Ads Banner
Hot Best Seller

In Stahlgewittern, von Ernst Jünger, ebook

Availability: Ready to download

In Stahlgewittern, aus dem Tagebuch eines Stosstruppfuhrers: Large Print By Ernst J�nger Unlike some other reproductions of classic texts (1) We have not used OCR(Optical Character Recognition), as this leads to bad quality books with introduced typos. (2) In books where there are images such as portraits, maps, sketches etc We have endeavoured to keep the quality of these In Stahlgewittern, aus dem Tagebuch eines Stosstruppfuhrers: Large Print By Ernst J�nger Unlike some other reproductions of classic texts (1) We have not used OCR(Optical Character Recognition), as this leads to bad quality books with introduced typos. (2) In books where there are images such as portraits, maps, sketches etc We have endeavoured to keep the quality of these images, so they represent accurately the original artefact. Although occasionally there may be certain imperfections with these old texts, we feel they deserve to be made available for future generations to enjoy. We are delighted to publish this classic book as part of our extensive Classic Library collection. Many of the books in our collection have been out of print for decades, and therefore have not been accessible to the general public. The aim of our publishing program is to facilitate rapid access to this vast reservoir of literature, and our view is that this is a significant literary work, which deserves to be brought back into print after many decades. The contents of the vast majority of titles in the Classic Library have been scanned from the original works. To ensure a high quality product, each title has been meticulously hand curated by our staff. Our philosophy has been guided by a desire to provide the reader with a book that is as close as possible to ownership of the original work. We hope that you will enjoy this wonderful classic work, and that for you it becomes an enriching experience.


Compare
Ads Banner

In Stahlgewittern, aus dem Tagebuch eines Stosstruppfuhrers: Large Print By Ernst J�nger Unlike some other reproductions of classic texts (1) We have not used OCR(Optical Character Recognition), as this leads to bad quality books with introduced typos. (2) In books where there are images such as portraits, maps, sketches etc We have endeavoured to keep the quality of these In Stahlgewittern, aus dem Tagebuch eines Stosstruppfuhrers: Large Print By Ernst J�nger Unlike some other reproductions of classic texts (1) We have not used OCR(Optical Character Recognition), as this leads to bad quality books with introduced typos. (2) In books where there are images such as portraits, maps, sketches etc We have endeavoured to keep the quality of these images, so they represent accurately the original artefact. Although occasionally there may be certain imperfections with these old texts, we feel they deserve to be made available for future generations to enjoy. We are delighted to publish this classic book as part of our extensive Classic Library collection. Many of the books in our collection have been out of print for decades, and therefore have not been accessible to the general public. The aim of our publishing program is to facilitate rapid access to this vast reservoir of literature, and our view is that this is a significant literary work, which deserves to be brought back into print after many decades. The contents of the vast majority of titles in the Classic Library have been scanned from the original works. To ensure a high quality product, each title has been meticulously hand curated by our staff. Our philosophy has been guided by a desire to provide the reader with a book that is as close as possible to ownership of the original work. We hope that you will enjoy this wonderful classic work, and that for you it becomes an enriching experience.

30 review for In Stahlgewittern, von Ernst Jünger, ebook

  1. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Ernst Jünger is an insurance actuary’s worst nightmare — he smoked, drank, experimented with drugs, served in two world wars, sustained multiple injuries, and yet died only one month shy of 103. And his exploits on the front! You couldn’t make this stuff up. I confess to not knowing many Germans, but the national stereotypes (organized, efficient, not a lot of laughs) were more than born out in his memoir. One of the things that struck me the most about the book was how different it was from Brit Ernst Jünger is an insurance actuary’s worst nightmare — he smoked, drank, experimented with drugs, served in two world wars, sustained multiple injuries, and yet died only one month shy of 103. And his exploits on the front! You couldn’t make this stuff up. I confess to not knowing many Germans, but the national stereotypes (organized, efficient, not a lot of laughs) were more than born out in his memoir. One of the things that struck me the most about the book was how different it was from British memoirs of the Great War. To begin with, Storm of Steel was published in 1920, a good ten years before most people had recovered enough to write their memoirs. But Ernst Jünger was a born soldier, and therein rests the core of the book’s particular power. Absent are the self-deprecating humor, the overwhelming sense of loss and the bitter ironies of English memoirs. Jünger was a man of duty, focus, and extraordinary resilience. He didn’t write to condemn the war and shock future generations into pacifism, nor did he write to glorify war — he merely recorded his experience with a descriptive power unhampered by lengthy reflections and commentary. When he discovers that his younger brother had been deployed nearby he does show some real fear, but for the most part he’s remarkably objective about the four years of brutal, relentless slaughter. That’s not to say the slaughter doesn’t play a starring role. The mud, the rats, the screeching shells, the gas, the horrific injuries, and the driving rain of bullets and shrapnel are clinically, even ruthlessly described. You get a clear picture of the battlefield’s inexorable and indiscriminate danger. But he describes horrors, such as layers of corpses from previous offensives being turned up by new shelling and entire towns being obliterated, with the sort of detachment that, combined with his apparent indestructibility, makes for the ultimate soldier. For Jünger, war didn’t destroy young men — it strengthened them, albeit at a steep price. He seemed to relish the chance to prove himself by volunteering for every daring reconnaissance mission, savoring the danger, the heightened senses, the high stakes of success or failure — even though many of his comrades were blown to smithereens during these missions. Yet in spite of the years of bloodshed that could easily have destroyed or dehumanized him, he never lost the simple joys of smoking his pipe or discovering tins of jam in a British dugout. I couldn’t help thinking that if you had enough Jüngers in your country, the idea of a super race would seem pretty reasonable. At the end of the war he calculates, “Leaving out trifles such as ricochets and grazes, I was hit at least fourteen times, these being five bullets, two shell splinters, one shrapnel ball, four hand-grenade splinters and two bullet splinters, which, with entry and exit wounds, left me an even twenty scars.” Who calls being grazed by a bullet a "trifle"?! I guess someone who's been through the Great War. After one double wound (shot in the head and leg), he walked two miles to a casualty clearing station. Compare that to my recent brush with Crest white strips, which made my teeth hurt so much after only a few minutes that I had to take three Aleve and go to bed. I doubt Ernst would have had much patience with me. This isn’t an easy read — by the end you sort of feel as though you’ve been through the war yourself — but it’s unbelievably compelling.

