100 books like At Home and Under Fire

By Susan R. Grayzel,

Here are 100 books that At Home and Under Fire fans have personally recommended if you like At Home and Under Fire. 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 Life After Life

Sam Taylor Author Of The Two Loves of Sophie Strom

From my list on making the impossible feel real.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved stories that rearrange reality in some simple, allusive way, including movies like Groundhog Day or The Truman Show. They remind me of a quote about Italo Calvino that I first read when I was a teenager and have loved ever since: ‘He holds a mirror up to life, then writes about the mirror.’ I tend not to be attracted to stories that simply depict reality and even less so to stories that completely abandon reality for an invented fantasy world. All my favorite fictions take place somewhere in between, in the blending of the real and the impossible. 

Sam's book list on making the impossible feel real

Sam Taylor Why did Sam love this book?

It always seemed unfair to me that not only do we get just one life, but we only get to live it once. So I fell in love with this novel from the moment I read its premise: Ursula Todd is born and dies and is born again… and again… and again.

I love that she doesn’t remember her previous lives except as vague intuitions that help her avoid making the same mistakes twice–and I also love that avoiding those mistakes often means she makes other (often fatal) mistakes. I found this book funny, moving, and thought-provoking, but what I love most about it is the way its down-to-earth, realistic style allowed me to fully inhabit the impossible conceit at its heart. 

By Kate Atkinson,

Why should I read it?

16 authors picked Life After Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What if you could live again and again, until you got it right?

On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife. She dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in a variety of ways, while the young century marches on towards its second cataclysmic world war.

Does Ursula's apparently infinite number…


Book cover of Life and Fate

Paul Clark Author Of The Price of Dreams

From my list on life in the Soviet Union.

Why am I passionate about this?

At the age of 16, I briefly joined the International Socialists, a small British Trotskyist party. Though I soon became disillusioned, it was a formative experience that left me with a lifelong fascination with communism and the Soviet Union. Over the following decades, I read everything I could about the subject, both fiction and non-fiction. In the years after the fall of communism, the ideas that eventually culminated in the writing of this book began to form in my head.

Paul's book list on life in the Soviet Union

Paul Clark Why did Paul love this book?

Grossman consciously attempted to write the War and Peace of the Second World War, and in this panoramic masterpiece, he pulled it off. Like War and Peace, the book focuses both on the travails of a single family and the broader sweep of history, as we witness events from the perspective of persecuted Jewish scientists, soldiers (both Soviet and German), partisans, peasants, and generals.

This is an intensely personal work – Grossman covered the battle of Stalingrad for the Soviet press and knew his subject matter firsthand. Writing it was also an extremely courageous act. The KGB confiscated the manuscript and Grossman never lived to see the book published.

By Vasily Grossman,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Life and Fate as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Based around the pivotal WWII battle of Stalingrad (1942-3), where the German advance into Russia was eventually halted by the Red Army, and around an extended family, the Shaposhnikovs, and their many friends and acquaintances, Life and Fate recounts the experience of characters caught up in an immense struggle between opposing armies and ideologies. Nazism and Communism are appallingly similar, 'two poles of one magnet', as a German camp commander tells a shocked old Bolshevik prisoner. At the height of the battle Russian soldiers and citizens alike are at last able to speak out as they choose, and without reprisal…


Book cover of The Raj at War: A People's History of India's Second World War

Lucy Noakes Author Of Dying for the Nation: Death, Grief and Bereavement in Second World War Britain

From my list on civilians in war.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated by the Second World War since I was a child. I grew up with tales of London and Coventry in wartime, stories of family separation, rationing, and air raids. The stories that really gripped me included the streams of refugees passing my grandmother’s house in the suburbs of Coventry after that city was bombed, and the night my aunts and (infant) father spent waiting to be rescued from a bombed house in south London. As a historian I wanted to know more about stories like this, and about the ways that wars shape lives, and my books have returned again and again to the civilian experience of war.

Lucy's book list on civilians in war

Lucy Noakes Why did Lucy love this book?

It is all too easy to forget that when Britain went to war in 1939, it did so as the world’s largest imperial power. Khan’s book is a rich social history of India at war, telling us the stories of not only the soldiers, but the business owners, the peasants, the refugees, and the political activists whose lives were shaped by war in the Indian subcontinent. The flawed political settlement that brought independence and partition to India and Pakistan was born out of the Raj’s experience of war, and this book gives voice to those who experienced this most turbulent time in the region’s recent history.

