100 books like Bloodlands

By Timothy Snyder,

Here are 100 books that Bloodlands fans have personally recommended if you like Bloodlands. 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 Savage Continent: Europe in the Aftermath of World War II

Ursula Wong Author Of Amber Wolf

From my list on WWII and Eastern Europe (that you may not know about).

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Lithuanian-American with a Chinese name, thanks to my husband. Thirty years ago, I found papers among my uncle’s possessions telling a WWII story about our ancestral Lithuania. I had heard about it in broad terms, but I could hardly believe what I was reading. I spent years validating the material. The result was Amber Wolf, a historical novel about a war within the war: the fight against the Russian occupation of Eastern Europe. While many countries were involved in separate struggles, I focused on Lithuania and their David and Goliath fight against the Russian army. After all this time, the story still moves me.

Ursula's book list on WWII and Eastern Europe (that you may not know about)

Ursula Wong Why did Ursula love this book?

Mr. Lowe’s meticulous research of post-WWII Europe gives startling insight into how devastated the continent was after the war.

He paints a picture of lawlessness and depravity, arguably as bad as battle conditions had been. In some cases, it might have been worse. Revenge killings, rapes, and starvation were among the horrors. It begs the question, when did WWII really end? 

By Keith Lowe,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Savage Continent as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Keith Lowe's Savage Continent is an awe-inspiring portrait of how Europe emerged from the ashes of WWII.

The end of the Second World War saw a terrible explosion of violence across Europe. Prisoners murdered jailers. Soldiers visited atrocities on civilians. Resistance fighters killed and pilloried collaborators. Ethnic cleansing, civil war, rape and murder were rife in the days, months and years after hostilities ended. Exploring a Europe consumed by vengeance, Savage Continent is a shocking portrait of an until-now unacknowledged time of lawlessness and terror.

Praise for Savage Continent:

'Deeply harrowing, distinctly troubling. Moving, measured and provocative. A compelling and…


Book cover of Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945

Adin Dobkin Author Of Sprinting Through No Man's Land: Endurance, Tragedy, and Rebirth in the 1919 Tour de France

From my list on people and societies grapple with the end of wars.

Why am I passionate about this?

Before I started writing, my understanding of war largely came about through its manifestation over subsequent decades in individuals. My grandfather selectively shared stories from his time as a bomber, then as a POW in Germany. Maybe it was this conjunction, a personal sense of rebuilding and of storytelling, that has driven my interest in the subject over these years, as a journalist and critic and then as an author of a book on the subject.

Adin's book list on people and societies grapple with the end of wars

Adin Dobkin Why did Adin love this book?

My own background, process, and style have me reaching for ever-tinier stories that I think I can go deep on, in order to hopefully excavate something larger. Judt’s Postwar is the opposite: a colossal swing at a multi-decade period across European history. In this, he synthesizes political, economic, social, and cultural histories to guide the reader through Europe’s development after World War II. It’s a book where you find yourself going over each line a few times in order to make sure you’ve wrung all meaning from it and every sentence returns you to your notes.

By Tony Judt,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize * Winner of the Council on Foreign Relations Arthur Ross Book Award * One of the New York Times' Ten Best Books of the Year

"Impressive . . . Mr. Judt writes with enormous authority." -The Wall Street Journal

"Magisterial . . . It is, without a doubt, the most comprehensive, authoritative, and yes, readable postwar history." -The Boston Globe

Almost a decade in the making, this much-anticipated grand history of postwar Europe from one of the world's most esteemed historians and intellectuals is a singular achievement. Postwar is the first modern history that covers…


Book cover of A Woman in Berlin: Eight Weeks in the Conquered City

Abby Smith Rumsey Author Of Memory, Edited: Taking Liberties with History

From my list on when history gets personal.

Why am I passionate about this?

