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Modern Classics Storm of Steele (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – International Edition, August 3, 2004

4.4 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Undoubtedly the most powerful memoir of any war I have ever read ... Storm of Steel combines the most astonishing literary gifts with absorption with war in every detail. It has German loyalties and a German sensibility, but not a trace of propaganda. It is particular, yet universal ... What Junger saw and recorded was, to use his own word, 'primordial'. It takes great art to convey that appalling simplicity -- Charles Moore Telegraph Storm of Steel is what so many books claim to be but are not: a classic account of war Evening Standard Hofmann's interpretation is superb The Times Unique in the literature of this or any other war is its brilliantly vivid conjuration of the immediacy and intensity of battle Telegraph

About the Author

Ernst Jünger, the son of a wealthy chemist, ran away from home to join the Foreign Legion. His father dragged him back, but he returned to military service when he joined the German army on the outbreak of the First World War. Storm of Steel was Jünger's first book, published in 1920. Jünger died in 1998.

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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Modern Classics
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classic; New Ed edition (August 3, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141186917
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141186917
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.7 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,099,813 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Christopher W. Coffman on May 31, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book was practically impossible to find for many years, which is remarkable, given its high quality. It is an extraordinary account of personal combat experience from World War I, written by a truly heroic young soldier who was awarded the highest honor for outstanding valour, the Pour le Merite, or Blue Max.
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.
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Format: Paperback
Ernst Jünger's memoirs of his service as a junior officer with the 73rd Hannoverian Fusilier Regiment on the Western Front are different than any other war memoirs I've read. Jünger provides a cold, insightful, yet evenhanded view of the war in the trenches. He respects the English soldiers he's up against, hears funny stories about pre-war Cambrai from the elderly French couple in whose house he's been quartered, and is invited along with his comrades to share bountiful suppers with Flemish farmers. While passionate about the honor he must uphold as a soldier and his support of the "idea", he refuses to demonize his enemy.
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.
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Format: Paperback
Discover Ernst Juenger! Before you read Remarque's more famous "All Quiet on the Western Front" begin with Juenger's "Storm of Steel". The difference in perspective and the first hand account from a genuine German hero is a must read for the student or scholar of WWI. "Storm of Steel is based upon the personal diaries and experiences of Juenger as an officer in the 73rd Hannover Fussiliers. He was awarded Imperial Germany's highest decorations for valour in the face of the enemy and was the last living holder of the famous "Pour le Merite". His style and prose is classic literature at its best. Once finished, the reader will actively seek out other works of Juenger who is relatively unknown in the English speaking world. Read both "Storm of Steel" and Remarque's more famous work. Finish them off with chapters 1914-1918 in Guenther Grass's newest work "My Century". You'll get a great feel for who Ernst Juenger was. You won't be disappointed in anyway.
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.
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Format: Paperback
This book really comes from a different perspective than mostwar novels. It is written by a man who actually felt his experiencesmade him stronger, rather than destroyed him. Alot of people today go on about how pointless war, citing WW1 as the best example, is. I always find this slightly patronising towards those who actually fought, and it makes me cringe. I have got the impression that many of the few surviving veterans do not share this perspective. Although their experiences were terrible, if they had thought it was pointless, they would have dropped their guns and deserted en masse. They actually stayed because, for all they endured, they felt a sense of duty and nationhood, and a feeling of pride at what they came through. This feeling is, rightly or wrongly, largely portrayed as a bad thing today. I think, out of respect, rather than patronising their memories and suggesting that we know better, people today should pay more heed to the reasons our grandfathers and great grandfathers endured what they did. This book provides a brilliant individual perspective on the feelings of patriotism and duty that all the belligerent societies were instilled with as part of their upbringing. Ernst Juenger was obviously an incredibly strong character. He counted 20 puncture wounds in his body at the war's end, was awarded the Pour Le Merite and Iron Cross, and died only 2 years ago aged 103. Whether you would jump into a trench and fight people yourself if called to is irrelevant, and whether you would share his obvious feelings of duty and pride is too. Respect should be paid to these sentiments, which are often rubbished by people today, but were commonly expressed by the men on all sides. Their ideals, whether you agree with them or not, helped them endure what they did, and serve as an inspiration to us all. READ THE BOOK!
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