100 books like A Long Long Way

By Sebastian Barry,

Here are 100 books that A Long Long Way fans have personally recommended if you like A Long Long Way. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Alone in Berlin

Patrick W. O'Bryon Author Of Corridor of Darkness

From my list on espionage and resistance in Hitler's Third Reich.

Why am I passionate about this?

While a graduate student and then an army interpreter in Germany, I listened to reminiscences from both Third Reich military veterans and former French resistance fighters. Their tales picked up where my father's stories of pre-war European life always ended, and my fascination with this history knew no bounds. On occasion I would conceal my American identity and mentally play the spy as I traversed Europe solo. A dozen years later upon the death of my father, I learned from my mother his great secret: he had concealed his wartime life as an American spy inside the Reich. His private journals telling of bravery and intrigue inspire each of my novels.

Patrick's book list on espionage and resistance in Hitler's Third Reich

Patrick W. O'Bryon Why did Patrick love this book?

Often overlooked by today's readers, this fine novel of 1940 Berlin by an author who never left Nazi Germany offers a realistic and touching portrayal of ordinary working citizens. A married couple whose life is upended by the loss of a soldier son encounters persistent Nazi propaganda discrediting their sacrifice. Inspired by actual historical figures, the protagonists courageously turn to modest acts of resistance, drawing the unrelenting focus of a Gestapo inspector determined to solve the case to further his career. Fallada's masterful storytelling and unforgettable characters will put you inside a righteous struggle to resist the oppressive state. This is a classic from an author who lived the place and time, and it shouldn't be missed

By Hans Fallada,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Alone in Berlin as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A gripping portrait of life in wartime Berlin and a vividly theatrical study of how paranoia can warp a society gripped by the fear of the night-time knock on the door.

Based on true events, Hans Fallada's Alone In Berlin follows a quietly courageous couple, Otto and Anna Quangel who, in dealing with their own heartbreak, stand up to the brutal reality of the Nazi regime. With the smallest of acts, they defy Hitler's rule with extraordinary bravery, facing the gravest of consequences.

Translated and Adapted by Alistair Beaton (Feelgood, The Trial Of Tony Blair), this timely story of the…


Book cover of A Woman in Berlin: Eight Weeks in the Conquered City

Abby Smith Rumsey Author Of Memory, Edited: Taking Liberties with History

From my list on when history gets personal.

Why am I passionate about this?

It was in 1982, while a Fulbright scholar in the USSR researching my doctoral dissertation, that I realized my responsibility as a historian extended far beyond writing history books. I lived among Russians and saw up close how the Kremlin-controlled what citizens knew about their own past. The future was already determined—the end of class struggle. The past was merely a made-up prologue. As a consequence of that year, I focus on the creation, preservation, and accessibility of cultural knowledge. History clues us into where we come from. Like a DNA test, it reveals how our single life is intricately braided with people we will never meet.

Abby's book list on when history gets personal

Abby Smith Rumsey Why did Abby love this book?

Another first-person account of war, this time seen through the other end of the telescope: when the victorious Red Army occupied Berlin in 1945.

The order of the day was sadistic revenge meted out on the civilian population. As usual, women bore the worst of it. Regardless of age, each was raped and brutalized. After the war, none spoke of this for fear of being stigmatized. The author was an exception: she wrote matter-of-factly about what she experienced and witnessed, not trying to make sense of it.

She recorded the horrid reality in order to hold on to her sanity. She noted how scared and confused the Russians were, bewildered by the abundance of bourgeois life and embittered by their own poverty at home. 

By Anonymous, Philip Boehm (translator),

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked A Woman in Berlin as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice

For eight weeks in 1945, as Berlin fell to the Russian army, a young woman kept a daily record of life in her apartment building and among its residents. "With bald honesty and brutal lyricism" (Elle), the anonymous author depicts her fellow Berliners in all their humanity, as well as their cravenness, corrupted first by hunger and then by the Russians. "Spare and unpredictable, minutely observed and utterly free of self-pity" (The Plain Dealer, Cleveland), A Woman in Berlin tells of the complex relationship between civilians and an occupying army and the…


Book cover of Anyush

Susan Lanigan Author Of White Feathers

From my list on World War One that don’t have the same old story.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a writer based in Ireland. When I was fifteen, I read about the Battle of Verdun, and the horror and ineptitude of it led me into an obsession with World War I. Visiting the Imperial War Museum, I learned about the white feather of cowardice, bestowed by girls upon men out of uniform. Such a transformation of a symbol of peace to an instrument of stigma and shame made me think of Irish society as well as British. When White Feathers was published, its refusal to follow a sentimental “Tommy in the trenches” line angered some revisionist critics. But in the end, it is a passionate and intense love story with resistance.

