100 books like Conquered, Not Defeated

By Peter H. Tveskov,

Here are 100 books that Conquered, Not Defeated fans have personally recommended if you like Conquered, Not Defeated. 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 Unknown Valor: A Story of Family, Courage, and Sacrifice from Pearl Harbor to Iwo Jima

Robert W. Baumer Author Of The Journey of the Purple Heart: A First Infantry Division Soldier’s Story from Stateside to North Africa, Sicily and Normandy during World War II

From my list on war memoirs and what makes them special.

Who am I?

When I was in my early 40’s I walked into the hospital room of a 99-year-old near-death relative who mistook me for my father’s brother who had been killed on the beachhead in Normandy during World War II. I was always a history buff, but this moment changed my life. I directed my energies to military history, starting with memoirs and writing a column for Armchair General magazine when it was in circulation. Published official histories (American Iliad, Aachen, Old Hickory) followed that were reliant on well-expressed memoirs written by participants, so full circle I’ve come back to my passion for writing, and reading war memoirs.

Robert's book list on war memoirs and what makes them special

Robert W. Baumer Why did Robert love this book?

I was putting the finishing touches on my book when I came across Unknown Valor in 2020. Like my book, Martha MacCallum’s was about an uncle she never knew who was killed at Iwo Jima. There was a lot of history about the Pacific Theater, as well as personal stories of those who served with her uncle. Like my book, except mine was about the European theater. Letters her uncle wrote home were sprinkled throughout the book, just like in my book. The anguish of her uncle’s death on his family was beautifully told. Just like I tried to do in my latest book.

A strong recommended read if you want to know more about the fate of soldiers during WWII in the Pacific.

By Martha MacCallum,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER.

In honor of the 75th Anniversary of one of the most critical battles of World War II, the popular primetime Fox News anchor of The Story with Martha MacCallum pays tribute to the heroic men who sacrificed everything at Iwo Jima to defeat the Armed Forces of Emperor Hirohito-among them, a member of her own family, Harry Gray.

Admiral Chester Nimitz spoke of the "uncommon valor" of the men who fought on Iwo Jima, one of the bloodiest and most brutal battles of World War II. In thirty-six grueling days, nearly 7,000 Marines were killed and…


Book cover of Enemy North, South, East, West

Robert W. Baumer Author Of The Journey of the Purple Heart: A First Infantry Division Soldier’s Story from Stateside to North Africa, Sicily and Normandy during World War II

From my list on war memoirs and what makes them special.

Who am I?

When I was in my early 40’s I walked into the hospital room of a 99-year-old near-death relative who mistook me for my father’s brother who had been killed on the beachhead in Normandy during World War II. I was always a history buff, but this moment changed my life. I directed my energies to military history, starting with memoirs and writing a column for Armchair General magazine when it was in circulation. Published official histories (American Iliad, Aachen, Old Hickory) followed that were reliant on well-expressed memoirs written by participants, so full circle I’ve come back to my passion for writing, and reading war memoirs.

Robert's book list on war memoirs and what makes them special

Robert W. Baumer Why did Robert love this book?

Imagine being 20 years old, and a freshly minted lieutenant with just two weeks in the line. You are a forward observer for a 105mm artillery battalion. Your first duty position is atop a 314-meter-high hill at Mortain France. It is early August 1944 and Adolf Hitler sends four panzer divisions to Mortain to stop the Allied breakout from Normandy. First they must take that hill.

Weiss’s stunning book details how he and 700 other men held Hill 314 for five long days. Chronicled more recently by an Aurora Award-winning documentary on PBS it is one of those World War II personal memoirs one never forgets.

By Robert Weiss,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Enemy North, South, East, West as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When the Germans launched their biggest counter-attack in France during WWII, the elite troops of the 2nd SS Panzer Division surrounded a battalion of less than 700 US infantry on top of a key hill near Mortain in Normandy. The American "Lost Battalion", equipped with very little food, medical supplies, ammunition, or anti-tank weapons, held out for sixty days. At the end of the battle, 277 of the riflemen were dead, wounded, or missing. Author Robert Weiss experienced those harrowing days of the war, directing much of the fire as a field artillery forward observer on the hill. As the…


Book cover of One More Hill

Robert W. Baumer Author Of The Journey of the Purple Heart: A First Infantry Division Soldier’s Story from Stateside to North Africa, Sicily and Normandy during World War II

From my list on war memoirs and what makes them special.

