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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
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 ›
Juenger was 103 when he died in 1998. He almost lived in three centurys, and two millenia. A noble feat for a remarkable man. The the twentieth century was his.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Ernst Junger is a man little known in the English-speaking world today, but in the 1920s and 30s he was one of the most respected writers in European letters. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Robert Bolton
An okay book about WW1 from the Imperial German side. Has a few short sections which give an insight to how troops lived on the line but they are few and far between. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Krasnoarmeyets
Description reads that it is written in English but it's not. It's German. Don't buy this until it is fixed by Amazon.Published 17 months ago by Doug R.
I have always been more interested in the stories of individuals, rather than armies. The author deserved ten stars for surviving his horrible war and having the wits left about... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Matthew J. Brennan
I have read tons of perspectives from the allies, but this was the first book I read about WW1 from a German perspective. Read morePublished on August 17, 2014 by Amazon Customer