  2. 4 out of 5

    William2

    I have often lamented the lack of German World War I perspectives. Erich Maria Remarque aside, I usually read works by British and French scholars, memoirists, diarists, and novelists. Fortunately here is a fine memoir translated from the German by the esteemed Michael Hofmann. I like its very flat spare prose. Everything is simply allowed to stand for itself: bravery, death, corpses, blood, shrapnel, friendship, dreams. Plainly declarative, there is no unnecessary coloration, no prolixity, no s I have often lamented the lack of German World War I perspectives. Erich Maria Remarque aside, I usually read works by British and French scholars, memoirists, diarists, and novelists. Fortunately here is a fine memoir translated from the German by the esteemed Michael Hofmann. I like its very flat spare prose. Everything is simply allowed to stand for itself: bravery, death, corpses, blood, shrapnel, friendship, dreams. Plainly declarative, there is no unnecessary coloration, no prolixity, no subtext, little in the way of moral judgement. After reading Robert Graves's Goodbye to All That about the efficiency of the German trenches, I found it fascinating to get a sense of how those fortifications were built and how they functioned. Niall Ferguson in The Pity of War goes on at some length about the greater efficiency of German soldiers than their opponents. Jünger has here provided at least one example: the Germans simply didn't have the resources--munitions, for example--that the Entente Powers had. They had to do more with less, and did so:Hundreds of British soldiers were running forward through a flat communications trench, little troubled by the weak gunfire we were able to direct at them. The scene was indicative of the inequality of resources with which we had to fight. Had we essayed the same thing, our units would have been shot to pieces in a matter of minutes. Author Ernst Jünger was nineteen, the proverbial ephebe, when he went to the front. He was at first an enlisted man in the infantry who after a brief convalescence was commissioned an ensign and given responsibility for a platoon. He was frequently on the frontlines during the early years, responsible for his short stretch of the line, his poor comrades dropping all around him like flies. I suppose the oddest moments are when the tone becomes madcap, devil may care, despite the storm of steel.. Jünger was wounded with varying degrees of severity fourteen times by his count, except for the last time he was afterward always sent back to the front. Such travails you would think might sour a man, yet the attitude he evinced toward the British, which his soldiers shared, was anything but ungentlemanly: The [British] sargeant practically had both legs sheered off by hand-grenade splinters; even so, with stoical calm, he kept his pipe clenched between his teeth to the end. This incident, like all our other encounters with the Britishers, left us pleasantly impressed by their bravery and manliness. In the Introduction to the book translator Michael Hofmann quotes Gide who wrote in his diary: "Ernst Jünger's book on the 1914 War, Storm of Steel, is without question the finest book on war that I know: utterly honest, truthful, in good faith." I would agree. It is the finest book on World War I from the German perspective that I know. It also represents an utterly obsolete means of statecraft. War's elimination will only happen by way of the collective will of all of us. I ask you therefore to please sign the Charter for Compassion. Thank you.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    Expecting a Marinetti-like vociferation, an avant-garde hymn to mechanical war, I initially found Jünger’s narrative a little flat. In The Great War and Modern Memory Paul Fussell makes Jünger sound entertainingly gauche, a gas-goggled steampunk berserker with a will-to-power prose style. I was bored by the 100 pages preceding “chapter” 7, “Guillemont,” whose evocation of the Battle of the Somme finally hooked me: A runner from a Württemberg regiment reported to me to guide my platoon to the fa Expecting a Marinetti-like vociferation, an avant-garde hymn to mechanical war, I initially found Jünger’s narrative a little flat. In The Great War and Modern Memory Paul Fussell makes Jünger sound entertainingly gauche, a gas-goggled steampunk berserker with a will-to-power prose style. I was bored by the 100 pages preceding “chapter” 7, “Guillemont,” whose evocation of the Battle of the Somme finally hooked me: A runner from a Württemberg regiment reported to me to guide my platoon to the famous town of Combles, where we were to be held in reserve for the time being. He was the first German soldier I saw in a steel helmet, and he straightaway struck me as a denizen of a new and far harsher world. Sitting next to him in a roadside ditch, I questioned him avidly about the state of the position, and got from him a grey tale of days hunkered in craters, with no outside contact or communications lines, of incessant attacks, fields of corpses and crazy thirst, of the wounded left to die, and more of the same. The impassive features under the rim of the steel helmet and the monotonous voice accompanied by the noise of the battle made a ghostly impression on us. A few days had put their stamp on the runner, who was to escort us into the realm of flame, setting him inexpressibly apart from us. “If a man falls, he is left to die. No one can help. No one knows if he’ll return alive. Every day we’re attacked, but they won’t get through. Everyone knows this is about life and death.” Nothing was left in his voice but equanimity, apathy; fire had burned everything else out of it. It’s men like that you need for fighting. That Jünger sees the runner as one of the men “you need for fighting” instead of a pitiable hollow man is pretty characteristic. Storm of Steel may not be a Futurist manifesto, but neither is it a rueful anti-war meditation, with the Western Front as a stereotyped literary inferno where Europe is dying and no one is right. Jünger is far from elated by the infernal engines plowing the landscape and vaporizing whole platoons— —but he doesn’t think they cancel his chivalric-gymnastic idea of soldiering. His war remains an arena of individual dash, a tournament of gallants: Even in these frightful moments, something droll could happen. A man next to me pulled his rifle to his cheek and pretended to shoot at a rabbit that suddenly came bounding through our lines. It all happened so abruptly, I had to laugh. Nothing is ever so terrible that some bold and amusing fellow can’t trump it. Storm of Steel was published in 1920 and retained, through numerous revisions (this translation uses the final, 1961 edition), much of Lt. Jünger’s apolitical, athletic euphoria in battle, his consummately personal drive to win. His enemy isn’t the British Empire or the French Republic; he seeks out and kills the men in the opposite trench, the opposing team (a year before war broke out, Jünger was in the French army—he ran away from school, from the straitened routine of well-to-do bourgeois, and joined the Foreign Legion). Bruce Chatwin called Jünger’s persona “an aesthete in the center of a tornado, quoting Stendahl” (another soldier-writer-adventurer). To that I would add: a teenage Quixote pursuing a private errand through the battle royale of empires, an incarnation of bardic archaisms amid industrial global war. Storm of Steel is shaped as a saga. Jünger consistently favors legendary parallels. Lobbing grenades while storming British trenches is just updated swordplay, really: Then you hurled your own bomb, and leaped forward. One barely glanced at the crumpled body of one’s opponent; he was finished, and a new duel was commencing. The exchange of hand-grenades reminded me of fencing with foils; you need to jump and stretch, almost as in ballet. It’s the deadliest of duels, as it variably ends with one or other of the participants being blown to smithereens. Or both. He says his personal attendant, Vinke, “followed me into battle like the squires of yore” (he also scraped Jünger clean after he stumbled into a puddle of someone else's panic diarrhea). Strolling about in the “radiant and narcotic” lush-blooming May of 1917 Jünger reflects mystically: It’s easier to go into battle against such a setting than in cold wintry weather. The simple soul is convinced here that his life is deeply embedded in nature, and that his death is no end. With sacks of grenades strapped across his chest, he led one of the teams of storm troops that stove in the British lines in March 1918, as part of Ludendorff’s last-ditch gamble to defeat the Allies before fast-arriving fresh American troops could tip the balance. Jünger gestures only vaguely at the strategic momentousness of the Michael Offensive and gives it a more fabulous title: “The Great Battle.” Storm of Steel stops in September 1918—not with Germany’s impending defeat, but with Jünger’s own apotheosis as a warrior. The last line of the book is the text of a telegram he received in hospital: “His Majesty the Kaiser has bestowed on you the order pour le Mérite. In the name of the whole division, I congratulate you.” The Kaiser, who is two months from abdication and exile; the Croix pour le Mérite, established by Frederick the Great, and the highest award available to servants of the dying Kaiserreich (Jünger was one of the last to win it, and when he died in 1998, the latest-surviving recipient). The first 100 pages of Storm of Steel bored me, hence the 3 stars, but the remainder is thrilling. I wasn’t surprised to read that the bookish half-blind young Borges, with his cult of gaucho knife fights and macabre tangos, adored Jünger’s stylish, violent, essentially cold-blooded testament. In the afternoons, the village was under bombardment from all sorts of weapons and calibers. In spite of the danger, I was always loath to leave the attic window of the house, because it was an exciting sight, watching units and individual messengers hurrying across the field of fire, often hurling themselves to the ground, while the earth whirled and spat to the left and right of them. Peeping over destiny’s shoulder like that to see her hand, it’s easy to become negligent and risk one’s own life. Of course, Jünger gives off a strong whiff of Fascism. Walter Benjamin dismissed his nationalist writings of the 1920s as “sinister runic humbug.” Jünger’s archaic airs bear a family resemblance to the programmatic primitivism of the nuttier avant-garde and the Nazis, and Hitler craved his prestigious endorsement—but the same solipsism that allowed Jünger to fight the Great War as a personal quest kept him out of mass politics, however much he condemned the Weimar Republic and dreamt of a rearmed Germany; also, he was not an anti-Semite. With the profits of the bestselling Storm of Steel he bought a rural retreat and pursued entomological researches (he was fond of armored beetles). His situation in the 1930s was that of an “internal émigré.” We’re more comfortable with the Soviet version. Oblique and private opposition to Hitler we read as cowardice, especially in someone with Jünger’s untouchable prestige...and access to Hitler, and skill with weapons. From 1938 he was vaguely associated with plots against Hitler, though Clive James says he was “never an active conspirator, he thought he was doing his duty to civilized values merely by despising Hitler. The thought of killing him did not occur.” In 1939 he published an allegorical attack on Nazism, On the Marble Cliffs, which was suppressed. In 1940 he rejoined the army, and was dismissed 1944 for his closeness to the ringleaders of the Stauffenberg plot. He spent most of the war years in Occupied Paris, indulging his biblio- and oenophilia, dining with André Gide and composing the diaries that in Chatwin’s judgment combine “acute observation and an anesthetized sensibility” in “the strangest literary production of the Second World War, stranger by far”—get this—“than anything by Céline or Malaparte.” If that weren’t enough to pique my interest—AC and Chris Sastre have given me some idea of the strangeness of Céline and Malaparte—Jünger’s prewar notebooks of secret dissent and war diaries recur throughout James’s Cultural Amnesia, as loci classici of the crisis of humanism: When intellectuals conspire to undermine vulgar democracy in favour of a refined dream, it might seem unfair to condemn them for failing to foresee the subsequent nightmare. And Moeller, though outstandingly qualified, was only one among many. But there were too many: that was the point. Too many well-read men combined to prepare the way for a pitiless hoodlum who despised them, and they even came to value him for being a hoodlum: for lacking scruples, for being a drum of nature. Among the revolutionary conservative intellectuals, Jünger is the real tragic figure. He saw the light, but too late. In his notebooks he gradually de-emphasized his call for conservative revolution led by men who had been “transformed in their being” by the experience of World War I. In 1943, in Paris, he was told the news about the extermination camps, and finally reached the conclusion that he had been staving off since the collapse of the Weimar Republic he had helped to undermine: one of the men whose being had been transformed by their experience of the Great War was Adolf Hitler. The quality Jünger valued most had turned out to be the only one he shared with the man he most despised.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mir

    This is probably the cheeriest war memoir ever. While Jünger occasionally remembers to throw in the the requisite "oh the horrors of war" comment, most of the time it is clear he is having a blast. Based on his other hobbies (travel, hunting, joining the French Foreign Legion, dangerous political conversation, taking all available drugs) he seems to have quite the adrenaline junkie. Kind of amazing that he lived to over a hundred. Appearances can be deceiving: this man is totally stealing your h This is probably the cheeriest war memoir ever. While Jünger occasionally remembers to throw in the the requisite "oh the horrors of war" comment, most of the time it is clear he is having a blast. Based on his other hobbies (travel, hunting, joining the French Foreign Legion, dangerous political conversation, taking all available drugs) he seems to have quite the adrenaline junkie. Kind of amazing that he lived to over a hundred. Appearances can be deceiving: this man is totally stealing your hash and LSD if you don't keep an eye on him. And then possibly your car, which he may crash while trying to hunt mountain lions without a license.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Warwick

