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World War II fiction recommendations

Historical Fiction

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1derblitz109 First Message
Sep 2, 2006, 9:56pm Top

Anyone have any good WWII fiction books to recommend?

2coloradoreader
Sep 3, 2006, 1:26pm Top

I would also love some good recommendations. But I have one on my wish list that I'm anxiously awaiting. The Rising Tide by Jeff Shaara will be released in November. I've enjoyed a couple of his books from the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, and I expect this one to be good.

3bitter_suite
Sep 3, 2006, 4:50pm Top

It's marked as a young adult book, but I loved The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I truly think it's one of the best books I've ever read, and I would recomend it to anyone. It takes place in Germany during WW II.

4ChromaTick
Sep 3, 2006, 5:25pm Top

Black Cross by Greg Iles.

5bettyjo
Sep 3, 2006, 11:27pm Top

6margad
Sep 4, 2006, 1:51am Top

I recently read Mary Doria Russell's A Thread of Grace, which takes place in Italy toward the end of the war. She has a wonderful way of making her characters so real you can almost reach out and touch them, and the novel deals with an interesting and little-known episode, when the Italians (officially allied with Germany) defied the Nazis to shelter a large number of Jews, both Italian and from elsewhere, in the countryside. My only criticism is there were a few too many characters to easily keep track of; a writer of lesser skills wouldn't have been able to pull it off.

Then, of course, there is Leon Uris's classic Exodus, which deals with the aftermath.

7margad
Sep 4, 2006, 1:58am Top

On the off-chance that you read German, I'd highly recommend the novel Stella Termogen by Utta Danella. I haven't got it catalogued yet, but it shows what the war was like for a young German woman. The book starts a bit slowly, because it begins with Stella's birth and tells her life story through the aftermath of the war. It's a very different and interesting perspective and an absorbing novel. I don't know if it's been translated into English.

8quartzite
Sep 4, 2006, 8:22am Top

Cross of Iron by Willi Heinrich is good one written from the German perspective. The Officer Factory and The Night of the Generals are two more by Hans Hellmut Kirst set in Germany. If you somehow have missed From Here to Eternity and its sequels you will want to try them. Legion of the Damned is another Eastern front novel. Gone for Soldiers by Marge Piercy offers an American homefront story. The Singapore Grip is good one set during the invasion of Singapore.

9fyrefly98
Sep 4, 2006, 8:26am Top

It's been a long time since I've read it, but I really enjoyed Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi.

10Only2rs
Sep 4, 2006, 10:47am Top

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne is amazing. It's not to everyone's taste, and is not really a book for adults, but it's nevertheless hugely moving.

11bettyjo
Sep 4, 2006, 12:11pm Top

I also enjoyed The Reader by Bernard Schlink..I think it was set at the end of the war in Germany. It has been awhile. A Woman in Berlin reads like fiction but it is non fiction...that one has stayed with me...a woman's survival in Berlin...and the Russians got there first.

12Doug1943 First Message
Sep 5, 2006, 3:18pm Top

I highly recommend Len Deighton's Bomber. Deighton normally writes schlock Cold War fiction, but this book is outstanding. It is about a Lancaster raid that goes off course and hits the wrong town. To write the book, the author did years of research, talking to bomber crew, ground crew, German night fighter pilots, German anti-aircraft crew and German emergency services. The characters are extremely real, and the technical information is first class.

13BoPeep
Edited: Sep 21, 2006, 1:53pm Top

Anita Shreve's Resistance is quite a good read - about a US bomber pilot downed in occupied France.

Seconding Goodnight Mister Tom, I'll add Carrie's War, by Nina Bawden, and The Machine Gunners by Robert Westall.

14aarti
Sep 5, 2006, 7:51pm Top

I love Book Thief and I also really liked Madonnas of Leningrad. I have heard a lot about The Remains of the Day, but haven't read it yet.

15TheStatutoryApe First Message
Sep 5, 2006, 9:55pm Top

Not sure if it's the sort of thing you are looking for but The Man in the High Castle by Philip K Dick is a 'What if the Allies lost WWII' book. The story itself and the characters are a bit quirky. Definitely not a war novel. Takes place in a US that is half German occupied territory and half Japanese occupied territory. The plot itself revolves around a banned book which is a 'What if the Allies won WWII' book. ha

There is a really trash spy novel called They Used Dark Forces by Dennis Wheatley. It's actually a Spy/Occult novel based in WWII and is pretty bad but I found the steriotypical pulp novel aspect to be a bit entertaining personally.

16Jargoneer
Sep 6, 2006, 7:55am Top

Two good novels about different aspects of WWII are The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer and Empire of the Sun by J. G. Ballard.

An (very) offbeat novel set during the end of the war is Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon.

17tubi11 First Message
Sep 7, 2006, 12:07am Top

The only one that comes to mind now is The Forger by Paul Watkins. It is about an American who comes to Paris in the 1930's to study painting, and gets involved in an elaborate and dangerous scam to defraud the Nazis. I enjoyed it very much.

18bibliotheque
Sep 7, 2006, 8:41am Top

Ever tried Hans Helmut Kirst? I remember reading The Revolt of Gunner Asch when I was in my teens and thinking it a decent satire on the German Army.

19BruceAir
Sep 7, 2006, 4:53pm Top

On the darker side, try:

December 6 : A Novel and Stallion Gate by Martin Cruz Smith (of Gorky Park fame).

The Good German by Joseph Kanon is set in Potsdam immediately after the German surrender. Kanon's Los Alamos is about a murder near the end of the Manhattan Project.

The series of historical spy novels by Alan Furst put you in occupied Europe in the late 1930s and early 1940s.

20quartzite
Edited: Sep 8, 2006, 2:31pm Top

While Still We Live by Helen MacInnes stands out about the German invasion of Poland set in Warsaw. Some of her more conventional novels set in WWII are good as well Above Suspicion, Assignment in Brittany and Horizon.

21philipivan First Message
Sep 8, 2006, 3:08pm Top

Jackdaws by Ken Follett is a very exciting read about a British women who worked as saboteurs behind enemy lines in France. It's may not be "great literature", but I found myself worrying about what would happen to the characters as I was falling asleep at night.

22philipivan
Sep 8, 2006, 3:16pm Top

Jackdaws by Ken Follett is a very exciting read about a British women who worked as saboteurs behind enemy lines in France. It's may not be "great literature", but I found myself worrying about what would happen to the characters as I was falling asleep at night.

23amandameale
Edited: Sep 11, 2006, 8:51am Top

Terribly sorry, this is WWI, but such a good book I can't help myself - A long, Long Way by Sebastian Barry. No matter what I read about war I always wonder what the experience was really like. This novel seems to comes closest to describing the experience of a soldier.

24marcia_g
Sep 15, 2006, 9:04pm Top

Land Girls by Angela Huth is one of my all-time favorites.

The Mercy Room by Gilles Rozier is a recent read that's beautifully written.

25TeamYankeeKiwi
Sep 17, 2006, 9:10pm Top

Herman Wouk's WWII books are very good. The Winds of War and War and Remembrance are more of a saga set against the backdrop of the war but are excellent reads. The Caine Mutiny is one of the best books I have ever read.

26karen_o First Message
Sep 17, 2006, 9:30pm Top

I second the nominations for The Book Thief and A Thread of Grace; the first because it's one of the best books I've read this year and the second because I hadn't previously been aware of the actions of Italian citizens during the war.

A book that was recently favorably reviewed in one of the local (Denver) papers was Billy Boyle: A World War II Mystery. My library doesn't even have it yet, though, so I can't tell you if it's any good.

And finally, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Scott Turow's Ordinary Heroes.

27warbrideslass
Sep 19, 2006, 8:10pm Top

I recently read Charlotte Gray by Sebastian Faulks and really enjoyed it. It's the story of a woman who is in love with a pilot and ends up getting sent to France as a messenger and stays to try to find him. It's a very vivid tale about the resistance and what life was like - the lack of food, fuel, and the general feeling of being caught in the middle and not knowing where your loyalties lie. I also just finished The Blue Noon by Robert Ryan which is in a similar vein. Both talk about the resistance and covert operations in France. Blue Noon is very carefully based on a true story and many characters that are mentioned are well known people Malcom Muggeridge and Anthony (Airey) Neave to mention a few. So there is a lot of history interwoven with the fiction. Both were entralling for me because I am more interested in the human side of the war rather than the political, military or philisophical side. I read to find out what the average person was experiencing during those years. My parents met during the war, and both passed away recently so I am looking for answers to some of the questions that I never thought to ask until it was too late.

28novascotia32 First Message
Sep 19, 2006, 10:19pm Top

I just read "The Tiger Claw" by Shauna Singh Baldwin. The novel is inspired by Noor Khan - a spy who worked again the Nazi in occupied France.
Highly recommended.

29warbrideslass
Sep 20, 2006, 8:28pm Top

Woo Hoo, I made up a list of all the books that you guys mentioned and took it to the Second Hand bookstore today. I scored quite a few. Interestingly, all the titles that I found were in the section marked "Spy/War" - an area I would never have wandered into otherwise. But when I asked the owner where to look, that's where he sent me. Fortunately, it's one of the few sections that is sorted by Author Name so my list was in that order and I was able to whip through it in not too much time at all. If anyone wants a copy of my list either in Word format or Excel or just as a text file, just email me and I'll send you a copy. It was very helpful to have the whole list in front of me. I plan on keeping it updated as more recommendations come in, because it's an area that I will really want to do some research in. Now the decision is, which one to start on first!! I came out of there with two grocery bags full so I have plenty to choose from. Thanks for all the recommendations!!

30akagodsent
Sep 21, 2006, 8:21pm Top

In terms of WWII:
“The Living and the Dead" by Konstantin Simonov
"Life and Fate" by Vasily Grossman
"Young Lions" by Irwin Shaw
"The Triumph and the Glory" Steven E. Rustad (my favorite by far)
"Star" by E. Kazakevich
"Double Cross Blind" by Joel Ross
The first two are some of the best novels published about WWII from the Eastern Front perspective, the second being considered by some to have been THE best novel to come out of WWII. My person favorite, as noted, is Rustad's book which incorporats points of view from the Americans, Germans, Brits, and Soviets. The others are all worth reading at least once. "Star" was made into a movie by the Russians, both versions (somewhat different ending in the movie) are good.

3118rabbit First Message
Sep 23, 2006, 12:51pm Top

I really thought "WAR A History" by Elsa Morante was
great book on how one individual survives in facist
Italy during WW11. The book is an English translation
from the original Italian.

32bettyjo
Sep 23, 2006, 1:47pm Top

I just picked up The Mercy Room by Gilles Rozier. Has anyone read it? Looks more like a novella.

33njloofbourrow First Message
Edited: Sep 24, 2006, 12:29pm Top

I liked Robert Harris' Enigma a lot -- a mystery set within the ranks of the codebreakers in WWII. They made a pretty good movie out of that one too.

Harris also wrote Fatherland, which is really post-WWII speculative fiction, but also quite good.

34A_musing
Sep 25, 2006, 2:00pm Top

Heinrich Böll, Heinrich Böll and Heinrich Böll!! Try Billiards at Half-Past Nine for a start. For a highly literary/poetic biography, there is Night by Elie Wiesel.

35lriley
Edited: Oct 19, 2006, 5:45pm Top

Curzio Malaparte's 'Kaputt' which was written during the war--Malaparte was a correspondent for the Corriere dela Sera covers much of the German campaigns into Russia and Yugoslavia. It also touches on the nazi occupation of Poland and Finnish-Soviet war. Malaparte's book is very eye opening--he was no fan of the Nazi's. It's very elegant prose masks some very disturbing scenes of carnage and depravity. It's considered as fiction but it's more fictionalized. He followed it up with a sequel 'The skin' by which time he had joined up with the American army moving northward through Italy.

James Jones--thin red line.
Lothar gunther Buchheim's--Das Boot
Currently reading Willi Heinrich's--Cross of Iron and that is very good.
Claude Simon's--Flanders Road.
W.S. Kuniczak's--thousand hour day (about the German invasion of Poland from a Polish perspective) and there's a sequel to that 'The March'.
Could throw in Louis Ferdinand Celine's trilogy of novels--Castle to Castle, North, Rigodoon--which are all highly objective but it does give a number of interesting and usually very humorously blackened portraits of many of the more prominent French Vichy figures.
Mailer's--Naked and the Dead as someone mentioned and also have read one of Furst's novels (also mentioned above) but it was very good.
Almost forgot Paul West's--Very rich hours of Count Von Stauffenberg--which details very horrifically the plot of German Officers to assassinate Hitler--and that is a really disturbing book.

