100 books like Against All Odds

By Alex Kershaw,

Here are 100 books that Against All Odds fans have personally recommended if you like Against All Odds. 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 A Time for Trumpets: The Untold Story of the Battle of the Bulge

Daniel P. Bolger Author Of The Panzer Killers: The Untold Story of a Fighting General and His Spearhead Tank Division's Charge into the Third Reich

From my list on American combat leaders in World War II.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a combat veteran and longtime soldier trying to figure out my own wartime experiences by learning about what others did. Soldiers may join up for mom and apple pie and the grand old flag. But they fight for each other, and they follow leaders they trust. I tried to be one of those solid combat leaders. Since I had never been under fire before that day came, I endeavored to learn from—and write about—the lives of others who led soldiers in war. I’m still reading and still writing about battlefield leadership.

Daniel's book list on American combat leaders in World War II

Daniel P. Bolger Why did Daniel love this book?

There are a lot of books about the Battle of The Bulge, the biggest American engagement of World War II. I think this one is the best, and that’s because author Charles B. MacDonald fought in the Bulge as a rifle company commander, then for years after the war served as an official U.S. Army historian writing about the Bulge and the other major campaigns. MacDonald had that rare opportunity to figure out what really happened to him and his fellow soldiers. He makes a brief appearance in his own gripping narrative, just another tired, cold, young officer trying to keep himself and his troops alive in the biggest clash of the entire war. MacDonald understands how and why the Bulge went the way it did.

By Charles B. MacDonald,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked A Time for Trumpets as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On December 16, 1944, the vanguard of three German armies, totaling half a million men, attacked U.S. forces in the Ardennes region of Belgium and Luxembourg, achieveing what had been considered impossible -- total surprise. In the most abysmal failure of battlefield intelligence in the history of the U.S. Army, 600,000 American soldiers found themselves facing Hitler's last desperate effort of the war.

The brutal confrontation that ensued became known as the Battle of the Bulge, the greatest battle ever fought by the U.S. Army -- a triumph of American ingenuity and dedication over an egregious failure in strategic intelligence.…


Book cover of Spearhead: An American Tank Gunner, His Enemy, and a Collision of Lives in World War II

Daniel P. Bolger Author Of The Panzer Killers: The Untold Story of a Fighting General and His Spearhead Tank Division's Charge into the Third Reich

From my list on American combat leaders in World War II.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a combat veteran and longtime soldier trying to figure out my own wartime experiences by learning about what others did. Soldiers may join up for mom and apple pie and the grand old flag. But they fight for each other, and they follow leaders they trust. I tried to be one of those solid combat leaders. Since I had never been under fire before that day came, I endeavored to learn from—and write about—the lives of others who led soldiers in war. I’m still reading and still writing about battlefield leadership.

Daniel's book list on American combat leaders in World War II

Daniel P. Bolger Why did Daniel love this book?

When I was trying to wrap my head around the grim realities of tank warfare in World War II, this book by Adam Makos taught me a lot. Makos tracked down and brilliantly narrates the stories of an American tank crew and a German panzer crew who battled it out in front of the cathedral in Cologne, Germany in March of 1945. Major General Maurice Rose makes a cameo appearance, but this book is not about generals. It's about sergeants and privates fighting to the death, tank vs. tank.

By Adam Makos,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE NEW YORK TIMES, WALL STREET JOURNAL, LOS ANGELES TIMES, AND USA TODAY BESTSELLER 

“A band of brothers in an American tank . . . Makos drops the reader back into the Pershing’s turret and dials up a battle scene to rival the peak moments of Fury.”
—The Wall Street Journal

From the author of the international bestseller A Higher Call comes the riveting World War II story of an American tank gunner’s journey into the heart of the Third Reich, where he will meet destiny in an iconic armor duel—and forge an enduring bond with his enemy.

When Clarence…


Book cover of War As I Knew It

Daniel P. Bolger Author Of The Panzer Killers: The Untold Story of a Fighting General and His Spearhead Tank Division's Charge into the Third Reich

From my list on American combat leaders in World War II.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a combat veteran and longtime soldier trying to figure out my own wartime experiences by learning about what others did. Soldiers may join up for mom and apple pie and the grand old flag. But they fight for each other, and they follow leaders they trust. I tried to be one of those solid combat leaders. Since I had never been under fire before that day came, I endeavored to learn from—and write about—the lives of others who led soldiers in war. I’m still reading and still writing about battlefield leadership.