It was in 1982, while a Fulbright scholar in the USSR researching my doctoral dissertation, that I realized my responsibility as a historian extended far beyond writing history books. I lived among Russians and saw up close how the Kremlin-controlled what citizens knew about their own past. The future was already determined—the end of class struggle. The past was merely a made-up prologue. As a consequence of that year, I focus on the creation, preservation, and accessibility of cultural knowledge. History clues us into where we come from. Like a DNA test, it reveals how our single life is intricately braided with people we will never meet.

Abby's book list on when history gets personal

Abby Smith Rumsey Why did Abby love this book?

Another first-person account of war, this time seen through the other end of the telescope: when the victorious Red Army occupied Berlin in 1945.

The order of the day was sadistic revenge meted out on the civilian population. As usual, women bore the worst of it. Regardless of age, each was raped and brutalized. After the war, none spoke of this for fear of being stigmatized. The author was an exception: she wrote matter-of-factly about what she experienced and witnessed, not trying to make sense of it.

She recorded the horrid reality in order to hold on to her sanity. She noted how scared and confused the Russians were, bewildered by the abundance of bourgeois life and embittered by their own poverty at home. 

By Anonymous, Philip Boehm (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice

For eight weeks in 1945, as Berlin fell to the Russian army, a young woman kept a daily record of life in her apartment building and among its residents. "With bald honesty and brutal lyricism" (Elle), the anonymous author depicts her fellow Berliners in all their humanity, as well as their cravenness, corrupted first by hunger and then by the Russians. "Spare and unpredictable, minutely observed and utterly free of self-pity" (The Plain Dealer, Cleveland), A Woman in Berlin tells of the complex relationship between civilians and an occupying army and the…


Book cover of The Fall of Berlin 1945

Andrew C. Piazza Author Of One Last Gasp

From my list on WW2 books I used as research for my horror novel.

Why am I passionate about this?

Andrew is a long-time WWII history buff and writer who looks for any excuse to do a deep dive into his favorite history topics. For his WWII horror novel One Last Gasp, he spent over a year researching the Battle of the Bulge, from first-hand accounts of front-line soldiers to official U.S. Army documents.

Andrew's book list on WW2 books I used as research for my horror novel

Andrew C. Piazza Why did Andrew love this book?

A bit dry and occasionally over-focused on rattling off official numbers and unit designations, The Fall Of Berlin is also a low-key horror novel. Surrounded on all sides by a massive Russian army hell-bent on revenge, the people of Berlin are caught between those invaders and their own leadership forcing them into a suicidal last stand. The scale of brutality is numbing; this is a battle fought without mercy by two adversaries locked in a death struggle.

By Antony Beevor,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Fall of Berlin 1945 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"A tale drenched in drama and blood, heroism and cowardice, loyalty and betrayal."-Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post

The Red Army had much to avenge when it finally reached the frontiers of the Third Reich in January 1945. Frenzied by their terrible experiences with Wehrmacht and SS brutality, they wreaked havoc-tanks crushing refugee columns, mass rape, pillage, and unimaginable destruction. Hundreds of thousands of women and children froze to death or were massacred; more than seven million fled westward from the fury of the Red Army. It was the most terrifying example of fire and sword ever known.

Antony Beevor, renowned…


Book cover of Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era

Cathal J. Nolan Author Of Mercy: Humanity in War

From my list on how wars are won and lost.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an award-winning teacher and writer who introduces students and readers to war in a profession that today is at best indifferent to military history, and more often hostile. That gives me a wry sense of irony, as colleagues would rather teach about fashion than fascism and truffles over tragedy. Having written a multiple award-winning book that covered 2,000 years of war, frankly I was sickened by how the same mistakes were made over and again. It has made me devoted to exploring possibilities for humane behavior within the most inhumane and degraded moral environment humanity creates; where individuality is subsumed in collective violence and humanity is obscured as a faceless, merciless enemy.

Cathal's book list on how wars are won and lost

Cathal J. Nolan Why did Cathal love this book?