36MikeyHorseHead First Message
Sep 27, 2006, 10:37pm Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

37warbrideslass
Sep 30, 2006, 9:13pm Top

I've been reading (very slowly as there's a lot of skipping back and forth between characters as their lives slowly converge) Gone to Soldiers by Marge Piercy and chanced upon a copy of A Woman in Berlin which I'm itching to read. I just have so many books in my "to be read" pile right now after taking the list compiled from the recommendations of everyone here to the second hand bookstore. I'm trying not to start a different book until I've finished the one I'm on, but Gone to Soldiers takes a bit more concentration than I realized when I began. It starts out like several different stories but then you realize that peripheral characters in each story appear in another and then you see how they are all linked together. I ended up going back and skimming sections I'd already read for bits I missed the first time through. But so far it's very good. I'll post my final opinion when I'm done.

38aarti
Oct 4, 2006, 12:58pm Top

39warbrideslass
Oct 4, 2006, 9:40pm Top

Finished Gone to Soldiers by Marge Piercy. I enjoyed it, but it got much darker than I expected, based on the way it began. Also, the ending kind of left me feeling that the book could have had a few more chapters. I don't know why, but it felt like each character's story was so unfinished. Of course probably because they were unfinished. But usually novels at least make you feel like you haven't lost the last 100 pages or so. But I got what I wanted from it, which was a description of what the average person _might_ have been through during the war. This book covered a lot of area since it was both North America, Europe and the Eastern Front. The war against Japan was a part of the war that I'd never read much about but now am interested. Sounded like a horrendous place to have served. Now I understand the bias so many of my parent's contemporaries had against Japanese cars when they first came on the market. And I was made aware that once the Jewish survivors were freed from the camps, many still were not citizens of any country. Their battles were far from over once they'd survived.
Anyway, I'd recommend it, but allow yourself plenty of time to keep all the different plots organized in your head.

40SJaneDoe
Oct 6, 2006, 2:41pm Top

I definitely agree with the Heinrich Böll recommendation! I've never come across a book by him that I didn't like.
It's a graphic novel, but I love Art Spiegelman's Maus. The Dark Room by Rachel Seiffert is also interesting. It doesn't take place strictly during WWII, but is about it. There are 3 sections - one in the 1930s, one during the war, and one in the 1990s. I also really liked Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky (WWII France), and The Night Watch by Sarah Waters (WWII London).

41warbrideslass
Oct 7, 2006, 7:31am Top

I don't often make statements like this but here we go - Everyone MUST read A Woman in Berlin. It's an easy, fast read but you will feel sick at the end of it. It packs a powerful message about what things were like for women during the war. I expect this behavior happened wherever the front line soldiers (of any army) went and there were women and liquor. The hopelessness and fear and powerlessness of these people is heartrending. And they are also finding out for the first time about the death camps and what their countrymen did with all the Jews and prisoners. Very enlightening and everyone interested in WWII needs to read this. I can't think of how many women in how many countries were overrun like this. I know Estonia took a hard hit between the Germans and the Russians the power went back and forth. I'm sure loyalties went to those that used the least brutality for all of them behaved brutally toward their captives. Oh what an evil world we live in sometimes. It never ceases to shock me. But maybe I look for the best in everyone and don't usually think badly of any group. So the behavior described in this book really shocked me more than anything.

42A_musing
Edited: Oct 7, 2006, 5:15pm Top

Another one, that I'm reading now, is Thomas Mann's Faustus. The Faust story seems one of the perfect classics for Germany's greatest 20th century writer to be retelling during the war.

43zerkalo First Message
Oct 7, 2006, 5:23pm Top

Dear derblitz109,

A stunning semi-fictional WWII book is Kaputt by Curzio Malaparte. It's really top of the bill, and I can tell, for I have read numerous books on this subject.

BELAQUA

44bettyjo
Oct 9, 2006, 9:48pm Top

Amen warbrideslass...A Woman in Berlin is a haunting look at war through the eyes of a woman who could be me.

45SJaneDoe
Oct 10, 2006, 9:32am Top

warbrideslass - After your recommendation of A Woman in Berlin, I put it on hold - I'm picking it up today.

46hailelib
Oct 14, 2006, 11:11am Top

Re: Quartzite's recommendation of Helen MacInnes. Really enjoyed her books and if I were to reread one it would probably be While Still We Live.

Another author who wrote in the years following 1945 (and drawing heavily on his own experiences for some) was Nevil Shute. Three that really stand out for me are The Legacy aka A Town Like Alice, Pied Piper, and the Chequer Board. The Legacy deals, in its first half, with some women who were prisoners of the Japanese in Malaya and is based on an actual incident. Pied Piper is set in France in the summer of 1940 and concerns an elderly Englishman trying to get home along with some children he agreed to take with him.

A more recent book is Sentimental Journey by Jill Barnett. While Ms. Barnett is primarily known for her romances, this book was written to honor her father and to try to tell about the men and women who lived through his time and fought his war. In reading it I felt more connected to my parents' generation. While the characters fall in love as well as fight a war, Sentimental Journey is primarily about the characters getting on with their jobs and surviving as best they can.

47spec1963 First Message
Edited: Oct 18, 2006, 5:00pm Top

I started reading Billy Boyle, A World War II Mystery, by James R. Benn. The author's voice is intreguing and the story is interesting. Based on the first few chapters I recommend it.

“Once an Eagle” is one of the very best novels I’ve ever read. It covers much of the 20th century and describes the “coming-of-age” of a young man who begins his military career in WW I and concludes it in Vietnam. Meyer explores important questions of honor and integrity in the military in war and peace.

I will list several more novels below that I have read and enjoyed, as well as a couple of non-fiction books.

“Piece of Cake” by Derek Robinson describes the air war in the early years of WW II. The novel follows a group of RAF pilots during the “Phony War” in France, the evacuation from France, and the Battle of Britain. It explores how individuals cope with the terror of combat.

“Bomber” by Len Deighton describes one day in the Battle of the Ruhr from the perspective of a RAF bomber crew, a German fighter pilot, and a German officer charged with antiaircraft defenses of the Ruhr. This description brings the battle down to a struggle between individuals rather than between faceless enemies.

“The Magic Army” by Leslie Thomas tells the story of the buildup of US forces in England between January and June of 1944. Much of the story turns on the displacement of Brits from farms and villages to make way for the Yanks – and the attitudes spawned on both sides by this American invasion.

In the category of non-fiction I suggest several memoirs that read almost like novels:

“With the Old Breed” by E. B. Sledge describes the author’s experiences as a marine in some of the tough island battles of the Pacific through the battle of Okinawa.

“Goodbye, Darkness” is the personal experiences of a great story teller, William Manchester, as a Marine rifleman. It is one man’s attempt to understand the meaning of war.

“The Brereton Diaries” follow Lewis Brereton’s experiences from the fall of the Philippines through the defense of Australia to the building of an American combat force in India, American assistance to the Brits in the defense of Egypt, and, finally, Overlord. Hard to believe that one man could be in so many critical areas during one war, but Brereton was there.

Finally, “Reach for the Sky” by Paul Brickhill is the memoir of Douglas Bader, a RAF pilot who lost both of his legs in an aircraft crash in the late 1930’s, yet went on to fly and fight in the Battle of Britain. Inspiring.

48warbrideslass
Oct 18, 2006, 8:36pm Top

hailelib,
I think your last paragraph summs up what I am trying to do in my reading and that is to "feel more connected to my parents' war". Both my parents died in the beginning of this year and they would have been married 61 years on May 10 which was the day of my Dad's funeral. He had said just after my mom died that it would be the first year they wouldn't be together on their anniversary. They ended up together anyway. They married just a few days after the war ended, so their wedding was pretty low scale. I read on a war brides list recently where Barbara Cartland gathered as many wedding dresses as she could and let them out for 1 pound a day so that war brides could have a wedding gown. My Mom got married in a suit but I know a few years later, my aunt was getting married and rationing was still so strict that she had to get a wedding gown sent from Canada. My mom sent it to her and she was thrilled to have it as so many brides still could not buy silk or nylon(which was the closest synthetic to silk at the time) clothing. Those were the most common fabrics used for bridal gowns.

49avaland
Oct 19, 2006, 4:13pm Top

I like this thread; the specificity of it! "Historical fiction" is so vast - covering...well...all of history, right? I would recommend if anyone has a specific time period they enjoy and would like recommendations, they start a new topic...

The list for WWII is really endless..from Herman Wouk,'s Winds of War, Caine MutinyPierre Boulle's The Bridge Over the River Kwai and one of my favs...The Dirty Dozen which my parents took away from me (inappropriate for young girls, but I finished it the next time they went grocery shopping) to Martin Booth's Hiroshima Joe and Angela Huth's Land Girls to Sarah Waters' Night Watch. I think the best WWII books I've read in the last couple of years are Thread of Grace and Night Watch. Mary Doria Russell will tell you that she used some of Rumsfeld's words in that book...guess for which character?

50mjwensel First Message
Oct 19, 2006, 5:09pm Top

I just finished one that was really interesting, but not truely historical, Days of Infamy by Harry Turtledove. It's alternate history of WWII touching on what would have happened to Hawaii if Japan had actually invaded. It certainly puts a new twist on the history of Pearl Harbor, by having Americans subjugated by the Japanese.

51Zennor
Oct 24, 2006, 2:11am Top

One of my favourites is an unusual one focusing on a group of children on the outskirts of London during the war. It is Spies by Michael Frayn. It captures the innocence, adventure and mystery of youth in an evocative manner.

52quartzite
Oct 28, 2006, 2:22pm Top

I have a special fondness for WWII naval fiction. Some favorites include HMS Ulysses by Alistair MacLean and The Cruel Sea by Nicholas Monsarrat.

Some good storeis taking place on the fringe of the action are The Raj Quartet books by Paul Scott set in India during World War II and The Balkan Trilogy and The Levant Trilogy by Olivia Manning following a mixed group of expat refugees during the war.

53syllabub First Message
Edited: Oct 29, 2006, 3:45pm Top

You could do worse than pick any of Alan Furst's excellent books which tend to cover the less well known "battle fronts" from World War II. I recommend Dark Star for no other reason than it was the first of his books that I read.
Das Boot (The Boat) by Lothar-Gunther Buchheim is excellent and was adapted into the well known TV series/film.

Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
Journey into Fear by Eric Ambler or any of his other books
Brideshead Revisited & Sword of Honour by Evelyn Waugh

54lalyposada First Message
Nov 24, 2006, 12:22pm Top

I wonder why nobody mentions Catch 22.

55ariadne7 First Message
Nov 24, 2006, 3:13pm Top

As far as I am concerned some of my favorite books about WW2 are as follows-
Requiem for a Wren by Nevil Shute
The Blue Bicycle by Regina Deforge
Night Falls on the City by Sarah Gainham
and also two other authors are Catherine Gaskin and Catherine Gavin.
Hope this helps.
Ariadne7

56spec1963
Nov 24, 2006, 4:40pm Top

I just finished reading Restless by William Boyd. Very interesting book with several twists. Written by a man, the novel tells the story of two women, mother and daughter. Author effectively moves back and forth between 1941 and 1975, letting the mother's story (she was a British spy in US in 1941) unfold for the daughter. Drama builds from beginning to end.

57LinMa First Message
Nov 28, 2006, 8:32pm Top

Try The Unknown Soldier by Väinö Linna. It gives the perspective of ordinary finnish soldiers; when it was first published in 1954, Linna was criticized for the lack of a higher meaning and noble sacrifice - the main characters were too grubby, ignorant and realistic for a "proper war book".

58quartzite
Jan 1, 2007, 11:33am Top

I would like to put in a plug for Saints and Villains by Denise Giardina, which is a fictionalized version of the story of German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. On the naval side Tristan Jones has both a couple of good novels Dutch Treat for example, and I think some memoirs.

59bettyjo
Jan 2, 2007, 11:14pm Top

The boy in the Striped Pajamas is the most powerful YA book about the Holocaust that I have read in ages.

60Sinuhe
Jan 3, 2007, 2:19pm Top

I recommend A Midnight Clear by William Wharton. It's a very human story about soldiers (American and German) who become isolated from officers, and take the opportunity to come to terms with each other. But things go wrong. It was also made into a very good movie.

61laceyvail
Edited: Jan 5, 2007, 9:16am Top

Not fiction, but memoirs are two forgotten works I stumbled across several years ago. I apologize for forgetting the authors' names but:
Three Came Back - a young couple (he's with the British embassy, she's American) and their very young son are trapped in Singapore (or Burma) when the Japanese invade. They are interned for the rest of the war. Very interesting and well written.

The Walls Came Tumbling Down - a young Dutch woman has been in a German detention camp for political prisioners when the war ends and makes her way back home. The tail end of the war and very good.

62MikeBriggs
Jan 5, 2007, 9:24am Top

Historical Fiction, right? So I'll leave out the alternate history suggestions.
W.E.B. Griffin's Brotherhood of War, Corps, and other WWII based Military Fiction.
Philip Kerr's Berlin Noir series, German P.I. pre-WWII, WWII, and post-WWII series.
James Webb - The Emperor's General - post WWII in Japan.

63dougwood57
Jan 21, 2007, 2:10pm Top

Vasily Grossman's Life and Fate, is the classic epic novel of WWII Russia. It centers on the life in totalitarian Stalinist Soviet Russia, and in particular on the Battle of Stalingrad.

