85 books like Before the Court of Heaven

By Jack Mayer,

Here are 85 books that Before the Court of Heaven fans have personally recommended if you like Before the Court of Heaven. 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 The Naked and the Dead

J.M. Unrue Author Of The Festival of Sin: and other tales of fantasy

From my list on showing that somebody has it worse than you do.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an old guy. I say this with a bit of cheek and a certain amount of incongruity. All the books on my list are old. That’s one area of continuity. Another, and I’ll probably stop at two, is that they all deal with ordinary people caught in extraordinary circumstances—those curveballs of life we flail at with an unfamiliar bat; the getting stuck on the Interstate behind a semi and some geezer in a golf cap hogging the passing lane in a Buick Le Sabre. No one makes it through this life unscathed. How we cope does more to define us than a thousand smiles when things are rosy. Thus endeth the lesson.

J.M.'s book list on showing that somebody has it worse than you do

J.M. Unrue Why did J.M. love this book?

A masterful debut novel, post-WWII, and dealing with characters in the heat of battle, internally and externally.

I was forced to read it in eleventh grade Honors English (what they called AP pre-AP. Like I said, I’m old). I reread it for edification as a young writer and was awed by the craftsmanship. The writing is dense and requires patience. War is never pretty.

By Norman Mailer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Hailed as one of the finest novels to come out of the Second World War, The Naked and the Dead received unprecedented critical acclaim upon its publication and has since enjoyed a long and well-deserved tenure in the American canon. This fiftieth anniversary edition features a new introduction created especially for the occasion by Norman Mailer.

Written in gritty, journalistic detail, the story follows a platoon of Marines who are stationed on the Japanese-held island of Anopopei. Composed in 1948 with the wisdom of a man twice Mailer's age and the raw courage of the young man he was, The…


Book cover of From Here to Eternity

Sam Foster Author Of Non-Semper Fidelis

From my list on showing that a man is the sum of his choices.

Why am I passionate about this?

I heard a Jordan Peterson interview in which he boiled down my entire life’s struggle in a single phrase.  The interviewer was pushing Jordon on the subject of male toxicity. Jordon said something like, “If a man is entirely unwilling to fight under any circumstance, he is merely a weakling. Ask in martial arts trainer and they will tell you they teach two things – the ability to fight and self-control. A man who knows how and also knows how to control himself is a man.”

Sam's book list on showing that a man is the sum of his choices

Sam Foster Why did Sam love this book?

James Jones's brilliant debut novel must have had a great effect on me because I admit, in many ways, my book covers the same ground – how does a man maintain honor and dignity when constrained to live his life by the choices of other, and much more powerful men? I suppose the difference between our two themes is that the question in my book is about those same choices but wrapped in the question of race. Jones’s characters, while in the military, were dealing with personal issues. My Corporal Buck is dealing with an issue about which all of America is on fire.

From Here to Eternity is 70 years old. I read it in 1969, an eternity ago and it has lasted with me from there to here.  When I was in the Marine Corps I knew everything that was happening to me. But I didn’t know what…

By James Jones,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked From Here to Eternity as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'I'll never understand the fucking Army.'

Prew won't conform. He could have been the best boxer and the best bugler in his division, but he chooses the life of a straight soldier in Hawaii under the fierce tutelage of Sergeant Milt Warden. When he refuses to box for his company for mysterious reasons, he is given 'The Treatment', a relentless campaign of physical and mental abuse. Meanwhile, Warden wages his own campaign against authority by seducing the Captain's wife Karen - just because he can. Both men are bound to the Army, even though it may destroy them.

Published here…


Book cover of The Young Lions

Joe Kilgore Author Of A Farmhouse in the Rain

From my list on WWII era that explore conflicts on the home front.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been enamored with the World War II era. It was a time that seems virtually non-existent today, where almost everyone in my country was on the same page. There seemed to be a collective commitment to the struggle. An agreement that this was indeed good versus evil. Of course, I’m sure its nostalgic allure is much greater for those of us who didn’t actually have to live through it. But the strength, perseverance, and everyday heroism it brought out in soldiers and civilians alike, deserves to be chronicled and remembered forever.

