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Publisher's Summary

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 stop. 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 confusion 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."

Public Domain (P)2010 Audio Connoisseur

What listeners say about The Storm of Steel

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  • 9S
  • 12-26-14

Horror and randomness of war

Somehow, against incredible odds, Ernst Junger served and survived the entire duration of the First World War. Junger relates the death and devastation he witnessed as though he was more than a participant engaged in a titanic struggle. It's as if he were a reporter relating the hell he witnessed. His words evoked images in my mind as though I was sitting on some hillside watching it all. Of the many first hand accounts of battle I have read, and there have been dozens, none compare to this one. Any reader who enjoys the kind of book that leaves them wanting more will relish this memoir.

16 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Storm of steel is right!

By the time you get through this the thought of 5 or 6 guys shooting rifles at you seems like no big deal - a bit annoying but no reason to jump in a shell hole or anything. I can't believe anyone survived this war at all- especially 4 years of it. Apparently 1914 to 1918 was no holds barred artillery pounding village leveling madness! And listening to Ernst tell his stories about this attack or that manuever or the hellish clatter of a machine gun is amazing. The whole world must have been making shells and bombs and bullets during this time - the scale of firepower is staggering.

13 people found this helpful

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Essential listen

If you could sum up The Storm of Steel in three words, what would they be?

Invigorating, poetic, enlightening.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Storm of Steel?

They broke up chapters of the book with the sounds of artillery and machine gun fire. This made you feel like you were in the trenches. The language was clever and insightful. You felt more respect for those men with every word. Honorable account of the trenches.

12 people found this helpful

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A Witness to War

“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. Charlton Griffin did a good job narrating the book.

11 people found this helpful

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Excellent!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What did you love best about The Storm of Steel?

Everything, its a great account from the other side.

What did you like best about this story?

The detail of his experience you get the feeling of being there with the great description.

Which scene was your favorite?

The description of the final offensive of 1918

Any additional comments?

Never read or heard a WW1 account like this. Outstanding account and highly recommend

5 people found this helpful

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The best war memoir ever read

Junger's account is very detailed and exciting. I've read the book twice and listened to the audio 3-4 times now. It's enjoyable every time.
The narration is excellent.

4 people found this helpful

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A Stirring Account of WW-1.

A historical view of World War 1 does little to convey the depth of misery and bravery of the men on the frontlines. Ernst's account offers an interesting perspective into the war; that of a German infantryman, one who was on hand for many of the biggest battles of the war.

There are some parallels to All Quiet On The Western Front, but this is non-fictional, and it is made more riveting by that knowledge. The author carries his diary ( and by extension, you ) through gas, through artillery, through storms of machinegun fire and the waterlogged depths of many trenches.

You do not need knowledge of the war to find the book enjoyable, but it makes it a tad more interesting. If you know how the tactics and situation evolved throughout the war, you can see some of them crop up during the book itself.

The narrator conducts himself with an official ( but candid ) tone that lends itself well to the historical nature of the book. The audio itself isn't as clear as a newer recording would be, but it is fine, and there are no errors.

3 people found this helpful

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Extraordinary

Junger challenges how we understand modern warfare, exulting in it; finding in it what a contemporary described as a "desperate glory." And all this written by a young veteran in the immediate aftermath of the "Great War." A bookend to "All Quiet on the Western Front" in any reading list of books on the First World War.

3 people found this helpful

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World War I - Klingon Style!

This account is completely unlike any history book I've ever read or listened to, especially in regards to the First World War. This account, from the journals of Ernst Junger, is one of the most patriotic accounts of this war I've come across. But Junger is not so much fighting for his country as he is fighting for personal glory that only the thrill of battle can bring.

Interestingly, there's nothing glossy about this account. He tells everything from festering wounds to the actual conditions of trench warfare, and all of the hideousness you'd ever come to expect from the Great War. This account is fast, matter-of-fact, and no holds barred. And yet, it's awkwardly optimistic, as though he didn't understand what was going on. Thing is, he did understand, and he reveled in it. He'd get injured, take leave, recover, and be back on the battlefield seemingly in no time, ready to prove himself all over again. I'd expect this sort of thing if I were reading about Leonidas and the 300 Spartans, or if I were reading about Klingons in a Star Trek novel, but it seems almost unreal here in an historical setting not too far removed from our own time. It's here for you to take in and judge for yourself how it comes across.

3 people found this helpful

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  • MP
  • 02-19-21

Jünger's perspective of Battle of the Somme

Jünger was direct and tried to be cheerful, describing what he witnessed and experienced in plain terms. He was an infantry officer in charge of 60 soldiers along 200 meters of the Western Front, and he fought in the Battle of the Somme. You get to know the concerns and even humor of soldiers, yet the constant attrition makes it gloomy. He was an officer, and the Germans treated officers with great respect.

The descriptions of areas within the trenches and how they functioned go far beyond everything covered in all the movies combined. After a heavy rain everybody gets busy repairing trench sections that sunk in. Also, he describes tactics, how weapons were used and injuries each made. The weapons kept evolving and caused constant change on the ground.

I didn't find anything repetitive other than nearly everything was bad. No two events were the same; the context kept morphing. It's difficult to imagine anybody surviving it physically or psychologically intact.

2 people found this helpful