100 books like Behind Enemy Lines

By Marthe Cohn, Wendy Holden,

Here are 100 books that Behind Enemy Lines fans have personally recommended if you like Behind Enemy Lines. 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 Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall

Georgina Banks Author Of Back to Bangka: Searching For The Truth About A Wartime Massacre

From my list on truth-seeking post WWII.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been interested in what makes people tick – in their unseen inner world. In my twenties, I literally embodied others in my work as an actor. In my thirties, I studied applied psychology and sat alongside others and talked. In my forties, I started my consulting business Changeable, working with group and organizational dynamics. Now in my fifties, I am accessing inner worlds through writing, placing myself imaginatively into other people and places. I have merely scratched the surface. These post-WWII books give a gripping, personal, and scorching window into truth-seeking. 

Georgina's book list on truth-seeking post WWII

Georgina Banks Why did Georgina love this book?

A young Australian, Anna Funder, places an advertisement in the newspaper to find resistors and enforcers of the brutal East German regime, the Stasi. This naïve, but bold act leads her on a path to discover tales that reverberate through time.

Similarly, I felt ill equipped to face vestiges of censored war crimes, historical documents, and fragments of memory, but, inspired by Funder’s curiosity and dedication, I pressed on.  

By Anna Funder,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Stasiland demonstrates that great, original reporting is still possible. . . . A heartbreaking, beautifully written book. A classic.” — Claire Tomalin, Guardian “Books of the Year”

Winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction: a powerfully moving account of people who heroically resisted the communist dictatorship of East Germany, and of people who worked for its secret police, the Stasi.

Anna Funder delivers a prize-winning and powerfully rendered account of the resistance against East Germany’s communist dictatorship in these harrowing, personal tales of life behind the Iron Curtain—and, especially, of life under the iron fist of the Stasi, East…


Book cover of Agent in Place

Alan Cook Author Of East of the Wall

From my list on fiction and nonfiction about spies.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been intrigued by history, fictional and nonfictional. Unfortunately, warfare is a large part of history and spying is an important part of warfare, and is as old as warfare itself. If you want to win the war you need to know as much as possible about what your enemy is planning to do. I am also a puzzle solver, and making and breaking codes play a large part in spying. I have traveled widely and been to most of the places I write about. However, I am a pacifist at heart, and I keep looking for the key to world peace.

Alan's book list on fiction and nonfiction about spies

Alan Cook Why did Alan love this book?

Published in 1976, this book has aged well. We are still spying on Russia, and Russia is still spying on us. Spy stories are often travelogues. This book starts in New York and Washington but then goes to France, not far from Monaco and Nice. That interested me since I've been to all of those places. The plot involves the theft of sensitive documents engineered by a Russian spy who is the agent in place of the title. People get killed, but most of the violence is off-screen. One of the interesting facets of the book is descriptions of tradecraft--showing how spies preserve their covers and prevent their enemies from unmasking them. There is also a detailed description of planning and executing a caper designed to fool the enemy.  

By Helen MacInnes,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Chuck Kelso is an idealist. When he steals a top-secret NATO memorandum, he only intends to leak it to the press; but it is soon in the hands of a Russian agent, a man who has spent nine years quietly working himself into the fabric of Washington society. Within hours it has reached the KGB, and the CIA's top man in Moscow has had his cover blown. For British agent Tony Lawton, hunting down the Russian operative - the 'agent in place' - is a welcome challenge. But for Chuck's brother, the journalist Tom Kelso, and his beautiful wife, Thea,…


Book cover of Spy/Counterspy: The Autobiography of Dusko Popov

Alan Cook Author Of East of the Wall

From my list on fiction and nonfiction about spies.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been intrigued by history, fictional and nonfictional. Unfortunately, warfare is a large part of history and spying is an important part of warfare, and is as old as warfare itself. If you want to win the war you need to know as much as possible about what your enemy is planning to do. I am also a puzzle solver, and making and breaking codes play a large part in spying. I have traveled widely and been to most of the places I write about. However, I am a pacifist at heart, and I keep looking for the key to world peace.

Alan's book list on fiction and nonfiction about spies

Alan Cook Why did Alan love this book?

Dusko Popov may or may not have been a model for James Bond, but he did know Ian Fleming. He was also one of the most effective double agents in World War II. His greatest accomplishment was helping to fool the Germans about the location of the D-Day landing. Popov had conclusive evidence that the Japanese were going to attack Pearl Harbor months before it happened. He told FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, because the US didn't have an effective spy system yet, but Hoover wasn’t interested. After the war ended, Popov searched for his best friend who had been captured by the Germans, with surprising results. Good for history junkies like me, it contains facts not present in other histories of the War.

