The best books about the make-do women of World War II

Who am I?

Research and writing have shown me that the war-affected baby boomers like me in tangible ways. My father-in-law helped deliver the survivors of the Bataan Death March—what a legacy! My special addiction to the WOMEN of WWII, though, probably stems from my mother, who suffered poverty and restrictions on the home front through it all. Also, my husband (a history major) and I delight in watching documentaries and accurate movies about the war and visiting as many historical sites as possible.

I wrote...

Until Then

By Gail Kittleson,

Book cover of Until Then

What is my book about?

Riding in the backs of Army trucks across North Africa, throughout the Sicily campaign, up the boot of Italy, and northward through France into Germany, Dorothy Woebbeking served as a surgical nurse with the 11th Evacuation Hospital. During World War II, US Army nurses worked and slept in tents through horrific weather, endured enemy fire, and even the disdain of their own superior officers, who believed women had no place in war. But Dorothy and her comrades persevered, and their skills and upbeat attitude made a huge difference in the lives of thousands of wounded soldiers. This is their story.

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The books I picked & why

The Second World War

By Antony Beevor,

Book cover of The Second World War

Why did I love this book?

This book provides so much information about the war. Reading about the actual participants and strategies involved broadened my understanding. I also appreciate the honest inclusion of costly tactical errors made by the military, because these must have generated great tension among the troops. The perspective here creates even more awe for the final Allied success.

By Antony Beevor,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Second World War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A magisterial, single-volume history of the greatest conflict the world has ever known by our foremost military historian.

The Second World War began in August 1939 on the edge of Manchuria and ended there exactly six years later with the Soviet invasion of northern China. The war in Europe appeared completely divorced from the war in the Pacific and China, and yet events on opposite sides of the world had profound effects. Using the most up-to-date scholarship and research, Beevor assembles the whole picture in a gripping narrative that extends from the North Atlantic to the South Pacific and from…

Book cover of The Historical Atlas of World War II: 170 Maps that Chart the Most Cataclysmic Event in Human History

Why did I love this book?

The maps in this volume are so instructive, and it offers comprehensive information on all fronts of the war. For one lacking in geographical and military strategy knowledge, I count this book as invaluable to my research.

By Alexander Swanston, Malcolm Swanston,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Historical Atlas of World War II as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Historical Atlas of World War II examines all the key events of the six-year conflict, with thoroughly researched text accompanied by 170 highly detailed maps. Incredible multimedia profiles of World War II's most significant battles make Historical Atlas of World War II the next best thing to a time machine.

With realistic maps, detailed accounts, and vibrant illustrations, the book transports the reader to famous World War II battles. Using state-of-the-art technology, special microchips translated the contours of two-dimensional maps of battlefields into realistic renderings of actual landscapes. Illustrators then overlaid these maps with all of the information at their…

The Nightingale

By Kristin Hannah,

Book cover of The Nightingale

Why did I love this book?

I don’t often read a book twice, but not so with this one, because it highlights the severe suffering of the French people, especially the women. This volume also reveals the amount of risk private citizens took in order to contribute to the cause of freedom, and the high price many of them paid.

By Kristin Hannah,

Why should I read it?

22 authors picked The Nightingale as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Soon to be a major motion picture, The Nightingale is a multi-million copy bestseller across the world. It is a heart-breakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the endurance of women.

This story is about what it was like to be a woman during World War II when women's stories were all too often forgotten or overlooked . . . Vianne and Isabelle Mauriac are two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals and passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path towards survival, love and freedom in war-torn France.

Kristin Hannah's…

Book cover of A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II

Why did I love this book?

Who would choose an American woman with a prosthetic leg to help win the war? This book tells the story of the incredibly courageous and tenacious individual who risked her life to do just that. Secret agent Virginia Hall’s selfless exploits behind enemy lines boggle the mind.

By Sonia Purnell,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked A Woman of No Importance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


Chosen as a BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR by NPR, the New York Public Library, Amazon, the Seattle Times, the Washington Independent Review of Books, PopSugar, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, BookBrowse, the Spectator, and the Times of London

Winner of the Plutarch Award for Best Biography

"Excellent...This book is as riveting as any thriller, and as hard to put down." -- The New York Times Book Review

"A compelling biography of a masterful spy, and a reminder of what can be done with a few brave people -- and a little resistance." - NPR


Book cover of No Time for Fear: Voices of American Military Nurses in World War II

Why did I love this book?

It’s almost impossible to embrace what deployed nurses went through in World War II. This book reveals some of the trials they endured, depending on their theater. Some suffered imprisonment and torture, while nearly all of these women worked under duress and danger we can scarcely imagine.

By Diane Burke Fessler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked No Time for Fear as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

No Time for Fear summons the voices of more than 100 women who served as nurses overseas during World War II, letting them tell their story as no one else can. Fessler has meticulously compiled and transcribed more than 200 interviews with American military nurses of the Army, Army Air Force, and Navy who were present in all theatres of WWII.

Their stories bring to life horrific tales of illness and hardship, blinding blizzards, and near starvation - all faced with courage, tenacity, and even good humour. This unique oral-history collection makes available to readers an important counterpoint to the…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in World War 2, France, and geography?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about World War 2, France, and geography.

World War 2 Explore 1,535 books about World War 2
France Explore 776 books about France
Geography Explore 28 books about geography

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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