    An oddly jaunty memoir of the Western Front, characterised by what Jünger describes somewhere as his ‘strange mood of melancholy exultation’. I am surprised so many people have found his prose ‘clean’, ‘sparse’, ‘unemotional’ – I thought the opposite, that it was rather over-literary in many places; not overwritten exactly, but with touches of a grand Romantic sensibility that I haven't found in English or French writers of the First World War: The white ball of a shrapnel shell melted far off, s An oddly jaunty memoir of the Western Front, characterised by what Jünger describes somewhere as his ‘strange mood of melancholy exultation’. I am surprised so many people have found his prose ‘clean’, ‘sparse’, ‘unemotional’ – I thought the opposite, that it was rather over-literary in many places; not overwritten exactly, but with touches of a grand Romantic sensibility that I haven't found in English or French writers of the First World War: The white ball of a shrapnel shell melted far off, suffusing the grey December sky. The breath of battle blew across to us, and we shuddered. Did we sense that almost all of us – some sooner, some later – were to be consumed by it, on days when the dark grumbling yonder would crash over our heads like an incessant thunder? In the heat of battle, where Barbusse and Genevoix feel a nauseated horror, Jünger instead feels ‘an almost visionary excitement’ – even ‘a twinge of arousal’. Where Sassoon and Manning lament the loss or corruption of their entire generation, Jünger merely comments with apparent approbation that ‘over four years, the fire smelted an ever-purer, ever-bolder warriorhood’. It's all very slightly off-putting; and the tone is quite hard to judge, despite the newness of this translation from Michael Hofmann. He (Hofmann) spends a lot of time in his introduction denigrating his predecessor Basil Creighton's version of 1929; this is not a classy move, particularly when I wouldn't call his own translation especially fluent (though I'm sure there are fewer direct errors). There are many odd word choices – like ‘grunt’ for soldier, which to my ears is very American and anyway wasn't used before the 1960s; and repeatedly using ‘splinter’ to describe a huge piece of shrapnel that can pierce a man's chest gives, I think, the wrong impression. Most of all, there is a lot of that awkward juxtaposition between high and low register that is the hallmark of ‘translationese’: A lark ascends; its trilling gets on my wick. Hofmann knows his subject, though, and his introductory essay has some interesting comments that contextualise Storm of Steel (what an appropriately George-RR-Martinesque title that is!). He makes the intriguing and, I think, convincing suggestion that Jünger's book has a ‘natural epic form’, as opposed to comparable accounts in English which are ‘lyrical or dramatic’. There are indeed many moments here that you might fairly call Homeric, not least in their tone of gung-ho excitement – and considering this helped me clarify what it was I disliked about the book. Because isn't it the case that the epic form, with its tendency to revel in the ‘glory’ of war, is in some sense fundamentally dishonest – and, more to the point, isn't that precisely one of the lessons that the First World War taught us?

  6. 5 out of 5

    ALLEN

    Funny how everyone has heard of ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT, but hardly anyone recognizes that other major German-language battlefield novel of the First World War, STORM OF STEEL, in German In Stahlgewittern (1920). Of course, ALL QUIET is resolutely pacifist while STORM is not -- it's an in-your-face battle story, not unlike Norman Mailer's breakthrough novel The Naked and the Dead twenty-six years later. It is relatively apolitical, unlike author Ernst Jünger's later leanings: in the late Funny how everyone has heard of ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT, but hardly anyone recognizes that other major German-language battlefield novel of the First World War, STORM OF STEEL, in German In Stahlgewittern (1920). Of course, ALL QUIET is resolutely pacifist while STORM is not -- it's an in-your-face battle story, not unlike Norman Mailer's breakthrough novel The Naked and the Dead twenty-six years later. It is relatively apolitical, unlike author Ernst Jünger's later leanings: in the late Twenties, when Germany's Weimar Republik was obviously struggling, he opined that he hated Democracy "like the plague" and remained an ardent Nationalist. There is that to consider if latent political factors are enough to put you off. On the other hand STORM OF STEEL is gripping, with only brief breathers from the emotional and physical brutality of war. A plus for intermediate students of German is that, since the novel is short and not rife in Modernist technique in the way of, say, Thomas Mann's MAGIC MOUNTAIN, it makes a fairly accessible read in its original language. It is worth noting that the real Ernst Jünger must have made his peace with Democracy on some level, because he lived in the Federal Republic of Germany (Western Germany) until his death at age 102. Photos: The author as a young man -- and in later years --

  7. 4 out of 5

    Roy Lotz

    War means the destruction of the enemy without scruple and by any means. War is the harshest of all trades, and the masters of it can only entertain humane feelings so long as they do no harm. Ernst Jünger was a born soldier: neither risk-averse nor foolhardy, able to command the loyalty of others and to follow orders without question, able to fight without malice and kill without scruple. These are his captivating memoirs of his service in the First World War. The consensus of posterity regardi War means the destruction of the enemy without scruple and by any means. War is the harshest of all trades, and the masters of it can only entertain humane feelings so long as they do no harm. Ernst Jünger was a born soldier: neither risk-averse nor foolhardy, able to command the loyalty of others and to follow orders without question, able to fight without malice and kill without scruple. These are his captivating memoirs of his service in the First World War. The consensus of posterity regarding this war is that it was bloody, tragic, and ultimately inconclusive—the exemplar of a brutal, pointless war. Erich Maria Remarque, who fought on the same side and on the same front as Jünger—albeit far more briefly—writes of his experience with trauma and disgust. Yet Jünger’s memoirs, equally as bloody as All Quiet on the Western Front, are strangely warm and cheery. A born soldier, he felt right at home. As regards the basic experiences of the war, Jünger’s memoirs cover all the bases: bloody hand-to-hand combat, endless artillery shelling, taking cover in shell-holes and scrambling to put on one’s gas-mask, swarms of flying shrapnel and bullets, and death forever prowling. But out of this basic fabric of experiences Jünger weaves a heroic and even jaunty tale, a battle narrative of gallantry and daring. Each soldier, in Jünger’s archaizing eyes, is a knight locked in a gentlemanly joust with an enemy, motivated by duty and honor. I often wondered whether this quaint way of viewing the war was some kind of subtle psychological defense mechanism, shutting out its horrors with a chivalrous fantasy; but Jünger seems to have carried this perspective with him before the fight even began. In many ways Jünger reminds me of Patrick Leigh Fermor. Both war heroes, both adrenaline junkies, both of a seemingly inexhaustible vitality—Leigh Fermor lived to 96, Jünger to 104—and both obscenely well-educated, these two authors tend to see life as a legend. Jünger's prose has none of Remarque's cinematographic immediacy. By comparison his writing is highly stylized, like a Byzantine mosaic or Homeric verse. Admittedly, this is more true of the first half than the second, which becomes quite thrilling. In any case it takes a special kind of person to compare an artillery bombardment to “a witch’s cauldron,” or to motivate oneself in battle by quoting a verse from Ariosto. The ending of the book contains, in brief, some of Jünger’s thoughts on the significance of the war. Clausewitz’s famous aphorism, that war is “politics by other means,” seems to have been lost on Jünger. For him the war’s value was not in accomplishing any concrete objective—which was, in any case, foiled for Germany—but in hardening the fighting men. You might say that, for Jünger, the war was valuable for its own sake. The extreme circumstances of war roused in the soldiers an equally extreme dedication to an ideal beyond themselves, the ability to yield themselves completely to their Fatherland; and he thought that future generations would look on the soldiers much as saints: And so, strange as it may sound, I learned from these very four years of schooling in force and in all the fantastic extravagance of material warfare, that life has no depth of meaning except when it is pledged for an ideal, and that there are ideals in comparison with which the life of an individual and even of a people has no weight. Personally I find this view disturbing, as I’m sure many do. The nationalistic dreams of Kaisers are nothing in comparison with even one life. In any case I think history has amply proven Jünger mistaken; in just a few years, the very hardening anvil of war he praised led to another, even more deadly war—under a regime which Jünger himself despised. And whatever we may think of the heroism displayed by individual soldiers, it is outweighed by the sheer horror of it all. I also must say that I am incredulous that someone who lost so many friends and comrades—and who himself narrowly escaped death, getting wounded 14 times—could talk in such fanciful, romantic, and vague terms about the lessons of the war—and again I wonder, was this some kind of defense mechanism? In sum, this must be one of the oddest war memoirs ever published, equal parts exciting, off-putting, and exacerbating. For those interested in the First World War, certainly it is required reading.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    This has to be the best bit of WW1 writing I've experienced so far. I've often maintained that the Great War was the last major conflict in which the combatants regarded the foe with a certain amount of respect and chivalrous conduct. They were equals at arms, with neither side having an ungodly edge in technology, as we see today. Junger was typical of young officers of the time, whether they wore the grey or khaki: he was keen to fight, and did so energetically. His aggressive nature can be de This has to be the best bit of WW1 writing I've experienced so far. I've often maintained that the Great War was the last major conflict in which the combatants regarded the foe with a certain amount of respect and chivalrous conduct. They were equals at arms, with neither side having an ungodly edge in technology, as we see today. Junger was typical of young officers of the time, whether they wore the grey or khaki: he was keen to fight, and did so energetically. His aggressive nature can be deduced from the way he kitted himself out for battle (P.168): I had got together some kit appropriate to the sort of work I meant to be doing: across my chest, two sandbags, each containing four stick-bombs, impact fuses on the left, delay on the right, in my right tunic pocket an 08 pistol on a long cord, in my right trouser pocket a little Mauser pistol, in my left tunic pocket five egg hand grenades, in the left trouser pocket luminous compass and whistle, in my belt spring hooks for pulling out the pins, plus bowie knife and wire-cutters. in my inside tunic pocket I carried a full wallet with my home address, in my right back pocket, a flat flask of cherry brandy." Junger is not all business, however, and is quick to note humorous or ironical situations. Many passages are tinged with a bit of sardonic humour. I'm sure his colleagues and underlings were somewhat chagrined to find Junger did not mind calling them by name, as in the case of this unfortunate fellow: "In the platoon left of us, Sergeant Hock, the unfortunate rat-catcher of Monchy, aimed to discharge a white flare, picked up the wrong flare, and instead sent up a red barrage light, which was taken up in all quarters. Straight away our own artillery opened up, and it was a joy to behold. One shell after another came yowling down out of the sky and showered the field ahead of us in a fountain of shards and sparks on impact. A mixture of dust, stale gases and the reek of flung carcasses brewed up from the craters. After this orgy of destruction, the shelling quickly flooded back to its previous levels. One man's slip of the hand had got the whole titanic machinery of war rolling." During his days in the trenches, Junger and his troops would face French, Indian, and Scots regiments at various times. Prisoners were usually treated humanely, and often troops did not fire on stretcher bearers from the other side. With all that amiable co-operation going around, one wonders why they didn't just drop the guns and go for a beer. Junger ponders that himself, in regarding a Brit soldier he had killed (p.219): Outside it lay my British soldier, little more than a boy, who had been hit in the temple. He lay there, looking quite relaxed. I forced myself to look closely at him. It wasn't a cae of "you or me" any more. I often thought back on him; and more with the passing of the years. The state, which relieves us of our responsibility, cannot take away our remorse; and we must exercise it. Sorrow, regret, pursued me deep into my dreams." I am happy to enthusiastically recommend this book to anyone, not only war buffs. Junger is an excellent writer and this book is one I will read over and over again, it's just that good.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Bryan Alexander

