The best WWII books you have probably never heard of

Who am I?

Having been born two months before Pearl Harbor, as I grew older, I vaguely remember hearing my parents talking about the war. When I was able, I used to pull my little red wagon around the neighborhood to collect bacon grease I donated to the local butcher shop to support the war. After retiring from the technology industry, I tried my hand at writing books. After a few futile attempts, I finally started writing novels about WWII. I first wrote Return to La Roche-en-Ardenne, then Innocence Lost - A Childhood Stolen, and finally Thou Shall Do No Harm – Diary of an Auschwitz Physician which will be re-released in early 2023.

I wrote...

Innocence Lost – A Childhood Stolen

By Philip Sherman Mygatt,

Book cover of Innocence Lost – A Childhood Stolen

What is my book about?

A fictional Holocaust survivor's story. The autobiographical story of a young, Polish Jew caught up in the Holocaust who is sent to Auschwitz in cattle cars along with her entire family. While standing in the Auschwitz selection line, she is pulled out of line by an SS doctor who takes her home to raise as his own daughter as she watches her entire family being marched to the gas chambers. As she begins to unravel the lies he tells her about her family being resettled in Russia, she also comes to love and trust him.

Right before Auschwitz is liberated by the Russians, she and her savior flee Auschwitz disguised as refugees. They finally have a discussion they have long avoided. What really happened to her family? A view of the Holocaust through two different lenses.

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).

Iron Coffins: A Personal Account of the German U-Boat Battles of World War II

By Herbert A. Werner,

Book cover of Iron Coffins: A Personal Account of the German U-Boat Battles of World War II

Why this book?

Being claustrophic, the title immediately caught my attention. I tried to imagine what it would be like to live in such small quarters and not being able to escape if you had a panic attack, especially while being under attack with depth charges. It takes a very special person to want to serve in a submarine. This is a fascinating autobiography written by a German U-Boat captain who survived the war to share his personal experiences in the German U-boat force in World War II. He is only one of a handful of U-boat captains that survived the war to tell his story.

The Men of Company K: The Autobiography of a World War II Rifle Company

By Harold P. Leinbaugh, John D. Campbell,

Book cover of The Men of Company K: The Autobiography of a World War II Rifle Company

Why this book?

I love reading true stories of WWII told by people who lived through it. I find it difficult to understand how ordinary men could live, fight, and die in a foreign land without questioning in order to protect the United States; they were certainly true patriots. In the fall of 1944, two hundred true patriots of K Company, 333rd Infantry, 84th Division landed in Europe. For the next one hundred days, they were on the edge of the Allied spearhead into Nazi territory. If you ever wanted to be in the infantry, you need to read this book. 

Fork-Tailed Devil: The P-38

By Martin Caidin,

Book cover of Fork-Tailed Devil: The P-38

Why this book?

Being a pilot who flew F-4’s over North Vietnam, I have always been fascinated by WWII planes and how sophisticated they seemed at the time but, in retrospect, they were quite unsophisticated flying machines. The first model plane I built as a child was the P-38 and this book puts me right in the cockpit. The P-38 was a huge advancement in technology and demanded special skills to fly as it foreshadowed the complexity of the upcoming generation of jet fighters. Why not join me in the cockpit? 

Typhoon of Steel: The Battle for Okinawa

By James H. Belote, William M. Belote,

Book cover of Typhoon of Steel: The Battle for Okinawa

Why this book?

Little has been published about the Battle of Okinawa having been overshadowed by the recent victory on Iwo Jima the prior week, and yet the United States needed control of Okinawa to launch its upcoming invasion of Japan. Okinawa was considered part of the Japanese homeland and the Japanese were determined to fight to the end, and they had a new terror weapon; the Kamikaze. To be on board a Navy ship surrounded by a swarm of Kamikkazes must have been a terrifying experience. 

History of the 745th Tank Battalion

By Philip Sherman Mygatt, Olin Garner Johnston,

Book cover of History of the 745th Tank Battalion

Why this book?

This is a reprint of the personal diary of Olin Johnston and is a complete history of the battalion from its formation in Texas, through its landing on D-Day and almost every subsequent battle in Europe after it landed supporting the 1st Cavalry Division. It contains many photographs of the battalion including photographs taken during their many battles across Europe. Since I reprinted this book with the author’s son’s permission, I have spoken to several surviving members of the battalion and their personal stories would make another captivating book. 

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in World War 2, submarines, and Germany?

5,887 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about World War 2, submarines, and Germany.

World War 2 Explore 975 books about World War 2
Submarines Explore 28 books about submarines
Germany Explore 297 books about Germany

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like The U-boat War, Sharks and Little Fish, and Count Not the Dead if you like this list.