Beautifully written masterwork on one of the most important wars of the 19th century. It takes the reader from the experience of ordinary soldiers in battle to key debates around the cabinet table, in a rare display of dexterity and understanding of all levels of war. You will enter Grant’s HQ from where he ran the critical Western theater of operations and sit across from Lincoln as he makes the key decision for a hard war that let the Union maximize its resources and win. And you will walk into Lee’s HQ where the Confederacy lost the war in bursts of Southern hubris that led to two ill-conceived invasions of the North that provoked the final crushing.  

By James M. McPherson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Now featuring a new Afterword by the author, this handy paperback edition of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Battle Cry of Freedom is without question the definitive one-volume history of the Civil War.
James McPherson's fast-paced narrative fully integrates the political, social, and military events that crowded the two decades from the outbreak of one war in Mexico to the ending of another at Appomattox. Packed with drama and analytical insight, the book vividly recounts the momentous episodes that preceded the Civil War including the Dred Scott decision, the Lincoln-Douglas debates, John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry. From there it moves into…


Book cover of Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege

Cathal J. Nolan Author Of Mercy: Humanity in War

From my list on how wars are won and lost.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an award-winning teacher and writer who introduces students and readers to war in a profession that today is at best indifferent to military history, and more often hostile. That gives me a wry sense of irony, as colleagues would rather teach about fashion than fascism and truffles over tragedy. Having written a multiple award-winning book that covered 2,000 years of war, frankly I was sickened by how the same mistakes were made over and again. It has made me devoted to exploring possibilities for humane behavior within the most inhumane and degraded moral environment humanity creates; where individuality is subsumed in collective violence and humanity is obscured as a faceless, merciless enemy.

Cathal's book list on how wars are won and lost

Cathal J. Nolan Why did Cathal love this book?

Beevor has a rare gift of presenting war at the level of both the ordinary soldier and the generals and distant leadership making decisions both good and bad. His sources range from letters home, to diaries, to dispatches on both the Soviet and German side. He writes without flinching about the horrors of war, or too overtly playing the cheerleader as so many military histories do, to their detriment. 

By Antony Beevor,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This authoritative and well written book recreates the battle for Stalingrad that became the focus of Hitler and Stalin's determination to win the gruesome and vicious war for the Eastern front. A detailed examination of the most pitiless, and perhaps the most important battle in WW2 history. Focusing on the experiences of soldiers on both sides, driven beyond the limits of physical and mental endurance this work stands as a testament to human endeavour and to the vital role of the Soviet wareffort. This will be the classic book on the subject,


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 Anne Frank Remembered: The Story of the Woman Who Helped to Hide the Frank Family

Rosemary Sullivan Author Of Villa Air-Bel: World War II, Escape, and a House in Marseille

From my list on courage and putting your life on the line.

Why am I passionate about this?

In Villa Air-Bel, I wrote about an extraordinary man, Varian Fry. A journalist sent to France in 1940 with a list of 200 artists to save, he expected to stay 2 weeks. He stayed 15 months, establishing the Emergency Rescue Committee. By the time the Vichy police expelled him, he’d saved 2,000 people. Who has the courage to put their lives on the line for strangers? In The Betrayal of Anne Frank: A Cold Case Investigation, I recorded how five people risked their lives to hide the Frank family until they were finally betrayed. Two of the helpers were sent to concentration camps.  It takes courage to resist Fascism. Would I/ we have that courage?

Rosemary's book list on courage and putting your life on the line

Rosemary Sullivan Why did Rosemary love this book?

Miep Gies was one of the people who hid Anne Frank, her family, and four friends in the Secret Annex in Amsterdam in 1942.

At great risk, four of Otto Frank’s employees secured food stamps from the underground and took care of the hiders for an astonishing two years and one month before they were betrayed. Gies’s book gives a real sense of what it was like to live under enemy occupation when it was impossible to trust anyone.