The tale is unrelentingly grim. Nearly every character dies, is betrayed to the Soviet authorities, or simply suffers - and no ordinary suffering, but genuine Slavic deprivation. Political betrayal runs rampant across every class of Stalinist Soviet society with mind-boggling inefficiency.

Grossman recreates the frustration of not knowing why one has been accused of infidelity to the Revolution. Often the victim doesn't know by whom or of what they have been accused.

Grossman somehow imagined that his book would be published in the Soviet Union - as he proposed during the thaw under Nikita Khrushchev. Instead, while Grossman was not molested, his book was taken "under arrest" by the KGB in 1961. Fortunately, Grossman kept two undeclared copies that were smuggled out to the West in 1980 and published in 1985.

64quartzite
Jan 21, 2007, 2:38pm Top

I just read Two O'Clock Eastern Wartime by John Dunning, which is something a bit different on the WWII front, set in the U.S. at a New Jersey radio station and looking at the the role of radio and domestic espionage.

65arieljosephs
Jan 22, 2007, 2:34pm Top

I highly recommend Snow Falling in Cedars by David Guterson. Although the main story line concerns a post-WWII murder trial, flashbacks to the war years occupy much of the narrative. The scenes set in a Japanese-American internment camp and the Pacific theater are especially memorable. And the prose is impressive in its own right.

66avaland
Feb 4, 2007, 12:44pm Top

Although not directly about the war, Zoli by Colum McCann follows the life of a gypsy poetess, much of it set around and after WWII in Slovakia, Czechoslavia and Austria. I had not read much about the Romi people and here is a very well-crafted, vivid story.

67Storeetllr
Feb 4, 2007, 2:25pm Top

Has anyone read Leon Uris's QB VII? It's partly a legal thriller set after the war in London where a well-respected doctor sues an Israeli war hero for slander for accusing him of war crimes committed in a death camp. The testimony at the trial brings to light with devastating clarity Dr. Kelno's part in the horror of the Holocaust, and the ending is unforgettable. I read it decades ago and have never quite gotten over it.

68SJaneDoe
Edited: Feb 5, 2007, 7:03am Top

Message 66: avaland I had not read much about the Romi people and here is a very well-crafted, vivid story.

avaland, if you're interested in the topic, Fires in the Dark is also really good. It deals with the Roma and the Holocaust (among other things - it's almost 500 pages.)

69KromesTomes
Feb 5, 2007, 9:48am Top

One of the best books I've ever read dealing with the Holocaust is Time's Arrow by Martin Amis.

70warbrideslass
Feb 12, 2007, 11:50pm Top

Hi Folks,
I was so impressed with the volume of book recommendations on this list, that I decided to compile a list. I researched and filled in almost all the missing information. Just a couple of ?? where I couldn't find the complete info. In all, there are over 140 titles, some recommendations are for collections or series so they count for more than one. I've saved this in both Excel format and as a Word Table. If anyone would like a copy, send me your email addy, and I'll send you what I have. This has been so helpful for me when I go to my local second hand bookstore which is organized by author lastname. I can scan through the shelves with my list in hand and know if I've found a winner. This list is up to date as of the last post on Feb. 5th and I intend to keep it up because it was a bit of a task to confirm all the titles in one go. Enjoy!!

71bettyjo
Feb 13, 2007, 8:45am Top

warbridelass...great idea. please send me a copy at harrises@bayou.com. Thanks.

72quartzite
Feb 14, 2007, 2:11pm Top

Piece of Cake by Derek Robinson and sequels

73Jamie638
Edited: Mar 22, 2007, 11:59am Top

The best WWII novel I've ever read is The Berkut by Joseph Heywood. I can do no better than quote my own review here: "This is my very favorite WWII novel. The plot is ingenious and the ending will amaze, astonish, and shock you. The climax of the book provides a most satisfying ending--if only Hitler had received his comeuppance as he does here. It's too bad that no one ever made a movie out of this book". BTW, I'm new at this, so I have a question. I assume the touchstone checkmark is for popularity, but how is it assigned?

74bitter_suite
Mar 22, 2007, 6:55pm Top

Jaime638: The checkmark next to a touchstone author or title means that you have that author/title listed in your library.

75ayaeckel First Message
Edited: Mar 22, 2007, 6:57pm Top

try guy sajer's forgotten soldier-an alsatian/german's memoir of the eastern front

76dunfalach
Edited: Mar 24, 2007, 7:40pm Top

Twilight of Courage By Brock & Bodie Thoene is an excellent one, set at the time of Dunkirk and the invasion of France.

I'm also quite fond of Anatomy of a Battle by Kenneth Macksey which is a fictional accounting of a plausible battalion-sized battle to show how small unit combats played out during the period.

77FleurinherWorld
Mar 27, 2007, 9:36am Top

I rated Echoes of War by William Riviere very highly as a story of the impact of the two world wars on one family.

78lthatch First Message
Mar 29, 2007, 2:20pm Top

I read an editor's copy of an outstanding WWII book, called Autumn Fool by Michael D'Emilio. It's a mix of historical fiction, a love story and a period piece that brilliantly depicts a soldier's disillusion upon returning to his NJ home after the war. It should be available soon on amazon.com

79Sodapop
Mar 30, 2007, 8:12pm Top

Two YA titles that haven't been mentioned and that I really enjoyed are When the sirens wailed and The Silver Sword. I would also second The Machine Gunners.
A Town Like Alice is an all time favourite of mine and I also enjoyed Requiem for a Wren.
I know this is a historical fiction thread but there are 3 non fiction titles I have to recommend. Schindler's List, Lime street at Two and Christabel Bielenberg's The past is Myself.

80qprfan99
Apr 3, 2007, 1:36am Top

Two favourites read many years ago were Mila 18 by Leon Uris (Warsaw Ghetto) & HMS Ulysses by Alistair MacLean.
I notice Forgotten Soldier has been mentioned but I think there is still some dispute over whether this is fiction or fact!
War of the Rats by David Robbins (about Stalingrad - I think Enemy at the Gates was based on this). For an Australian story (and they were the first to inflict a defeat on both the Japs & the Germans on land) try Twenty Thousand Thieves by Eric Lambert, about Tobruk.
I will also second A Piece of Cake by David Robinson - this really shocked me when I read it.
Of course, as the son of a tanker with the Guards Armoured Division, I consider A Bridge Too Far as a work of fiction but I don't think it's very well written either so I won't recommend it. :)

81tropics
Apr 4, 2007, 4:14pm Top

Derblitz109: When I discovered them thirty years ago I became completely immersed in Herman Wouk's The Winds Of War and War And Remembrance. Stopped everything and just read and read and read.

82suge
Apr 4, 2007, 4:41pm Top

I really enjoyed Five Past Midnight by James Thayer. I read it a long time ago and have since "misplaced" my copy.

83Kell_Smurthwaite
Apr 6, 2007, 5:59am Top

I've read several excellent WWII-based books over the last year or so:

The Complete Maus by Art Speigelman (graphic novel)
The Secret Purposes by David Baddiel (deeply moving)
Hitler's Canary by Sandi Toksvig (surprisingly good - aimed at young adults/older children)

Before reading these, I was never really interested in that period of history, but I've since picked up a copy of The Separation by Christopher Priest (having read The Prestige and really enjoying his style). I have a huge pile of books to read (about 70 at the moment), but I plan on getting to it as soon as possible...

84tropics
Apr 6, 2007, 9:39pm Top

I was captivated and deeply moved by Louis de Bernieres' tragi-comic Captain Corelli's Mandolin, the setting of which is the Greek Island of Cephallonia during the Italian occupation in World War Two.

Additionally, I cherish Joseph Heller's Catch-22.

85foxyflares First Message
Apr 12, 2007, 12:26pm Top

Small Island by Andrea Levy. Such a great book with so many individual voices and separate stories. Very clever and moving.

86Kell_Smurthwaite
Apr 12, 2007, 1:08pm Top

#s 84 & 85 - I have both those on my shelf waiting to be read. Hearing you guys speak so highly of them makes me a little more anxious to get to them sooner, rather than later!

87Kell_Smurthwaite
Apr 27, 2007, 1:52am Top

I'm currently about half-way through The Separation by Christopher Priest and have to say it is excellent - I can definitely recommend this one - especially if it continues to be as good as it has been so far!

88cestovatela
Apr 27, 2007, 10:22am Top

Lately I've really enjoyed exploring forgotten corners of the war. I really enjoyed Small Island by Andrea Levy, the story of Jamaican soldiers who fought in the RAF and then discovered they were unwelcome in post-war Britain. I also really enjoyed An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro. I don't think it's quite as well-written as some of his other stuff, but it's the only novel I've read to consider the war from the Japanese perspective.

89bookgal77
May 14, 2007, 2:54pm Top

I'm a big fan of When the Emperor was Divine, by Julie Otsuka which tells the story of a Japanese-American family put in to an American internment camp. It is a short read, but emotionally powerful and tells the story of the war on the homefront.

90bettyjo
May 19, 2007, 8:39pm Top

I also enjoyed When the Emperor was Divine....forgotten about it...thanks for the reminder.

91cestovatela
May 20, 2007, 9:43am Top

I picked up When the Emperor Was Divine at the used bookstore the other day. I'm glad to hear that others have enjoyed it!

92cestovatela
May 20, 2007, 9:43am Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

93MarianV
May 20, 2007, 3:13pm Top

From a woman's perspective, the following:
Night falls on the city a woman hides her Jewish husband during the Nazi occupation of Vienna
Rumors of Peace a girl in California comes of age during WW2
Five quarters of the orange a mother & daughter are linked in the death of an occupying German soldier & the anger of their neighbors for the retribution that follows
Resistance a Frenchwoman aids in the escape of downed American aviator
The heat of the day
2 women from different classes survive the London blitz.

94d.homsher
May 22, 2007, 6:13am Top

The Diary of Anne Frank.
The Garden of the Finzi-Continis.
In both, the Nazis loom, but rarely appear. Smoke in the distance.

95cestovatela
May 22, 2007, 9:32am Top

Finished When the Emperor Was Divine yesterday. I really have to second the recommendation. It's a compact but powerful book that often made me forget I was reading fiction. As the writer shifts from one family member's point of view to another, you see how the experience of internment scarred the lives of the characters - the mother losing her looks and gaiety to the constant battle to provide for her children; children terrified to stand out as Japanese even after the war; the bitter, broken father who speaks with the rage of every man unjustly accused of aiding the enemy. This last section seemed to me exactly what an Afghani or Iraqi person might have said in the wake of September 11.

96wendellprecious First Message
Edited: Jun 14, 2007, 11:14am Top

Fields of Gold
River's Edge both by Marie Bostwick
Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell

97KimB
Jun 14, 2007, 7:28am Top

Suite Francaise 3 stories about occupied France. Made more poignant once you understand the author's and her family’s life. One of the best books I've ever read.

98varielle
Jul 6, 2007, 11:11am Top

It must be challenging for an author to come up with a really good historical fiction story about this time since the true stories out of WWII were so dramatic and oftentimes unbelievable. Truth can be stranger than fiction, eh?

99benjclark
Jul 11, 2007, 5:09pm Top

I'm reading Steinbeck's Journal of a Novel where he's writing to his editor and talks about how we can read in the paper that a boy kills his parents for not letting him use the car, and we believe it, but if it happens in a novel, we need to be convinced. It sounds contrived. How true!!

100LibraryLou
Aug 27, 2007, 4:11am Top

Tamar by Mal Peet is a brilliant book about the War, aimed at older Teen/Adult readers. I read a lot of teenage aimed fiction as I run a Teenage Reading group at work, and this novel stood out as exceptional. It also won the Carnegie Prize for Children's fiction.
It tells the story of a girl called Tamar, named by her Grandfather. She has uncovered a family secret, and her Grandfather has set her a task to follow a series of clues that will lead her to the truth about his past.
The book follows her story, but is generously interspersed with the story of her Grandfather and his time with the Dutch Resistance in France during World War II.
Please don't be put off that it is a teen book, it really is worth reading. Read the reviews other people have written on here, they put it much better than I am! It is a 5 star book.

101mikeepatrick
Aug 27, 2007, 3:44pm Top

> I was surprised by how much I enjoyed
> Scott Turow's Ordinary Heroes.

I think this book just shows how good a writer Turrow is - pretty far out of his 'element', and still he pulls it off easily. I really liked it.

Yeah, I'm going to have to tackle Grossman one of these days. Tolstoy first, though. I think.

102ORFisHome
Aug 27, 2007, 4:08pm Top

I concur with the recommendation of Enigma by Robert Harris. Wonderfully gloomy book with an excellent twist at the end.

103thisroyalcity First Message
Aug 28, 2007, 8:20am Top

I agree. The Book Thief was a stunning novel... now... if I could only get my copy back from my cousin...

104jsines14 First Message
Sep 27, 2007, 12:55pm Top

Eye of the Needle is very good and suspenseful.

