The best and most recent books on WW2 in Europe

Jeremy Black Author Of A History of the Second World War in 100 Maps
By Jeremy Black

Who am I?

Jeremy Black is a prolific lecturer and writer, the author of over 100 books. Many concern aspects of eighteenth-century British, European, and American political, diplomatic and military history but he has also published on the history of the press, cartography, warfare, culture, and on the nature and uses of history itself.


I wrote...

A History of the Second World War in 100 Maps

By Jeremy Black,

Book cover of A History of the Second World War in 100 Maps

What is my book about?

The First World War was marked by an exceptional expansion in the use and production of military cartography. But World War II took things even further, employing maps, charts, reconnaissance, and the systematic recording and processing of geographical and topographical information on an unprecedented scale. As Jeremy Black--one of the world's leading military and cartographic historians--convincingly shows in this lavish full-color book, it is impossible to understand the events and outcomes of the Second World War without deep reference to mapping at all levels. In World War II, maps themselves became the weapons.

The books I picked & why

Shepherd is reader supported. We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through links on our website. This is how we fund this project for readers and authors (learn more).

Sicily '43: The First Assault on Fortress Europe

By James Holland,

Book cover of Sicily '43: The First Assault on Fortress Europe

Why this book?

Holland is a talented scholar who has honed his skill in providing excellent campaign-level accounts of the war. Thus, among much else, his books include Fortress Malta (2003), The Battle of Britain (2010), Burma ’44 (2016), Normandy ’44 (2019), and this excellent study of the Anglo-American invasion of Sicily in 1943. Holland is particularly good at capturing the grittiness of war, and at adding the perspective of individual combatants without being trapped by it. Reads very well and provides a superb campaign-level account that is also tactically adroit.


Snow and Steel: The Battle of the Bulge, 1944-45

By Peter Caddick-Adams,

Book cover of Snow and Steel: The Battle of the Bulge, 1944-45

Why this book?

Much of what I have said about James Holland can also be said of his friend Peter Caddick-Adams, whose first-rate works include Monte Cassino. Ten Armies in Hell (2012), Sand and Steel: A New History of D-Day (2019), and this, by far the best book on the last major German offensive. Adroit at capturing the German perspective, Caddick-Adams is also very good on the American response. A lengthy read, but worth it.


First to Fight: The Polish War 1939

By Roger Moorhouse,

Book cover of First to Fight: The Polish War 1939

Why this book?

A Major scholar of the period, Moorhouse is particularly instructive for his ability to capture the Eastern European perspective. The Polish war of 1939 has generally been underplayed in the literature, and it is particularly valuable therefore to see this well-researched account.


Monty's Men: The British Army and the Liberation of Europe

By John Buckley,

Book cover of Monty's Men: The British Army and the Liberation of Europe

Why this book?

Already a published expert on air power, armour, and the Normandy campaign, Buckley went on to produce a well-considered and ably researched evaluation of the British army in 1944-5, one that rescued it from the deeply-flawed criticism by Max Hastings of its relative effectiveness.


The Red Army and the Second World War

By Alexander Hill,

Book cover of The Red Army and the Second World War

Why this book?

The Eastern Front has not always attracted the most readable scholarship, while two of the major works by British writers are by those who cannot read Russian. Hill is a welcome relief. His scholarship is impeccable and his book is readable. An important contribution.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in World War 2, the German occupation of Europe, and Sicily?

5,888 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about World War 2, the German occupation of Europe, and Sicily.

World War 2 Explore 975 books about World War 2
The German Occupation Of Europe Explore 43 books about the German occupation of Europe
Sicily Explore 26 books about Sicily

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like A Time for Trumpets, Loss and Redemption at St. Vith, and Ardennes 1944 if you like this list.