100 books like Barbarossa

By David M. Glantz,

Here are 100 books that Barbarossa fans have personally recommended if you like Barbarossa. 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 Thunder in the East: The Nazi-Soviet War 1941-1945

David Stahel Author Of Operation Barbarossa and Germany's Defeat in the East

From my list on Operation Barbarossa.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was a young man reading my first books about the Second World War I was struck by the dimensions of Germany’s war in the East. Battles at El Alamein, Monte Cassino, and Normandy were familiar to me, but suddenly there emerged dozens of new battlefields in the East, most dwarfing the Anglo-American experience of the war, which I’d never heard of. My curiosity drove my reading and, as the saying goes, the more I knew, the more questions I had. Thirty years on, and ten books under my belt, has not yet satisfied that curiosity, but at least, thanks to Shepherd, I can share some of it.

David's book list on Operation Barbarossa

David Stahel Why did David love this book?

The final recommendation I’d make is only partly related to Operation Barbarossa, but deserves inclusion in that discussion as well as the wider coverage of the war (for those seeking to go further). Mawdsley covers the war from many angles (economic, political, military as well as the experience of occupation) and provides insightful analysis for each turn of events. The endnotes and bibliography are exhaustive, providing a useful guide for whatever subject of interest a reader exploring the vast historiography of the Nazi-Soviet war might have. A first-rate read for both Operation Barbarossa and the wider war in the East.

By Evan Mawdsley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The battles in Russia played the decisive part in Hitler's defeat. Gigantic, prolonged, and bloody, they contrasted with the general nature of the fighting on other fronts. The Russians fought on their own in "their" theater of war and with an indepedent strategy. Stalinist Russia was a country radically different from its liberal democratic allies. Hitler and the German high command, for their part, conceived and carried out the Russian campaign as a singular "war of annihilation." This riveting new book is a penetrating, broad-ranging, yet concise overview of this vast conflict. It investigates the Wehrmacht and the Red Army…


Book cover of Germany and the Second World War: Volume IV: The Attack on the Soviet Union

David Stahel Author Of Operation Barbarossa and Germany's Defeat in the East

From my list on Operation Barbarossa.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was a young man reading my first books about the Second World War I was struck by the dimensions of Germany’s war in the East. Battles at El Alamein, Monte Cassino, and Normandy were familiar to me, but suddenly there emerged dozens of new battlefields in the East, most dwarfing the Anglo-American experience of the war, which I’d never heard of. My curiosity drove my reading and, as the saying goes, the more I knew, the more questions I had. Thirty years on, and ten books under my belt, has not yet satisfied that curiosity, but at least, thanks to Shepherd, I can share some of it.

David's book list on Operation Barbarossa

David Stahel Why did David love this book?

Admittedly, this is neither a cheap book nor a light read (it has 1,364 pages), but it remains a landmark work that no serious scholar of Operation Barbarossa can afford to ignore. As volume 4 of the semi-official German history of the war it concerns mainly German plans, operations, and occupation policies, although some sections do deal with Soviet responses as well as the early contributions of German allies to the invasion. It is the work of six German historians with generally even quality throughout, although the military chapters by Klink and Hoffmann are now somewhat dated. Overall, a work of superb scholarship.

By Horst Boog, Jurgen Forster, Joachim Hoffman , Ernst Klink , Rolf-Dieter Muller , Gerd R. Ueberschar , Ewald Osers (translator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Germany and the Second World War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Nine months after the beginning of the Second World War, German dominance over much of Europe seemed assured. Hitler not only stood on the pinnacle of his popularity in Germany but more than ever his ideological fixations and political calculations determined German war policy. This volume, the fourth in the acclaimed Germany and the Second World War series, examines the thinking behind the decision to go to war with the Soviet Union which was to prove the
undoing of the German war effort. The authors examine in revealing detail the military and political policies behind the attack on the Soviet…


Book cover of Hitlers Heerführer: Die Deutschen Oberbefehlshaber Im Krieg Gegen Die Sowjetunion 1941/42

David Stahel Author Of Operation Barbarossa and Germany's Defeat in the East

From my list on Operation Barbarossa.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was a young man reading my first books about the Second World War I was struck by the dimensions of Germany’s war in the East. Battles at El Alamein, Monte Cassino, and Normandy were familiar to me, but suddenly there emerged dozens of new battlefields in the East, most dwarfing the Anglo-American experience of the war, which I’d never heard of. My curiosity drove my reading and, as the saying goes, the more I knew, the more questions I had. Thirty years on, and ten books under my belt, has not yet satisfied that curiosity, but at least, thanks to Shepherd, I can share some of it.

