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Modern Classics Storm of Steele (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – International Edition, August 3, 2004
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Top Customer Reviews
Political cenorship is a fascinating subject and it operates on many levels, both subtle and gross. In a democractic society it generally is practiced in the former manner, so that the majority of people do not even know that it is happening, much less object to its imposition. You would be hard-pressed, for example, to find someone in Western civilization who has not either read, seen a televised adaptation of, or at least heard of Klaus Maria Remarque's seminal "All Quiet on the Western Front." On the other hand, you could blast a fire hose on the Mall on the Fourth of July and not splash a person who has ever heard of Juenger's "Storm of Steel." Were you in fact to do so, you would probably find that the person in question describes it as "war-glorifying" or even "neo-Nazi"; only later would you discover that they have never read it.
Like most people, I was forced to read Remarque's touching "novel" (based of course on his own experiences as a "Frontkaempfer" in WWI) when I was in school, and like everybody else, I coughed up the expected book report denouncing war as a stupid and futile exercise in mass misery and mindless slaughter. Looking back, I can see that every "war" novel and book I was ever assigned in school at any level, even in college, was essentially of the same stripe: war is the most vile, the most disgusting, the most pointless exercise in the category of human endeavor; war solves nothing, and represents absolute evil.Read more ›
Junger later became one of the finest authors of the twentieth century. He is sadly unknown in the Anglo-Saxon world, in much due to his refusal to distance himself from Hitler (he did not embrace nazism though either). He lived an interesting life; he stopped doing LSD when he turned seventy, and he wrote a major treaty on the role of bugs in heraldry. More of his work deserves to be recognized.
The author, Ernst Juenger, was also a gifted writer who created an incredibly vivid and gripping account of his experiences. The only memoir that deserves to be considered its peer is Erwin Rommel's memoirs of his service as a young officer in World War I , published in English as Infantry Attacks. Rommel also won the Blue Max.
Unlike Rommel's book, which reads like a primer for fighting effectively as an infantry officer, "The Storm of Steel" incorporates an almost philosophical endorsement of the heroic life and its values. This sounds positive, but Juenger vividly portrays what a heroic life is really about: slaughtering other human beings, callousness, incredible courage, disregard for one's own life. In practice, a troubling collection of proficiencies and character traits.
The culture that produced such a cool and talented soldier was also the culture that tragically curdled into the Nazi nightmare. No reader will have the answer to how the two phenemona are connected; no reader should avoid posing the question.
His descriptions of the fighting are horrific. At Guillemont, during the battle of the Somme as they are digging out their foxholes, he notices that the "earth" is composed of layers, representing each company that had been fed into the furnace, annihilated, ground to bits only to be replaced by the next company and the next. . . Whole units disappear without a trace. For Jünger the battlefield has its metaphysical element: Gas mask-clad pickets become demons that he converses with, fields of dead and dying exude a sweet smell that drives the living giddy, men disappear for no apparant reason and are never seen again.
Yet for Jünger even though 10 out of 12 soldiers fall, the desolation of war emphasizes and even spiritualizes the joy produced by the noble drive to endure and overcome battle. The fire of war produced over the four years of his service an ever purer and nobler warrior ethos. For this description alone is perhaps the book worth reading, since it provides us with a link to an aristrocratic/military ideal which put service to that ideal above everything else, even one's own survival.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'll immediately begin by explaining why I didn't give this a perfect score: I believe the translation is somewhat faulty and of irregular quality. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Nick
The "War to end all Wars"- hell of a good read on the real life in the trenches- what desolate existence for what? The insanity of War!Published 7 days ago by benjones
The basis of the amazing STORM OF STEEL is the diary that Ernst Junger kept on the Western Front as he fought, mostly as a low-ranking officer, in the Great War. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Ethan Cooper
This book is the "anti" of All Quiet on the Western Front. It's a fast read. For years I had some basic questions regarding many of the typical German soldiers. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Bill Hensler
Absolutely avoid this edition at all costs! There is a translation of the 1929 edition printed in the 1980's available used that is far,far superior to this translation. Read morePublished 3 months ago by T. Walker
An extraordinary book. This was the fifth book I had read while down a rabbit hole regarding WWI (am still down that hole) - and the third "first person" account of front... Read morePublished 3 months ago by chauvesouris