100 books like Captive Memories

By Meg Parkes, Geoff Gill,

Here are 100 books that Captive Memories fans have personally recommended if you like Captive Memories. 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 Judy: The Unforgettable Story of the Dog Who Went to War and Became a True Hero

Cecil Lowry Author Of Frank Pantridge MC: Japanese Prisoner of War and Inventor of the Portable Defibrillator

From my list on prisoners of war held by the Japanese during WW2.

Who am I?

My father was taken prisoner by the Japanese at the fall of Singapore on the 15th of February 1942. He spent three and a half years slaving on the Thai Burma railway. During my early years growing up, my father rarely talked about his experiences, and it wasn't until after he died in 1990 that I became interested in what he went through as a prisoner of war. Since then, I've spent my time researching the Japanese prisoner of war experiences and have read countless books on the subject. I myself have published four books and I consider myself one of the leading experts on the Japanese prisoner of war experience.

Cecil's book list on prisoners of war held by the Japanese during WW2

Cecil Lowry Why did Cecil love this book?

Judy was a beautiful liver and white English pointer, and the only official animal POW of World War 2 truly was a dog in a million. Whether she was dragging men to safety from the wreckage of a torpedoed chip or scavenging food for the starving inmates of a hellish Japanese prisoner of war camp, her unbreakable spirit brought inspiration and hope to men living through the 20th century's darkest days during their captivity. Judy's uncanny ability to sense danger matched with her quick thinking and impossible daring saved countless lives. She was a close companion to those who became like a family to her, sharing in both the tragedies and joys they faced. Her incredible story based here on the testimonies of the last few veterans who knew her is one of the most heartwarming and inspiring tales you will ever read.

By Damien Lewis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The impossibly moving story of how Judy, World War Two's only animal POW, brought hope in the midst of hell.

Judy, a beautiful liver and white English pointer, and the only animal POW of WWII, truly was a dog in a million, cherished and adored by the British, Australian, American and other Allied servicemen who fought to survive alongside her.

Viewed largely as human by those who shared her extraordinary life, Judy's uncanny ability to sense danger, matched with her quick-thinking and impossible daring saved countless lives. She was a close companion to men who became like a family to…


Book cover of Echoes of Captivity 2020: In 1945, Far East Prisoners of War returned to their families. But their war was not over ....

Cecil Lowry Author Of Frank Pantridge MC: Japanese Prisoner of War and Inventor of the Portable Defibrillator

From my list on prisoners of war held by the Japanese during WW2.

Who am I?

My father was taken prisoner by the Japanese at the fall of Singapore on the 15th of February 1942. He spent three and a half years slaving on the Thai Burma railway. During my early years growing up, my father rarely talked about his experiences, and it wasn't until after he died in 1990 that I became interested in what he went through as a prisoner of war. Since then, I've spent my time researching the Japanese prisoner of war experiences and have read countless books on the subject. I myself have published four books and I consider myself one of the leading experts on the Japanese prisoner of war experience.

Cecil's book list on prisoners of war held by the Japanese during WW2

Cecil Lowry Why did Cecil love this book?

In 1941/2 the Japanese took more than 100,000 allied prisoners of war in the Far East. These prisoners were used as slave labour on the death railway and across the region. More than 1/4 of all prisoners died from starvation, overwork, torture, or tropical disease. These harrowing experiences in captivity have been chronicled in detail, but the story of what happened after they returned home has rarely been told. For many the war did not end in 1945 and for decades to come, former prisoners had nightmares and flashbacks. Their wives and families struggled to cope with damaged men who couldn't find the words to talk about their experiences. The echoes of captivity carried on right to the end of the survivors' lives and continue today in the lives of their children.

Book cover of The Sacrifice of Singapore: Churchill's Biggest Blunder

Cecil Lowry Author Of Frank Pantridge MC: Japanese Prisoner of War and Inventor of the Portable Defibrillator

From my list on prisoners of war held by the Japanese during WW2.

Who am I?

My father was taken prisoner by the Japanese at the fall of Singapore on the 15th of February 1942. He spent three and a half years slaving on the Thai Burma railway. During my early years growing up, my father rarely talked about his experiences, and it wasn't until after he died in 1990 that I became interested in what he went through as a prisoner of war. Since then, I've spent my time researching the Japanese prisoner of war experiences and have read countless books on the subject. I myself have published four books and I consider myself one of the leading experts on the Japanese prisoner of war experience.