David's book list on Operation Barbarossa

David Stahel Why did David love this book?

I realise few people reading this list will have the ability to read German, but if you indulge me in one German title—if only to promote its eventual translation to English—it would be Johannes Hürter’s majestic book about the leading German generals in Operation Barbarossa. He covers 25 of the most important commanders and it is without doubt one of the best books ever written about the German army in the Second World War. The research is impeccable and the analysis is first-rate. 

By Johannes Hurter,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Wehrmacht in der NS-Diktatur

Über die Wehrmacht im Vernichtungskrieg gegen die Sowjetunion ist viel geschrieben und gestritten worden. Jedoch wusste man bisher wenig über jene höchsten Generale, die das deutsche Heer auf Befehl Hitlers nach Osten führten, unter ihnen so bekannte Namen wie Bock, Guderian, Kluge, Manstein und Rundstedt. Was dachten und wie handelten die Oberbefehlshaber der Heeresgruppen und Armeen, die über Leben und Tod von vielen Millionen Soldaten und Zivilisten zu entscheiden hatten? Johannes Hürter zeichnet erstmals ein genaues Porträt dieser militärischen Elite und darüber hinaus das Panorama eines beispiellosen Feldzugs, in dem traditionelles Kriegshandwerk und nationalsozialistischer Rassenwahn eine…


Book cover of War of Annihilation: Combat and Genocide on the Eastern Front, 1941

David Stahel Author Of Operation Barbarossa and Germany's Defeat in the East

From my list on Operation Barbarossa.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was a young man reading my first books about the Second World War I was struck by the dimensions of Germany’s war in the East. Battles at El Alamein, Monte Cassino, and Normandy were familiar to me, but suddenly there emerged dozens of new battlefields in the East, most dwarfing the Anglo-American experience of the war, which I’d never heard of. My curiosity drove my reading and, as the saying goes, the more I knew, the more questions I had. Thirty years on, and ten books under my belt, has not yet satisfied that curiosity, but at least, thanks to Shepherd, I can share some of it.

David's book list on Operation Barbarossa

David Stahel Why did David love this book?

If my first two listings are somewhat inaccessible to the average reader, fear not, Megargee’s concise study of Operation Barbarossa is a masterful summary of the campaign as well as the parallel German war of annihilation in the East. Richly illustrated with maps and photos, Megargee transforms a huge and complex war into a short (150 page), straightforward read. There is also a helpful bibliographic essay at the end and numerous sub-headings to guide the reading. It is the perfect introduction to the German invasion of the Soviet Union.

By Geoffrey P. Megargee,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

On June 22, 1941, Hitler began what would be the most important campaign of the European theater. The war against the Soviet Union would leave tens of millions of Soviet citizens dead and large parts of the country in ruins. The death and destruction would result not just from military operations but also from the systematic killing and abuse that the German army, police, and SS directed against Jews, Communists, and ordinary citizens.

In War of Annihilation, noted military historian Geoffrey P. Megargee provides a clear, concise history of the Germans' opening campaign of conquest and genocide in 1941. By…


Book cover of Forever Nineteen

Alexandra Popoff Author Of Vasily Grossman and the Soviet Century

From my list on about World War 2 with a touch of philosophy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm the author of four literary biographies and of one in progress. My current project is a concise interpretive biography of Ayn Rand, commissioned by Yale University Press, Jewish Lives. Among the best known and most divisive twentieth-century writers, the author of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged remains the subject of fascination. I began my career as a journalist in Moscow. Before turning to literary biography I lectured in Russian literature and history in Canada. My essays and reviews have appeared in The Wall Street JournalHuffington PostLiterary HubTablet MagazineNational Post, and other newspapers and outlets.

Alexandra's book list on about World War 2 with a touch of philosophy

Alexandra Popoff Why did Alexandra love this book?

Grigory Baklanov (born Grigory Friedman) belonged to the generation of soldiers that faced the full brunt of the German attack on the Soviet Union and of whom only 3% survived. Forever Nineteen (trans. Antonina Bouis) is a tribute to the men who remained forever young; as the author elucidates in the introduction to the novel’s American edition, “I wanted them to come alive when I wrote this book, I wanted people living now to care about them as friends, as family, as brothers.” Baklanov had attained international renown with his 1959 novel The Foothold [An Inch of Land], which appeared in 36 countries. His portrayal of the war is more personal than Grossman’s and has a different angle: rather than depicting famous battles, he is concerned with ordinary soldiers’ lives, which can be cut short at any moment. (Disclosure: Grigory Baklanov is my father.)

