A memoir of astonishing power, savagery, and ashen lyricism, Storm of Steel illuminates not only the horrors but also the fascination of total war, seen through the eyes of an ordinary German soldier. Young, tough, patriotic, but also disturbingly self-aware, Jünger exulted in the Great War, which he saw not just as a great national conflict butmore importantlyas a unique personal struggle. Leading raiding parties, defending trenches against murderous British incursions, simply enduring as shells tore his comrades apart, Jünger kept testing himself, braced for the death that will mark his failure.
Published shortly after the war's end, Storm of Steel was a worldwide bestseller and can now be rediscovered through Michael Hofmann's brilliant new translation.
One closes Storm of Steel with a heavy heart. So many men dead! And, really, for what? Moreover, these were the Huns, the supposedly evil, ruthless enemy, men who in normal life were schoolteachers, factory workers and artists, as well as husbands, fathers, sons and brothers. Yet each faithfully undertook his obligation as a soldier, and each died heroically or foolishly or unfairly. Jünger's great book matter-of-factly conveys the mysterious glamour of war, the exhilaration of its excess and intensity and, not least, the undeniable glory of men bravely preparing for battle as for "some terrible silent ceremonial that portends human sacrifice."