Cecil's book list on prisoners of war held by the Japanese during WW2

Cecil Lowry Why did Cecil love this book?

The fate of Singapore was sealed long before the Japanese attack on Malaya in December 1941. The blame lay with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill who refused to listen to warnings from military advisers to reinforce defences in Singapore and Malaya. Her was convinced the Japanese would never dare to attack a white power. Obsessed with beating Rommel, Churchill poured into the Middle East massive resources that should have gone to the Far East. However, when inevitably Singapore fell to the Japanese in February 1942, Churchill attempted to deflect criticism by accusing the defenders of spineless capitulation.

By Michael Arnold,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The fate of Singapore was sealed long before the Japanese attack in December 1941. The blame lay with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill who refused to listen to warnings from military advisors to reinforce defences in Singapore/Malaya, convinced the Japanese would never dare to attack a white power . Obsessed with beating German General Erwin Rommel, he poured into the Middle East massive resources that should have gone to the Far East. However when, inevitably, Singapore fell to the Japanese in February 1942, Churchill attempted to deflect criticism by accusing the defenders there of spineless capitulation. Recently released information from…


Book cover of Japan at War 1931-45: As the Cherry Blossom Falls

Cecil Lowry Author Of Frank Pantridge MC: Japanese Prisoner of War and Inventor of the Portable Defibrillator

From my list on prisoners of war held by the Japanese during WW2.

Who am I?

My father was taken prisoner by the Japanese at the fall of Singapore on the 15th of February 1942. He spent three and a half years slaving on the Thai Burma railway. During my early years growing up, my father rarely talked about his experiences, and it wasn't until after he died in 1990 that I became interested in what he went through as a prisoner of war. Since then, I've spent my time researching the Japanese prisoner of war experiences and have read countless books on the subject. I myself have published four books and I consider myself one of the leading experts on the Japanese prisoner of war experience.

Cecil's book list on prisoners of war held by the Japanese during WW2

Cecil Lowry Why did Cecil love this book?

This book follows the course of the Empire of the Sun's ultimately unequal struggle against the great Allied powers. It provides the reader with piercing strategic and political insights which may debunk many of the enduring myths which encompass Japan's apocalyptic drive for hegemony in South East Asia. Why did Japan invade China? Was war with America and the British Empire inevitable? Why was the Japanese mobile fleet defeated so decisively at Midway. Why did the Japanese continue fighting with defeat was inevitable? Was its Emperor merely a puppet of the militarists? Why did the Japanese people acquiesce in the occupation of their homeland? 

This book tells the story.

By David McCormack,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Japan at War 1931-45 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This fascinating history, recounted from both the American and Japanese perspectives, follows the course of the Empire of the Sun's ultimately unequal struggle against the great allied powers. Drawing on archive material, this new history provides the reader with piercing strategic and political insights which debunk many of the enduring myths which encompass Japan's apocalyptic drive for hegemony in Southeast Asia. Why did Japan invade China? Was war with America and the British Empire inevitable? Why was the Japanese mobile fleet defeated so decisively at Midway? Why did the Japanese continue fighting when defeat was inevitable? Was Emperor Hirohito merely…


Book cover of Moonless Night: Wartime Diary of a Great Escaper

Marc H. Stevens Author Of Escape, Evasion and Revenge

From my list on POW escape books of World War 2.

Who am I?

My father, Squadron Leader Peter Stevens MC, died in 1979, when I was 22 years old, before I'd had the chance to speak with him man-to-man about his war. I later began researching his wartime exploits, which would consume a good part of 18 years of my life. I initially had no intention of writing a book; I just wanted to find the original document that recommended him for the Military Cross. I finally located it in Britain's National Archives in 2006. Along the way, I discovered that my father had actually been born a German Jew (he had told his immediate family in Canada that he was British and Anglican), and that some 15-20 family members had been murdered in the Holocaust. Further research showed that Dad had been the ONLY German-Jewish bomber pilot in the RAF, and that he had been the object of a country-wide manhunt by the British Police as a possible enemy spy. 

Marc's book list on POW escape books of World War 2

Marc H. Stevens Why did Marc love this book?