    This is an excellent and unusual World War I novel.* It's unusual in that most WWI fiction and memoires are anti-war, dark and furious at the appalling human waste.** Ernst Jünger, in contrast, had a grand time. Well, that's a bit flip. Storm of Steel is full of savagery, physical suffering, squalor, and an ultimate sense of frustration. But the narrator also exults in war. He delights in daredevil acts, charging the enemy, organizing his troops, and appreciating details of life in the rear. Jün This is an excellent and unusual World War I novel.* It's unusual in that most WWI fiction and memoires are anti-war, dark and furious at the appalling human waste.** Ernst Jünger, in contrast, had a grand time. Well, that's a bit flip. Storm of Steel is full of savagery, physical suffering, squalor, and an ultimate sense of frustration. But the narrator also exults in war. He delights in daredevil acts, charging the enemy, organizing his troops, and appreciating details of life in the rear. Jünger is repeatedly wounded (16 times for 20 punctures, he claims (314-5)), but keeps coming back for more. He learns a great deal, grows as a person, and ultimately looks ahead to a non-hideous future. What a light, Nietzschean spirit. The plot is that of a war diary, following Jünger from the struggle's outbreak in 1914 through the failure of the Central Powers in late 1918. We don't get details of grand strategy or the big picture; instead, the text focuses on the immediate experience of life and death on the Western Front. The novel excels at this detail. We watch troops deal with boredom, fighting off rats, coming up with nicknames for bad food. We see minute aspects of billets, gear, and personal details. There are few persistent characters, and none realized in any serious depth, but they create an impression of the armed forces around the narrator. The sensual details and psychological aspects are quite clear.Weak natures are prone to the atavistic impulse to destroy; and it takes hold of the trench fighter in his desolate existence when any one appears above ground. I have felt it myself only too often. (219) I was in full array: two sandbags in front of my chest, each with four stick bombs, the left-hand one having instantaneous, the right-hand with time fuses; in the right-hand pocket of my tunic I had an 08 revolver on a long cord, in my right trouser pocket a small Mauser pistol; in my left tunic pocket five egg bombs; in the left trouser pocket a phosphorescent compass and a policeman's whistle; in my belt spring hooks for pulling out the bomb pins, a dagger, and wire-cutters. There was a pocket-book in my breast pocket and my home address, and n the pocket of the back of my tunic a flat flask of cherry-brandy. (196-7) I believe I have found a comparison that exactly conveys what I, in common with all the rest who went through the war, experienced in situations like this. It is as if one were tied tight to a post and threatened by a fellow swinging a sledge-hammer. Now the hammer is swung back for the blow, now it whirls forward, till, just missing your skull, it sends the splinters flying from the post once more. (81) We can see certain famous historical details of the war through the narrator's eyes. Gas is frequently used and very frightening. Machine guns sweep fields. Air power is unremarkable, and not idolized, as we hear in some accounts. Artillery is the very worst, the god of war, utterly terrifying, and worse when experienced in the form of too-frequent friendly fire. Tanks rarely appear, and the one confrontation with some we see is pathetic:There was a cluster of shell-shot tanks quite close to the embankment, and I often went to look at them. They bore names that were sometimes humorous, sometimes defiant, and sometimes affectionate, and they were camouflaged with paint; but they were all in a pitiable plight. The little cabin of armored plate, now shot to pieces, with its maze of pipes, rods, and wires, must have been an extremely uncomfortable crib during an attack, when the monsters, hoping to baffle the aim of our guns, took a tortuous course over the battlefield like gigantic helpless cockchafers. I thought more than once of the men in these fiery furnaces. (286-7) This reads like science fiction, when humans encounter artifacts of powerful aliens from another world or time. When not describing the combat zone Jünger reminds us of his excellent taste. He reads Tristram Shandy during leave, criticizes or celebrates taste in furniture, analyzes paintings, and reflects on the human condition. The war never degrades his sensibility. Again and again Jünger celebrates the fighting prowess of his men. We don't get a sense of decay and social breakdown as we find in some French, Russian, and British accounts. No, Storm's German soldiers are infused with patriotism, well drilled, and fierce in battle right through the end.What is more sublime than to face death at the head of a hundred men? Such a one will never find obedience fail him, for courage runs through the ranks like wine. (27) Prussian military traditions are singled out for praise. Again, this is so different from other WWI accounts, which emphasize military futility and decay. Horror and gore are present throughout, as befits the subject.[O]ur gunner, the volunteer Motullo, was killed by a shot through the head. Though his brain fell over his face to his chin, his mind was still clear when we took him to the nearest dugout. (231) Ultimately Storm of Steel lauds the generation of German fighters as having successfully passed through the ultimate test. The final chapter describes not the fall of the German empire in revolution, humiliation, and economic ruin, but points to new careers for veterans, who seem likely to triumph in whatever they do. This is an uplifting ending - again, how strange for a WWI novel! I recommend this for anyone interested in the history, or in memoires/autobiographical fiction about experiences of enormous stress. Its non-tragic perspective is rare. Again the carnival of carnage beckoned. (308) *I'm reading the 1929 English language translation. I don't know how different subsequent versions are. **with the exception of American Willa Cather's strange One of Ours (1923), where our hero finds purpose and satisfaction in the trenches. The only bad part about the war is that the Treaty of Versailles isn't as good as it could have been. Yes, an odd book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lee Klein

    I couldn't help associating this WWI memoir with what I've read recently, particularly Speedboat and Sleepless Nights, that wouldn't seem related at all on the surface but definitely shared a sense of fragmented cohesion, or cohesive fragmentation. This one and those two novels by late-'70s NYC intellectual women offer minimal to zero plot and characterization but excel thanks to unique voice, setting, and perception/vibe. Storms of Steel is just as fractured as "Speedboat," with just as many fl I couldn't help associating this WWI memoir with what I've read recently, particularly Speedboat and Sleepless Nights, that wouldn't seem related at all on the surface but definitely shared a sense of fragmented cohesion, or cohesive fragmentation. This one and those two novels by late-'70s NYC intellectual women offer minimal to zero plot and characterization but excel thanks to unique voice, setting, and perception/vibe. Storms of Steel is just as fractured as "Speedboat," with just as many fleeting human encounters but this is differentiated of course by the ever-present possibility of a bullet in the eye, shrapnel severing an essential artery, excessive inhalation of chlorine gas, on and on. Also, as far as I know, Renata Adler never shot an enemy soldier about to capture her as she lay on her back, bleeding, after a bullet punctured her lung. Junger was mentioned a few times in the fifth part of 2666 and last year I read and loved All Quiet on the Western Front and also earlier this year read some Imre Kertész Holocaust-related books -- those were the forces at play before reading. After reading, the single lingering impression (beyond "war is hell") is luck. In a concentration camp or in the trenches, death is always there, horrors unimaginable in peacetime are everywhere out in the open, and there's really no way to ensure survival. He's developed elevated anticipation for incoming bombs and makes many of the right moves at the right time but so often the same move a minute later would've meant death. Junger is wounded six times and comes away with twenty serious scars (entry and exit wounds) and each one, if his body contorted another way or if the trajectory of the shell or bullet had been just a little different this book never would've been written, let alone read 100 years later. A century later, it's still read because it's gripping, so clearly describes the storms and stresses of battle and the times of quiet in-between, and it does so without much theorizing or hand-wringing or editorializing about humanity. For the most part, it's a feat of dramatization. He shows courage, mercy, passion, suffering, cowardliness, rage, companionship, sympathy, on and on. His respect for the enemy is remarkable and his impressions of near-death moments, when he thought that death was finally upon him and felt something like lightness and happiness and harmony with the world, noticed how all the pebbles on the ground around him were perfectly and intricately patterned, are reassuring somehow. And when he does generalize about humanity it's always welcomed and well-phrased. Michael Hofmann is a top translator of course (loved his The Radetzky March). Sometimes the language seemed to carry excessive British slang, a few times to the point of not making sense or seeming like a word was missing, but as with Berlin Alexanderplatz, I'm sure Hofmann was accurately rendering or at least relaying a sense of old-timey German slang in the original. As with Holocaust novel/memoirs, books like this are good for your perspective -- the general takeaway, despite the daily "fresh hell" of the news, is that things could be worse these days. Imagine everything devastated, every church steeple razed so not to help enemy artillery set its sights, every old tree shattered, little girls in pools of their own blood laid out on the front steps of well-to-do houses, rats everywhere, and the air more or less at all times alive with deadly projectiles. I'm sure if the current president were to read this (or have it read to him), he'd come away with bloodlust more than hunger for ever-lasting peace.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Terence