By Yasmin Khan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Second World War was not fought by Britain alone. India produced the largest volunteer army in world history: over 2 million men. But, until now, there has never been a comprehensive account of India's turbulent home front and the nexus between warfare and India's society.

At the heart of The Raj at War are the many lives and voices of ordinary Indian people. From the first Indian to win the Victoria Cross in the war to the three soldiers imprisoned as 'traitors to the Raj' who returned to a hero's welcome, from the nurses in Indian General Hospitals to…


Book cover of A Woman in Berlin

Lucy Noakes Author Of Dying for the Nation: Death, Grief and Bereavement in Second World War Britain

From my list on civilians in war.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated by the Second World War since I was a child. I grew up with tales of London and Coventry in wartime, stories of family separation, rationing, and air raids. The stories that really gripped me included the streams of refugees passing my grandmother’s house in the suburbs of Coventry after that city was bombed, and the night my aunts and (infant) father spent waiting to be rescued from a bombed house in south London. As a historian I wanted to know more about stories like this, and about the ways that wars shape lives, and my books have returned again and again to the civilian experience of war.

Lucy's book list on civilians in war

Lucy Noakes Why did Lucy love this book?

This isn’t an easy read, but it’s an important one. A diary by an anonymous female journalist trapped in Berlin as bombs fall and the Red Army closes in, it describes in graphic detail her struggle for survival between April and June 1945. Berlin’s women had difficult choices to make in this period, and the author records unflinchingly her decision to choose the ‘protection’ of one Russian soldier over repeated rape by multiple others. It is one of the few books that tell us about war from the perspective of civilian women, immersing us in their world and recording the impact of political leaders’ delusions of grandeur and glory on individual lives. I didn’t find this an easy book to pick up, but found it even harder to put down.

By Anonymous,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is a devastating book. It is matter-of-fact, makes no attempt to score political points, does not attempt to solicit sympathy for its protagonist and yet is among the most chilling indictments of war I have ever read. Everybody, in particular every woman ought to read it' - Arundhati Roy

'One of the most important personal accounts ever written about the effects of war and defeat' - Antony Beevor

Between April 20th and June 22nd 1945 the anonymous author of A Woman in Berlin wrote about life within the falling city as it was sacked by the Russian Army. Fending…


Book cover of Noonday

Amanda Hale Author Of Mad Hatter, Volume 164

From my list on human relations in the altered reality of wartime.

Why am I passionate about this?

The writing of Mad Hatter (my 7th book), was fueled by curiosity about WW2 and about my absent father. I emigrated to Canada as a young woman and pursued a career in the Arts – theatre, painting, writing. But only when I embarked on this fictionalized family story did I begin to uncover shocking family secrets as I pulled together threads of childhood memory, woven in with research material, trying to make sense of it all. Writing has literally saved my life, and Mad Hatter has liberated me in a manner I could never have predicted. I am an intense, passionate workaholic, writing in many genres, exulting in life's surprises!

Amanda's book list on human relations in the altered reality of wartime

Amanda Hale Why did Amanda love this book?

An accumulation of memories haunt and inform Noonday, a novel that stands alone as the third in a trilogy spanning both world wars. I particularly love Barker’s avoidance of sentimentality. She is an honest writer who digs deep and gives no easy solutions as she follows a cast of characters who originally met as students at the Slade School of Art in London. Elinor, who is central, still suffers from the death of her brother Toby in the Great War. Barker’s skillful evocation of the past gives weight and resonance to every word, reminding the reader of the increasing complexity of character formation with life’s most intense and sometimes tragic experiences. 

By Pat Barker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A new novel from the Booker Prize winning Pat Barker, author of the Regeneration Trilogy, that unforgettably portrays London during the Blitz (her first portrayal of World War II) and reconfirms her place in the very top rank of British novelists.

London, the Blitz, Autumn 1940. As the bombs fall on the blacked-out city, ambulance driver Elinor Brooke races from bomb sites to hospitals trying to save the lives of injured survivors, working alongside former friend Kit Neville, while her husband Paul Tarrant works as an air-raide warden.
     Once fellow students at the Slade School of Fine Art before the…


Book cover of The Secret History of the Blitz

Melvyn Fickling Author Of Blackbirds

From my list on the London Blitz and the bomber war.