Daniel's book list on American combat leaders in World War II

Daniel P. Bolger Why did Daniel love this book?

He was our greatest ground combat commander in World War II. I wanted to know why. So here is the story in the general’s own words. Most of the text comes from Patton’s wartime diary. He did not pull any punches in battle and he sure didn’t sugar-coat anything in this book, either. It’s pure Patton, unfiltered and unafraid, “war in the raw,” as he liked to put it. 

By George S. Patton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked War As I Knew It as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

General George S. Patton, Jr., was one of the most brilliant military strategists in history. War As I Knew It is the personal and candid account of his celebrated, relentless crusade across western Europe during World War II. The Book is an absorbing narrative that draws from Patton's vivid memories of battle and his detailed diaries, covering the moment the Third Army exploded onto the Brittany Peninsula to the final Allied casualty report. The result is not only a grueling, human account of daily combat and heroic feats—including a riveting look at the Battle of the Bulge—but a valuable chronicle…


A Last Survivor of the Orphan Trains: A Memoir

By Victoria Golden, William Walters,

Book cover of A Last Survivor of the Orphan Trains: A Memoir

Victoria Golden Author Of A Last Survivor of the Orphan Trains: A Memoir

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Story teller Book fav swapper Movie buff A writer’s daughter Escapee from Beverly Hills

Victoria's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Four years old and homeless, William Walters boarded one of the last American Orphan Trains in 1930 and embarked on an astonishing quest through nine decades of U.S. and world history.

For 75 years, the Orphan Trains had transported 250,000 children from the streets and orphanages of the East Coast into homes in the emerging West, sometimes providing loving new families, other times delivering kids into nightmares. Taken by a cruel New Mexico couple, William faced a terrible trial, but his strength and resilience carried him forward into unforgettable adventures.

Whether escaping his abusers, jumping freights as a preteen during the Great Depression, or infiltrating Japanese-held islands as a teenage Marine during WWII, William’s unique path paralleled the tumult of the twentieth century—and personified the American dream.

A Last Survivor of the Orphan Trains: A Memoir

By Victoria Golden, William Walters,

What is this book about?

SHORTLISTED, NORTHERN CALIFORNIA BOOK AWARDS

WINNER, DA VINCI EYE AWARD FOR COVER DESIGN, ERIC HOFFER BOOK AWARDS

HONORABLE MENTION, ERIC HOFFER BOOK AWARDS, E-BOOK NONFICTION

FINALIST, NEXT GENERATION INDIE BOOK AWARDS, E-BOOK NONFICTION

FINALIST, NEXT GENERATION INDIE BOOK AWARDS, MEMOIRS (Overcoming Adversity)

HONORABLE MENTION, READERS' FAVORITE BOOK AWARDS, GENERAL NONFICTION

From 1854 to the early 1930s, the American Orphan Trains transported 250,000 children from the streets and orphanages of the East Coast into homes in the emerging West. Unfortunately, families waiting for the trains weren’t always dreams come true—many times they were nightmares.

William Walters was little more than a…


Book cover of Black Snow: Curtis LeMay, the Firebombing of Tokyo, and the Road to the Atomic Bomb

Daniel P. Bolger Author Of The Panzer Killers: The Untold Story of a Fighting General and His Spearhead Tank Division's Charge into the Third Reich

From my list on American combat leaders in World War II.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a combat veteran and longtime soldier trying to figure out my own wartime experiences by learning about what others did. Soldiers may join up for mom and apple pie and the grand old flag. But they fight for each other, and they follow leaders they trust. I tried to be one of those solid combat leaders. Since I had never been under fire before that day came, I endeavored to learn from—and write about—the lives of others who led soldiers in war. I’m still reading and still writing about battlefield leadership.

Daniel's book list on American combat leaders in World War II

Daniel P. Bolger Why did Daniel love this book?