Joe's book list on WWII era that explore conflicts on the home front

Joe Kilgore Why did Joe love this book?

What kind of people participated in the greatest conflict the world has ever known? Were the Allies really that different from the Axis soldiers? This book gives you the opportunity to look into what individuals on different sides of World War II were doing before they were trying to kill one another. You find yourself understanding what ignited one German’s initial patriotism, one American’s attempts to avoid the draft, and another’s struggles with antisemitism within his own ranks as well as the enemies. Above all though, it is the madness and futility of war that stays with you when the last page is turned.  

By Irwin Shaw,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Young Lions is a vivid and classic novel that portrays the experiences of ordinary soldiers fighting World War II. Told from the points of view of a perceptive young Nazi, a jaded American film producer, and a shy Jewish boy just married to the love of his life, Shaw conveys, as no other novelist has since, the scope, confusion, and complexity of war.


Book cover of Berlin

Joe Kilgore Author Of A Farmhouse in the Rain

From my list on WWII era that explore conflicts on the home front.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been enamored with the World War II era. It was a time that seems virtually non-existent today, where almost everyone in my country was on the same page. There seemed to be a collective commitment to the struggle. An agreement that this was indeed good versus evil. Of course, I’m sure its nostalgic allure is much greater for those of us who didn’t actually have to live through it. But the strength, perseverance, and everyday heroism it brought out in soldiers and civilians alike, deserves to be chronicled and remembered forever.

Joe's book list on WWII era that explore conflicts on the home front

Joe Kilgore Why did Joe love this book?

In addition to being an intriguing mystery about a serial killer, this is a fascinating portrait of Germany before, during, and after World War II. What is the landscape of a defeated country really like? How can cigarette butts literally become economic currency? The reader learns truly remarkable things about what people will do to simply survive. Plus, the narrative itself flips tradition on its head by telling you about victims after they are dead, rather than before they are killed. Atmospheric and compelling, this story pulls you in and won’t let you go.

By Pierre Frei, Anthea Bell (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Set in a devastated Berlin one month after the close of the Second World War, Berlin has been acclaimed as "ambitious . . . filled with brilliantly drawn characters, mesmerizingly readable, and disturbingly convincing" by the Sunday Telegraph. An electrifying thriller in the tradition of Joseph Kanon and Alan Furst, Berlin is a page-turner and an intimate portrait of Germany before, during, and after the war. It is 1945 in the American sector of occupied Berlin, and a German boy has discovered the body of a beautiful young woman in a subway station. Blonde and blue-eyed, she has been sexually…


Book cover of The Cross of Iron

Michael Dorosh Author Of Indescribable Ordeal: The History of the German 65th Infantry Division 1942-1945

From my list on explaining the experience of German soldiers in the Second World War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Canadian with bachelor's degrees in history and communications and over thirty-five years of experience in the Canadian Army reserves. My interest in the German Army of the Third Reich period has led to interviews with surviving veterans, visits to various battlefields, a successful YouTube channel, and involvement in military-themed hobbies such as war re-enactment and wargaming which in turn has led to the publication of many related books and magazine articles. Like all of us writing on the subject of Germans in the Second World War, I find it often poorly understood yet hugely compelling for its complex legal, historical, and moral aspects.

Michael's book list on explaining the experience of German soldiers in the Second World War

Michael Dorosh Why did Michael love this book?

With compelling characters and true insights into the historical period it is set in, I consider this the best novel of all time. The movie it inspired is a classic, but the novel delivers much more.

The characters are brought to life with realistic motivations, dialogue, and inner monologues. Heinrich's masterful changes of point of view and suspenseful chapter breaks still maintain my interest every time. 

I can't praise the book enough for its pure literary quality, and even though it is a work of fiction, it has a ring of authenticity about it. The author served in the same regiment his fictional Steiner character belongs to and based him on a soldier who lived through the real-world events Heinrich set his novel in.