By Dusko Popov,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Very good condition. Minor rubbing to extremities, otherwise nice clean copy.


Book cover of Midnight in Europe

Alan Cook Author Of East of the Wall

From my list on fiction and nonfiction about spies.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been intrigued by history, fictional and nonfictional. Unfortunately, warfare is a large part of history and spying is an important part of warfare, and is as old as warfare itself. If you want to win the war you need to know as much as possible about what your enemy is planning to do. I am also a puzzle solver, and making and breaking codes play a large part in spying. I have traveled widely and been to most of the places I write about. However, I am a pacifist at heart, and I keep looking for the key to world peace.

Alan's book list on fiction and nonfiction about spies

Alan Cook Why did Alan love this book?

This is a good book to read if you want to know what it felt like to be in France or other European countries in 1938 before the start of World War II when my father was saying how bad Hitler was but people didn’t believe it. Bad things were already happening and much worse things were to come. In some places you couldn't trust anybody because everybody could be a spy. People who lived in France and didn't want to leave had to face the fact that if they didn't they might lose their freedom and their lives. Franco was leading a revolution to take over Spain, and he had help from the Axis powers. This is an excellent spy novel with an accurate historical setting.

By Alan Furst,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Paris, 1938. Democratic forces are locked in struggle as the shadow of war edges over Europe.

Cristian Ferrar, a handsome Spanish lawyer in Paris, is approached to help a clandestine agency supply weapons to beleaguered Republican forces. He agrees, putting his life on the line.

Joining Ferrar in his mission is an unlikely group of allies: idealists and gangsters, arms dealers, aristocrats and spies. From libertine nightclubs in Paris to shady bars by the docks in Gdansk, Furst paints a spell-binding portrait of a continent marching into a nightmare - and the heroes and heroines who fought back.


Book cover of The Gestapo: A History of Horror

Stew Ross Author Of Where Did They Put the Gestapo Headquarters?-The False War & Vichy: Volume One A Walking Tour of Nazi-Occupied Paris, 1940−1944

From my list on the German occupation of France, 1940−1944.

Why am I passionate about this?

I received my B.S. in geology and spent my career in commercial banking. How did I go from banking to becoming an author? I learned to write as a banker back in the “good old” days when the loan officer had to write their own credit memorandum. I enjoyed it so much I told myself, “One day, I'm going to write a book.” Then I found a book called Walks Through Lost Paris by Leonard Pitt. As my wife and I walked through the streets of Paris, I said, “I can write a book like this.” And so I did. We're about to publish our sixth book in an anticipated series of nine.

Stew's book list on the German occupation of France, 1940−1944

Stew Ross Why did Stew love this book?

Studying the history of the German occupation of France must include a knowledge of Gestapo history and its crimes against humanity. This book is an introductory overview of the German security forces (RSHA) and in particular, Amt IV, or the Gestapo. The book focuses on the Gestapo forces in Paris and how they interacted with other security units including the Sicherheitdienst (SD), or Nazi political intelligence agency (Amt VI).

The author was imprisoned by the Nazis in 1944 after he was caught as a saboteur in the Combat resistance movement. During his post-war career, Delarue was called as a prosecution witness at Klaus Barbie’s trial, and he was assigned to investigate the French war criminal, Paul Touvier. I recommend this book to anyone who needs an overview of the Gestapo from Berlin to Paris.

By Jacques Delarue,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From 1933 to 1945, the Gestapo was Nazi Germany's chief instrument of counter-espionage, political suppression, and terror. Jacques Delarue, a saboteur arrested by the Nazis in occupied France, chronicles how the land of Beethoven elevated sadism to a fine art. The Gestapo: A History of Horror draws upon Delarue's interviews with ex-Gestapo agents to deliver a multi-layered history of the force whose work included killing student resisters, establishing Aryan eugenic unions, and implementing the Final Solution. This is a probing look at the Gestapo and the fanatics and megalomaniacs who made it such a successful and heinous organization-Barbie, Eichmann, Himmler,…


Book cover of Destiny's Journey

Ruth Schwertfeger Author Of A Nazi Camp Near Danzig: Perspectives on Shame and on the Holocaust from Stutthof

From my list on authors shaped by education in medicine.