105ViaLys First Message
Oct 2, 2007, 4:14pm Top

I recommend Forgotten Fire as a prelude to the Holocaust, the Armenian genocide in 1917 that Hitler used as a model for his Final Solution.

106pitjrw
Edited: Nov 29, 2009, 6:34pm Top

While I would second many of recommendations already made -Life and Fate, The Thin Red Line, Kaputt - one recommendation I would make that I have not seen is for Guard of Honor by James Gould Cozzens. It's an excellent novel about the events on an Air Force base in Florida during the war. There is no combat but thereby reflects a more universal experience of service in a citizen army during WWII. Just one of several excellent by Cozzens who is underestimated because of this conservative viewpoint.

107Pandababy
Oct 13, 2007, 3:54am Top

I read The Zookeeper's Wife this month, and will be posting a review tonight. I recommend it for the careful and extensive research, the authenticity, the details of daily life, and the charm with which Diane Ackerman tells the story.

As the title implies, it is told from the woman's point of view, and the sensibilities of a wife, a mother, a daughter-in-law, a friend, a nurturer. The courage told in the book is not that of soldiers on the front. It is the courage of unarmed women and children facing brutal SS soldiers while hiding Jewish refugees in their home.

The bibliography alone is a singular find.

108usnmm2
Edited: Oct 25, 2007, 6:41am Top

Here are some classics;

naval books;
"Run silent, run deep" by Edward Latimer Beach (this is a real treat if you only know it from the movie)
"Tales of The South Pacific" by James Michener
"Away All Boats" by Kenneth Dodson
"The cruel sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat
Goodbye to Some: A Novel by Gordon Forbes

Army / Marines
Battle Cry by Leon Uris
"Into The valley" by John Hersey
"The thin red line" and "From Here to Eternity"( another real treat if you only saw the movie) by James Jones

Occupation after the war;
"The Secret of Santa Vittoria" by Robert Crichton
"A Bell For Adono" by John Hersey
"Armageddon;A novel of Berlin" by Leon Uris

109pigeonstopper
Dec 22, 2007, 7:47am Top

Not sure if anyone mentioned it but King Rat by James Clavell is an excellent novel. It's set in a WWII Japanese POW camp.

110lriley
Edited: Dec 22, 2007, 12:45pm Top

Might as well throw in the works of Gert Ledig since I don't see mention of his name here. They are The Stalin front and Payback. They are extremely graphic. Ledig fought on the Russian front--lost some fingers and had part of his jaw blown off. There is a very subtle and macabre sense of humor running underneath his tales of catastrophes.

111Esta1923
Dec 22, 2007, 1:20pm Top

WWII: Sheila Burnford "Bel Ria"
Timothy Findley "Famous Last Words" (his "The Wars" is WWI)
Eric Linklater "Private Angelo"

and, unlikely as it may seem, Margery Sharp's "Britannia Mews"

112karen_o
Mar 24, 2008, 1:58pm Top

Bumping for someone new insterested in this era.

113Cascawebsite
Mar 25, 2008, 3:55am Top

A series of books on the Eastern Front by Sven Hassel is worth a read, told from the German side and pulls no punches. One book in the excellent Casca series which is the same area and side, and one good book I once read by Leo Kessler called The Last Carpathian Wolf.

Alistair MacLean wrote many good WWII novels of which Guns of Navarone and Where Eagles Dare stand out.

114vivienbrenda
Mar 25, 2008, 10:58am Top

Absolutely Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky. I actually listened to it on a wonderful audio. Touching, sad, somewhat humorous, and even charming in the French sort of way. I loved it.

115ClscFlm
Edited: Mar 25, 2008, 11:38am Top

Thanks karen_o, that was me. Already have a fine list from the many recommendations here! For anyone else coming to this, let me add for you:

Darkness Falls From the Air by Nigel Balchin
The Small Back Room by Nigel Balchin
Twelve o'Clock High! by Sy Bartlett and Beirne Lay (hard to find but very worth it as is the film)
Glory For Me by MacKinlay Kantor basis for great 1946 film, "The Best Years of Our Lives."

I wondered if anyone knew of any good novels on the SOE/Bletchly Park, other than Rbt. Harris's Enigma and the disappointing (to me) Charlotte Gray by Sebastian Faulks. Emphasis on the female espionage expereince would be terrific.

Also, another question: My rather odd specialty is collecting first editions of novels that were turned into classical-era Hollywood films (1930s-1949) and many of these are WII novels/films. I've read (and seen) Escape by Ethel Vance (which was a very fine film, MGM, 1940), but am curious about Vance's Reprisal on which I can find nothing. Has anyone heard of it or does anyone know its theme? I know, far fetched, but you never know...

116RobertMosher
Mar 25, 2008, 5:47pm Top

Twelve O'Clock High, both the book and the film are interesting. There's actually a "trilogy" of American "bomber" films if you match ths one up with John Hersey's The War Lover, the film of which starred Steve McQueen, and then there was also Command Decision which was a play in New York and then a film - starring Clark Gable - which followed many of the same issues as Twelve O'Clock High.

John Hersey and Leon Uris produced a 'duology' when Hersey wrote The Wall and Leon Uris wrote Mila 18 both novels recounting the story of the Warsaw Ghetto and the Jewish uprising there during World War II. Of course, Leon Uris would also write a sort of sequel with his book Exodus - but that's really a post-World War II novel.

Robert A. Mosher

117usnmm2
Mar 25, 2008, 11:05pm Top

Some good WW2 books are;
A Bell for Adano and Into the Valley also by John Hersey
Tales of the South Pacific by James A. Michener
The Secret of Santa Vittoria
by Crichton Robert
Run Silent Run Deep by Edward L. Beach
and Away All Boats by Kenneth Dodson

All good boks not read much now a days.

118reademwritem
Mar 26, 2008, 7:49pm Top

I loved Suite Francaise. I couldn't finish Sarah's Key because the writing wasn't very good. I know some think it's boring, but Cryptonomicon has some good writing about the Pacific theater. Madeleine Bunting's The Model Occupation was one of the inspirations for my book (it's available on Kindle only right now), War on the Margins. Dark Star is the one book by Alan Furst I have read; I should read more of them. He is always searching out details about the beginnings of the war

119karen_o
Mar 27, 2008, 1:45am Top

Has anyone here read Miracle at St. Anna by James McBride? I have it out from the library and I'm wondering whether to push to get it read before the due date.

120ClscFlm
Mar 30, 2008, 1:47pm Top

Has anyone read Day by A.L. Kennedy? She's a British author and this just came out in the States. Its about an RAF bomber pilot struggling to recover from his experiences after the war. The writing is wonderful, but on the whole I'm finding it tough going as its difficult to get invested in the character. Nevertheless, this might appeal to someone else, so tossing it out there. If anyone else has read it, love to hear opinions. I'm about 2/3 of the way through and have returned to my non-fiction WWII with more enthusiasm.

121castiglionir
May 19, 2008, 12:08pm Top

I think someone may have mentioned it, but The True Story of Hansel and Gretel by Louise Murphy, was wonderful and clever.

Let me Go by Helga Schneider was a short, but absolutely horrifying memoir of a woman vistiting her once Nazi mother in a nursing home.

April in Paris by Michael Wallner was interesting it mirros Nemirovsky's Suite Francaise's storyline of an occupied and a Nazi love interest.

These are great suggestions, I'm writing a list, can't wait to get reading.

122bettyjo
May 29, 2008, 11:30pm Top

so glad the word is getting out about The True Story of Hansel and Gretel....a great read.

123lynnmc
Jun 30, 2008, 8:49pm Top

My favourite WWII novel is Berkut by Joseph Heywood.

124brainella
Aug 1, 2008, 10:39am Top

David Robbins has some very good books about WWII. War of the Rats, The End of War: a novel and Last Citadel are all very good.

I recently read My Enemy's Cradle by Sara Young -- also quite good.

I'm currently reading the Jeff Shaara books about the lead up to D-Day.

125Susen123
Sep 30, 2008, 10:13pm Top

HI all,
I just found this site. Very cool. I love getting recommendations on great fiction to read. I am a huge fan of any stories around pilots. I always wanted to be a fighter pilot so I guess I live vicariously through those stories. Of course I love the movies too but there aren't many out there.
Can anyone recommend some great Fighter Pilot type stories. Romances are good but I like a story with some kind of action to it.

The last book I read was called Forcing the Hand of God by Jacquie Ream. I got it off Amazon. She writes all kinds of book but I learned a little bit about the author and found out that like me she is obsessed with World War II stories. This book is really well written and kind of shows more than war. I like the idea that the main character is the pilot and he is so at odds with his love of flying and his family. I can imagine it must be that way for a lot of combat pilots. There must be such an adrenaline rush that it is hard to give up. Anyway, I really liked it. Oh, there's a strange twist of a relationship in there that was really different and I liked that.

Any recommendations on some good fighter pilot stories? It doesn't have to be World War II. I just know a couple of those guys from our Museum of Flight out here in Seattle and they are really great and honorable men.
Thanks. This is cool!

126usnmm2
Sep 30, 2008, 11:45pm Top

>125 Susen123:

If you like pilot stories you might try Goodbye to Some: A Novel by Gordon Forbe. It's about about Navy B-24 pilots in WW2.

Another good fighter pilot one, about WW1, is In the Company of Eagles by Ernest K. Gann
They are both out of print but easy to find second hand , I'm sure any good book store can locate copies. I got mine on line from Ebay and Abe Books.

127quartzite
Edited: Oct 1, 2008, 2:43am Top

British Author Derek Robinson has several short series about pilots in WWII and WWI, two titles that come to mind are Goshawk Squadron and Damn Good Show. Robert Ryan also has some books like Blue Noon. Another couple are Touch the Face of God by Robert Vaughn and That Summer by Andrew Grieg.

128ludmillalotaria
Oct 1, 2008, 6:51am Top

Another one is H.L. Humes' "The Underground City" (can't get touchstone to come up) which is back in print. It's a literary type of thriller, so may not appeal to everyone and does require some patience, but it's interesting for depicting the geopolitical climate just after the war. The most interesting and riveting part is the middle section which flashes back to what happened to an American agent working with a communist faction of the French Resistance near the end of the war.

129usnmm2
Edited: Oct 1, 2008, 7:03am Top

Another good read is "Armageddon" by Leon Uris (touch stone goes to wrong book).
It deals with the military goverments set up in occupied Germany even as the war was still raging near the end of of WW2 and goes right to the Berlin Air Lift. Goes into alot of historical background of how the air lift was made a success.

130gmork
Oct 1, 2008, 10:10am Top

I've always liked Mother Night by Vonnegut. Granted, I suppose, like all Vonnegut, it is an acquired taste and a great deal of the action occurs post-war...but in his hands a miscreant like Howard W. Campbell, Jr., seems both believable and tragic.

And a nonfiction work that reads like fiction is Diary of a Man in Despair, since I someone else mentioned Anne Frank.

131mumoftheanimals
Oct 2, 2008, 8:15am Top

Suite Francaise This book essentially contains two novellas, the first involves the evacuation of Paris in the face of WWII German invasion. The second tells the story of the German occupation of a small French village.

The manuscript is recently discovered of a Jewish author in hiding who died in Authwitz. At no point in the book would you guess this. The depiction of Germen occupation is first class. The writer makes them totally human. So much f it has a modernist revisionist slant, I found mysef doubting the authenticity of the 'find'. But that aside it is a fine narrative.

The boy in striped pyjamas is officially a children's book but also an interesting, if chilling, read. It is about a boy whose SS father becomes commander-in-chief of a concentration camp.

132DeltaQueen50
Edited: Oct 5, 2008, 4:53pm Top

What a fantastic site! Great book recommendations - many I have read and many I plan to! Here is a list of some WWII novels that I have enjoyed.

Gods of War by John W. Toland
Night Sky by Clare Francis
The Cazalet Chronicles by Elizabeth Jane Howard
- The Light Years
- Marking Time
- Confusion
- Casting Off
3 Came Home by A. N. Keith (a true story)
The Children's War by Monique Charlesworth

133DouglasWJacobson
Nov 12, 2008, 4:27pm Top

I have been a World War Two entusiast for decades, both as a reader and an author, so I am very pleased to have found this site. My first suggestion about WW2 fiction is always Herman Wouk's classics Winds of War and War and Remembrance for the broad sweep of the war and a rippin' good tale that is impeccably researched. I enjoy all of the (Alan Furst) books about WW2 espionage. Some others that come to mind are A Thread of Grace, Mila 18 and Charlotte Gray.

I, of course, have to recommend my own book Night of Flames which was released in October, 2007 and just recently won the "Outstanding Achievement Award" from the Wisconsin Library Association.