    Ernst Junger's memoir of his time on the Western Front (1914-1918) is a powerful glimpse at what it's like to be a soldier, made all the more powerful because it's unadorned with philosophical introspection or politics. The reader joins Junger as he joins his unit in Champagne and leaves him during his final convalescence in a Hanover hospital. In between, we vicariously experience the daily life of a German officer and his men - and "vicarious" is about as close as any rational person would wan Ernst Junger's memoir of his time on the Western Front (1914-1918) is a powerful glimpse at what it's like to be a soldier, made all the more powerful because it's unadorned with philosophical introspection or politics. The reader joins Junger as he joins his unit in Champagne and leaves him during his final convalescence in a Hanover hospital. In between, we vicariously experience the daily life of a German officer and his men - and "vicarious" is about as close as any rational person would want to get to war. Junger is not a pacifist. He did not enter the war an eager, young idealist only to have reality turn him into a burnt-out cynic or ardent pacifist as often seems to happen in other, perhaps better-known memoirs. He entered the war an ardent nationalist and patriot, and came out no less so. He is not, however, blind to the horrors and rampant stupidity and the capricious fortune that makes one man a hero and another a coward (or dead). A couple of examples: In the final months of the war, Junger's company (about 80 men) is ordered to advance againt the British lines. They enter the maze of trenches, quickly losing their way and stumble upon an equally confused group of British (New Zealand) soldiers (about 200). The surprise is so complete, the "fog of war" so dense, that, without a melee, Junger's men capture them all. In another engagement, Junger is ordered to take 14 men across the no-man's zone in a reconnaissance mission and to capture some soldiers for interrogation. Almost from the beginning, the patrol goes awry and 10 of the 14 never return. Needless to say, the mission objectives remained unfulfilled. But that appears to be par for the course - little exercises designed to keep the men occupied but with little or no tactical value. Reading Storm of Steel, I'm reminded of Christopher Hedge's War Is a Force that Gives Us Meaning Paperback, where that author argues the allure of war - the feeling of ultimate power and aliveness - is what draws (mostly) men into an army. Junger was the living example of Hedge's theoretical recruit (he died in 1998). A few of the more affecting passages and observations follow: The chapter titled "Guillemont" is a nice snapshot of the war. Endless days in the trenches, the filth and physical misery, interrupted by pointless forays against enemy positions. Here and all through the book, Junger's emotional distance strikes the reader (or at least this reader). Colleagues and soldiers drift in and out of the narrative, often with little or no introduction and (perhaps) the briefest of leave takings. In that same chapter, Junger defines what makes the "good soldier": "Nothing was left in this voice but equanimity, apathy; fire had burned everything else out of it. It's men like that that you need for fighting" (p. 92). There are flashes of sardonic wit, as when the author describes the travails he encounters trying to protect his bicycles from shellfire: "To this unpleasant bit of target-practice I lost four bicycles.... They were comprehensively remodelled and cast to the four winds" (p. 139). In that same chapter ("In the Village of Fresnoy") we get another glimpse into Junger's idolization of war and the soldier: "There was in these men a quality that both emphasized the savagery of war and transfigured it at the same time: an objective relish for danger, the chevalieresque urge to prevail in battle. Over four years, the fire smelted an ever-purer, ever-bolder warriorhood" (p. 140). The hypocrisy and lying in war (regarding the write-up of an action): "Then we discussed the most important aspect of the affair: the report. We wrote it in such a way that we were both satisfied" (p. 155). Evidence that even a "warrior" need to psych himself up to kill: "...I chewed my pipe and tried to talk myself into feeling brave.... Several times I murmured a phrase of Ariosto's: `A great heart feels no dreadof approaching death, whenever it may come, so long as it be honourable'" (p. 171). And finally, a troubling sentiment that's excused all sorts of atrocities: "The state, which relieves us of our responsibility, cannot take away our remorse..." (p. 241).

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sebastien

    Beautifully written. Junger has extraordinary gifts as a writer. The one thing that makes it harder to connect with his accounts was his cool detachment in his presentation of events and experiences. Beneath the surface is a bit of soft nationalism which is obnoxious but not completely blind or extreme, at least not as blind or extreme as one would expect from a French or German citizen/soldier who was constantly indoctrinated with this nationalistic state propaganda of the times. It really is p Beautifully written. Junger has extraordinary gifts as a writer. The one thing that makes it harder to connect with his accounts was his cool detachment in his presentation of events and experiences. Beneath the surface is a bit of soft nationalism which is obnoxious but not completely blind or extreme, at least not as blind or extreme as one would expect from a French or German citizen/soldier who was constantly indoctrinated with this nationalistic state propaganda of the times. It really is pretty much unavoidable in this time period except for a small sliver of exceptional individuals who somehow managed to defy this conformity to nationalism (of which there are examples in all of the WWI countries). I don't mean to be unfair by judging Junger via the prism of our contemporary standards, I mean, we are all products of our own time and that should be taken into consideration. But it does seem like Junger embraced a deeper more radical nationalism at certain points in his life, but in this book it isn't too bad, at least from what I can tell. Nationalism is just the worst though, I really have a hard time standing it at any level... Another quibble against Junger is he does seem to find some primeval enjoyment in war, there is a joy and celebration of war that is a bit scary/crazy to me. It is a bit hard to swallow such sentiments... but overall he crafts an amazing memoir which captures the essence of the times. The writing is too good, and I do like how he presents things, overall he is a very good nuanced thinker and writer (in spite of the critiques I make), so well worth the read if you are interested in this history. I'm curious to learn more about Junger, read more of his works, he seems to have been a complex figure. I'd like to keep reading more memoirs from the war, would like to read memoirs from various participants. I don't know much about the Eastern front, would be nice to read some Russian memoirs of this experience. There is something about WWI, it is the ultimate testament to how far human folly can go, one of the grandest most pointless operatic human tragedies. Maybe reading about it helps me, helps me to contextualize modern suffering and modern problems. But it serves as a reminder as to the horrors and idiotic mistakes humanity is capable of, and why we should always remain vigilant. Even moreso nowadays, with the technological prowess we have we can destroy ourselves much more easily, which is why it is more important than ever to buttress systems of international cooperation and avoid war. Given our destructive capabilities we have less margin for error than 100 years back, with hot-headed ethnonationalists coming to power who view foreign policy as a zero-sum game, there are reasons to worry. Nationalism in my eyes is the bane of the human species, we will accomplish so much more and improve human welfare by leaps and bounds if we can ever transcend this pernicious ideology. But it is so seductive, and exquisitely wielded by those in power to control and trick us into blindly following and serving their narrow interests no matter the ultimate costs.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ray

    Unsettling memoire from a German officer who fought throughout the first world war. He took thirteen wounds and survived, having fought in many of the key battles on the western front. The book gives a sense of what the war was like, full of monotony, terror, comradeship and blood and guts. A touch vain glorious for my taste, and the author shows little sense of regret. Very matter of fact about death and destruction. I suspect that one becomes inured to death if one faces it every day.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jean

    “Storm of Steel” was published in 1920 and has been revised a total of six times, the last being with the 1961 re-publication. The structure of the book parallels the structure of the war. The book was a copy of his diary he kept during the war. There is no information about his life prior to 1914. He was 18 when he volunteers for the Army in 1914 and starts his diary. The book is his first person descriptions and features no other person other than Junger. Junger writes a straight forward accou “Storm of Steel” was published in 1920 and has been revised a total of six times, the last being with the 1961 re-publication. The structure of the book parallels the structure of the war. The book was a copy of his diary he kept during the war. There is no information about his life prior to 1914. He was 18 when he volunteers for the Army in 1914 and starts his diary. The book is his first person descriptions and features no other person other than Junger. Junger writes a straight forward account of what he did and where he was without very much in the way of soul-searching. The only thing he complains about was that the rations got worse as the war went on. He provides vivid descriptions of the experience of combat. He describes what it was like to undergo an artillery barrage. This is primarily an uncensored account of what war was like for a German soldier on the Western Front. Junger was deployed in the 73rd Hanoverian Regiment, also called the Rifle Regiment of Price Albrecht of Prussia. In 1915 he deployed to the Champagne region of France. He received many wounds the first in 1915. Following his recovery of this first wound he was redeployed to the Arras region of Northern France and participated in the battle of the Somme in 1916. He defended the City of Guillemot from attack and later fought in the battles of Arras, Ypres, and Cambrai. During the German Spring Offensive of 1918 he suffered the most serious of his wounds, a shot to the chest that ended the war for him. He ended the war as a lieutenant and was one of the most decorated soldiers in the German Army; he was awarded the Iron Cross First Class, the Knight Cross, the Ritterkreuz and the Pour le Merite (the German equivalent to the Medal of Honor or the British Victoria Cross) This book provides the reader with what is was like on day by day bases to be a German soldier during WWI. I read this as an audio book downloaded from Audible. Charlton Griffin did a good job narrating the book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    John

    I don’t think I’ve read a memoir of WW1 written by a German. It was therefore interesting, to say the very least. It is extremely well written. He is intelligent, well read a very fine warrior and leader of men at such a young age. The pages are heaped with carnage which starts to numb after a while. Each side respects the other’s prowess which does not dilute the hatred needed to fuel the fight but there is generally a shared code of honour between them. Each side indulges in the dirtiness of ch I don’t think I’ve read a memoir of WW1 written by a German. It was therefore interesting, to say the very least. It is extremely well written. He is intelligent, well read a very fine warrior and leader of men at such a young age. The pages are heaped with carnage which starts to numb after a while. Each side respects the other’s prowess which does not dilute the hatred needed to fuel the fight but there is generally a shared code of honour between them. Each side indulges in the dirtiness of chemical warfare. The conditions these men were fighting in are incomprehensibly shocking and reading Ernst Junger’s experiences filled me with feelings of sheer inadequacy. Reading of the settlements in Belgium and France where the fighting was taking place and where Ernst and his comrades were frequently based was something of an eye opener. Here too we see great carnage and humanity. I want to read more by him. “These moments of nocturnal prowling...Eyes and ears are tensed to the maximum, the rustling approach of strange feet in the tall grass is an unutterably memorable thing. Your breath comes in shallow bursts; you have to force yourself to stifle any panting or wheezing...The encounter will be short and murderous. You tremble with two contradictory impulses: the heightened awareness of the huntsman, and the terror of the quarry. You are a world to yourself, saturated with the appalling aura of the savage landscape.”