By Grigory Baklanov, Antonina W. Bouis (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The story of a nineteen-year-old lieutenant in the Russian army tells of an "ordinary" man whose bravery and dedication helped save the Soviet Union from German rule in World War II, and describes the rugged and bitter battle he fought


Book cover of War and Peace

Reiner Prochaska Author Of Captives

From my list on characters who preserve their humanity in war.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up in postwar Germany, I have always been fascinated by how people survive wars emotionally and retain their humanity. In my extensive research for Captives, I came across an account of a German soldier in North Africa, whose tank had been hit and was engulfed in flames. A human torch, he jumped from the tank, expecting to be killed by British soldiers who were nearby. Instead, they rolled his body in the sand to extinguish the flames and called a medic, saving his life. This act of humanity moved me and inspired me to make the preservation of one’s humanity in war the central theme in my novel.

Reiner's book list on characters who preserve their humanity in war

Reiner Prochaska Why did Reiner love this book?

Pierre Bezukhov is one of the most fascinating characters in all of literature. Pierre—the socially awkward, illegitimate son of Count Besukhov—inherits the family fortune but struggles to find his identity. He finds it, late in the novel, in an unlikely place. After saving the life of a French officer who has invaded his house to find shelter, Pierre attempts to assassinate Napoleon but is sent to prison.  

There, he meets Platon Karataev, a simple peasant, who shares his food with Pierre. Platon embodies everything Pierre has searched for all his life: generosity, integrity, and a keen understanding of human existence—giving Pierre a feeling that “the world that had been shattered was once more stirring in his soul with a new beauty and on new and unshakable foundations.”

By Leo Tolstoy, Aylmer Maude (translator), Louise Maude , Henry Gifford (editor)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'If life could write, it would write like Tolstoy.' Isaac Babel

Tolstoy's epic masterpiece intertwines the lives of private and public individuals during the time of the Napoleonic wars and the French invasion of Russia. The fortunes of the Rostovs and the Bolkonskys, of Pierre, Natasha, and Andrei, are intimately connected with the national history that is played out in parallel with their lives. Balls and soirees alternate with councils of war and the machinations of statesmen and generals, scenes of violent battles with everyday human passions in
a work whose extraordinary imaginative power has never been surpassed. The prodigious…


Book cover of War and Peace

Abdul Quayyum Khan Kundi Author Of Legacy of the Third Way

From my list on books to take you to the future.

Why am I passionate about this?

From a young age, I've been captivated by evolution and its implications for the future. I immersed myself in classical works of philosophy and literature that explored human emotions and our relentless drive to succeed against all odds, advancing human knowledge and shaping society. This fascination with understanding the future led me to write op-ed pieces on foreign policy and geopolitics for prominent newspapers in South Asia. My desire to contribute to a better future inspired me to author three nonfiction books covering topics such as the Islamic Social Contract, Lessons from the Quran, and Reflections on God,  Science, and Human Nature. 

Abdul's book list on books to take you to the future

Abdul Quayyum Khan Kundi Why did Abdul love this book?

Leo Tolstoy is considered a master storyteller with an unmatched grip on presenting the inner emotional struggles of mankind.

This novel presents the stress caused in the lives of people and society when French General and Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte attacked Russia. The book had a deep impact on future generations. I read the book in my early 30s and found it fascinating. 

I have a deep interest in the evolution and reaction of societies to crises, both natural and man-made. The discussion on leadership, whether it is by birth or upbringing, was fascinating for me. 

By Leo Tolstoy, Richard Pevear (translator), Larissa Volokhonsky (translator)

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked War and Peace as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the award-winning translators of Anna Karenina and The Brothers Karamazov comes this magnificent new translation of Tolstoy's masterwork.

Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read

War and Peacebroadly focuses on Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812 and follows three of the most well-known characters in literature: Pierre Bezukhov, the illegitimate son of a count who is fighting for his inheritance and yearning for spiritual fulfillment; Prince Andrei Bolkonsky, who leaves his family behind to fight in the war against Napoleon; and Natasha Rostov, the beautiful young daughter of a nobleman who intrigues both…


Book cover of Soldier in the Downfall: A Wehrmacht Cavalryman in Russia, Normandy, and the Plot to Kill Hitler

Brian Walters Author Of Treason: Claus von Stauffenberg and the Plot to Kill Hitler

From my list on plots to kill Hitler.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve lived with the example of Claus von Stauffenberg and other members of the German resistance for most of my adult life. Their clarity of purpose – when most around them clamoured in support of the Führer and his regime – is a recurring source of inspiration. This impelled me into ever deeper research into the topic, including accessing archives in several countries and using my legal training to weigh evidence. Today we face different challenges, but we can draw strength from the courage of these men and women. They failed, and many died, but there is life in a struggle for a just cause.

