100 books like Ashes in the Wind

By Jacob Presser,

Here are 100 books that Ashes in the Wind fans have personally recommended if you like Ashes in the Wind. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of KL: A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps

Deborah Hopkinson Author Of We Must Not Forget: Holocaust Stories of Survival and Resistance

From my list on World War II in Europe.

Why am I passionate about this?

The books I’ve recommended here range from scholarship, young adult historical fiction, literary fiction, and a good spy mystery—all set in World War II. I’ve read widely in the field since I’ve written several nonfiction books for young readers and teens about World War II. Along with We Must Not Forget, these include Courage & Defiance, about the Danish resistance, Dive!, about the submarine war in the Pacific, D-Day: The World War II Invasion that Changed History, and We Had to Be Brave: Escaping the Nazis on the Kindertransport. I’m currently working on a book about a 1945 POW rescue in the Philippines.

Deborah's book list on World War II in Europe

Deborah Hopkinson Why did Deborah love this book?

To ensure we’ll never repeat the Holocaust, we must understand it. One of the most difficult books you may ever read, KL is a comprehensive and impressive history of the Nazis’ camp system. The New York Times called this nearly 900-page work by Nikolaus Wachsmann, a history professor at London University, a work of “prodigious scholarship.”

Time and again, when researching my own book for young readers, I turned to Wachsmann for nuanced detail, impeccable research, and a better understanding of some of the “choiceless choices” faced by Jewish men, women, and children. Not for the faint of heart, but a fitting tribute to those who lost their lives.

By Nikolaus Wachsmann,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner of the Jewish Quarterly Wingate Literary Prize and the Wolfson History Prize

In March of 1933, a disused factory surrounded by barbed wire held 223 prisoners in the town of Dachau. By the end of 1945, the SS concentration camp system had become an overwhelming landscape of terror. Twenty-two large camps and over one thousand satellite camps throughout Germany and Europe were at the heart of the Nazi campaign of repression and intimidation. The importance of the camps in terms of Nazi history and our modern world cannot be questioned.

Dr Nikolaus Wachsmann is the first historian to write…


Book cover of Everyone Brave Is Forgiven

Deborah Hopkinson Author Of We Must Not Forget: Holocaust Stories of Survival and Resistance

From my list on World War II in Europe.

Why am I passionate about this?

The books I’ve recommended here range from scholarship, young adult historical fiction, literary fiction, and a good spy mystery—all set in World War II. I’ve read widely in the field since I’ve written several nonfiction books for young readers and teens about World War II. Along with We Must Not Forget, these include Courage & Defiance, about the Danish resistance, Dive!, about the submarine war in the Pacific, D-Day: The World War II Invasion that Changed History, and We Had to Be Brave: Escaping the Nazis on the Kindertransport. I’m currently working on a book about a 1945 POW rescue in the Philippines.

Deborah's book list on World War II in Europe

Deborah Hopkinson Why did Deborah love this book?

Chris Cleave’s fourth novel was inspired by memories of his grandparents and their letters during the war. The novel follows the lives and relationships of four young people in Britain during the early years of World War II. It also follows action on the island of Malta, a part of World War II history not as well known. It’s also a story of love, friendship, and surprising choices. A warning: Do not read ahead. The novel has an incredible last scene and you don’t want to ruin it!

By Chris Cleave,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Everyone Brave Is Forgiven as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Ian McEwan did this with Atonement, Sarah Waters did it with The Night Watch, and Chris Cleave does it too with Everyone Brave is Forgiven... A compelling and finely crafted novel.' FT

'An addictive, propulsive read' The Sunday Times

Summer Reading pick - Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train
Top Ten hottest summer reads - Sunday Telegraph
Instant New York Times Bestseller
Evening Standard bestseller
'A cracker' Stylist, 10 Exciting Books in 2016
'His best book to date' Esquire, 10 best novels of 2016
Guardian Literary Highlight of 2016
Independent Best Book to read in 2016
Irish…


Book cover of Code Name Verity

Katherine Marsh Author Of The Lost Year: A Survival Story of the Ukrainian Famine

From my list on historical fiction to read with middle schoolers.

Why am I passionate about this?