Old ground soldiers like me tend to think the airmen have it good—three hot meals a day, clean sheets at night, and only a few hours of war a day. James M. Scott’s Black Snow sure taught me otherwise. The 1945 American firebombing of Japan proved horrific for both the bombers and the bombed, and Scott tells the full awful story from both the American and Japanese sides. Major General Curtis LeMay was not some cigar-chewing caricature from Dr. Strangelove, but a young commander trying to break the will of a brave, stalwart people who had never lost a war in their country’s centuries of history. LeMay’s bomber crews won, but at a terrible price that resonates to this day.

By James M. Scott,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Seven minutes past midnight on 9 March 1945, nearly 300 American B-29s thundered into the skies over Tokyo. Their payloads of incendiaries ignited a more than 1,800-degree firestorm that liquefied asphalt and vaporised thousands; sixteen square miles of the city were flattened and more than 100,000 men, women and children were killed. Black Snow is the story of this devastating operation, orchestrated by Major General Curtis LeMay, who famously remarked: "If we lose, we'll be tried as war criminals".

James M. Scott reconstructs in granular detail that horrific night, and describes the development of the B-29, the capture of the…


Book cover of Paratrooper!: The Saga of the U. S. Army and Marine Parachute and Glider Combat Troops during World War II

Flint Whitlock Author Of If Chaos Reigns: The Near-Disaster and Ultimate Triumph of the Allied Airborne Forces on D-Day, June 6, 1944

From my list on D-Day airborne operations.

Why am I passionate about this?

Flint Whitlock spent five years on active duty as an officer in the U.S. Army (1965-1970, including tours in West Germany and Vietnam), and is a qualified parachutist (Fort Benning, 1965). He has been an award-winning, full-time military historian since 2003, and has 14 books (mostly about WWII) to his credit. He has also been the editor of WWII Quarterly magazine since 2010 and gives battlefield tours for the Smithsonian, National Geographic, and other organizations.

Flint's book list on D-Day airborne operations

Flint Whitlock Why did Flint love this book?

This large (718 pages) book covers the entire history of U.S. military parachute and glider operations—from the early evolution of the concept through landings in North Africa, Sicily, Salerno, Normandy, Southern France, Holland, Battle of the Bulge, Leyte, Manila, and Corregidor. Anyone wanting to appreciate the myriad American parachute and glider operations will find a wealth of information in Devlin’s book.

By Gerald M. Devlin, William P. Yarborough,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Photographs and text document the bravery and daring exhibited by American parachute and glider combat forces and offer in-depth treatment of British, German, Japanese, Italian, and French parachute operations


Book cover of Facing the Mountain: A True Story of Japanese American Heroes in World War II

Victoria Golden Author Of A Last Survivor of the Orphan Trains: A Memoir

From my list on American heroes to inspire your teenager.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve spent my life fascinated by stories about people. My mother, maybe seeing something in me early on, took me to get my own library card when I was three. The librarian protested but finally agreed. And so I became not only a reader but a writer of books, a book reviewer, and a book editor. Then one day this story about William Walters fell into my lap. For four years he told me about his extraordinary life spanning nine decades, and we turned it into a memoir. Now, more than ever, I treasure well-told stories about little-known folks who’ve accomplished great things, and I love the idea of sharing them with you.

Victoria's book list on American heroes to inspire your teenager

Victoria Golden Why did Victoria love this book?

If you and your family were ordered from your home by your government, deprived of your constitutional rights, and sent to a remote internment camp, would you volunteer to risk your life fighting for your country? Thousands of young Japanese American men did just that when they were isolated as possible spies and traitors after Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941. Eighteen thousand of these young men signed on as members of the Army’s 442nd Infantry Regiment, composed entirely of second-generation Japanese Americans, and distinguished themselves as some of the bravest Americans who ever lived. Sent into battles that at times looked purely suicidal, the 442nd became “the most decorated unit of its size and length of service in American history.” Brown’s riveting account follows four of these young men and a fifth who became a conscientious objector and eventually landed in prison, all the while fighting…

By Daniel James Brown,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Facing the Mountain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
One of NPR's "Books We Love" of 2021
Longlisted for the PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography

Winner of the Christopher Award

"Masterly. An epic story of four Japanese-American families and their sons who volunteered for military service and displayed uncommon heroism... Propulsive and gripping, in part because of Mr. Brown's ability to make us care deeply about the fates of these individual soldiers...a page-turner." - Wall Street Journal

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Boys in the Boat, a gripping World War II saga of patriotism and resistance, focusing on…


Book cover of U-505: The Lone Wolf of Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry

Joy Neal Kidney Author Of Leora's Letters: The Story of Love and Loss for an Iowa Family During World War II

From my list on surprising and compelling WWII stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the author of two books (the second is Leora’s Dexter Stories: The Scarcity Years of the Great Depression), a blogger, Iowa historian, and a regular contributor to Our American Stories. I’ve woven WII letters and newspaper clippings, along with memoirs and family stories, into the narrative. As Clabe and Leora Wilson’s oldest granddaughter, I also enjoy giving programs about the Wilson family, as well as TV and radio interviews.

Joy's book list on surprising and compelling WWII stories

Joy Neal Kidney Why did Joy love this book?

The day I was born, the German U-boat U-505 lurked off the west coast of Africa, awaiting American and Allied ships. The submarine was part of the Nazi’s fleet of “wolfpacks,” terrorizing the Atlantic, and even the East and Gulf Coasts of the United States. The book tells about the capture of the submarine after it had carried out a dozen patrols, sinking eight ships. It was secretly towed to Bermuda where the crew interned at a U.S. POW camp. Codebooks, an Enigma machine, and other materials found on board bolstered Allied codebreakers.

The U-505 was eventually donated to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, one of only four German WWII U-boats to survive as museum ships. The submarine was towed 3,000 miles from Portsmouth, NH, through the St. Lawrence River, and across four of the Great Lakes to Chicago. The logistics of getting the huge boat across traffic…

By James E. Wise, Jr,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked U-505 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On 4 June 1944 the German submarine U-505 became the first man-of-war captured by the US Navy in battle on the high seas since the War of 1812. Attacked by the American hunter-killer force Task Group 22.3 off the coast of West Africa, the 750-ton U-boat was forced to the surface, boarded by American sailors and secretly towed to Bermuda. Renamed USS Nemo, it made a war bond subscription tour before docking to await scrapping. The book offers a vivid description of these events and continues the story by explaining how U-505 became a major attraction at the Museum of…


Book cover of The Longest Winter: The Battle of the Bulge and the Epic Story of World War II's Most Decorated Platoon

Leo Barron Author Of Patton at the Battle of the Bulge: How the General's Tanks Turned the Tide at Bastogne

From my list on the Battle of the Bulge and the soldiers who fought there.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve written two books on the topic of the Battle of the Bulge and countless articles. These are my favorite books on the subject and three of the five books are cited in my own monographs. (Schrijvers wrote his book after I published mine and Kershaw’s work was only tangential to my subject matter).

Leo's book list on the Battle of the Bulge and the soldiers who fought there

Leo Barron Why did Leo love this book?

If stories of divisions and corps advancing and retreating over battlefields don’t pique your interest, then this book will. Kershaw’s tale of a single reconnaissance platoon under the command of a fresh-faced 1st Lieutenant Lyle Bouck as it fights for its life and delays an entire German kampfgruppe for several crucial hours is the stuff of legend. The platoon’s sacrifice contributed significantly to the eventual defeat of the 6th SS Panzer Army, whose mission was to seize Antwerp. Thanks to Bouck and his understrength platoon, that didn’t happen. I wonder why Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg have not made this gripping human interest story into a blockbuster movie. Kershaw’s story, though, doesn’t end with the battle of Lanzerath. He follows the service members as they struggle to survive as prisoners-of-war in various German Stalags, scattered throughout the Reich. If you want to read a story about the personal experiences of…

By Alex Kershaw,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

On the morning of December 16, 1944, eighteen men of the Intelligence and Reconnaissance platoon attached to the 99th Infantry Division found themselves directly in the path of the main thrust of Hitler's massive Ardennes offensive. Despite being vastly outnumbered, they were told to hold their position "at all costs." Throughout the day, the platoon repulsed three large German assaults in a fierce day-long battle, killing hundreds of German soldiers. Only when they had run out of ammunition did they surrender to the enemy. But their long winter was just beginning. As POWs, the platoon experienced an ordeal far worse…


Book cover of The Silverplate Bombers: A History and Registry of the Enola Gay and Other B-29s Configured to Carry Atomic Bombs

Robert O. Harder Author Of The Three Musketeers of the Army Air Forces: From Hitler's Fortress Europa to Hiroshima and Nagasaki

From my list on the atomic bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Why am I passionate about this?