This is the autobiography of the man I consider the most determined escaper of WW2. Jimmy James was a serial escaper. One of the 76 men who broke out of Stalag Luft 3 in The Great Escape, he was recaptured and was sent to Sachsenhausen concentration camp.  Using a spoon, he dug a tunnel and escaped from there!  This is one of the bravest stories I've ever read of determination to succeed at any cost.

By B.A. 'Jimmy' James,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the moment he was shot down to the final whistle, Jimmy James' one aim as a POW of the Germans was to escape.The Great Escaper describes his experiences and those of his fellow prisoners in the most gripping and thrilling manner. The author made more than 12 escape attempts including his participation in The Great Escape, where 50 of the 76 escapees were executed in cold blood on Hitler's orders.On re-capture, James was sent to the infamous Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp where, undeterred, he tunnelled out. That was not the end of his remarkable story.Moonless Night has strong claim to…


Book cover of The Railway Man: A POW's Searing Account of War, Brutality and Forgiveness

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

From my list on truth-seeking post WWII.

Who am I?

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?

This is a story about brutality, justice, and mercy, set amongst the aftermath of Lomax’s experiences as a POW in WWII. With a steady gaze he faces the depths of human barbarity and reckons with his own emotional responses.

Lomax confronts his previous captor wanting retribution, but instead makes an astonishing decision that changes the course of hatred for both him and his perpetrator. I also grappled with the shadows of dark acts committed against my family - even all these years later. 

By Eric Lomax,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STARRING COLIN FIRTH, NICOLE KIDMAN AND JEREMY IRVINE

During the second world war Eric Lomax was forced to work on the notorious Burma-Siam Railway and was tortured by the Japanese for making a crude radio.

Left emotionally scarred and unable to form normal relationships Lomax suffered for years until, with the help of his wife Patti and the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture, he came to terms with what had happened and, fifty years after the terrible events, was able to meet one of his tormentors.

The Railway Man is an…


Book cover of We Band of Angels: The Untold Story of the American Women Trapped on Bataan

Eileen A. Bjorkman Author Of The Fly Girls Revolt: The Story of the Women Who Kicked Open the Door to Fly in Combat

From my list on hidden histories of women in the military.

Who am I?

I work in aviation, so it was natural to write about it when I started as a freelance writer. But I quickly realized that writing about aviation people is much more interesting than writing about airplanes. Because of my military background I found myself writing veterans’ stories. I’ve uncovered many stories that have never been told or have been forgotten over the years. And because I was in the Air Force in the 1980s and 1990s, I knew the events in my new book had never been told. During my research, I found more books with hidden histories and rediscovered some I read decades ago. This list is my favorites.

Eileen's book list on hidden histories of women in the military

Eileen A. Bjorkman Why did Eileen love this book?

This is the story of 99 Army and Navy nurses who I consider the first U.S. women to serve in combat.

The women endured four months of harrowing bombings, dwindling supplies, and disease as they tended to U.S. casualties from the Japanese invasion of The Philippines in the early days of WWII.

After U.S. forces surrendered, 77 of the nurses were interred in civilian camps in the Philippines until February 1945. The women continued to work as nurses while enduring starvation diets and disease.

Part of my fascination with this story of strength and courage also lies with the fact that one of my great uncles was a survivor of the Bataan Death March. I like to think that my uncle encountered one of these wonderful women at some point.

By Elizabeth M. Norman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the fall of 1941, the Philippines was a gardenia-scented paradise for the American Army and Navy nurses stationed there. War was a distant rumor, life a routine of easy shifts and dinners under the stars. On December 8 all that changed, as Japanese bombs began raining down on American bases in Luzon, and this paradise became a fiery hell. Caught in the raging battle, the nurses set up field hospitals in the jungles of Bataan and the tunnels of Corregidor, where they tended to the most devastating injuries of war, and suffered the terrors of shells and shrapnel.
 
But…


Book cover of Baa, Baa Black Sheep

Nishi Giefer Author Of The Captured

From my list on Twentieth Century POWs.

Who am I?

As a western mystery writer, rancher, veterinarian, wife, mother, farrier, horse trainer, gardener, seamstress, pilot, homeschooler, tractor jockey, and all-around hand, I conclude that every experience in life is grist for the mill leading to settings, scenery, plots, and character motivations.