Why am I passionate about this?

I find that one of the advantages of having worked as a professor (now Emerita ) of German at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, is that it helped me gain perspective. When I study literature–especially in languages other than English–I am forced to step outside of my everyday world to identify the motif and leitmotif of the author. I am proposing that the medical training of these five authors helped them do the same: to dig below the surface to find other structures and root causes and to present their findings and unique diagnoses.  

Ruth's book list on authors shaped by education in medicine

Ruth Schwertfeger Why did Ruth love this book?

Döblin was a practicing Jewish psychiatrist in Berlin when the Nazi regime drove him and his family into exile in France. Already an established and prolific writer, he was forced into a clandestine existence on the run in France. 

This memoir essentially depicts the anatomy of life in exile, the isolation from community, whether in France or later as one of the many exiles from Nazi Germany living and working as writers for the film industry in Hollywood. Döblin returned after the war to work in the French zone of a shattered Germany in the uniform of a French officer. His commentary is a masterpiece of psychological analysis both at the personal and collective level. 

By Alfred Döblin, Edna McCown (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Reissued as a paperback by Plunkett Lake Press, Destiny's Journey is a memoir reconstructed partly from notebooks that Döblin kept from the time he worked in the French Ministry of Information in the spring of 1940 and partly written without notes in Los Angeles where he took refuge during the Second World War. It tells the personal and generational story of the flight of Jewish and anti-Nazi intellectuals from Europe to America, their fear and frustration, isolation, and inability to work. Döblin’s story differs from that of other Jewish intellectuals and artists in that his family converts to Catholicism in…


Book cover of The Tin Drum

Maithreyi Karnoor Author Of Sylvia

From my list on striking while the ‘irony’ is hot.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write fiction and poetry in English and translate literary works from Kannada, a South Indian language. I was shortlisted for the Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Prize, and twice in a row for the Montreal International Poetry Prize. I had the Charles Wallace India Trust Fellowship in writing and translation at LAF and UWTSD in 2022. As a reader, I admire original and clever use of language, writing that portrays with humour the profundity in the absurdity of life, that which makes the quotidian quotable – writing that strikes while the ‘irony’ is hot. These are qualities that I think are intuitive in my own writing. I've enjoyed the following books for these reasons. 

Maithreyi's book list on striking while the ‘irony’ is hot

Maithreyi Karnoor Why did Maithreyi love this book?

A fantastic work of a surefooted wordsmith takes an equally talented translator to carry it across the linguistic barrier in a way that makes it a literary treat in its own right.

I’m envious of Breon Mitchell’s limpid linguistic manoeuvering that has rendered the German modern classic very enjoyable in English. The narration set in Nazi times as told by a dwarf – who is rather unlikeable by all counts – is an ingenious technique of stripping bad politics to its bare bones and laying out the nonsense that remains.

It is political without being political. There are signs galore in the book for metaphor hunters, but I simply revelled in the language of this remarkable debut work.           

By Günter Grass, Breon Mitchell (translator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Tin Drum 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 A NEW FOREWORD BY THE AUTHOR On his third birthday Oskar decides to stop growing. Haunted by the deaths of his parents and wielding his tin drum Oskar recounts the events of his extraordinary life; from the long nightmare of the Nazi era to his anarchic adventures is post-war Germany.


Book cover of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany

David Hanna Author Of Broken Icarus: The 1933 Chicago World's Fair, the Golden Age of Aviation, and the Rise of Fascism

From my list on the perils of fascism.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've found the creep of authoritarianism to be very disquieting. One would have to be willfully blind to not see its manifestations both here and abroad. I wanted to better understand how this phenomenon cast its shadow over the world and I found the '33 Chicago World's Fair an ideal lens to view this through. I've been fascinated by world's fairs since I was a child and the '33 Fair was the first to consciously feature the future. I'm also strangely drawn to this period – if I believed in reincarnation it might provide answers, but I don't. The Zeitgeist just before the full, brutal ugliness of fascism broke over the world, fascinates me.

David's book list on the perils of fascism

David Hanna Why did David love this book?

The first half of the book is like watching a slow-motion car wreck. There were so many missed opportunities to stop Hitler before he did his worst, I wanted to shout ‘Stop this guy before it’s too late!’ Alas… Shirer was our man in Vienna and Berlin from the late 1920s-early 1940s, which adds an intimacy to his words that I find lacking in other similar accounts.