Douglas W. Jacobson
Author, Night of Flames:A Novel of World War Two
http://douglaswjacobson.blogspot.com

134benitastrnad
Nov 30, 2008, 5:46pm Top

Small Death in Lisbon by Robert Wilson is a very good thriller set in Lisbon, Portugal. It starts out in WWII with the hunt for the metal tungsten and has lots in it about science and banking as well as the murder/mystery and spy novel angle. Very much along the same lines as Good German. Nobody has mentioned the new Chris Bohjalian book Skeletons at the Feast. I have it on my to read list but haven't started it yet. I would also add my recommendation for Woman in Berlin. I believe that this book is being made into a movie but I am not sure if it is an English or German production. (I was just in Frankfurt for the Book Fair and can't remember is that is where I saw the movie version being advertized or not.) It will be interesting to see what the producers of the movie do with this book. Will they pretty it up for the movie going public or not?

135CurrerBell
Dec 1, 2008, 12:46am Top

Does anyone remember Silence over Dunkerque by John Tunis? I vaguely remember reading it back when I was probably around 12 or 13 and liking it. Out of curiosity, I just got hold of a copy on eBay and it should be arriving in the next week or so.

136anyanka323
Dec 2, 2008, 11:19am Top

The Reader is set in the late 50s and 80s, but the main plot takes place during World War II. It's one of the better books about post-war German guilt about the Holocaust.

Zoo Station and Silesian Station are two more books set in pre-War Berlin.

137ABVR
Edited: Dec 2, 2008, 12:09pm Top

> 125 (Fighter pilot stories)

WWI

In the Company of Eagles by Ernest K. Gann
Gentlemen of Adventure by Ernest K. Gann
Goshawk Squadron by Derek Robinson
The Mustering of the Hawks by John Harris
The Blue Max by Jack D. Hunter
Once More the Hawks by Max Hennessy
The Bright Blue Sky by Max Hennessy

WWII

Piece of Cake by Derek Robinson
Eagles at War by Walter J. Boyne
The Last Dogfight by Martin Caidin
Ace by Spencer Dunmore
Goodbye, Mickey Mouse by Len Deighton
Hornet Flight by Ken Follett*
Flight of Eagles by Jack Higgins
633 Squadron by Frederick E. Smith*

Jet Age

Eagle in the Sky by Wilbur Smith
Check Six! by Bob Norris
Warriors by Barrett Tillman
The Last Battle by Barrett Tillman
The Warbirds by Richard Herman
Force of Eagles by Richard Herman
Air Force Eagles by Walter Boyne
Flight of the Intruder by Stephen Coonts*
Final Flight by Stephen Coonts
The Intruders by Stephen Coonts*
The Bridges at Toko-ri by James Michener*

*These stories are technically about people who fly aircraft other than fighters, but they have a similar feel and are well worth reading

138benitastrnad
Dec 4, 2008, 11:18pm Top

i'm surprised that nobody has mentioned Once an Eagle by Anton Myrer or the Last Convertable by the same author. Both excellent WWII novels.

139Revolt189
Dec 23, 2008, 2:33am Top

I have to pop in here and recommend Fox on the Rhine and Fox at the Front!

140JimThomson
Edited: Dec 26, 2008, 7:16am Top

I have heard that the two best novels of WWII are From Here to Eternity and The Thin Red Line, both by James Jones. However, I believe this evaluation came from those who possess Degrees in 'English' or 'Literature' or 'the Humanities' and thus may be over-the-heads of those of us who do not. Anyway, both of the films made from these novels were excellent. I remember that King Rat by James Clavell was also very good. It was about a prisoner of war camp run by the Japanese. Many of the best WWII novels were made into good films, such as Bridge over the River Kwai by Pierre Boulle. And let's not forget the oldest, and perhaps the best, war story of all time, the very detailed and realistic The ILLIAD by Homer, still debated after 37 centuries have passed, by scholars, as to whether is a true story. See the film; TROY. Some would say that The Diary of Anne Frank might be the best, but this transcends War Stories by a few notches, definitely in the realm of Literature.

141pofftown
Jan 3, 2009, 11:06am Top

I really enjoyed "The Good German" BY kanon and " A Small Death in Lisbon" by Robt Wilson

142profilerSR
Jan 3, 2009, 12:01pm Top

>134 benitastrnad:, if you have't read Skeletons of the Feast yet, I heartily recommend it! I chose it as my Best Book of 2008.

>136 anyanka323:, I'm adding The Reader to TBR. I am currently finishing up my first book of 2009. It's a non-fiction called What We Knew which contains interviews with Jews, German civilians, and German military personnel regarding what they knew about the mass murder of Jews during the war. I would love to read a fictional handling of the topic of post-war guilt.

143greenchair
Jan 4, 2009, 10:30pm Top

Just finished The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows and I gave it 4 STARS! It was recently published and it's absolutely wonderful. While about WWII, it's a light, lovely epistolary! Love to here what you think of it!

144DianneAscroft
Feb 26, 2009, 7:47am Top

I really enjoyed Robert Ryan's Night Crossing. It starts in pre-war Germany and follows the lives of three characters who become involved in a love triangle. One of the characters, a German woman, flees to England at the outbreak of the war and is detained as an enemy alien. Her German Nazi soldier fiance and a Scottish inspector are adversaries in the war and as rivals for her affection and there is a tense conclusion to the story.

For a very different book, I enjoyed John Boyne's The Boy In the Striped Pajamas. It is very powerful and also provides an interesting insight into a child's perspective of events.

My own novel, Hitler and Mars Bars, has been compared by readers to Boyne's novel though it is a bit more upbeat. It is based on a true story of a German boy who is brought to Ireland by the Red Cross after the war to recover from the devastation in his homeland. The novel opens in WWII Germany and then moves to Ireland. Readers who enjoyed Boyne's novel or The Book Thief might enjoy my novel too.

145gmathis
Feb 26, 2009, 8:49am Top

It's non-fiction, but Corrie Ten Boom's The Hiding Place reads much like a novel.

146Sr_Moreno
Feb 26, 2009, 8:55am Top

Burma Boy by Biyi Bandele is an excellent book with an unusual perspective on the conflict. The protagonist is a young African who joins an African regiment of the British Army to fight in Burma.

147benitastrnad
Feb 26, 2009, 10:31pm Top

I thought that boy in the striped pajamas was historically inaccurate. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that this story never happened. It is a fairy tale. This book provoked much discussion on the Center for Children's Books Bulletin list serve a few years back simply because of the inaccuracies and the false history it portrayed.

148imager
Feb 28, 2009, 6:58am Top

The Hunt For Red October by Tom Clancy
King Rat by James Clavell
The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
Sole Survivor by Derek Hansen and for something a little different try his "Lunch With............." series.

149richgatlin
Apr 28, 2009, 9:30am Top

I second the recommendation for Herman Wouk's "The Winds of War" and "War and Remembrance". Excellent books.

150richgatlin
Apr 28, 2009, 9:43am Top

Catch 22 is one of my favorite books, highly recommended.

151marieke54
Apr 28, 2009, 1:50pm Top

History: a novel by Elsa Morante. One of the best, most moving, most enlightening war stories I ever read. No. The best.

152twinkalina
May 5, 2009, 12:14pm Top

im not sure tht it is WWII but Number the stars is a really good book about Jews and stuff like that

$$$Robbie Harris$$$

153Katwil4
May 10, 2009, 10:50pm Top

Sara's Key by Tatiana DeRosnay, The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons. The Bronze Horseman is the first book in a trilogy. Great books! Have gun

154Cascawebsite
May 12, 2009, 3:27am Top

For an account of German forces retreating on the Russian front from 1943 (Kursk) onwards try Casca 4: Panzer Soldier by Barry Sadler

Its out of stock but details of how to get this book can be found at http://www.casca.net

155AnnaElliott
May 12, 2009, 12:55pm Top

She Goes to War by Edith Pargeter (who also wrote the Brother Cadfael mysteries as Ellis Peters) is wonderful. It's a very autobiographical account of her WWII experience.

156Mya809
May 18, 2009, 6:37pm Top

I have to second the recommendation for The Book Thief. It was a very moving novel.

I also have to recommend two YA novels:

Anne Frank and Me. This book is about a girl who gets "transported" to France during the Occupation and must go into hiding, much like Anne Frank.

The Boy Who Dared. A book based on the true story of Helmuth Hubener, who stood up to the Nazis for what he thought was right, and was sentenced to death at around the age of 16 for it.

Both are wonderful reads --- I'm not usually one to read books over again, but I have read Anne Frank and Me eight times, and it never gets old.

157brainella
May 19, 2009, 9:37pm Top

I'd agree about Jackdaws by Ken Follett. It's very interesting and keeps your attention.

I loved a number of books by David L. Robbins including War of the Rats, The End of War, The Last Citadel, and The Assassins Gallery. I love Mr. Robbins books -- they are incredibly researched and well written.

Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose is, of course, amazing. Citizen Soldiers and D-Day June 6, 1944 are also wonderful.

Suite Francaise (Irene Nemirovsky) is a beautifully written book by a Jewish woman living in France before the occupation. It tells stories of fleeing the Germans and of occupation. The stories intertwine and bring life to a time long forgotten. One other title that I enjoyed was My Enemy's Cradle by Sara Young. This book tells the tale of a young Jewish woman who becomes pregnant and ends up in a Nazi Lebensborn home.

158Anastasia169
Jul 19, 2009, 5:13pm Top

Would anyone consider Tamar as a Group Read in conjunction with the YA Group? It is an amazing WWII novel that is technically YA, but reads more adult to me. Let me know if anyone is interested.

159bettyjo
Jul 19, 2009, 8:30pm Top

loved skeletons at the feast.....dreat ww2 read

160bettyjo
Jul 19, 2009, 8:32pm Top

also recently liked the boy who dared

161clif_hiker
Jul 20, 2009, 9:21am Top

The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk is one of my all time favorites

The Cruel Sea by Nicholas Monsarrat is very good

W.E.B. Griffin has written several series; the Brotherhood of War (10 books or so, technically starts just after the end of WWII) and Semper Fi (the first 6 are the best but it goes on for 8-9, Marines perspective of the war in the Pacific)

Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose is of course very good

I also like Rick Atkinson's history of the war in North Africa and Italy... An Army at Dawn and The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944 (no touchstone)

Finally anything by Cornelius Ryan, including the movies made from the books

162clif_hiker
Jul 20, 2009, 9:26am Top

sure and I forgot

Berlin Noir by Philip Kerr; The Balkan Trilogy & The Levant Trilogy by Olivia Manning

163clif_hiker
Jul 20, 2009, 9:46am Top

apologies for including non-fiction above... but they often read like fiction

anyway a couple more

I've seen The Book Thief mentioned a few times and can highly second the recommendation

also seen Nevil Shute's marvelous A Town Like Alice and like it very much

what else? (can you tell that this is one my favorite genres?)

I have Alan Furst on my to read list (looking forward to a whole new set of books to read) and have read a bit of Jeff Shaara's WWII stuff (and liked it generally)

164clif_hiker
Jul 20, 2009, 9:50am Top

forgive me as I hog the thread, but I just finished two books by R. Cameron Cooke, Pride runs Deep and Sink the Shigure which I enjoyed... WWII submarine warfare fiction

165profilerSR
Jul 20, 2009, 1:06pm Top

> 157 brainella, thank you for providing info on My Enemy's Cradle, it sounds great. I'm adding it to my TBR list.

> 158 Anastasia, if you all do a group read of Tamar, post on a link on this thread or send me a message. :) I would be interested, the book sounds really good.

I whole-heartedly agree with any and all recommendations of The Book Thief.

166Anastasia169
Jul 21, 2009, 5:43pm Top

Thanks 165 - I will do that, the soonest it will be will be late August or September as the Group Read for now is already chosen.

167bpolsky
Jul 26, 2009, 1:43pm Top

Just jumping in here...have read a number of novels by Alan Furst and have to recommend them for placing you into one or another of the far flung capitals during the war and with only a partial perspective of what is going on in the corridors of power and on the battle lines. Strongly recommend Dark Star.

168Esta1923
Jul 27, 2009, 5:26pm Top

"Famous Last Words" by Timothy Findley is an amazing book about WW2. (His "The Wars" is a heart-breaker about WW1. . . both are unusual and well-worth your time.)

169ludmillalotaria
Jul 28, 2009, 2:43pm Top

Just chiming in re The Book Thief and Tamar. I'm actually, I think, in the minority for liking Tamar better than The Book Thief. Both are good in different ways, but I really did not like the narrative device (Death as narrator) in TBT. For that reason, Tamar was for me a much better book.

I really need to add Timothy Findley's books to my wishlist. I've been aware of him, but haven't tried his books yet.

170Apphouse50
Jul 29, 2009, 4:50pm Top

If Alan Furst ever stops writing I'll kill myself. Well, maybe nothing that extreme, but I've read everything he's written but one (Dark Voyage) and have gotten the first real sense of what life among people throughout Europe was like, on the ground, in the years leading up to WWII and up through around 1943.

I started with "Dark Star," which was overwhelming for me. I warn you, it's a bit dark, but you get a great sense of the fear people had as Hitler and Stalin were making mayhem and little seemed to be on the horizon to stop them. I love that book.

Then I read "The Polish Officer," which gives you are great sense of how normal people tried to assist in thwarting German moves. Resistance folks rarely get the credit and attention they deserve and this makes you want to cheer and cry for them. I love this book as well.