By Willi Heinrich,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of Artful Dodging: The Torpedo Factory Murders

Mark Love Author Of Devious

From my list on contemporary cozy mysteries.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a contemporary mystery junkie. Realistic tales always grab my attention. A touch of romance never hurts. In college, one professor suggested the old ‘write what you know’ approach. I don’t know everything, but I know what I like. Mysteries! I thrive on distinctive characters, those who are willing to put every effort into getting to the bottom of the situation. Sharp, tight dialogue and descriptions are essential. Give me that, and I’ll be back for more. This is my passion. Come along if you want a thrill and a surprise or two. 

Mark's book list on contemporary cozy mysteries

Mark Love Why did Mark love this book?

This was my first experience with M.S. Spencer. To say she had me right away would be deadly accurate. The setting, the conflict, the characters, the mystery all flowed together so smoothly, I could easily picture myself propped in a corner of the room, watching everything play out.  

And I must confess that the Milo character has left an indelible mark in my memory. She’s one of my favorite players.

Several times I thought for sure I had figured out who was behind the murders. Of course, I was wrong, but that just kept me going. Spencer always delivers an engaging tale.

By M. S. Spencer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Milo Everhart is waiting out the rain in a pub when she is captivated by the handsome man next to her. Blocking the road to romance are two mysterious corpses who turn up in the tower of her Torpedo Factory Art Center. As if that weren't enough, a second crisis erupts—a proposal to gut her beloved art center.

Tristram Brodie, hard-driving lawyer and former Marine, is focused on his plan to convert the Torpedo Factory into a box store. He is drawn to the beautiful Milo, but their mutual attraction will be frustrated by both the murders and his intentions.…


Book cover of The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power

Leif Wenar Author Of Blood Oil: Tyrants, Violence, and the Rules that Run the World

From my list on why oil is a curse.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Stanford professor who became fascinated with oil and everything it does to for us and to us. For years I traveled the world talking to the people who know petroleum: executives in the big oil companies, politicians and activists, militants and victims, spies and tribal chiefs. Blood Oil explains what I learned and how we can make our oil-cursed world better for all of us. 

Leif's book list on why oil is a curse

Leif Wenar Why did Leif love this book?

Most of us believe that the Big Oil has politicians in its pocket, and that oil drives America’s actions in the Middle East.

Yergin’s terrific history shows that there’s so much more: oil has fueled the growth of empires, it has decided the world wars, it has made and broken some of the world’s biggest fortunes. (You might also like the TV documentary made from the book, narrated by Donald Sutherland.)

By Daniel Yergin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Written by the author of "Shattered Peace" and "Energy Future", this book brings to life the tycoons, wildcatters, monopolists, regulators, presidents, generals and sheiks whose struggle for oil has shaken the world economy, dictated the outcome of wars, transformed the destiny of Britain and the world and profoundly changed all our lives. Beginning with the first oil well of the 1850s and continuing up to Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait, it is a story of greed, gumption nad ingenuity, all in pursuit of "the prize" - worldwide economic, military and political mastery through the control of oil. The book includes…


Book cover of Women in Intelligence: The Hidden History of Two World Wars

Rayna Flye Author Of Secrets, Lies, and Sneaky Spies

From my list on female codebreakers, agents, and spies.

Why am I passionate about this?

I always wanted to be a spy, but as I scare easily and can’t keep a secret, it was never going to happen. My respect and fascination with the intelligence community has never abated however, and I will never pass up an opportunity to engage with spy-related content. From going to spy museums across the globe to attending lectures to watching the latest entertaining (and totally unrealistic) spy flick, I love it all. I channel that love into writing humorous spy novels that feature fun, fearless females and ripped-from-the-headlines scenarios.  

Rayna's book list on female codebreakers, agents, and spies

Rayna Flye Why did Rayna love this book?