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mathijs Aasman

    Excellent book. Vivid descriptions of combat make you feel as though you are there. A counterpoint to the views of Remarque et al. who came out of the war with a far less exalted view of the crucible of war as Junger, not to say that WWI was a 'good war'.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Nat

    Jünger's account of the brutal fighting on the western front in WWI makes an enlightening contrast with Robert Graves's Goodbye to All That. Graves's account is comic and ironic, while Jünger's writing is almost completely dispassionate, even while describing his friends being torn to shreds by British artillery and sniper fire--an example of the so-called Neue Sachlichkeit applied to trench warfare. It's hard not to see the difference as an expression of a difference in national character betwe Jünger's account of the brutal fighting on the western front in WWI makes an enlightening contrast with Robert Graves's Goodbye to All That. Graves's account is comic and ironic, while Jünger's writing is almost completely dispassionate, even while describing his friends being torn to shreds by British artillery and sniper fire--an example of the so-called Neue Sachlichkeit applied to trench warfare. It's hard not to see the difference as an expression of a difference in national character between the English and Germans. Jünger's absurdly good luck and fighting skill gets the same kind of cool, detached description as the variety of different kinds of soil he encounters in trenches across France and Belgium: trenches are dug out of chalk, gravel, mud, fossilized shellfish, clay and marl, depending on the region; Jünger is wounded fourteen times, "these being five bullets, two shell splinters, one shrapnel ball, four hand-grenade splinters and two bullet splinters" (p. 288). He repeatedly volunteers to crawl over to British and French trenches to engage in all kinds of mayhem--cutting wire, tossing grenades, trying to take prisoners. He leads one assault after another through curtains of artillery shells (both from the British and from his own batteries), machinegun and sniper fire, and all variety of trench mortars, rifle-grenades, and aerial bombardment. Over the course of the book, he is awarded increasingly impressive medals for bravery: the Iron Cross, 1st class; the Knight's Cross; and on the final page of the book, the Orden Pour Le Merite. Jünger doesn't refrain from describing the full variety of injuries that soldiers suffer on the modern battlefield. The neck, eyes, forhead, hands, fingers and thighs seem to receive a disproportionate amount of attention from bullets and shrapnel. There are a few moments of intentional levity, including a complex prank involving 17 hunchbacked residents of the Belgian town of Langemarck and a dispute over some inheritance, and the author being ejected, unharmed, from a runaway, stolen "glass coach" when it runs into a tree. There are also moments that are unintentionally amusing, as when Jünger describes nearly being shot by a careless friend playing around with his own revolver as "irritating". The book isn't overwhelmingly gruesome. Nearly half of the book consists of Jünger describing everyday life in the trenches---what he is reading, the delights of an unexpectedly good meal, enjoying his pipe, watching the sun set over enemy lines, devising new ways of killing rats, and so on. The one quasi-philosophical moment in the book is on page p.241: "The state, which relieves us of our responsibility, cannot take away our remorse". I wonder: is remorse without responsibility possible?

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ken

    STORM OF STEEL offers WWI from a German soldier's point of view, but Erich Maria Remarque it ain't. All told, author Ernst Junger was shot multiple times, yet would live not only to write this book (and many others) but to celebrate his 103rd birthday (attended by an unusually patient Grim Reaper-in-Waiting). In the penultimate page of this book, he writes: "Leaving out trifles such as ricochets and grazes, I was hit at least fourteen times, these being five bullets, two shell splinters, one shr STORM OF STEEL offers WWI from a German soldier's point of view, but Erich Maria Remarque it ain't. All told, author Ernst Junger was shot multiple times, yet would live not only to write this book (and many others) but to celebrate his 103rd birthday (attended by an unusually patient Grim Reaper-in-Waiting). In the penultimate page of this book, he writes: "Leaving out trifles such as ricochets and grazes, I was hit at least fourteen times, these being five bullets, two shell splinters, one shrapnel ball, four hand-grenade splinters and two bullet splinters, which, with entry and exit wounds, left me an even twenty scars." Like George Washington, someone was watching over him. Fans of war literature will enjoy this book. Junger takes the reader through the trenches of Flanders, the Somme, Cambrai, Langemarck, and many other WWI locales. His narrative is straightforward and blunt, including many details on soldiers' deaths (British AND German) with a full compliment of gory details. He seldom editorializes or pontificates, and even acts as if gas attacks are normal (well, they were -- then). It has that "rubbernecker" effect going for it. The appalling body counts almost carry you forward, despite your disbelief at the complete waste of humanity. Meanwhile, Junger chirps about tests of manhood and the rush (along with the fear) that is war. I'll let Junger sum it up: "In war you learn your lessons, and they stay learned, but the tuition fees are high."

  19. 4 out of 5

    George (BuriedInBooks)

    A journey of ups, downs and gore. The war years of Ernst Jünger are filled with gore, drama and bloodshed. Storm of steel really does not hold back when it comes to describing the gore and stark reality of The Great War. Ernst's story consists of rapid rises through the ranks of the Imperial German Army. And the many difficult decisions that follow that cost the life's and save life's of his fellow soldiers. Ernst's journey takes him through the most awful battles of the Great War, The Somme, A journey of ups, downs and gore. The war years of Ernst Jünger are filled with gore, drama and bloodshed. Storm of steel really does not hold back when it comes to describing the gore and stark reality of The Great War. Ernst's story consists of rapid rises through the ranks of the Imperial German Army. And the many difficult decisions that follow that cost the life's and save life's of his fellow soldiers. Ernst's journey takes him through the most awful battles of the Great War, The Somme, Passchendaele and of course Cambrai which was the first time the British tank was used in large concentrations which resulted in huge success, the tanks used were 476 various types which consisted of Mark IV and others. As you can probably tell I really like tanks. I give this book five starts because of the way Ernst doesn't hold back and really pulls you into his story and really makes you care about him and his comrades. I would definitely recommend this to anyone that's interested in the German prospective which isn't told as well. Thanks for checking out my review Remember to check out my twitter too! Thanks