Why am I passionate about this?

I lived in London for eighteen years and acquired an abiding affection for my nation’s capital. I wanted to write a sequel to Bluebirds and jumped at the chance of giving Bryan Hale an adventure where he could walk the streets that I knew and loved. The scars caused on the fair face of London by sticks of Nazi bombs landing in ragged lines across the streets and terraces may still be discerned from the incongruity of the buildings that have since risen to fill the gaps. London heals and thrives. Ultimately, I believe every English writer harbours an ambition to write a London novel. I did, and I did.

Melvyn's book list on the London Blitz and the bomber war

Melvyn Fickling Why did Melvyn love this book?

Today, it is almost impossible to imagine aircraft roaming freely over British cities, disgorging bombs onto the streets below. So, it’s vital for us to have access to the personal, unvarnished stories and contemporary accounts from those that actually lived through this particular horror. In The Secret History of the Blitz Levine pulls no punches as he documents the behaviour of ordinary people faced with extreme experiences. Some reacted with fortitude, uniting in neighbourhood solidarity and extending charity to strangers. Others exploited the chaos, breaking legal and moral codes for their own personal enrichment. To this day, the British psyche collectively benefits from the social concept of a Blitz Spirit. But we should remember it was always a two-sided coin.

By Joshua Levine,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Secret History of the Blitz as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Blitz of 1940-41 is one of the most iconic periods in modern British history - and one of the most misunderstood. The 'Blitz spirit' is celebrated by some, whereas others dismiss it as a myth. Joshua Levine's thrilling biography rejects the tired arguments and reveals the human truth: the Blitz was a time of extremes of experience and behaviour. People werepulling together and helping strangers, but they were also breaking rules and exploiting each other. Life during wartime, the author reveals, was complex and messy and real.

From the first page readers will discover a different story to the…


Book cover of Wartime: Britain 1939-1945

Jillianne Hamilton Author Of The Hobby Shop on Barnaby Street: A Heartwarming WW2 Historical Romance

From my list on daily life on the British homefront during WWII.

Why am I passionate about this?

I fell in love with English history around age 10 when I began reading historical fiction and non-fiction. I have maintained a history blog, The Lazy Historian, since 2015 and I published a casually written non-fiction book, The Lazy Historian’s Guide to the Wives of Henry VIII, in 2018. When I began writing my Homefront Hearts WWII romance trilogy, I threw myself into researching the well-documented daily lives of the English and the various challenges that came from “keeping calm and carrying on.”

Jillianne's book list on daily life on the British homefront during WWII

Jillianne Hamilton Why did Jillianne love this book?

Written by one of the most respected and well-known British historians living today, Juliet Gardiner’s Wartime Britain is a bulky collection of anecdotes and details on homefront life, ranging from devastating to joyful. She covers many topics in depth and in a very human way: the Blitz, homefront crimes, evacuation, the enlistment process, food rationing, and a lot more. It includes quite a few photos from wartime Britain as well. 

By Juliet Gardiner,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Juliet Gardiner's critically acclaimed book - the first in a generation to tell the people's story of the Second World War - offers a compelling and comprehensive account of the pervasiveness of war on the Home Front. The book has been commended for its inclusion of many under-described aspects of the Home Front, and alongside familiar stories of food shortages, evacuation and the arrival of the GIs, are stories of Conscientious Objectors, persecuted Italians living in Britain and Lumber Jills working in the New Forest. Drawing on a multitude of sources, many previously unpublished, she tells the story of those…


Book cover of The Postmistress

Sally Cabot Gunning Author Of Painting the Light

From my list on for her side of history.

Why am I passionate about this?

 I’ve always loved history, and especially those small stories, so often about women, that never made the history books. No big surprise then that as an author I eventually gravitated to historical fiction, and that all of my novels have featured strong, independent women. Women were wonderful sources for the kinds of stories I wished to tell – they kept journals and diaries; they wrote voluminous letters; they were excellent chroniclers of their time; they were clever and witty and brave, and they bared their souls. To be able to bring some of these women to life has been a most rewarding experience for me. I hope reading my books proves as rewarding for you.

Sally's book list on for her side of history

Sally Cabot Gunning Why did Sally love this book?