In May 1968, I arrived at my first duty station as a new B-52 navigator-bombardier. Later, at the bar, I was hailed by a booming voice from behind the beer taps. "Hi ya, lieutenant!" Moments later, he asked what I thought of the USAF so far. I said I was career-minded. ‘‘Hell, only the pilots get promoted; navigators get diddley-squat. Get out as soon as you can.” After he departed, the bartender came over. “Know who that was, lieutenant? He’s Tom Ferebee, the man who dropped the bomb on Hiroshima." The colonel had both underscored my dismal career prospects and instilled a lifelong passion for the subjects discussed in this book.

Robert's book list on the atomic bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Robert O. Harder Why did Robert love this book?

Silverplate was the code name for the fifteen atomic-modified B-29 Superfortresses assigned to Col. Paul Tibbets’ 509th Composite (meaning totally self-contained, including its own military police and security detail) Group. The book explains the development, delivery, history, and registry of each Silverplate bomber, including the Enola Gay. Various bomb types (including practice) are discussed in detail.

Internal 509th squadron organizations are also explored, along with crew lists and individual aircraft names. Detailed training missions before the two drops are recorded. A must-encyclopedia for the atomic bombing aficionado. Foreward by Paul W. Tibbets.

By Richard H. Campbell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the year that World War II began, Albert Einstein sent his famous letter to President Roosevelt regarding the feasibility of a revolutionary uranium bomb. What was considered infeasible at the time was the development of aircraft capable of carrying an atomic device. This book documents the development and delivery of the Silverplate B-29 bomber, the remarkable airplane with capabilities that surpassed those of known enemy fighters of the time and was employed to release the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima in 1945.

The basic history of the Silverplate B-29, from conception to successful development, is set forth in the…


Book cover of The 509th Remembered

Robert O. Harder Author Of The Three Musketeers of the Army Air Forces: From Hitler's Fortress Europa to Hiroshima and Nagasaki

From my list on the atomic bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Why am I passionate about this?

In May 1968, I arrived at my first duty station as a new B-52 navigator-bombardier. Later, at the bar, I was hailed by a booming voice from behind the beer taps. "Hi ya, lieutenant!" Moments later, he asked what I thought of the USAF so far. I said I was career-minded. ‘‘Hell, only the pilots get promoted; navigators get diddley-squat. Get out as soon as you can.” After he departed, the bartender came over. “Know who that was, lieutenant? He’s Tom Ferebee, the man who dropped the bomb on Hiroshima." The colonel had both underscored my dismal career prospects and instilled a lifelong passion for the subjects discussed in this book.

Robert's book list on the atomic bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Robert O. Harder Why did Robert love this book?

A meticulously compiled coffee-table ‘yearbook’ of the 509th Composite Group, including over 850 photos of people, places, and planes, along with 346 pages of text. A sometimes hard-to-come-by collector’s volume that is always pricey, it is nevertheless worth every penny. One will discover information nuggets here that cannot be found anywhere else. A must-book for anyone interested in the 509th CG. As told by the veterans who dropped the atomic bombs on Japan.

By Robert Krauss,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The 509th Remembered as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Complete History Of the 509th Composite Group the WWII Army Aircorps Unit that dropped the Atomic Bombs on Japan. From their formation In 1944 to their return home to the United States in December 1945. The Book contains over 125 personal stories from veterans of the unit as well as over 800 Illustrations and 8 page color section with pictures of the Nose Art of the B-29s.Photos of all crews, all missions and the history of each plane Is detailed In the book, as well as a complete roster of all men In the unit


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