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Storm of Steel (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) 1st Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 126 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0142437902
ISBN-10: 0142437905
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“The definitive World War I account from the German point of view.” —Margaret Atwood, Entertainment Weekly

Storm of Steel is what so many books claim to be but are not: a classic account of war.” —London Evening Standard
 
“Extraordinary . . . Michael Hofmann’s superlative translation retains all the coruscating vitality of the original.” —Niall Ferguson, author of Civilization,Colossus, and The Ascent of Money

About the Author

Ernst Jünger (1895–1998) was born in Heidelberg. He ran away from school and volunteered to join the German army. Fighting throughout the war, he recorded his experiences in several books, most famously in In Stahlgewittern (Storm of Steel).
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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; 1 edition (May 4, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142437905
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142437902
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (126 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,340 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. G Watson VINE VOICE on February 21, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I already wrote a review of "The Storm of Steel" under its full title ("From The Diary of a German Stormtroop Officer on the Western Front"), but I felt compelled to take up a sword here not only on behalf of Ernst Juenger but also against many who deliberately misinterpret his work.

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.
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Format: Paperback
Ernst Junger was there for the duration. He was wounded sixteen times, he lost his brother. He experienced the trench war in all its hellish glory. That's the difference between Storm of Steel and other WWI memoires like Farewll to All That, Memoires of an Infantry Officer, No News from the Western Front, etc: Junger is not anti-war; he loved it! Do not expect some dreaming idealist though. Junger was a harsh realist. Nothing is to horrifying for him to tell (and believe me - there are a lot of horrifying detail!). He took part in the major combats on the western front, so we get a rare first hand glimpse of the war, The style is vivd, yet sober. He comes across as a Prussian gentleman, not cruel, but he does what he has to do to survive.
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.
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Since this is the centennial of WWI I thought I would read a few books relating to it this summer. I had heard that this was a good book. I therefore ordered it and in anticipation of its arrival I read the reviews of it here on Amazon (This is the BEST feature of Amazon and will keep its stock selling for multiples above its P/E for decades) in more depth. I realized that some of this great novel had been expunged because of parts that cast a favorable light on the National Socialist. I then searched another book purveyor and ordered an earlier translation which was a reprint of a 1929 edition by Howard Fertig publishers, no attribution given to translation.

The Amazon edition, translated by Michael Hofmann and published by Penguin arrived first. I began to read it and enjoyed it. The translation is good, crisp, and has a nice flow and rhythm to it. I was on the 3rd chapter when the 1929 edition arrived. At this point I began to read the 1929 edition. By the time I had gotten to where I was with the Michael Hofmann edition I was stunned! The narrator, Ernst Junger, portrayed in both books were totally different. The narrator of the 1929 edition was a classically educated man that was strongly patriotic. The Hofmann translation was of a faceless, unthinking, soldier.

At this point I read them in parallel. It left me profoundly depressed to think that anyone would have the temerity to boldly blot out entire pages of a priceless autobiography. Whatever you may think of German nationalism and the German character, no one, not Hofmann, nor penguin has the right to butcher and slant a great work of literature.
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Edit:

This is abridged. While I was shocked when I had read how much had been removed from the earlier versions, Juenger himself removed much of the nationalist tenor in later revisions. My main gripe is that the earlier versions were an important slice of environment from that period of time - helping people in the future understand what the climate was like in Germany at the time. It helps students understand the following decades and their tragic events. It also helps highlight human flaws; particularly that involving mortal conflict and the ultimate victims of the failure to reach a diplomatic compromise.
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