Susan's book list on World War One that don’t have the same old story

Susan Lanigan Why did Susan love this book?

Anyush’s eponymous heroine is a young Armenian girl whose life is turned upside-down by the genocide carried out by the Ottomans under the Young Turks during fighting in World War One. I was only vaguely aware of the genocide before picking up the novel and it combines a beautiful love story between Anyush and Turkish captain Jahan with a vivid account of the horrors people faced. Beautifully researched and written by Martine Madden, it’s a book that both enthralled and humbled me. 

By Martine Madden,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Anyush as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Ottoman Empire, 1915

On the Black Sea coast, Anyush Charcoudian dances at her friend's wedding, dreaming of a life beyond her small Armenian village. Defying tradition, she embarks on a secret and dangerous affair with a Turkish officer, Captain Jahan Orfalea. As the First World War rages, the Armenian people are branded enemies of the state, and atrocities grow day by day. Torn apart and catapulted into a struggle to survive in the face of persecution and hatred, the lovers strive desperately to be reunited.


Book cover of Fallen

Susan Lanigan Author Of White Feathers

From my list on World War One that don’t have the same old story.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a writer based in Ireland. When I was fifteen, I read about the Battle of Verdun, and the horror and ineptitude of it led me into an obsession with World War I. Visiting the Imperial War Museum, I learned about the white feather of cowardice, bestowed by girls upon men out of uniform. Such a transformation of a symbol of peace to an instrument of stigma and shame made me think of Irish society as well as British. When White Feathers was published, its refusal to follow a sentimental “Tommy in the trenches” line angered some revisionist critics. But in the end, it is a passionate and intense love story with resistance.

Susan's book list on World War One that don’t have the same old story

Susan Lanigan Why did Susan love this book?

Set in the period 1914-1916, it follows the life of Kate Crilly, a young girl whose brother Liam has just been killed in the Great War. This loss binds Kate to Liam’s comrade in arms, Hubie Wilson. Meanwhile, the tensions of the Rising are at boiling point and Dublin is turning into a battleground as Kate doubles back and across the River Liffey checking on her family, her friends and her desperately ill sister. Mills excels at describing the nature of grief and how one lives with it, rather than dwelling on the immediate impact of the loss per se. Beautiful, limpid prose and imagery, really enjoyed.

By Lia Mills,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fallen as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Fallen by Lia Mills - a remarkable love story amidst the ruins of the First World War and the Easter Rising
SELECTED AS THE 2016 'ONE CITY ONE BOOK' TITLE FOR BOTH DUBLIN AND BELFAST

Spring, 1915. Katie Crilly gets the news she dreaded: her beloved twin brother, Liam, has been killed on the Western Front.

A year later, when her home city of Dublin is suddenly engulfed by the violence of the Easter Rising, Katie finds herself torn by conflicting emotions and loyalties. Taking refuge in the home of a friend, she meets Hubie Wilson, a friend of Liam's…


Book cover of The Watermelon Boys

Susan Lanigan Author Of White Feathers

From my list on World War One that don’t have the same old story.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a writer based in Ireland. When I was fifteen, I read about the Battle of Verdun, and the horror and ineptitude of it led me into an obsession with World War I. Visiting the Imperial War Museum, I learned about the white feather of cowardice, bestowed by girls upon men out of uniform. Such a transformation of a symbol of peace to an instrument of stigma and shame made me think of Irish society as well as British. When White Feathers was published, its refusal to follow a sentimental “Tommy in the trenches” line angered some revisionist critics. But in the end, it is a passionate and intense love story with resistance.

Susan's book list on World War One that don’t have the same old story

Susan Lanigan Why did Susan love this book?

Again set in the Middle East, this novel about Ahmad and Carwyn, Arab and Welsh, who are both drawn into the war on its Eastern Front, is an absorbing story from a part of the world that has been neglected in World War I fiction. The two men are both betrayed by the English in different ways, and Izzidien’s Iraqi-Welsh heritage allows her to draw a compassionate picture of both protagonists. It also shows how the rapacious European colonialist mentality that underpinned the entire war created the conditions for terrorism and strife in the region today.

By Ruqaya Izzidien,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Watermelon Boys as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Shortlisted for The Betty Trask Prize

It is the winter of 1915 and Iraq has been engulfed by the First World War. Hungry for independence from Ottoman rule, Ahmad leaves his peaceful family life on the banks of the Tigris to join the British-led revolt. Thousands of miles away, Welsh teenager Carwyn reluctantly enlists and is sent, via Gallipoli and Egypt, to the Mesopotamia campaign.