Not only have I written six critically acclaimed novels for middle-grade readers, including three historical fictions, I am the parent of a tween and teen who is always looking for great read-alouds and read-alongs for my own family. I am a firm believer that this is a valuable way to encourage literacy and love of story as I wrote in a recent, much-discussed essay in The Atlantic. Having lived abroad, including as an exchange student and camper in the Soviet Union and for three years in Belgium, I am also a huge believer in expanding our own as well as our kids’ knowledge of history beyond our own borders, cultures, identities, and perspectives. 

Katherine's book list on historical fiction to read with middle schoolers

Katherine Marsh Why did Katherine love this book?

Elizabeth Wein’s young adult novel about female friends and aviators during World War II has a jaw-dropping twist.

But it’s also a fabulous introduction to both the larger war-time history—including in England and France--and the history of women in aviation and military/ intelligence roles.

This story is a great choice for families with girls, who get to see themselves as heroines, fighters, and adventurers—roles traditionally reserved for male protagonists.

By Elizabeth Wein,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Code Name Verity 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?

'I have two weeks. You'll shoot me at the end no matter what I do.'

Shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal, Code Name Verity is a bestselling tale of friendship and courage set against the backdrop of World War Two.

Only in wartime could a stalwart lass from Manchester rub shoulders with a Scottish aristocrat, one a pilot, the other a special operations executive. When a vital mission goes wrong, and one of the friends has to bail out of a faulty plane over France, she is captured by the Gestapo and becomes a prisoner of war. The story begins in…


Book cover of The World at Night

Victoria Weisfeld Author Of Architect of Courage

From my list on ordinary people in extraordinary situations.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I say I enjoy stories of ordinary people in extraordinary situations, I’m talking about characters who don’t have law enforcement or Special Forces training, who aren’t martial arts experts, KGB agents, or CIA officers. I like those characters too, but they typically engage my head, not my heart. Thrown into dangerous situations, “ordinary” individuals can show tremendous courage and quick-wittedness. I can easily put myself in their shoes and empathize with their plight, which gives me a real stake in the story’s outcome. If a story is well-written, the creative ways characters respond and the strengths they discover within themselves make them true heroes to me.

Victoria's book list on ordinary people in extraordinary situations

Victoria Weisfeld Why did Victoria love this book?

In the early days of World War II, a Paris-based film producer tries to carry on working as usual and ignore the Nazi occupiers. Given the chance to give some minor aid to the British secret service, he agrees, and with each step, he’s drawn deeper and deeper into danger. His best–and only—weapon is his wits. Maybe at first he doesn’t think he’s taking much of a risk. But, with hindsight, I know how precarious his situation is, and I’m silently begging him not to do it! Furst’s riveting spy tales are what first attracted me to stories about ordinary people in extraordinary situations.

By Alan Furst,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Paris 1940. The civilised, upper-class life of film producer Jean Casson ends with the German occupation of the city. Out of money and almost out of luck, Casson attempts to work with a German film company but finds himself drawn into the dark world of espionage and double agents. More used to evading jealous husbands than the secret police, Casson becomes a reluctant spy, torn between honour, patriotism, love and survival.


Book cover of Etty Hillesum: An Interrupted Life And Letters From Westerbork

Jerome A. Miller Author Of Sobering Wisdom: Philosophical Explorations of Twelve Step Spirituality

From my list on spiritual breakthrough.

Why am I passionate about this?

During my 37 years of teaching philosophy to undergraduate students, most of whom had no prior exposure to it, my purpose was to promote self-examination of the sort practiced and encouraged by Socrates. Such self-examination is upsetting, unsettling. It leads one to insights and realizations one would prefer not to have. But by undermining one’s assumptions, these insights break one open to a whole universe of which one had been oblivious. Breakdowns make possible breakthroughs. My students didn’t realize that, just as I was trying to provoke this kind of spiritual transformation in them, their questions, criticisms, challenges, and insights provoked it in me. 

Jerome's book list on spiritual breakthrough

Jerome A. Miller Why did Jerome love this book?

Why include on this list the diaries of a secular Jewish woman who is in the grip of self-centered anxieties and an unusual, if not bizarre, relationship with her analyst? Because spiritual transformation begins and evolves in uncanny ways, leading one to find transcendence where one never would have expected it. Etty’s diaries and letters allow us to follow the process by which she became so profoundly lucid and open-hearted that she was able to see the humanity even in the Nazis organizing extermination.