“We were no longer keeping silent. We had lost the habit of speech. Do you understand the difference?” she once said. She didn’t consider herself heroic for helping the Franks. “It was simple. You were asked. You said yes.”

By Miep Gies, Alison Leslie Gold,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Anne Frank Remembered as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For the millions moved by Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, here is Miep Gies's own astonishing story. For more than two years, Miep and her husband helped hide the Franks from the Nazis. Like thousands of unsung heroes of the Holocaust, they risked their lives every day to bring food, news, and emotional support to its victims. From her remarkable childhood as a World War I refugee to the moment she places a small, red-orange-checkered diary -- Anne's legacy -- into Otto Frank's hands, Miep Gies remembers her days with simple honesty and shattering clarity. Each page…


Book cover of The Power of Forgiveness

Ellen Cassedy Author Of We Are Here: Memories of the Lithuanian Holocaust

From my list on hope and understanding after the Holocaust.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ellen Cassedy explores the ways that people, and countries, can engage with the difficult truths of the Holocaust in order to build a better future. She researched Lithuania’s encounter with its Jewish heritage, including the Holocaust, for ten years. Her book breaks new ground by shining a spotlight on how brave people – Jews and non-Jews – are facing the past and building mutual understanding. Cassedy is the winner of numerous awards and a frequent speaker about the Holocaust, Lithuania, and Yiddish language and literature.  

Ellen's book list on hope and understanding after the Holocaust

Ellen Cassedy Why did Ellen love this book?

Eva Mozes Kor was ten years old when she was sent to Auschwitz. As a survivor, she became an eloquent – and controversial – activist on behalf of forgiveness.  Her book tells the gripping story of how she freed herself from the burden of hatred.  Not everyone will agree with her stance, but everyone will be challenged and moved by it.

By Eva Mozes Kor,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Eva Mozes Kor was just ten years old when she was sent to Auschwitz. While her parents and two older sisters were murdered there, she and her twin sister Miriam were subjected to medical experiments at the hands of Dr. Joseph Mengele. Later on, when Miriam fell ill due to the long-term effects of the experiments, Eva embarked on a search for their torturers. But what she discovered was the remedy for her troubled soul; she was able to forgive them.

Told through anecdotes and in response to letters and questions at her public appearances, she imparts a powerful lesson…


Book cover of Good Neighbors, Bad Times Revisited: New Echoes of My Father's German Village

Ellen Cassedy Author Of We Are Here: Memories of the Lithuanian Holocaust

From my list on hope and understanding after the Holocaust.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ellen Cassedy explores the ways that people, and countries, can engage with the difficult truths of the Holocaust in order to build a better future. She researched Lithuania’s encounter with its Jewish heritage, including the Holocaust, for ten years. Her book breaks new ground by shining a spotlight on how brave people – Jews and non-Jews – are facing the past and building mutual understanding. Cassedy is the winner of numerous awards and a frequent speaker about the Holocaust, Lithuania, and Yiddish language and literature.  

Ellen's book list on hope and understanding after the Holocaust

Ellen Cassedy Why did Ellen love this book?

Mimi Schwartz’s Jewish father grew up in a German town where Jews and gentiles got along – until the Nazi era put extraordinary strains on their ability to coexist peaceably.  Schwartz explores how people who were not unusually brave managed to perform small acts of kindness and defiance. Her book offers important lessons for our time.

By Mimi Schwartz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Good Neighbors, Bad Times Revisited as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Mimi Schwartz's father was born Jewish in a tiny German village thirty years before the advent of Hitler when, as he'd tell her, "We all got along." In her original memoir, Good Neighbors, Bad Times, Schwartz explored how human decency fared among Christian and Jewish neighbors before, during, and after Nazi times. Ten years after its publication, a letter arrived from a man named Max Sayer in South Australia. Sayer, it turns out, grew up Catholic in the village during the Third Reich and in 1937 moved into an abandoned Jewish home five houses away from where the family of…


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