Carwyn’s and Ahmad’s paths cross, and their fates are bound together. Both are forever changed, not only by their experience of war, but also by the parallel discrimination and betrayal they face.

Ruqaya Izzidien’s evocative…


Book cover of To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918

Susan Lanigan Author Of White Feathers

From my list on World War One that don’t have the same old story.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a writer based in Ireland. When I was fifteen, I read about the Battle of Verdun, and the horror and ineptitude of it led me into an obsession with World War I. Visiting the Imperial War Museum, I learned about the white feather of cowardice, bestowed by girls upon men out of uniform. Such a transformation of a symbol of peace to an instrument of stigma and shame made me think of Irish society as well as British. When White Feathers was published, its refusal to follow a sentimental “Tommy in the trenches” line angered some revisionist critics. But in the end, it is a passionate and intense love story with resistance.

Susan's book list on World War One that don’t have the same old story

Susan Lanigan Why did Susan love this book?

Hochschild’s moving, powerful account of the build-up to World War One is not a dry historical treatise, but an interweaving of individual stories such as those of Sylvia Pankhurst, Keir Hardie, Emily Hobhouse, and Bertrand Russell. These counter-cultural stories of pacifists, objectors, and philosophers inspired and informed the plot of White Feathers, particularly the divisions among the suffragettes and the toxic consequences of the Boer Wars, which Emily Hobhouse bravely reported on and smuggled out post in the face of extreme censorship. An absolute page-turner and highly informative.

By Adam Hochschild,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked To End All Wars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

In this brilliant new work of history, Adam Hochschild follows a group of characters connected by blood ties, close friendships or personal enmities and shows how the war exposed the divisions between them. They include the brother and sister whose views on the war could not have been more diametrically opposed - he a career soldier, she a committed pacifist; the politician whose job was to send young men who refused conscription to prison, yet whose godson was one of those young men and the suffragette sisters, one of whom passionately supported the war and one of whom was equally…


Book cover of The Silence of the Girls

Leigh Grant Author Of Mask of Dreams

From my list on capturing a moment in history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I started out on this journey with an entirely different book in mind based on a Chinese tale about beauty, masking, and deception. Somewhere along the way, I transposed the idea to 15th-century Venice where Neo-Platonic beliefs were parallel to those in the fairy tale. The country that preceded Montenegro became part of the story and I fell in love with both those places. Finally, I read everything I could find in nonfiction on the 15th century, and developed two characters, a Slav brigand, Rade, and a Venetian maiden, Caterina. To my great surprise, the book began to write itself.

Leigh's book list on capturing a moment in history

Leigh Grant Why did Leigh love this book?

The story of Briseis, Achilles' prize that he was forced to give up to Agamemnon, is an eye-opening account of what happened to women at the time of the Trojan War. Their male relatives were slain and they were assigned as booty, spoils of war. Achilles, who was famously paired with Patroclus, is given depth of character here as is the long wait to attack Troy. Once again, the reader is transported to another world and that world becomes real. Barker's description of Achilles' relationship with his mother is another twist in the story and one for which there is a very funny line partway through the book. But in this book, the real hero is Briseis. I loved the imagination that Barker brought to this story.

By Pat Barker,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Silence of the Girls as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A GUARDIAN BEST BOOK OF THE 21ST CENTURY

'Chilling, powerful, audacious' The Times

'Magnificent. You are in the hands of a writer at the height of her powers' Evening Standard

There was a woman at the heart of the Trojan War whose voice has been silent - until now. Discover the greatest Greek myth of all - retold by the witness that history forgot . . .

Briseis was a queen until her city was destroyed. Now she is a slave to the man who butchered her husband and brothers. Trapped in a world defined by men, can she survive…


Book cover of How We Disappeared

Mary Chamberlain Author Of The Forgotten

From my list on forgotten (or untold) histories of war.

Why am I passionate about this?

History and literature have been my two passions in life, and I’ve been lucky enough to have had a career in both. I’m fascinated in particular by history ‘from below,’ the stories of those disenfranchised – by gender, race, class – from the historical record. My non-fiction books, focusing on oral histories of women, and the Caribbean, reflect this. Untold histories continue in my fiction. My novels are set in WWII, telling parts of its history rarely encountered in the official record – of women trafficked and abused, of survival and misogyny, of the long shadow of war trauma on the soldiers who fought and the society that silenced them

Mary's book list on forgotten (or untold) histories of war

Mary Chamberlain Why did Mary love this book?