Nishi's book list on Twentieth Century POWs

Nishi Giefer Why did Nishi love this book?

The copy I read came from my dad’s collection. It was signed by the author. I don’t know how Dad knew Pappy Boyington, but years ago when Dad and I were walking through a throng of people at Oshkosh, Pappy broke away from a conversation with two very attractive women to wave and call Dad by name. A teenager at the time, I stood in utter shock and amazement while my dad talked planes with a legend. Though the book covers Pappy’s exploits before, during, and after World War II, a large segment is devoted to his time in a Japanese prison camp. One of his fellow detainees was Louis Zamperini, famous Olympic miler. 

By Gregory “Pappy” Boyington,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Here, in his own words, is the true story of America's wildest flying hero, of his extraordinary heroism, and of his greatest battle of all—the fight to survive.

The World War II air war in the Pacific needed tough men like Colonel Pappy Boyington and his Black Sheep Squadron. The legendary Marine Corps officer and his bunch of misfits, outcasts, and daredevils gave new definition to “hell-raising”—on the ground and in the skies. 

Pappy himself was a living legend—he personally shot down twenty-eight Japanese planes, and won the Congressional Medal of Honor and the Navy Cross. He broke every rule…


Book cover of King Rat

Sam Foster Author Of Non-Semper Fidelis

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

Who am I?

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 Clavell’s first book, King Rat, is the story of allied servicemen trapped by the Japanese in Singapore at the beginning of World War II and held captive for the duration in the infamous Changi prison. The captured consisted of some 10,000 men made up of a British regiment, a few Australian companies, and one small American platoon. After three years of brutal, virtually starvation conditions even the British Commanding General was reduced to a uniform of nothing more than rags. Only one prisoner, an American Corporal, had lost no weight, wore a freshly pressed uniform and spit-shined shoes every day. With physical courage and an understanding of human weaknesses and breaking points he dominated all the other prisoners and many of the guards as well. When the camp was liberated he was the only man among the survivors who left without one friend. Why? The key to both his…

By James Clavell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Set in Changi, the most notorious prisoner of war camp in Asia, King Rat is an heroic story of survival told by a master story-teller who lived through those years as a young soldier. Only one man in fifteen had the strength, the luck, and the cleverness simply to survive Changi. And then there was King.


Book cover of Survival in Auschwitz

Richard Zimler Author Of The Incandescent Threads

From my list on survivors of a horrific trauma.

Who am I?

I’m originally from New York but have lived in Portugal for the last 33 years. I write my novels in English and my children’s books in Portuguese. As anyone who reads my latest novel will discover, I have been greatly influenced the mythology and mystical traditions of various religions, especially Judaism (kabbalah). Happily, I discovered early on that I adore writing about people who have been systematically persecuted and silenced. It gives me a great sense of accomplishment to explore taboo subjects and topics that others would prefer to forget or conceal. When I’m not working on a book, I like to garden and travel. 

Richard's book list on survivors of a horrific trauma

Richard Zimler Why did Richard love this book?

Almost all the survivors of the Holocaust have now died, which makes it more important than ever that we pass on knowledge about this incomparably brutal crime against humanity – and do our best to prevent future genocides.

Survival in Auschwitz is a highly detailed, profoundly disturbing, and, in the end, intensely moving account of Italian chemist Primo Levi’s eleven months in the most notorious of the Nazi death camps, Auschwitz.

If you wish to understand what the Holocaust meant to its victims – and how the prisoners did their heroic best to resist dehumanization, hopelessness, and death – you would do well to start with this important work.  

By Primo Levi,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Survival in Auschwitz as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The true and harrowing account of Primo Levi’s experience at the German concentration camp of Auschwitz and his miraculous survival; hailed by The Times Literary Supplement as a “true work of art, this edition includes an exclusive conversation between the author and Philip Roth.

In 1943, Primo Levi, a twenty-five-year-old chemist and “Italian citizen of Jewish race,” was arrested by Italian fascists and deported from his native Turin to Auschwitz. Survival in Auschwitz is Levi’s classic account of his ten months in the German death camp, a harrowing story of systematic cruelty and miraculous endurance. Remarkable for its simplicity, restraint,…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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