By William L. Shirer,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It was Hitler's boast that the Third Reich would last a thousand years. Instead it lasted only twelve. But into its short life was packed the most cataclysmic series of events that Western civilisation has ever known.

William Shirer is one of the very few historians to have gained full access to the secret German archives which the Allies captured intact. He was also present at the Nuremberg trials.

First published sixty years ago, Shirer's account of the years 1933-45, when the Nazis, under the rule of their despotic leader Adolf Hitler, ruled Germany is held up as a classic…


Book cover of The Resistance: The French Fight Against the Nazis

Patrick W. O'Bryon Author Of Corridor of Darkness

From my list on espionage and resistance in Hitler's Third Reich.

Why am I passionate about this?

While a graduate student and then an army interpreter in Germany, I listened to reminiscences from both Third Reich military veterans and former French resistance fighters. Their tales picked up where my father's stories of pre-war European life always ended, and my fascination with this history knew no bounds. On occasion I would conceal my American identity and mentally play the spy as I traversed Europe solo. A dozen years later upon the death of my father, I learned from my mother his great secret: he had concealed his wartime life as an American spy inside the Reich. His private journals telling of bravery and intrigue inspire each of my novels.

Patrick's book list on espionage and resistance in Hitler's Third Reich

Patrick W. O'Bryon Why did Patrick love this book?

My personal library holds dozens of histories and first-person accounts dealing with the French Resistance. Some are scholarly, others more popular in treatment, but many so boring that I barely reached the final page. Cobb’s work however is a great exception, depicting in smooth prose and outstanding research the dramatic development of the Résistance. You'll meet heroes and heroines, and see the extraordinary lengths taken by simple French citizens to undermine fascist tyranny and aid Allied efforts. Here is the insight needed to truly appreciate accurate fictional portrayals of this time.

By Matthew Cobb,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The French resistance to Nazi occupation during World War II was a struggle in which ordinary people fought for their liberty, despite terrible odds and horrifying repression. Hundreds of thousands of Frenchmen and women carried out an armed struggle against the Nazis, producing underground anti-fascist publications and supplying the Allies with vital intelligence.

The Resistancetouches on some of the strongest themes in life - courage, self-sacrifice, betrayal and struggle. It shatters the illusion of a unified Resistance created by General de Gaulle, and brings to vivid life a true story of heroes and conflicts forgotten over the next half-century as…


Book cover of The Past is Myself: The Road Ahead

Caroline Studdert Author Of Hellcat of The Hague: The Nel Slis Story

From my list on about and by madly inspiring women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always adored stories of courageous, sometimes outrageous women who forge ahead into the unknown, survive in strange lands in troubled times, pursue their career dreams. Like my favourite picks, I’ve relished my own adventures in distant countries (Libya, Czechia, Kyrgystan, Mongolia…), while always earning my crust from writing. From motivational research in Dublin and London, I switched to financial journalism in Holland, where I met and was inspired by ground-breaking journalist Nel Slis whose story I’ve told in my book Hellcat of the Hague. Now I’m settled in London to concentrate on my novels and short stories and be near my family, I hope you love these books too.

Caroline's book list on about and by madly inspiring women

Caroline Studdert Why did Caroline love this book?

Christabel Bielenberg’s autobiography I find madly inspiring for her courage and clear, perceptive writing. A well-connected Anglo-Irish Englishwoman, she marries a German lawyer in 1934 only to find herself living through the war and the horrors of Nazi rule in Germany. Staggeringly, near the war’s end, she manages to talk her husband Peter out of a concentration camp with the camp commandant after Peter was implicated in the plot to assassinate Hitler. It’s that rare book that I would have loved to last much longer, especially for showing how ordinary Germans changed and got corrupted by Nazism—but others managed to retain their humanity. She shows us the triumph of the human spirit, even in the face of a downward slide into evil and corruption.

By Christabel Bielenberg,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Christabel Bielenberg, a niece of Lord Northcliffe, married a German lawyer in 1934. She lived through the war in Germany, as a German citizen, under the horrors of Nazi rule and Allied bombings. Closely associated with resistance circles, her husband was arrested after the failure of the plot against Hitler's life on 20th July 1944, and she herself was interrogated by the Gestapo. Not only do we meet her friends whose tragic bravery shines from the book, but dozens of everyday Germans, from the simple-minded Nazi official who was also her odd-job gardener, to the good-hearted Black Forest villagers who…


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Interested in Nazi Germany, France, and Germany?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Nazi Germany, France, and Germany.

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