"Night Soldiers" is a great intro to all of them, even though I read it third. You learn about how young spies were recruited and trained, and see them coming together for action in Spain and beyond. Another great book.

But damn! They're all good. I'll admit to struggling to finish "The World At Night," but you can't have everything.

No matter where you start, you really get transported into a time most of us only heard about in history class or on some TV shows (most of which focus on the big battles anyway).

As I near the end of a Furst book, I start getting blue. Do yourself a favor and leave the formula books behind. This isn't Ian Fleming or Robert Ludlum or any of those guys who have to press every button and turn out stuff that seems like "one from Column A, two from Column B," etc. Furst is the real deal.

171Anastasia169
Aug 1, 2009, 11:16am Top

I recenlty picked up Hansel and Gretl: The True Story based on recommendations from this list and am on my way to Amazon to check out Findley and Furst immediately.

For a female perspective on the war, has anyone recommended Gone to Soldiers by marge Piercy? If not, I highly recommend that one.

172DeltaQueen50
Aug 2, 2009, 10:16pm Top

I am also a big fan of Alan Furst (he's on author chat right now btw) and I would also recommend Robert Ryan. His WWII novels ring true to me and he tells good stories!

173jnwelch
Aug 5, 2009, 5:36pm Top

#125 Fighter Pilots: To The Last Man by Jeff Shaara is a good WWI novel that features Raoul Lufbery and the Red Baron and other fighter pilots.

That author's WWII novels have been mentioned above, and also are good: The Rising Tide, and its sequel The Steel Wave. The third, No Less Than Victory, is due out in the U.S. in November.

174Razorback
Aug 13, 2009, 7:48am Top

Someone Mentioned Fox on the Rhine and Fox at the Front earlier. I wanted to mention them again, and say the general idea behind them. They're placed in WWII, and the idea is an alternate history, starting from the assasination attempt on Hitler in his bunker. In this telling, the briefcase does NOT get nudged under the table and kills it's target. Since Hitler's dead, there's no order given to Rommel to take his own life, and it goes from there. Somewhere I have another alternate history book called SS-GB, I haven't gotten around to reading that one yet though.

175HistFicChick
Aug 14, 2009, 7:07pm Top

I read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. It was a beautiful book. If you're interested, you can check out my review here. =)

176Jasper
Aug 14, 2009, 8:12pm Top

Not fiction but a terrific memoir of his time spent with the 14th army in Burma is Quartered Safe Out Here by George MacDonald Fraser O.B.E.

177Sodapop
Aug 19, 2009, 9:49am Top

I'm seconding #175's recommendation of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I just finished it yesterday and it was an instant favourite.
It tells the story of the occupation of Guernsey (which I knew nothing about before reading this book) via a series of letters between and from a London based journalist/writer and the Islanders.

178ladydiarma
Aug 20, 2009, 12:57pm Top

Absolutely - The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society has been one of my favorite books this summer. I have recommended it to everyone I know - even loaned it out, but might have to buy another copy to "chain" to my shelves....

179Catgwinn
Sep 15, 2009, 5:28pm Top

I second the recommendations of the previously mentioned titles:
"The Winds of War" and "War and Remembrence"; "A Town Like Alice";
Two O'Clock Eastern Wartime".

I recommend R.F. Delderfield's two-book saga "The Avenue": Book I "The Dreaming Suburb"(1919-1940); Book II "The Avenue Goes to War (1940-1947).

180Devodai
Oct 3, 2009, 6:46pm Top

I also read this series in my teens and really enjoyed them, it may be time for a re visit.

181Devodai
Oct 3, 2009, 6:46pm Top

I also read this series in my teens and really enjoyed them, it may be time for a re visit.

182airbornecavalryguy
Edited: Nov 18, 2009, 4:13pm Top

I am a big fan of Herman Woulk. He usually told his stories from the point od view of officers. It was great to see the view of privates and corporals in Will and Dena: Love and Life in World War II by Bob Rogers. I recommend the works of both authors, particularly, Will and Dena.

183odrach
Nov 27, 2009, 8:42pm Top

If anyone's interested in the dark realities of living under Stalin during the early days of WWII in eastern Poland (now Belarus), I recommend Wave of Terror by Theodore Odrach. Innocent people are randomly deported to labor camps or tortured and/or put to death in prisons. Though a novel, it's based on eyewitness accounts. Publishers Weekly okayed. http://www.librarything.com/work/4588642

184john257hopper
Nov 28, 2009, 11:16am Top

#183 - thanks for the recommendation

I am reading Suite Francaise at the moment, and it's very good. The reproductions of the letters of the author's husband as he frantically tries to track her down after her arrest and before his own arrest and deportation to Auschwitz are very poignant.

185GailMultop
Dec 10, 2009, 8:40pm Top

Anything by Alan Furst is outstanding. If you like realism and atmosphere, good plot, real characters, and beautiful writing, you'll love him.

186ljerrell
Feb 18, 2010, 2:25pm Top

I, too, have read The Book Thief. It is an amazing book. Even though it says it's for young adults, any adult would enjoy reading it and learning from it.

187jubilant_joy
Feb 19, 2010, 3:23pm Top

Just finished The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and really enjoyed it, although it's set immediately after WWII. Once by Morris Gleitzman is intended as a book for young adults, but is one of my favorites.

188omaca
Feb 20, 2010, 8:20am Top

I came here to post, and was literally going to write "Anything by Alan Furst". Bizarrely, GailMultop posted almost exactly the same thing just three posts above.

So yeah... Alan Furst. Outstanding. BTW, they are "historical espionage".

189JoanieS
Feb 20, 2010, 8:19pm Top

Gone to Soldiers by Marge Piercy

190libraryhermit
Edited: Mar 7, 2010, 6:17pm Top

A Princess in Berlin by Arthur R.G. Solmseen.
Found it in The Wee Book Inn in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, for a few dollars. Read it eagerly and discovered a new author. Will try some of his other books, although, from what I can tell so far, all of his other books are about legal practice in the United States.

191quartzite
Mar 8, 2010, 10:59am Top

just read Castle Keep by William Eastlake which is most often compared to Catch-22.

192benjclark
Mar 9, 2010, 7:57am Top

A favorable comparison? No reviews at work page.

193quartzite
Mar 9, 2010, 11:08am Top

I think if you liked one, you would like the other.

194Cariola
Mar 11, 2010, 12:04pm Top

May I suggest A Gesture Life by Chang-rae Lee?

195Catgwinn
Apr 2, 2010, 5:31pm Top

#186 (ljerrell) & #169 (ludmillataria),
I also recently read, and liked, "The Book Thief" (and BTW did like "Death" as the narrator). I also recommend "Sarah's Key".

196injuneer
Apr 7, 2010, 1:01am Top

A couple of fiction works I think not yet mentioned are:
Battle Cry-uris
The Last TallyHo-neuhafer

Whip by Martin Caidin was nice light reading also.

197usnmm2
Apr 7, 2010, 11:49am Top

Speaking of Leon Uris Armageddon is very good. Starts near the end of WW2 and goes up to the Berlin Air Lift.

198Esta1923
Apr 7, 2010, 12:43pm Top

(Since these are not recently published you might find them in library. I quickly checked Amazon for prices which I'll show here. I love both and each gives a far different view of WW2)......"The Book of Ebenezer Le Page" by G. B. Edwards (paperback $11.53) "Private Angelo" by Eric Linklater (paperback from $4.94, used from $0.73) *postage adds to these prices, and availability changes daily I find.

199bettyjo
Apr 7, 2010, 5:47pm Top

Just finished The Postmistress by Sarah Blake....nice WWII story.

200gjy3a2
Aug 28, 2010, 2:23pm Top

Does anyone know of any boys adventure fiction set during World War 2?

I remember reading two books like this as a kid. One was about a fighter pilot in the Mediterranean who liked to eat pie in meetings, and got in trouble for doing so. The other was about some Boy Scouts in a coastal American town, and involved u-boats and a spy. If either of these sound familiar, please let me know -- I'd love to re-read them and look for other books by the same authors.

201libraryhermit
Oct 19, 2010, 9:53pm Top

If you are interested in the Italian theatre during the period when the Germans were retreating northward, then I would recommend that you do not miss Famous Last Words by Timothy Findley.

202Anley
Nov 9, 2010, 12:25pm Top

This message has been flagged by multiple users and is no longer displayed (show)

www.allbookreviews.com www.allbookreviews.ca

Genre: FICTIONAL AUTOBIOGRAPHY

Title: A CARNIVAL OF LIES

Author: VERNON L. ANLEY

I’m going to put it right out there: this book about Nazi atrocities should be required reading for everyone. Period. Frankly, it’s just that good, that informative, and mines some previously untapped sources to reveal facts that will shock, mesmerize, and overwhelm you — no matter how much you think you know about the Holocaust. In order to receive my highest rating of HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, a book must be truly outstanding — heads and shoulders above the others I’ve reviewed. This book easily falls into that category. Not only is it meticulously researched, but poignantly well written, a real heart-rending page-turner. The author, by choosing to write it autobiographically in the first person, puts us right there in the death camps, even though he admits that a person “can describe what they saw but cannot CONVEY the experience.” Well, that might be the usual case, but this author comes awfully close and certainly did a hell of a job eliciting my emotions.
Our protagonist’s WW II assignment: to go undercover in National Socialist Germany in order to ferret out where they relocated their factories in order to avoid Allied bombing. Arrested for having a Jewish girlfriend, he’s then propelled on a nightmare journey from Dachau to Auschwicz, even as the love of his life is caught up in the system. I cannot begin to summarize the author’s brilliantly written account of those horrendous years in the death camps. With chilling descriptions, the narrative reveals atrocities worse than any I’ve ever heard. As the author so aptly puts it: “In five years, Auschwicz metamorphosed from a locus of terror into a universe of horror.” Nonetheless, like SCHINDLER’S LIST, it’s counterpart, A CARNIVAL OF LIES ends up on a high note of unparalleled courage along with a profound statement on the power of love to endure. In all honesty, the only thing I could take issue with in this novel was the title choice. To me, A CARNIVAL OF LIES seems a little light. I think the book would’ve been better served using the author’s own words, “Despotism of Darkness”, for a title. But that’s just me.
The book jacket tells us that the author, Dr. Vernon L. Anley, was educated in Australia and England and has traveled the world. He’s an expert on such things as linguistics and travel and his visits to Hitler’s death camps in Germany, Poland, and Austria tells me that’s where he was able to employ such meticulous research involved in order to produce such a compelling novel. My advice? Pick up a copy of this book right away. You won’t be sorry

Highly Recommended, reviewer: Jan Evan Whitford, Allbooks Reviews, 22 October 2010
Published by: OakTara Publishers ©2010
ISBN: 978-1-60290-228-2
Trade paperback, 226 pages
Oct. 2010
For more information and purchase details:

203Sodapop
Nov 9, 2010, 7:37pm Top

#200 Not either of the two books you described but The Machine Gunners fits the bill for a boys adventure fiction set in WW2.

204MLarson28
Dec 7, 2010, 12:27am Top

Jeff Shaara WWII historical fiction is the best.

205MissSarah
Edited: Dec 11, 2010, 5:37am Top

Just a long shot.....but my boyfriend is really in to WW2 and recently has been getting back into reading books...He was trying to remember a book he read about 5 or 6 years ago at high school...Maybe not a school book though. I thought I would try to find it for him for christmas as a surprise. All I know is it's about a tank soilder in WW2 in Afrika (thats how he spelt it) Thought someone may have read a book along these lines and remeber what its call. I know I dont have much hope :-)

206quartzite
Dec 11, 2010, 7:38am Top

MIssSarah. You should post your request as anew thread in Name That Book.

207ZoharLaor
Dec 23, 2010, 10:02am Top

Just finished reading The Losing Role by Steve Anderson about a German man who is recruited to act as an American solider behind enemy lines (by the Germans).

208spec1963
Apr 16, 2011, 4:03pm Top

With regard to boys adventure fiction you might enjoy ENEMY BROTHERS by Constance Savery originally published in 1943 and republkished in 2001. I read it more than 60 years ago and remember it to this day.

209KayEluned
Apr 16, 2011, 7:06pm Top

If you fancy a book set in that period but not directly dealing with the war Julie Hearn's Rowan the Strange is a very good YA book, dealing with a boy who has series mental illness and is commited to a mental hospital during World War II, it deals with all sorts of issues of the time, people's attitude towards the mentally ill, medical techniques, attitude to children and of course parallels this to the Nazi attitude to mental illness through a German doctor who has fled the Nazi regime, very challenging and good characters

210fountainoverflows
Apr 17, 2011, 7:51am Top

Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi

211ZoharLaor
Apr 23, 2011, 8:30am Top

Started reading Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell Zuckoff a narrative history book about a plane filled with military personal on a sight seeing tour in New Guinea and their fight for survival with tribes who have never been out of the valley they crashed in.

So far so good.