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sotiris Karaiskos

    I learned about the existence of this book from a rather unlikely source, a Dutch extreme metal band, God Dethroned, released a series of albums with the theme of the First World War and as one of their sources of inspiration stated this book. Now that I have read it, I can understand this influence, although certainly in many places this influence is less. The certain thing is that it is a book that shows the brutal reality of this confrontation from within. The author was actively involved in I learned about the existence of this book from a rather unlikely source, a Dutch extreme metal band, God Dethroned, released a series of albums with the theme of the First World War and as one of their sources of inspiration stated this book. Now that I have read it, I can understand this influence, although certainly in many places this influence is less. The certain thing is that it is a book that shows the brutal reality of this confrontation from within. The author was actively involved in several battles, he was distinguished several times and was many more injured. He transfer his experience in this book in a truly immersive way. Of course, many soldiers who participated in the First World War made similar efforts, such as the classic All Quiet in The Western Front, but their writers are quite distant, willing to make a more philosophical and political analysis and to write more literally, the writer of this book is anything but distant as it is obvious that he still has his experience in his mind and this leads him to write a book that has little to say beyond the everyday conduct of the war, which has no political reference and the writing style is bare of literary ornaments. This cynicism is what makes the book stand out, there is nothing in it about military glory, about patriotic task, there is not even a question about the meaning of war. In the world that the author carries us, all that matters is survival, the protection of the life of your co-combatants, the maintenance of the mental balance. There is, of course, the goal of victory, but its only purpose is to achieve what I have said before. As for the enemy, there is of course rivalry, there is no hesitation to exterminate it, but in reality there is nothing personal, there is no national hatred, there is no sentiment. The enemy is more an opponent in the barbaric game of war and nothing else. So in the end when the defeat comes... no problem, just the game is over. Beyond this book it stands out for the excellent descriptions of the battles. It's amazing how it puts the reader in the heart of the battle, by reading it you almost see the ruined landscapes, full with scattered bodies, you almost hear the explosions, you almost feel the bullet whistling next to you, hear the cries of the wounded, smell the poisonous gases and the blood. Above all, you enter into the psychology of battle, you feel the danger that makes you concentrate on it alone and forget the fear, you understand this distancing brought about by the habit, and it is that which made the author to be able to describe the most horrible images you can face. Especially when we arrived in the last attack of the Germans where they made the last attempt to win it was really almost impossible to stop reading, together, of course, with the music of the band that I mentioned at the beginning of my review. A truly excellent book that must surely be read by anyone who wants to know about the First World War and understand the conditions that were taking place. Of course, as I understand, many are hesitant towards this book, considering it militaristic, that the author through its pages supports the war by treating it as a heroic act. Maybe in part these categories apply, but in my opinion there is more than just a war adventure in this book. There is the heroism in the battle, but he more describes it as something personal, that is, a personal battle, a battle of one man and his comrades against the enemy, which is not directly related to the political goals of states. The lack of questioning of war is offset by raw descriptions and the blood that i flowing abundantly. The author does not limit himself at all to the description of the horror of the war, showing it just as it is, with all its barbarity, resulting in the work acquiring a much more anti-war character than corresponding works that are made for this purpose. That is why I think this is an important book, through which the author says too many things that do not fit into the brief criticism I am trying to do here. So... take a look at it. Την ύπαρξη αυτού του βιβλίου την έμαθα από μία μάλλον απίθανη πηγή, ένα ολλανδικό συγκρότημα ακραίου metal, οι God Dethroned, κυκλοφόρησαν μία σειρά από άλμπουμ με θέμα τον πρώτο Παγκόσμιο Πόλεμο και ως μία από τις πηγές έμπνευσης τους δήλωσαν αυτό εδώ το βιβλίο. Τώρα που το διάβασα μπορώ να καταλάβω αυτήν την επιρροή, αν και σίγουρα σε πολλά σημεία αυτή η επιρροή είναι μικρότερη. Το σίγουρο είναι ότι πρόκειται για ένα βιβλίο που δείχνει την ωμή πραγματικότητα αυτής της Πολεμικής αναμέτρησης εκ των έσω. Ο συγγραφέας είχε ενεργή συμμετοχή σε αρκετές μάχες, διακρίθηκε αρκετές φορές και ακόμα περισσότερες φορές τραυματίστηκε. Αυτή του την εμπειρία μεταφέρει σε αυτό εδώ το βιβλίο με ένα τρόπο πραγματικά καθηλωτικό. Φυσικά έχουν κάνει ανάλογες προσπάθειες πολλοί στρατιώτες που συμμετείχαν στον πρώτο Παγκόσμιο Πόλεμο, όπως για παράδειγμα το κλασσικό All Quiet in The Western Front, σε αντίθεση με αυτές, όμως, που οι συγγραφείς είναι αρκετά αποστασιοποιημένοι, με διάθεση να κάνουν μία περισσότερο φιλοσοφική και πολιτική ανάλυση και να γράψουν περισσότερο λογοτεχνικά, σε αυτό ο συγγραφέας κάθε άλλο παρά αποστασιοποιημένος είναι καθώς είναι ολοφάνερο ότι ακόμα έχει ζωντανή την εμπειρία στο μυαλό του και αυτό τον οδηγεί στη συγγραφή ενός βιβλίου που έχει ελάχιστες αναφορές πέρα από την καθημερινότητα της διεξαγωγής του πολέμου, που δεν έχει καμία πολιτική αναφορά και ο τρόπος γραφής του είναι γυμνός από λογοτεχνικά στολίδια. Αυτός ο κυνισμός είναι που κάντε το βιβλίο να ξεχωρίζει, δεν υπάρχει τίποτα μέσα για στρατιωτική δόξα, για πατριωτικό καθήκον, δεν υπάρχει ούτε καν αμφισβήτηση του πολέμου. Στον κόσμο που μας μεταφέρει ο συγγραφέας το μόνο που έχει σημασία είναι η επιβίωση, η προστασία της ζωής των συμπολεμιστών σου, η διατήρηση της ψυχικής ισορροπίας. Υπάρχει, φυσικά, ο στόχος της νίκης αλλά ο μοναδικός σκοπός της είναι η επίτευξη αυτών που προανέφερα. Όσο για τον εχθρό, υπάρχει φυσικά αντιπαλότητα, απουσιάζει οποιοσδήποτε δισταγμός για την εξόντωση του αλλά στην πραγματικότητα δεν υπάρχει τίποτα το προσωπικό, δεν υπάρχει εθνικό μίσος, δεν υπάρχει συναισθηματισμός. Ο εχθρός είναι περισσότερο ένας αντίπαλος στο βάρβαρο παιχνίδι του πολέμου και τίποτα άλλο. Έτσι στο τέλος όταν έρχεται η ήττα... δεν υπάρχει πρόβλημα, απλά το παιχνίδι τελείωσε. Πέρα από αυτό το βιβλίο ξεχωρίζει για τις εξαιρετικές περιγραφές των μαχών. Είναι καταπληκτικός ο τρόπος που βάζει τον αναγνώστη στην καρδιά της μάχης, διαβάζοντάς το σχεδόν βλέπεις τα ερειπωμένα τοπία, τα διάσπαρτα με πτώματα, σχεδόν ακούς τις εκρήξεις, σχεδόν νιώθεις τις σφαίρες να σφυρίζουν δίπλα σου, ακούς τις κραυγές των τραυματισμένων, μυρίζεις τα δηλητηριώδη αέρια και το αίμα. Πάνω από όλα μπαίνεις στην ψυχολογία της μάχης, νιώθεις τον κίνδυνο που σε κάνει να συγκεντρώνεσαι αποκλειστικά και μόνο σε αυτήν και να ξεχνάς τον φόβο, καταλαβαίνεις αυτήν την αποστασιοποίηση που φέρνει η συνήθεια και είναι αυτή που έκανε τον συγγραφέα να μπορεί να να περιγραφεί τις πιο φρικτές εικόνες που μπορεί να αντικρίσει κανείς. Ειδικά όταν φτάνουμε στην τελευταία επίθεση των Γερμανών όπου έκαναν την τελευταία προσπάθεια για τη νίκη ήταν πραγματικά σχεδόν αδύνατον να σταματήσω το διάβασμα, με τη συνοδεία φυσικά της μουσικής του συγκροτήματος που ανέφερα στην αρχή της κριτικής μου. Ένα πραγματικά εξαιρετικό βιβλίο που σίγουρα πρέπει να διαβαστεί από όποιον θέλει να γνωρίζει για τον πρώτο Παγκόσμιο Πόλεμο και να καταλάβει τις συνθήκες που διεξάγονταν. Βέβαια, από ότι καταλαβαίνω, πολλοί είναι διστακτικοί απέναντι σε αυτό το βιβλίο, θεωρώντας το μιλιταριστικό, ότι ο συγγραφέας του μέσα από τις σελίδες του υποστηρίζει τον πόλεμο, θεωρώντας τον μία ηρωική πράξη. Ίσως εν μέρει αυτές τις κατηγορίες ισχύουν αλλά κατά τη γνώμη μου μέσα στο βιβλίο υπάρχει κάτι πολύ περισσότερο από μία πολεμική περιπέτεια. Υπάρχει προβολή του ηρωισμού στη μάχη αλλά περισσότερο την περιγράφει ως κάτι το προσωπικό, υπάρχει δηλαδή μία προσωπική μάχη, μία μάχη ενός ανθρώπου και των συντρόφων του απέναντι στον εχθρό που δεν έχει άμεση σχέση με τους πολιτικούς στόχους των κρατών. Η έλλειψη της αμφισβήτησης του πολέμου αντισταθμίζεται με τις ωμές περιγραφές και το αίμα που ρέει άφθονο. Ο συγγραφέας δεν αυτοπεριορίζεται καθόλου στην περιγραφή της φρίκης του πολέμου, δείχνοντας τον όπως ακριβώς είναι, με όλη του την βαρβαρότητα, με αποτέλεσμα το έργο να αποκτά έναν πολύ πιο αντιπολεμικό χαρακτήρα από αντίστοιχα έργα, καθαρά καταγγελτικά. Για αυτό θεωρώ ότι πρόκειται για ένα σημαντικό βιβλίο, μέσα από το οποίο ο συγγραφέας λέει πάρα πολλά πράγματα που δεν χωράνε στην σύντομη κριτική που επιχειρώ να κάνω εδώ. Οπότε... ρίξτε του μία ματιά.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth (Alaska)

    This is an account of one German soldier's experience in World War I. He was wounded at least 11 times, patched up and sent back to the front. Not very interesting, eh? Junger was an extraordinary observer who kept a diary from the first day of the war to its conclusion. His was the first such soldier's account to be published after the war. From that diary he gave us enormous insight. The prose is so much better than one might expect - even his occasional quoting of that diary. The stream poured This is an account of one German soldier's experience in World War I. He was wounded at least 11 times, patched up and sent back to the front. Not very interesting, eh? Junger was an extraordinary observer who kept a diary from the first day of the war to its conclusion. His was the first such soldier's account to be published after the war. From that diary he gave us enormous insight. The prose is so much better than one might expect - even his occasional quoting of that diary. The stream poured over the weir of a destroyed mill ringed by brooding trees. For months, its water had been laving the black parchment faces of the dead of a French colonial regiment. An eerie place, especially at night, when the moon cast moving shadows through breaks in the clouds, and the sounds of the rushes and the murmuring water were joined by others less easily accounted for.His entire enlistment was in France. And yet, May God permit this splendid country, which has so often in its history been the battlefield for warring armies, to rise again from this war with is old quality intact. While reading, I kept thinking positive adjectives to describe the account such as "wonderful" or "marvelous," only to immediately remind myself that such terms are not appropriate for war experiences. I have had a fascination with this war in which the grandfather I never knew was killed. For now, my curiosity has been satisfied. I know, however, that I will return again and again to this subject. I only hope that the next encounter will be as well presented as this one.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin

    "Disturbingly self-aware." Killing did not trouble Junger too much - his ability to move through absolute carnage on an industrial scale cannot but fascinate. The first World War was the charnel house of charnel houses, a maw consuming men and nations whose aftershocks reverberate today not only in Berlin but even in Baghdad. Junger stands in vivid contrast to the ranks of writers who rejected the war and everything it stood for; he found it a positive experience and did not agonize over his exp "Disturbingly self-aware." Killing did not trouble Junger too much - his ability to move through absolute carnage on an industrial scale cannot but fascinate. The first World War was the charnel house of charnel houses, a maw consuming men and nations whose aftershocks reverberate today not only in Berlin but even in Baghdad. Junger stands in vivid contrast to the ranks of writers who rejected the war and everything it stood for; he found it a positive experience and did not agonize over his experiences. Pointedly, unlike many writers that did agonize over World War I, he lived through World War II and the Cold War to see the reunification of Germany, passing on to the Wagner fest in the sky at a very well seasoned 103. He found the struggle bracing and clarifying, as the struggle for survival put so much of his former life in proper perspective - he regarded it as frightfully trivial. Of course, his viewpoint, enjoying the war on its own terms and having the bad grace not to be destroyed or otherwise mangled, psychologically or physically, despite his many, many wounds, makes him viewed less than favorably by many literary critics and readers. It is not a glorification of war, though, as the details cannot but shock and horrify, but it does depict a man who gloried in his excellence at war, which I think is a distinction. He did not start the war, but once there, he did not find it the worst of all possible fates.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    This was fantastic. Ernst Junger was in WWI on the German side. His deadpan, factual account of what the war was like for him is riveting & horrific. He describes what trench warfare was like, the victories, defeats & deaths. He also describes the boredom, the terror & the conditions. Often times horrible conditions are described more by the thin assets of the situation, such as getting a pair of good, woolen socks from a captured bunker or being lucky enough to only pick up some shr This was fantastic. Ernst Junger was in WWI on the German side. His deadpan, factual account of what the war was like for him is riveting & horrific. He describes what trench warfare was like, the victories, defeats & deaths. He also describes the boredom, the terror & the conditions. Often times horrible conditions are described more by the thin assets of the situation, such as getting a pair of good, woolen socks from a captured bunker or being lucky enough to only pick up some shrapnel. The version I read was Junger's 4th or 5th version of this book. According to the introduction, he wrote it within a decade after the war, then re-wrote it in various tones depending on his present point of view. The Nazi's held the second or third version in high esteem, although Junger apparently didn't want to be held up as an icon. This version could have been the 1964 version, but the translator wasn't positive that it wasn't even later than that. There have been several translations of this & the one that did this book took another to task for an improper job, citing examples & even going so far as to say he didn't know German well, so be careful when choosing a translation, I guess. If I'd known, I would have researched it before reading. I suggest that anyone interested do so.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Free download in German available at Project Gutenberg. The train stopped at Bazancourt, a small town in Champagne, and we got out. Full of awe and incredibility, we listening to the slow grinding pulse of the front , a rhythm we were to become mighty familiar with over the years.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    Forget Remarque; this is the most important German account of the Great War that I've read. It's scary stuff; Jünger's clinical detachment in regard to the carnage in service of the cult of the warrior shows in itself why it wasn't the war to end all wars. In terms of his international acclaim, his time table of December 1914 to summer 1918 which allowed him to ignore issues of "frighfulness" at the beginning and the "stab in the back" at the end I suspect is the only thing that made this story Forget Remarque; this is the most important German account of the Great War that I've read. It's scary stuff; Jünger's clinical detachment in regard to the carnage in service of the cult of the warrior shows in itself why it wasn't the war to end all wars. In terms of his international acclaim, his time table of December 1914 to summer 1918 which allowed him to ignore issues of "frighfulness" at the beginning and the "stab in the back" at the end I suspect is the only thing that made this story acceptable. Some people are just lucky, eh?

  26. 5 out of 5

    KOMET

    As the son of a Second World War combat veteran, there is something about November 11th that resonates deep within me. That day brings into sharp relief the sacrifices made by the veterans of the First World War. For that reason, while scanning my library a few days ago, I resolved to read an eyewitness account of the war --- from the German side. For the author, Ernst Jünger (1895-1998), the war was a long one, spanning from 1915 to 1918. During those years, he saw a considerable amount of acti As the son of a Second World War combat veteran, there is something about November 11th that resonates deep within me. That day brings into sharp relief the sacrifices made by the veterans of the First World War. For that reason, while scanning my library a few days ago, I resolved to read an eyewitness account of the war --- from the German side. For the author, Ernst Jünger (1895-1998), the war was a long one, spanning from 1915 to 1918. During those years, he saw a considerable amount of action, which is detailed in this book. From the Champagne, the Somme, Arras, Flanders, Cambrai, and back to Flanders for the great Ludendorff offensives of 1918, Jünger proved himself a resourceful officer and a soldier who did not shrink back from any assignment he was given. (For his service, he was awarded Imperial Germany's highest award for bravery, the Ordre Pour le Mérite - better known as the "Blue Max.") Jünger's story is somewhat analogous to Remarque's 'All Quiet on the Western Front'. But unlike Paul Baumer, Ernst Jünger's story is not anti-war. For him, the war is the defining event of his life. The bonds formed between him and his men in the squalor of the trenches are symbolic of the sacredness of the values of Duty, Honor, Country. Jünger also expresses his admiration for the British soldier, whom he fought against on the Somme, at Cambrai, and in Flanders. Furthermore, the vignettes he provides of life in the areas behind the front in France where his unit was occasionally billeted are stark and perceptive. They show that, in some cases, the Germans were able to establish cordial relations with the civilian population, whom Jünger recognized as the ones who suffered the most from the effects of the war. This year marks the second year since 1918 that there are no living veterans of the First World War to observe the day on which it was ended. "The Storm of Steel" is one of those war memoirs that helps the reader to connect vicariously with a generation whose sacrifices from 1914 to 1918 helped re-define the way in which we see ourselves and the world in which we live.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Bettie

    Read By: Charlton Griffon Copyright: 2010 Audiobook Copyright: 2010 Genre: History File Information ================ Number of MP3s: 16 Total Duration: 9:42:40 Blurb: This classic war memoir, first published in 1920, is based on the author's extensive diaries describing hard combat experienced on the Western Front during World War I. It has been greatly admired by people as diverse as Bertolt Brecht and Andre Gide, and from every part of the political spectrum. Hypnotic, thrilling, and magnificent, Read By: Charlton Griffon Copyright: 2010 Audiobook Copyright: 2010 Genre: History File Information ================ Number of MP3s: 16 Total Duration: 9:42:40 Blurb: This classic war memoir, first published in 1920, is based on the author's extensive diaries describing hard combat experienced on the Western Front during World War I. It has been greatly admired by people as diverse as Bertolt Brecht and Andre Gide, and from every part of the political spectrum. Hypnotic, thrilling, and magnificent, The Storm of Steel is perhaps the most fascinating description of modern warfare ever written. Out of the maelstrom of World War I emerge scenes which could have come straight from Dante's Inferno. Once you begin listening, you cannot top. And it never relents: nerve pounding bombardments, agonizing gas attacks, sudden death that takes down a comrade next to you, and the occasional weeks of relief to restore the spirit when leave is granted to visit some attractive French village...all enveloped in the ghostly connfusion of war. Ultimately, survival comes down to sheer luck. Jünger displays no anger toward his enemies, and near the end he grows fatalistic and weary, even as he redoubles his resolve and maintains his patriotism. Jünger's great book calmly conveys the mysterious attraction of war, the exhilaration of battle, and the undeniable glory of brave men. But he also describes the scenes of soldiers preparing for battle as though they were "some terrible, silent ceremonial that portends human sacrifice." #13 TBR Busting 2013 This audio version is an overdramatic rendition, quite sickening really. How long will I be able to stand it... Music running through, along-side the artillery fire, is Gustav Holst - The Planets - Mars, the Bringer of War

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mike (the Paladin)

    A book I recommend but with a caveat...I'd say be prepared for a memoir of day to day war. This is an interesting book. If you read the introduction (and I recommend you do) you'll find some insight and some commentary. By the way. There are multiple editions of this book it has been released many times. The edition I read went with the author's words and Michael Hoffman translates and does an introduction. Mr. Hoffman notes (among other things) that at times Junger uses the wrong word in the te A book I recommend but with a caveat...I'd say be prepared for a memoir of day to day war. This is an interesting book. If you read the introduction (and I recommend you do) you'll find some insight and some commentary. By the way. There are multiple editions of this book it has been released many times. The edition I read went with the author's words and Michael Hoffman translates and does an introduction. Mr. Hoffman notes (among other things) that at times Junger uses the wrong word in the text. This will probably jump out at you as you read. It's an odd quirk that has to do with language and speaks to the books history. There are places in the book where odd unfinished events are listed as if the writer assumes we'll pick up his meaning. He does a very good job of giving the feel of war (even though this takes place in WW I). The feeling of hours days and weeks of everything from boring waiting, marching and some drudgery...interspaced by moments of sheer terror. Everything from digging trenches to being wounded, over and over we get the account. The books style is a bit uneven but that's to be expected I believe and of course the end is in it's own way very abrupt as it's Junger's way of ending things. 1918 and the last thing he mentions is his decoration from the Kaiser. I suppose there must be some comparisons between this book and All Quiet on the Western Front. Where that book tracks the almost disintegration of men under the stress of war this one follows a man who, underneath never seems to lose his belief in what he was doing. Interesting to me as this is World War I. As an aside, Juger served in the German Army again in WWII.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nigeyb

    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 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.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sylvia

    An interesting book, at points intense, dull, moving, surprising, bloody, and repetitive. I am glad I read it, not particularly for any information it bestowed upon me about the war (there's not much), but more for giving me the flavor of what WWI was like from a first-person perspective. Particularly, the first-person perspective of a person who DIDN'T feel like it was the war to end all wars: in fact, he expresses chagrin at the very idea that war would end, because he considers it an essentia An interesting book, at points intense, dull, moving, surprising, bloody, and repetitive. I am glad I read it, not particularly for any information it bestowed upon me about the war (there's not much), but more for giving me the flavor of what WWI was like from a first-person perspective. Particularly, the first-person perspective of a person who DIDN'T feel like it was the war to end all wars: in fact, he expresses chagrin at the very idea that war would end, because he considers it an essential proving ground for the things he values. On the other hand, I probably could have got this idea just fine if I'd stopped 1/3 of the way through. It's all kind of the same from beginning to end: you could skip ahead 100 pages and be fine. Some recurring themes: (1) The author's views on what separates officers from common soldiers, or gentlemen from men (2) The author's respect for the English as civilized enemies (3) The author's appreciation of jam (5) The author rushing into things that get him shot (spoiler alert--this happens like 15 times)

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.