There are a lot of World War II books out there, and in truth, I was growing tired of them until I read Sarah Blake’s. Partially located on my home turf of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, the brush against our local history pre-World War II fascinated me. But Blake doesn’t stay local; she leaves the postmistress to do—or not doher job and flies off to London with a female war correspondent. How their stories cleverly intertwine is part of my fascination with this tale. Blake has a habit of dropping unforgettable characters on my doorstep, where they tease and tantalize long after I’ve turned the last page. 

By Sarah Blake,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Experience World War 2 through the eyes of two very different women in this captivating New York Times bestseller by the author of The Guest Book.

"A beautifully written, thought-provoking novel."-Kathryn Stockett, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Help

In 1940, Iris James is the postmistress in coastal Franklin, Massachusetts. Iris knows more about the townspeople than she will ever say, and believes her job is to deliver secrets. Yet one day she does the unthinkable: slips a letter into her pocket, reads it, and doesn't deliver it.

Meanwhile, Frankie Bard broadcasts from overseas with Edward R. Murrow.…


Book cover of Playing It Safe: An Electra McDonnell Novel

Bob Burnett Author Of Death is Potential: A Kate Swift Mystery

From my list on mysteries featuring steamy romance.

Why am I passionate about this?

At one time, it was commonplace for male mystery writers to devote a substantial amount of plot to romance; for example, Wilkie Collins, The Woman in White or Dashiell Hammett, The Maltese Falcon. In recent years, this tradition has eroded to the point where romantic mysteries are primarily written by women. I think romance spices up mysteries. In Death is Potential, Kate Swift is more invested in solving the murder mystery because she is protecting her lover.

Bob's book list on mysteries featuring steamy romance

Bob Burnett Why did Bob love this book?

I like this series set in wartime London. Electra “Ellie” McDonnell, a safecracker, is in business with her Uncle Mick, they rob homes of the rich.

After they are arrested, the handsome Major Ramsay has a deal for Ellie: if she will help him, he’ll let her, and her uncle walk free. A straightforward deal, except for the romantic complication.

By Ashley Weaver,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

As the Blitz continues to ravage London, Ellie McDonnell is approached by British Intelligence officer Major Ramsey with a new assignment. She is to travel under an assumed identity to the port city of Sunderland and there await further instructions. Ellie, ever-ready to aid her country, heads north, her safecracking tools in tow. But before she can rendezvous with the major, she witnesses an unnatural death. A man falls dead in the street in front of her, with a mysterious missive clutched in his hand. Ellie's instincts tell her that the man's death is connected in some way to her…


Book cover of The Night Watch

Janet Dean Knight Author Of The Peacemaker: A Novel

From my list on family secrets, trauma, and loss in wartime.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was given a First World War soldier’s wallet containing family souvenirsa handwritten letter, a wedding photograph—I realised that it represented the story of my grandmother’s first marriage to a young man who died in the battle of the Somme in 1916. Brought up with my mother’s version of the story, I set out to find what truths I could. What I discovered is that there's no such thing as truth, only versions of what happened, and I wove these into a fictional narrative that tries to capture the experiences of families traumatized by war and explores how they made their peace despite the conflicts and tragedies they experienced.

Janet's book list on family secrets, trauma, and loss in wartime

Janet Dean Knight Why did Janet love this book?

The Night Watch is a chilling, atmospheric book that shows us the lives of a group of Londoners through the air raids of the 1940s. The story is told backwards from a point shortly after the war and reveals the motivations and characters of the story slowly, painfully, and with great care. A group of lesbian women, a woman entangled with a married man, and a young man punished for his part in a desperate pact: their personal stories are played out against a backdrop of fear and destruction. Perhaps my favourite of all Sarah Water’s fabulous novels, The Night Watch is so intricately and cleverly constructed it takes your breath away.

By Sarah Waters,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

I thought everything would change, after the war. And now, no one even mentions it. It is as if we all got together in private and said whatever you do don't mention that, like it never happened.

It's the late 1940s. Calm has returned to London and five people are recovering from the chaos of war.

In scenes set in a quiet dating agency, a bombed-out church and a prison cell, the stories of these five lives begin to intertwine and we uncover the desire and regret that has bound them together.

Sarah Waters's story of illicit love and everyday…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the London Blitz, World War 1, and the United Kingdom?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the London Blitz, World War 1, and the United Kingdom.

The London Blitz Explore 34 books about the London Blitz
World War 1 Explore 900 books about World War 1
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