2125hrdrive
Edited: Apr 23, 2011, 8:36am Top

The Final Battle by Michael Shaara. Details the Battle of Okinawa and the dropping of the Atomic bomb. Reads like the author was right there in the front lines and it's terrific. Not being released until May, but I just read it for Early Reviewers.

213Samantha_kathy
Apr 24, 2011, 6:56am Top

Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett. A very good read that's hard to put down. Can't say enough good things about it. Based on the premise that it would only take 1 spy to know about D-Day for the whole plan to fall apart, and that such a spy has to be stopped at all cost.

214usnmm2
Apr 24, 2011, 7:04pm Top

The Key to Rebecca by Ken Follett was very good also

215Cariola
Apr 24, 2011, 8:50pm Top

I just finished a lovely book, Coventry by Helen Humphreys. The bulk of it is set in the bombing of the city and cathedral of Coventry.

216jnwelch
Apr 25, 2011, 5:26pm Top

I liked Ken Follett's Jackdaws, too.

217Her_Royal_Orangeness
May 10, 2011, 1:16pm Top

Some recent reads:

East Wind, Rain by Caroline Paul

Based on a true event, about a Japanese fighter pilot that crashed on an isolated Hawaiian island after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The story is about how the inhabitants of the island, many of whom are of Japanese descent, deal with the arrival of the pilot and the news of war. Some historians theorize that this incident was critical in the forming of the Japanese internment camps. I found the whole story utterly fascinating, and it is a very well written book.

Heart Mountain by Gretel Ehrlich

Fictionalized account of the Heart Mountain Relocation Camp in Wyoming, told from the perspectives of several Japanese families interred there and the residents of the town where the camp is located. It's an intense, emotional story and quite well done.

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

No need for a summary...I think everyone has heard of this book. I completely fell in love with this.

218Kasthu
May 10, 2011, 6:00pm Top

My current read is The Invisible Bridge, which is fiction based upon the experience of Hungarian Jews during WWII--a young man goes to Paris to study architecture, and falls in love in the first half of the book... and then the war starts and things get much, much more somber. It's a pretty gripping read. I don't read much Jewish fiction, but this one is pretty good.

219somermoore
May 16, 2011, 10:41pm Top

I agree with 20 & 46 on While Still We Live and with 107 on The Zookeeper's Wife. The two make a great set to read one after the other. I had always wondered if the detailed outline of the Polish resistance in WSWL was for real, and once I read TZW I knew it was. I've never read of a more tightly organized system to keep culture, education, religious faith and people alive during a time of war. I've read Poland also, and it is valuable in its own way as a historical reference, but I prefer the other two.

If you like historically detailed fiction with romance thrown in, Elswyth Thane wrote some WWII books in her Williamsburg series: This was Tomorrow and Homing. She gives a wonderful look at upper-class European society and their views on politics during the years leading up to the war; if you want more of that, start with the WWI book The Light Heart and also read the in-between-wars book Kissing Kin.

220rocketjk
May 17, 2011, 1:08am Top

Anton Myrer was mentioned on this thread quite a while ago, but not his book The Big War, which might be my favorite WWII novel of all those I've read.

221katrinamarie
May 22, 2011, 12:29pm Top

More recent books but still really good reads: Sara's Key, Those Who Save Us, My Enemy's Cradle, Anya by Susan Fromberg Schaeffer. I have a two page document of WWII Historical Fiction Novels saved on my computer but this discussion page is awesome...Most of these are new to me!

222Her_Royal_Orangeness
Edited: May 27, 2011, 7:13am Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

223techeditor
May 23, 2011, 3:46pm Top

The best World War II historical fiction I've read are the books by Joseph Kanon

224ALinNY458
May 23, 2011, 5:55pm Top

It's been 20 years since I read the book but I still remember the the vivid imagery in the book The Gentle Infantryman by Bill Boyd. The story is about a very young replacement who gets thrown into the thick of the harsh winter fighting in January 1945 in Europe.

225andyr354
May 26, 2011, 2:25pm Top

City of Thieves was quite enjoyable.

226pobob
May 31, 2011, 11:18pm Top

As I was scrolling through this list I was waiting to see if someone mentioned W.E.B. Griffin's books. I have reread The Corps series a few times. Ken Follet's Fall of Giants is a also a great military fiction book that takes place during WWI

227pre20cenbooks
Jun 1, 2011, 10:38am Top

How about a new list called WWII recommendation List 2? Meanwhile QB VII Leon Uris This is from the Blurb on the back of a paperback Bantam edition, complete text.

"In Queen's Bench Courtroom Number Seven, famous author Abraham Cady stands trial. In his book Holocaust--born of the terrible revelation that the Jadwiga Concentration Camp was the site of his family's extermination--Cady shook the conscienceness of the human race. He also named eminent surgeon Sir Adam Kelno as one of the Jadwigwa's most sadistic inmate/doctors. Kelno has denied this and brought furious charges. Now unfolds Leon Uris's riveting courtroom drama--one of the great fictional trials of the century."

This is on my to read stack...looks like a two to three week read for me (with others) or a two to three day read, uninterrupted.

228Polaris-
Jun 26, 2011, 10:12pm Top

Just started my first by Alan Furst, which is The Polish Officer. So far I'm loving the opening chapters.

229Anitaob
Sep 30, 2011, 4:48pm Top

I just finished reading The Last Time I Saw Paris by Lynn Sheene that was full of romance and suspense in WWII Paris. A wealthy Manhattan socialite arrives in Paris just as the Nazis take over. She becomes a member of the Resistance and fights for the man she falls in love with.

230john257hopper
Edited: Sep 30, 2011, 4:52pm Top

I just finished reading Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada (also known as Every Man Dies Alone. A wonderful, thought provoking and moving book.

231ZoharLaor
Oct 3, 2011, 9:09am Top

Just started reading an eGalley of Winter in Wartime by Jan Terlouw, a Dutch YA WWII book which was recently translated.

232joyceshaughnessy
Nov 14, 2011, 3:18pm Top

How about Herman Wouk's War & Remembrance, Winds of War, and Follet's Jackdaws and Eye of the Needle. How about mine_ A Healing Place and Blessed Are the Merciful, Our Forgotten Soldiers. Joyce Shaughnessy

233quartzite
Nov 14, 2011, 8:14pm Top

232 The others have already been recommended on here and you are not supposed to tout your own work. It can get you flagged.

234ehcarpenter
Nov 18, 2011, 10:45am Top

The Forgotten Soldier by Guy Sajer is a great book on WWII from the perspective of a German soldier fighting against the Red Army.

236audreyj
Nov 18, 2011, 7:57pm Top

Authors with multiple books (mostly mystery/action/adventure)

Phillip Kerr's books with Bernie Gunther
Alan Furst
J Robert Janes
John Lawton

237audreyj
Nov 18, 2011, 8:02pm Top

Good reads

238joyceshaughnessy
Nov 30, 2011, 9:53pm Top

Ghost Soldiers by Hampton Sides is a favorite of mine. It's a pulitzer prize winner. I love WWII books and read just about anything that has anything to do with it. My books are historical fiction of WWII, Merciful are the Blessed, Our Forgotten Soldiers and A Healing Place. Joyce Shaughnessy

239Artymedon
Edited: Dec 1, 2011, 6:04am Top

The Emperor of Lies: is a historical fiction novel by Steve Sem-Sandberg and takes place in Lzodz, Poland during WII. It is an unusual approach on the quest for survival against all odds. Mixing theatricals to news in a Brechtian style, it narrates how a Jewish Ghetto becomes the coerced and key supplier of the Wermarcht Eastern front offensive until the SS take over the management in a "mergers and acquisition" fashion.

It is also a depiction of the workers' constant starvation, hopes, as they learn at the peril of their lives, of Stalingrad and the landing in Normandy. Many are deported and murdered but a few escape who gave Steve Sem-Sanberg his inspiration for this unforgettable book.

240KayEluned
Dec 1, 2011, 8:37am Top

Yes, thank you Joyce I think you might have mentioned your books once or twice already. It's not really the done thing to keep recommending your own work on here, it can get you flagged by other users, this is a discussion thread not a platform for advertisements.

241Cariola
Edited: Dec 1, 2011, 10:05am Top

The Lost Garden by Helen Humphreys focuses on a group of Land Girls and a unit of Canadian soldiers stationed at a country estate. And if you haven't read her Coventry, it's another excellent novel set in the war-torn cathedral city.

242blesst2001
Dec 2, 2011, 9:13pm Top

Saints and Villains by Denise Giardina A novel about Detrich Bonhoeffer. Wonderful and thought-provoking.

243JohnDearth
Dec 31, 2011, 11:32am Top

David Andrew Westwood has just published books 4 and 5 in his World War Two Series, Deauvenoy, 1939, and Valdinato, 1943. They're available as eBooks from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I find all his work fascinating.

244ZoharLaor
Jan 3, 2012, 8:11am Top

I also liked The Emperor of Lies (my thoughts: http://manoflabook.com/wp/?p=4135). I believe it won some prizes as well.

245ZoharLaor
Jan 9, 2012, 11:01am Top

I finished reading Shadows Walking by historian Dou­glas R. Skopp http://manoflabook.com/wp/?p=3578

246spec1963
Feb 7, 2012, 5:41pm Top

I found "The Magic Army" by Leslie Thomas to be quite enjoyable. It describes the US Army in Great Britain prior to D-Day.

247herelbowroom
Feb 24, 2012, 3:13pm Top

I just finished reading Barrett Clisby's historical fiction novel, "Lost Treasure of the Fourth Reich." This novel follows "The Red Leather Book," an incriminating document listing Nazi sympathizers at the height of World War II and the extension of the Nazi Party into South America. The second half of the novel is more in the present day, but still flips back and forth to World War II. It's not a literary book, but it is definitely well-researched. It left me thinking, "What if this book really existed?"

248StephanieCairo
May 25, 2012, 9:48pm Top

Very promising recommendations! Thanks!

249mcenroeucsb
Jun 8, 2012, 5:46pm Top

*Herman Wouk's The Winds of War and War and Remembrance
*Art Spiegelman's Maus (some wouldn't consider this historical fiction)

250Artymedon
Edited: Jul 11, 2012, 5:50am Top

Ningen no jōken 人間の條件
by Junpei Gonikawa but that is the book which inspired the movie of Masaki Kobayashi and there is no translation in English to my knowledge. One solution, obtain a japanese version, scan it, do an OCR and then google translate the whole book. The result might be awful. The best would be that a Japanese scholar translate it. It is about the withdrawal of the Japanese from Manchuria and the war with Russia and much more...

251Betty30554
Edited: Jul 12, 2012, 3:06am Top

Reading this thread reminded me of a book I read years ago. While not fiction, Berlin Diary is very historical. Journalist William Shirer was a CBS correspondent in Berlin in the mid- to late-thirties, working with Edward R. Murrow's team. The stories of the people and events from that time are so engrossing you forget you are reading non-fiction.

I know - Shame on me for putting it here. Sorry. It's just a really good read.

252Dowless
Jul 23, 2012, 6:40pm Top

This message has been flagged by multiple users and is no longer displayed (show)
The Grand Army Of The Golden Eagle via Amazon books. There is also a Kindle version of this book, as I understand .

253Dowless
Jul 23, 2012, 6:42pm Top

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Try"The Grand Army Of The Golden Eagle", would be a good bet. Purchase it via Amazon Books. The price is really good, I felt for what one is getting.

254Cariola
Jul 23, 2012, 10:40pm Top

253> You would think so, wouldn't you?

255KayEluned
Jul 24, 2012, 7:02am Top

#252 Ha ha how stupid, did you really think we wouldn't notice you were the author? Not cool, read the rules.