By Etty Hillesum,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Etty Hillesum as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For the first time, Etty Hillesum's diary and letters appear together to give us the fullest possible portrait of this extraordinary woman in the midst of World War II.

In the darkest years of Nazi occupation and genocide, Etty Hillesum remained a celebrant of life whose lucid intelligence, sympathy, and almost impossible gallantry were themselves a form of inner resistance. The adult counterpart to Anne Frank, Hillesum testifies to the possibility of awareness and compassion in the face of the most devastating challenge to one's humanity. She died at Auschwitz in 1943 at the age of twenty-nine.


Book cover of The Sisters of Auschwitz: The True Story of Two Jewish Sisters' Resistance in the Heart of Nazi Territory

Sophie Poldermans Author Of Seducing and Killing Nazis: Hannie, Truus and Freddie: Dutch Resistance Heroines of WWII

From my list on World War II heroines.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a Dutch author and lawyer specialized in international criminal law. My expertise is the role of women leaders in times of conflict, crisis, and change – especially during war and in post-conflict societies. Women are traditionally portrayed as victims, while it is precisely women who show genuine leadership skills in times of conflict, crisis, and change. I've done research on women’s armed resistance in the Netherlands in WWII, and am an expert on the lives and resistance work of Hannie Shaft and the sisters Truus and Freddie Oversteegen. In addition, I've done research in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda and saw the same patterns in these conflicts and the impact on the generations after. 

Sophie's book list on World War II heroines

Sophie Poldermans Why did Sophie love this book?

An incredibly powerful book that sheds light on Jewish Resistance in the Netherlands, by two women. Both topics are rare and especially the combination of them. The style of narrative non-fiction is brilliantly chosen. The book is historically informative and accurate, but told with the arts and craft of a novelist. A New York Times bestseller. This is exactly what my platform ‘Sophie’s Women of War’ sheds light on. 

By Roxane van Iperen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A New York Times bestseller

The unforgettable story of two unsung heroes of World War II: sisters Janny and Lien Brilleslijper who joined the Dutch Resistance, helped save dozen of lives, were captured by the Nazis, and ultimately survived the Holocaust.

Eight months after Germany’s invasion of Poland, the Nazis roll into The Netherlands, expanding their reign of brutality to the Dutch. But by the Winter of 1943, resistance is growing. Among those fighting their brutal Nazi occupiers are two Jewish sisters, Janny and Lien Brilleslijper from Amsterdam. Risking arrest and death, the sisters help save others, sheltering them in…


Book cover of Etty Hillesum: A Life Transformed

Susan Fries Author Of The Pope and the Prostitute

From my list on what to read when the world goes wrong.

Why am I passionate about this?

I believe there is a supernatural spirit that guides the universe, and I am passionate about the God who created it. From the many experiences in my life, I have learned that there is a bigger picture. That picture is God. You can believe in his power to change lives or not. You can believe in him and his son or not, but that does not mean they don't exist. I may not believe in life in other galaxies, but that does not mean they are not out there somewhere.

Susan's book list on what to read when the world goes wrong

Susan Fries Why did Susan love this book?

This is undoubtedly the most captivating biography I’ve had the pleasure to read.

This woman, in the prime of her very ‘alive’, but somewhat distorted sexually active life is confused by her childhood, accosted by the Germans during the war, yet brings inspiration and love to those in the Nazi camp she finds herself living as wars escalate. She is hope.

By Patrick Woodhouse,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

On 8 March 1941, a 27-year-old Jewish Dutch student living in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam made the first entry in a diary that was to become one of the most remarkable documents to emerge from the Nazi Holocaust. Over the course of the next two and a half years, an insecure, chaotic and troubled young woman was transformed into someone who inspired those with whom she shared the suffering of the transit camp at Westerbork and with whom she eventually perished at Auschwitz. Through her diary and letters, she continues to inspire those whose lives she has touched since. She was an…


Book cover of Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

Johanna van Zanten Author Of The Imposter

From my list on how the Second World War affected regular people and their families.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child with older sisters, I read their books beyond my age level under the blankets with a flashlight in bed at night. I became a reading addict. Raised in The Netherlands with the Second World War casting its large shadow on our lives, I only became interested, after my parents were gone, in how people survived and had to find their courage under impossible circumstances. They would never talk about those occupation years. My search into history led me to find the answers.

