonymous user)
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Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
best memoir from World War 1. compare to the weepy, whiny British war poets or All Quiet on the Western Front. this is a much more profound, honest and disturbing work. ( )
  clarkland | Mar 26, 2014 |
This was mentioned as a source in Dan Carlin's work Blueprint for Armageddon as being a historical title too gruesome for childhood education. This statement seems justified.

The journal accounts tell of a people with a very different mindset from out own, and went against some of my preconceived notions about the thinking of the time. Why a different mindset? The soldiers he describes in this book seem to be utterly fearless and self-sacrificial. A bit romanticized...but I don't think he's invented this because he does take pauses throughout to describe very unheroic behaviors on his part and others.

Hmm. It's worth a read. Definitely. ( )
  mortensengarth | Feb 16, 2014 |
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. Even when learning that his brother lies injured nearby he acknowledges some distress but, having done what he can, returns to the fray with barely a pause.

Jünger's sense of detachment meant the narrative was less involving, despite the visceral nature of much of what Jünger describes, and as such it is a far less successful memoir than, say, "Goodbye to All That" by Robert Graves in which I felt I got to know and understand the person as well as the soldier. That said, anyone seeking to gain an insight into the experience of a front line soldier during World War One will do well to find a better account. ( )
  nigeyb | Jan 30, 2014 |
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 had been used up, and no longer held. The war posed new, deeper puzzles. It was a strange time altogether." He, I think, has us follow his glory in the war, then suddenly shifts to a more reflective look at what he has been through. But in the end, he falls back on the patriotism with which he has been indoctrinated and tries to fight on despite overwhelming odds and the end of the war. I'll have to dig up a biography.

Reading this book was a little strange. It had the feel of a diary, but a disconnected one. I didn't get a really good sense of who he was. Certainly he was a brave (read lucky and/or stupid) man who did what he was told. He speaks of his men's admiration for him, but I didn't get a sense of why they would do so. I had no idea that lieutenants rated servants, and in one instance he is upset because his servant put too much salt on his eggs and ruined them.

I know this book has been denounced as fascistic and supportive of Nazi ideology. Perhaps others are seeing something I don't. Rather for me it was someone who accepted his lot, did the best he could under difficult circumstances, but, all the while reporting the horror of the war and its senseless slaughter, seemed somehow immune to it. ...less "

Sorry for the confusion - I originally mistakenly gave this 3 stars then decided to drop it to 2. ( )
  ecw0647 | Sep 30, 2013 |
Note added 1/24/09 I wonder how this relates to Sassoon's [b:Memoirs of an Infantry Officer|250839|Memoirs of an Infantry Officer|Siegfried Sassoon|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1173143890s/250839.jpg|1534277]. I shall have to read that, too.

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 had been used up, and no longer held. The war posed new, deeper puzzles. It was a strange time altogether." He, I think, has us follow his glory in the war, then suddenly shifts to a more reflective look at what he has been through. But in the end, he falls back on the patriotism with which he has been indoctrinated and tries to fight on despite overwhelming odds and the end of the war. I'll have to dig up a biography.

Reading this book was a little strange. It had the feel of a diary, but a disconnected one. I didn't get a really good sense of who he was. Certainly he was a brave (read lucky and/or stupid) man who did what he was told. He speaks of his men's admiration for him, but I didn't get a sense of why they would do so. I had no idea that lieutenants rated servants, and in one instance he is upset because his servant put too much salt on his eggs and ruined them.

I know this book has been denounced as fascistic and supportive of Nazi ideology. Perhaps others are seeing something I don't. Rather for me it was someone who accepted his lot, did the best he could under difficult circumstances, but, all the while reporting the horror of the war and its senseless slaughter, seemed somehow immune to it. ( )
  ecw0647 | Sep 30, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ernst Jüngerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hofmann, MichaelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The train stopped at Bazancourt, a small town in Champagne, and we got out.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0142437905, Paperback)

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 unique personal struggle. Leading raiding parties, defending trenches against murderous British incursions, simply enduring as shells tore his comrades apart, Jünger kept testing himself, braced for the death that will mark his failure.

Published shortly after the war’s end, Storm of Steel was a worldwide bestseller and can now be rediscovered through Michael Hofmann’s brilliant new translation.

First time in Penguin Classics
Acclaimed new translation based on a new authoritative text
Widely viewed as the best account ever written of fighting in World War I

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:30:15 -0400)

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'As though walking through a deep dream, I saw steel helmets approaching through the craters. They seemed to sprout from the fire-harrowed soil like some iron harvest'. "Storm of Steel" is one of the greatest works to emerge from the catastrophe of the First World War. A memoir of astonishing power, savagery and ashen lyricism, it illuminates like no other book the horrors but also the fascination of total war, presenting the conflict through the eyes of an ordinary German soldier. As an account of the terrors of the Western Front and of the sickening allure that made men keep fighting on for four long years, "Storm of Steel" has no equal.… (more)

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