Brian's book list on plots to kill Hitler

Brian Walters Why did Brian love this book?

On 21 March 1943 Gersdorff, a German colonel, showed Hitler around a display of captured weapons in Berlin. He set off the timer for a bomb secreted in his capacious army pocket, but Hitler suddenly left the building: Gersdorff was unable to follow, and had to race to a toilet cubicle to tear the fuse from his bomb. Gersdorff was a committed opponent of the Nazis, and his account traces the highs and lows of the German opposition.

By Baron Rudolf-Christoph von Gersdorff, Anthony Pearsall (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Soldier in the Downfall as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

To his close associate, Baron Rudolf-Christoph von Gersdorff, Henning von Tresckow said, "The world has to be set free from the biggest criminal of all time. He must be struck down dead like a mad dog who threatens all mankind!"

Gersdorff and Tresckow were among the men whose moral courage drove them to resist the National Socialist movement and to attempt the ultimate - the assassination of its leader, Adolf Hitler. Gersdorff recounts the discreet recruitment of resistance members and his own failed attempt on Hitler s life on 21 March 1943.

Over a military career that saw the end…


Book cover of Moscow 1812: Napoleon's Fatal March

Richard Butterwick-Pawlikowski Author Of The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, 1733-1795: Light and Flame

From my list on Central and Eastern European history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by Central and Eastern Europe all of my adult life. Many cruises along the Danube and around the Baltic Sea have allowed me to see the stunning best of the region. Since the early 1990s, I’ve taught the history of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Habsburg Monarchy, and the Russian Empire to a generation of students. Professor of Polish-Lithuanian History at University College London since 2013, my next challenge is to promote the history of Poland to allcomers via the Polish History Museum in Warsaw, the wonderful city which is my home.

Richard's book list on Central and Eastern European history

Richard Butterwick-Pawlikowski Why did Richard love this book?

Adam Zamoyski writes with rare lucidity and grace. In this book, my favorite in his distinguished oeuvre, he takes on an epic subject and triumphs—unlike Napoleon in 1812. We understand the unfolding tragedynot only of the Grande Armée, but of the people in its pathjust as we are scorched by the sun, drenched by the rain, and frozen by the early onset of winter.

By Adam Zamoyski,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Moscow 1812 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Adam Zamoyski’s bestselling account of Napoleon’s invasion of Russia and his catastrophic retreat from Moscow, events that had a profound effect on European history.

In 1812 the most powerful man in the world assembled the largest army in history and marched on Moscow with the intention of consolidating his dominion. But within months, Napoleon’s invasion of Russia – history’s first example of total war – had turned into an epic military disaster. Over 400,000 French and Allied troops perished and Napoleon was forced to retreat.

Adam Zamoyski’s masterful work draws on the harrowing first-hand accounts of soldiers and civilians on…


Book cover of 1812: Napoleon’s Fatal March on Moscow

Munro Price Author Of Napoleon: The End of Glory

From my list on the French Revolution and Napoleon.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a historian who has been researching and writing on the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars for thirty-five years now. Since the age of ten I have been fascinated by these years, partly through childhood holidays in France, but also because of their sheer drama. British history in the same period has nothing to compare with the storming of the Bastille or Napoleon’s meteoric career. Specializing in this turbulent era has made me particularly interested in how regimes fall, and whether under different circumstances they could have survived.

Munro's book list on the French Revolution and Napoleon

Munro Price Why did Munro love this book?

When I first read this book I found it unputdownable. It is a riveting account, based on a huge number of original sources and testimonies, of the watershed defeat of Napoleon’s career: his invasion of Russia, capture of Moscow, and the disastrous winter retreat that destroyed his army of half a million men. Its evocation of the accompanying horrors is often harrowing, but underlines one sobering and always relevant fact: the amount of human suffering the folly of one man can bring about.

By Adam Zamoyski,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked 1812 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Adam Zamoyski's bestselling account of Napoleon's invasion of Russia and his catastrophic retreat from Moscow, events that had a profound effect on European history.

In 1812 the most powerful man in the world assembled the largest army in history and marched on Moscow with the intention of consolidating his dominion. But within months, Napoleon's invasion of Russia - history's first example of total war - had turned into an epic military disaster. Over 400,000 French and Allied troops perished and Napoleon was forced to retreat.

Adam Zamoyski's masterful work draws on the harrowing first-hand accounts of soldiers and civilians on…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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