256VicRobbie
Sep 26, 2012, 9:23am Top

This message has been flagged by multiple users and is no longer displayed (show)
Thanks for the opportunity to tell you about my new thriller IN PURSUIT OF PLATINUM – The Shocking Secret of World War II

Based on a true story, it’s the secret they don’t want you to find out – buried in government archives and not to be revealed until 2045. Now you can read the real story about the attempt to smuggle a fortune in platinum out of Paris in the legendary Bullion Bentley, and its even more valuable human cargo, a mysterious Frenchwoman with a secret that could change the course of the Second World War. Alena and American Ben Peters are targets of Hitler’s ruthless investigator Ludwig Weber, whose family will be executed if he fails. His orders are to silence Alena before she can reveal her secret; capture her young son and take him back to Berlin; and recover the Banque de France’s platinum. As they flee their hunter, they experience the stark and tragic realities of war and the raw emotions of two brave people living on the edge of fear. And not everything is as it seems. Who is Alena and what is her secret that could destroy everything the Nazi movement stands for?
A reviewer wrote ‘It will leave you wondering right to the end – and afterwards’
IN PURSUIT OF PLATINUM, published by Principium Press and available as an eBook or paperback at http://bit.ly/InPursuitofPlatinum or http://bit.ly/InPursuitofPlatinumUK
www.VicRobbie.com

257VicRobbie
Sep 26, 2012, 9:24am Top

This message has been flagged by multiple users and is no longer displayed (show)
Thanks for the opportunity to tell you about my new thriller IN PURSUIT OF PLATINUM – The Shocking Secret of World War II

Based on a true story, it’s the secret they don’t want you to find out – buried in government archives and not to be revealed until 2045. Now you can read the real story about the attempt to smuggle a fortune in platinum out of Paris in the legendary Bullion Bentley, and its even more valuable human cargo, a mysterious Frenchwoman with a secret that could change the course of the Second World War. Alena and American Ben Peters are targets of Hitler’s ruthless investigator Ludwig Weber, whose family will be executed if he fails. His orders are to silence Alena before she can reveal her secret; capture her young son and take him back to Berlin; and recover the Banque de France’s platinum. As they flee their hunter, they experience the stark and tragic realities of war and the raw emotions of two brave people living on the edge of fear. And not everything is as it seems. Who is Alena and what is her secret that could destroy everything the Nazi movement stands for?
A reviewer wrote ‘It will leave you wondering right to the end – and afterwards’
IN PURSUIT OF PLATINUM, published by Principium Press and available as an eBook or paperback at http://bit.ly/InPursuitofPlatinum or http://bit.ly/InPursuitofPlatinumUK
www.VicRobbie.com

258mcenroeucsb
Edited: Sep 26, 2012, 5:41pm Top

259shdw_knife
Oct 1, 2012, 7:50am Top

I feel that All Quiet on the Western Front by Eric Maria Remarque is one of the best protrayal of WW1 and its effects on man.

Also, A Dimly Burning Wick, Memoir from the Ruins of Hiroshima by Sadako Okuda has left a deep impression on me. It is a must read.

260KayEluned
Oct 2, 2012, 5:32am Top

#259 I agree All Quiet on the Western Front it the most difficult and moving book about WW1 that I have read as well. Absoloutly brilliant and perhaps more affecting because it is from the point of view of a young German soldier in the trenches.

I have never heard of the Sadako Okuda book, I will have to look it up.

261akatzsch
Jun 4, 2013, 4:02pm Top

Could anyone name this book for me? I read it years ago as a teenager and no longer recall the title. It'd be an older (I'd say at least 20 years at this point) novel, the kind you'd find on the cheap paperback rack at a used book store. Here is the plot summary:

An Allied pilot (American I believe) is shot down over France in the lead up to the D-Day invasion. He survives and is sheltered by the local villagers. He eventually becomes involved with a local band of Maquis guerrillas, and he participates in an ambush of a large German convoy, retreating through France in the wake of the invasion.

Sound familiar to anyone? I would have posted to the 'Name the Book' thread, but that's only for romance novels? I dunno....seems like the folks who could name this book would be reading this particular thread. Your suggestions are appreciated. Thanks!

262quartzite
Jun 4, 2013, 4:30pm Top

Name That Book is for all of these types of inquiries.

263KayEluned
Jun 20, 2013, 12:46pm Top

Sorry akatzsch doesn't ring a bell.

264silverbooks
Aug 8, 2013, 11:04pm Top

<261
I'm sure this isn't the same book but all of that is in a non-fiction book called The Englishman's Daughter by Ben Macintyre...just substitute English soldier for American pilot, World War I instead of World War II....its exactly the same but different:)

Didn't love it. Didn't hate it.

I'll keep thinking about what book you might be describing as its so familiar sounding to me besides the aforementioned.

here is a description of this non-fiction book:
In the first days of World War I four soldiers, left behind as the British army retreated through northern France under the first German onslaught, found themselves trapped on the wrong side of the Western Front, in a tiny village called Villeret. Just a few miles from the Somme, the village would be permanently inundated with German troops for the next four years, yet the villagers conspired to feed, clothe and protect the fugitives under the very noses of the invaders, absorbing the Englishmen into their homes and lives until they could pass for Picardy peasants.

The leader of the band, Robert Digby, was a striking young man who fell in love with Claire Dessenne, the prettiest maid in the village. In November 1915, with the guns clearly audible from the battlefront, Claire gave birth to Digby's child, the jealous whispering began, and the conspiracy that had protected the soldiers for half the war started to unravel.

Never before told, The Englishman's Daughter is a harrowing tale of love, duplicity and their tragic consequences, which haunt the people of Villeret eight decades after the Great War.

265silverbooks
Edited: Aug 9, 2013, 1:32am Top

yikes there are thousands of fiction books about WWII...here are some I liked (read a lot - I'm old:) I'll try to stick to fiction but I might err. I'll think of more later and look at my library which unfortunately I haven't complete tagged. I'll come back and do touchstones when I'm feeling better.

The Wall by John Hersey

A Bell for Adano by John Hersey

Badenheim 1939 by Aharon Appelfeld

The Iron Tracks by Aharon Appelfeld

The Age of Wonders by Aharon Appelfeld

The Violin of Auschwitz by Maria Angels Anglada

Catch 22 by Joseph Heller

The Reader by Bernard S.....

Exodus by Leon Uris

Mila 18 by Leon Uris

QB VII by Leon Uris

City of Thieves by David Benioff

Billy Boyle series by James Benn

All of Alan Furst’s books

Restless by William Boyd

Hannah Vogel series by Rebecca Cantrell

The Welsh Girl by Peter Ho Davies

Boy in the Striped Pajamas

The Madonnas of Leningrad by Deborah Dean

The Moon and the Bonfires by Cesar Pavese (I'll have to check on that one)

John Lawton’s Frederick Troy series

J. Robert Janes series St. Cyr and Kohler - set in Paris during WWII-French detective, German detective

Sarah's War by

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer

The Odessa File by Frederick Forsyth (also liked the movie)

Eye of the Needle by Ken Follet (also liked the movie)

Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi

The Shawl by Cynthia Ozick

The Tin Drum by Gunther Grass

Mephisto by Klauss Mann

Life and Fate by Valery Grossman

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry - children’s book

Lipstick and Lies by Margit Liesche

Code Talker: A Novel about the Navajo Marines of WWII by Joseph Bruchac

A very good children's book about Japanese internment in the U.S. during WWII....

and Graham Greene novels

a couple about the Channel Islands...

oh! and one i'm reading now - The Light in the Ruins by Chris Bohjalian

ok too tired..I'll check more another time

266amylynnd
Aug 13, 2013, 12:56pm Top

The Reader is one of my all-time favorite books. The movie is quite moving also.

267melanieburger
Aug 14, 2013, 3:36pm Top

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Winter of the World by Ken Follett
Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

I absolutely love the first two. Sarah's Key was not one of my favorites, but it has amazing reviews and everyone else seems to really like it. I think I would have enjoyed it more if she had stuck to Sarah's story and ignored the tie-ins with the narrator.

268Schmerguls
Edited: Aug 19, 2013, 8:55am Top

#261: This reminds me of a book I read which isn't nearly as old as the one you indicate. Here is my note on it:

4220 In the Shadows of War An American Pilot's Odyssey Through Occupied France and the Camps of Nazi Germany, by Thomas Childers (read 20 Oct 2006) This is a 2003 book about Roy Allen, an American pilot shot down over Occupied France on June 14, 1944. The account of the downing of the plane, the pilot's hiding with French resistors, his betrayal when he sought to escape back to Allied lines, his time in Buchenwald, and his eventual liberation in April 1945 makes for a riveting and attention-holding story. The story is well-researched and reads like a novel. Allen died in 1991 and his son got the author interested in doing this amazing account of his father's life in 1944 and 1945. I don't think I have ever read a book quite like it. The account of the Buchenwald time is harrowing and it is hard to see how Allen survived. This is a very good book, and tells a true story with vividity and care.

269ludmillalotaria
Sep 11, 2013, 2:32pm Top

Recently, I watched an old WWII film called "Decision before Dawn" about German POWs used as spies to report military intelligence back to the Allies near the end of the war. I liked it so much, I hunted down the book it was based on: Call It Treason by George Howe. I think WWII buffs or those who generally enjoy espionage fiction would really like this. The author served in an OSS unit during the war, and his account of the experiences of the young German spy who volunteers to go behind enemy lines bears the mark of someone who has been there to witness the crumbling remains of war rather than just read about it. It’s remarkably detailed and quite riveting as the German spy (who was only 19 and had been a medic with the Luftwaffe) makes his five day journey from where he’s dropped in Bavaria to Mannheim where he’s expected to cross the Rhine to report back (the mission takes place in February 1945). It’s definitely one of those books that deserves to be rescued from obscurity. Fortunately, an ebook is now available for it.

270MDGentleReader
Sep 11, 2013, 3:17pm Top

Some books that talk about British civilian lives during WWII:
Mrs. Tim Carries On
Mrs. Miniver
Henrietta's War
Henrietta Sees it Through

For some reason, this is listed as young adult, but it deals with the Blitz, the cat saw quite a bit:
Blitz Cat

Frontline 1940 involves some romance, but it brought the Blitz alive to me other books had not. The main characters are a British nurse in a London Hospital and an American reporter. The American reporter had written the British off, he was just there to report on the story.

Striking Back: A Jewish Commando's War Against the Nazis. The author escaped Austria in his teens and fought in a British commando unit during World War II.

Anyone remember the book about the British nurse and someone else who rescued a group of children on the Burma Road? It's by a fairly well-known author, I had this idea it was Neville Shute, but perhaps not.

271rdk99
Sep 15, 2013, 11:59pm Top

awesome read

272quartzite
Edited: Sep 16, 2013, 12:07am Top

270 The Provincial Lady in Wartime is also a good one

Neville Shute did do one about an older man rescuing a group of children in France The Pied Piper and A Town Called Alice has a group of women and children marching through the Malaysian jungle.

273Schmerguls
Sep 16, 2013, 11:05am Top

The Shute book and my comment thereon:

4260 Pied Piper, by Nevil Shute (read 17 Jan 2007) Sandy some time ago recommended I read this book so I finally got it through interlibrary loan. It is the sixth Shute book I have read:
3073 No Highway: A Novel, by Nevil Shute (read 6 May 1998)
3074 A Town Like Alice, by Nevil Shute (read 7 May 1998)
3078 On the Beach, by Nevil Shute (read 17 May 1998)
3726 Trustee from the Toolroom, by Nevil Shute (read 5 Apr 2003)
3735 Round the Bend A Novel by Nevil Shute (read 21 Apr 2003)
4260 Pied Piper, by Nevil Shute (read 17 Jan 2007)
and is one of the best. It tells of a 70-year-old Englishman who is taking two kids home to England in June of 1940. He picks up other kids as he wends his way thru occupied France, including a French girl and boy, a Dutch boy, a Jewish boy, and a German boy. He is such a good guy, so honorable, and he is so tried--and when one does not see how he can succeed, he does. I found it a very poignant story, especially toward the highly dramatic end. One of Shute's best, IMHO.

274MDGentleReader
Sep 16, 2013, 5:22pm Top

A Town like Alice must be the one I'm thinking of. It's probably been 35 years since I read it. Thanks, quartzite! I was fooled by the title, I didn't remember the Australian part at all in the book, so I passed over that title as a possiblity for the book I was thinking of.

275DinadansFriend
Sep 25, 2013, 7:29pm Top

There's a wonderful memoir by John Masters who later became a mid-range novelist. There's nothing in his fiction so good. "The Road Past Mandalay".

276swsol
Oct 5, 2013, 2:33pm Top

David Downing's books set in Berlin, late '30's and early '40's. American/British journalist with German son and ex-wife becomes spy for Russians and British. Each book named after train station in Berlin. Zoo Station is first

277toomanytoolittle
Oct 6, 2013, 9:07pm Top

Nevil Shute's Pied Piper is truly one of the best books I've ever read. It's a quick read and absolutely beautiful. It's especially moving because it was written contemporaneously. Other good ones, both from the German perspective (which we don't get enough of in most WWII books) are Night Over Day Over Night by Paul Watkins and Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada.

278DinadansFriend
Oct 7, 2013, 4:16pm Top

"Bomber" by Len Deighton, tells of a night bombing raid. From both sides, the Bombers and the Bombees. One of Deighton's best!

279MDGentleReader
Oct 9, 2013, 1:25pm Top

I read that one a long, long time ago. I remember it being a good one.

280Susan.Atherton
Oct 31, 2013, 6:48am Top

I am currently reading Ben Elton's Two Brothers, which has really sparked an interest in WWII fiction for me. It's set in Germany, and starts with a Jewish woman and her husband going to the hospital so she can give birth to twins. One of the twins is stillborn, and they end up adopting another orphan baby in its place. The other baby is an Aryan. It's very clever because it switches perspectives between the family in the 20s as the children grow up and one of the brothers in England in the 50s, having escaped Germany - but it's about two-thirds of the way through the novel before you find out which brother escaped, and which brother was the adopted one. Both boys are also in love with the same girl, and you follow their struggle to preserve the bonds of love and family even as politics are tearing them all apart.

281grammypam
Mar 8, 10:28pm Top

The Soldier's Wife by Margaret Leroy. Takes place on Guernsey, during the occupation.

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