Johanna's book list on how the Second World War affected regular people and their families

Johanna van Zanten Why did Johanna love this book?

I loved this non-fiction book, and reading it, I often broke down in tears, realizing this personal and innocent true teenage story was all leading up to the tremendous death of millions of innocent people.

This is the only Anne Frank book that I recommend to everybody from a young age. It is THE introduction to the real events of World War 2.

By Anne Frank, B.M. Mooyaart (translator),

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked Anne Frank 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?

With 30 per cent more material than previous editions, this new contemporary and fully anglicized translation gives the reader a deeper insight into Anne's world. Publication of the unabridged Definitive Edition on Penguin Audiobook, read by Helena Bonham-Carter, coincides.


Book cover of I Have Lived a Thousand Years: Growing Up in the Holocaust

Allan Zullo Author Of Survivors: True Stories of Children in the Holocaust

From my list on about children in the Holocaust.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have penned more than 120 nonfiction books on a broad range of subjects for general audiences and middle-school readers, including five books about the true-life experiences of young people during the Holocaust.  The most heartbreaking, yet inspiring, moments in my decades-long writing career have been my interviews with Holocaust survivors, who, as children, relied on their courage, their faith, their smarts—and sometimes their luck—to endure years of unbelievable terror.

Allan's book list on about children in the Holocaust

Allan Zullo Why did Allan love this book?

This is an extremely well-written first-person account of how anti-Semitism followed and haunted Livia (born Elli Friedmann in Czechoslovakia) before, during, and after she, her brother, and mother were shipped off to Auschwitz.  The atrocities and harassment they endured in the death camp didn’t stop after they were liberated in 1945 because so many anti-Semites made life unbearable, yet eventually Livia and her family triumphed.

By Livia Bitton-Jackson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Have Lived a Thousand Years as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

What is death all about? What is life all about?

So wonders thirteen-year-old Elli Friedmann as she fights for her life in a Nazi concentration camp. A remarkable memoir, I Have Lived a Thousand Years is a story of cruelty and suffering, but at the same time a story of hope, faith, perseverance, and love.

It wasn’t long ago that Elli led a normal life that included family, friends, school, and thoughts about boys. A life in which Elli could lie and daydream for hours that she was a beautiful and elegant celebrated poet.

But these adolescent daydreams quickly darken…


Book cover of The Light of Days: The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler's Ghettos

Kent Hinckley Author Of Second Chance Against the Third Reich: U.S. Colonel Rescues His Daughter From the Nazis

From my list on World War 2 through the eyes of an individual.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have studied World War 2 for thirty years not so much about the killing, but to see how the Allies developed strategies to win the battles. So many decisions and so many sacrifices were made which give me pause about how great our leaders were even with their mistakes. They orchestrated the war in a grand panorama as well as focused on tactics to take a key bridge. I served in Vietnam but WW2 was different in almost every way. Recently I have focused on the effects of shell shock (WW1) and battle fatigue (WW2) known today as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD remains in the forefront from Vietnam to Afghanistan and Iraq. I have even counseled soldiers and families about PTSD.

Kent's book list on World War 2 through the eyes of an individual

Kent Hinckley Why did Kent love this book?

This well-researched and well-written book describes the heroism of Jewish women in Poland during the killing of Jews by the Nazis. Usually, the women get overlooked in war, but in Poland, their bravery and deception along with the men sabotaged the Nazis, and saved Jewish people and families because of incredible sacrifices. Even though the story is non-fiction, it reads as a fast-paced novel. The information was taken from old diaries and out of print books in Yiddish which shed light on the unbelievable war in Poland.

By Judy Batalion,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

'Original and compelling, an untold story of rare and captivating power' Philippe Sands

'A fascinating history about a little-known group who took on the Nazis . . . The individual tales of these courageous young women are remarkable' Independent

'Rescues a long-neglected aspect of history from oblivion, and puts paid to the idea of Jewish, and especially female, passivity during the Holocaust. It is uncompromising, written with passion - and it preserves truly significant knowledge. ... Judy Batalion has uncovered a trove of unknown or forgotten information about the Holocaust of genuine import and impact.'…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the Holocaust, the Netherlands, and Jewish history?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the Holocaust, the Netherlands, and Jewish history.

The Holocaust Explore 394 books about the Holocaust
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Jewish History Explore 469 books about Jewish history