Do I judge a book by its cover? Why yes, yes I do! And the moment I saw this gorgeous cover I put it right into my shopping cart, paid full price, and never looked back.

Luckily for me, Women in Intelligence happens to be an excellent book where the content more than matched the expectations I had from the fabulous artwork. Although there are a few familiar faces that appear, most of the women were completely new to me. Not the femme fatales of popular culture; these were patriotic women who often went unseen in the background.

I love that Fry truly delves into uncovering the unsung heroines of WWI and WWII, giving these quiet, determined women a chance to be recognized and to shine.

By Helen Fry,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A groundbreaking history of women in British intelligence, revealing their pivotal role across the first half of the twentieth century

From the twentieth century onward, women took on an extraordinary range of roles in intelligence, defying the conventions of their time. Across both world wars, far from being a small part of covert operations, women ran spy networks and escape lines, parachuted behind enemy lines, and interrogated prisoners. And, back in Bletchley and Whitehall, women's vital administrative work in MI offices kept the British war engine running.

In this major, panoramic history, Helen Fry looks at the rich and varied…


Book cover of The Winds Of War

J. Lawrence Graham Author Of Charlotte's War

From my list on understanding the roots of war and peace.

Why am I passionate about this?

I spent the 1970s as an officer in the U.S. Navy UDT/SEAL Teams, giving me insight into the military aspects of peacebuilding. I have spent the last forty years researching and teaching international marketing and negotiations at USC and UC Irvine, after receiving a Berkeley PhD. I was also the director of the UC Irvine Center for Citizen Peacebuilding for ten years. I have published four books on international negotiations and all my ten books in print are on the topic of peace in families, neighborhoods, commerce, and international relations.

J.'s book list on understanding the roots of war and peace

J. Lawrence Graham Why did J. love this book?

The Winds of War is a powerful and intimate story about WWII.

It follows one fictional family through the buildup to the most devastating war in human history. The cultural and political details are most impressive. The writing itself is captivating. I have used it as a model for my own book.

Wouk’s work demonstrates the impact of war on families and establishes the importance of advocating for peaceful resolutions to global disputes.

By Herman Wouk,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Winds Of War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Herman Wouk's sweeping epic of World War II, which begins with THE WINDS OF WAR and continues in WAR AND REMEMBRANCE, stands as the crowning achievement of one of America's most celebrated storytellers.

Like no other books about the war, Wouk's spellbinding narrative captures the tide of global events - the drama, the romance, the heroism and the tragedy of World War II - as it immerses us in the lives of a single American family drawn into the very centre of the maelstrom.

"First-rate storytelling." - New York Times

"Compelling . . . A panoramic, engrossing story." - Atlantic…


Book cover of Ernie's War: The Best of Ernie Pyle's World War II Dispatches

Donald L. Willerton Author Of Teddy's War

From my list on what our fathers never told us about WWII.

Why am I passionate about this?

My father never talked about his experiences during the war. After he died at 67, we found his handwritten itinerary of three years and ten days in the Army Signal Corps. Plotting it on a map sparked a passion that continued for years, taking me twice to sites in Europe and through hundreds of records and books. I am amazed at all he never told us—the Queen Mary troopship, his radar unit’s landing on Omaha Beach (D+26), the Normandy Breakout, Paris after liberation, fleeing Bastogne, and so on. I grew up on WWII films but never grasped till now what my dad may have seen. 

Donald's book list on what our fathers never told us about WWII

Donald L. Willerton Why did Donald love this book?

I haven’t found anyone better at describing the personal situations and experiences of soldiers in war than Ernie Pyle. In this compilation, he interviews soldiers at every level, in a wide variety of duties, with honesty, directness, humor, and literary style. It is no wonder that his syndicated columns appeared in over 400 daily and 300 weekly newspapers, making him the voice of war-time America.

By David Nichols (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The best of Ernie Pyles World War II dispatches. For those of us to whom World War II has been only images in newsreels or monolithic history in a book. Ernie's words breathe like an intimate conversation. He is our eloquent bridge across time.


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