The story of women trafficked into military brothels is one of the untold histories of war, as is the use of rape as a military weapon. The victims were often too ashamed of their wartime experiences, or too frightened of being accused of collaboration to speak out and as a result, the women’s voices and their traumas are silenced. Jing Jing Lee’s novel is about one such moment – that of Chinese women in Singapore forced to work as prostitutes for the Japanese soldiers. It is a masterpiece of storytelling. Evocative and heart rending, it tells of one woman’s survival and the quest of a child to solve a family mystery. It is beautifully written, exquisitely crafted, utterly compelling.

By Jing-Jing Lee,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How We Disappeared as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Shortlisted for the 2020 Singapore Literature Prize

Longlisted for the HWA Debut Crown

Singapore, 1942. As Japanese troops sweep down Malaysia and into Singapore, a village is ransacked. Only three survivors remain, one of them a tiny child.

In a neighbouring village, seventeen-year-old Wang Di is bundled into the back of a troop carrier and shipped off to a Japanese military rape camp. In the year 2000, her mind is still haunted by her experiences there, but she has long been silent about her memories of that time. It takes twelve-year-old Kevin, and the mumbled confession he overhears from his…


Book cover of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

John Hutchinson Author Of The Dynamics of Cultural Nationalism: The Gaelic Revival and the Creation of the Irish Nation State

From my list on nationalism and identity.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always felt like an outsider and so have been preoccupied by questions of identity and belonging. In my youth, I became fascinated by the great Irish writers W. B. Yeats and James Joyce and their struggles with such questions after my family moved from Ulster to Scotland. As a young academic in Brisbane, I encountered fierce debates about Australian national identity as it shifted from a British heritage to a multicultural society. In the flux of the modern world, our identities are always under challenge and often require painful renovation.

John's book list on nationalism and identity

John Hutchinson Why did John love this book?

Discovering Joyce in my youth was a revelation. In this fictionalised autobiography, Joyce rejects Yeats’s Irish folk models, seeking to emancipate the individual from the nets of family, religion, and nationality.

Whereas the early Yeats romanticises the idea of blood sacrifice for Mother Ireland, Joyce has his hero, Stephen Dedalus, declare Ireland is the old sow that devours her own farrow. Stephen flees Dublin for Europe, choosing the vocation of the cosmopolitan artist who, from exile, will liberate his benighted nation.

Like Yeats, Joyce remains obsessed with Ireland and the tension between the national and the universal. 

By James Joyce,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A masterpiece of modern fiction, James Joyce's semiautobiographical first novel follows Stephen Dedalus, a sensitive and creative youth who rebels against his family, his education, and his country by committing himself to the artist's life.

"I will not serve," vows Dedalus, "that in which I no longer believe...and I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can." Likening himself to God, Dedalus notes that the artist "remains within or behind or beyond or above his handiwork, invisible, refined out of existence, indifferent, paring his fingernails." Joyce's rendering of the impressions of…


Book cover of Less Than Zero

Nash Jenkins Author Of Foster Dade Explores the Cosmos

From my list on teenage sentimentality.

Why am I passionate about this?

I do not remember a time when I wasn’t captivated by stories about adolescence. This was the case when I myself was a teenager—when I sought in these overwrought sagas the sort of sentimental melodrama that eluded the banality of my own life—but curiously it’s no less true at thirty, for reasons that are fundamentally the same but somehow more urgent. Becoming an adult is an exercise in hardening; to grow up is to forget what it’s like to be beholden to one’s own autobiographical romance. The following titles offer a respite from the cynicism that is adulthood; as a writer and a human, I'm forever in their debt.

Nash's book list on teenage sentimentality

Nash Jenkins Why did Nash love this book?

“Sentimental” is maybe the last word you’d use to describe Ellis’ fiction, but Less Than Zero is an elegant proof that form needn’t follow function.

For all the sparseness of its language and pitilessness of its characters, there is a profound empathy for its narrator Clay, a pensive college freshman who’s returned home to California for Christmas break. Clay expends no outward moral judgment on the depravity of those who populate his very Gothic Los Angeles, but we come to intuitively understand his reticence as less a disposition than a defense.

It is precisely in how he understates his pain that we feel just how total it is.

By Bret Easton Ellis,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Less Than Zero as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The timeless classic from the acclaimed author of American Psycho about the lost generation of 1980s Los Angeles who experienced sex, drugs, and disaffection at too early an age. • The basis for the cult-classic film "Possesses an unnerving air of documentary reality." —The New York Times
They live in a world shaped by casual nihilism, passivity, and too much money in a place devoid of feeling or hope. When Clay comes home for Christmas vacation from his Eastern college, he re-enters a landscape of limitless privilege and absolute moral entropy, where everyone drives Porsches,…


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Interested in coming of age, bildungsroman, and Ireland?

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