Who am I?

When I was in my early 40’s I walked into the hospital room of a 99-year-old near-death relative who mistook me for my father’s brother who had been killed on the beachhead in Normandy during World War II. I was always a history buff, but this moment changed my life. I directed my energies to military history, starting with memoirs and writing a column for Armchair General magazine when it was in circulation. Published official histories (American Iliad, Aachen, Old Hickory) followed that were reliant on well-expressed memoirs written by participants, so full circle I’ve come back to my passion for writing, and reading war memoirs.

Robert's book list on war memoirs and what makes them special

Robert W. Baumer Why did Robert love this book?

I found this original edition, published in 1949, in a used bookstore back in the early 1990s. It was the first memoir I read about a soldier and the higher-up officers he reported to who fought in the same regiment as my late uncle. 

Johnson contributed to two books I wrote on the official history of the 18th Infantry Regiment in World War II. His was a personal memoir up to the time his war was cut short after the Normandy Invasion. The writing style is sweeping and one of the better memoirs I’ve read about an anti-tank battalion during the big war.

By Franklin A. Johnson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The author describes his experiences as a lieutenant in the First Infantry Division during its actions in Africa, Sicily and the Normandy invasion


Book cover of A Patch of Ground: Khe Sanh Remembered

Robert W. Baumer Author Of The Journey of the Purple Heart: A First Infantry Division Soldier’s Story from Stateside to North Africa, Sicily and Normandy during World War II

From my list on war memoirs and what makes them special.

Who am I?

When I was in my early 40’s I walked into the hospital room of a 99-year-old near-death relative who mistook me for my father’s brother who had been killed on the beachhead in Normandy during World War II. I was always a history buff, but this moment changed my life. I directed my energies to military history, starting with memoirs and writing a column for Armchair General magazine when it was in circulation. Published official histories (American Iliad, Aachen, Old Hickory) followed that were reliant on well-expressed memoirs written by participants, so full circle I’ve come back to my passion for writing, and reading war memoirs.

Robert's book list on war memoirs and what makes them special

Robert W. Baumer Why did Robert love this book?

This is one of the best military memoirs I’ve gotten into. Why? Because it’s about a different war. Not World War II, my passion. It’s Viet Nam this time, an experience too many in my generation didn’t come home from. Archer was a Marine during the pivotal battle of Khe Sahn, and he retells his experiences and that of his buddies in a heartfelt, necessarily graphic, and sometimes humorous way—the latter so often used to mask the horrors of war and losing close friends.

By Michael Archer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A poignant, often humorous, recollection of the siege of Khe Sanh--a pivotal turning point in the American war in Vietnam. Under constant bombardment from the enemy, Michael Archer and his cadre of young Marines--Orr, Pig, Old Woman and Savage, just to name a few--managed to survive and, in the process, learn about manhood, sacrifice and the darkest recesses of fear and loneliness.


Book cover of Prince of Spies

Mark Edward Jones Author Of Peculiar Activities

From my list on we don’t know what we don’t know.

Who am I?

I’ve been fascinated by spy stories since childhood, never sure which character is a friend or foe within the stories. As I grew older, I became interested in fictional mysteries, including those with settings in the Medieval era, turn-of-the-century England, and World War II. Unsure of who to trust is a theme through my Detective Henry Ike Pierce series, of which I'm working on the third book now. False hearts abound in my stories, and Detective Pierce must sort through a seemingly flexible definition of trust, including uncertainty of his closest colleagues’ loyalty. If you're a fan of seeking the truth, I hope these books are as enjoyable to you as they were to me.

Mark's book list on we don’t know what we don’t know

Mark Edward Jones Why did Mark love this book?

Richard Prince is a detective in 1942 Britain. A government entity recruits him as a spy, and its director sends Prince to Denmark, where rumors are floating of the development of a superweapon. Prince’s endeavor requires him to dodge the Gestapo, the S.S., and other German heavies.

This story is another instance of the protagonist having to guess who he can trust, will his so-called allies betray him, and are perceived antagonists actually the enemy? Many wheels within a wheel, false faces, and false hearts. 

By Alex Gerlis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Find the truth; risk everything. A gripping WWII spy novel full of intrigue and peril from a modern master.

1942: A German spy comes ashore on a desolate stretch of Lincolnshire beach. But he is hunted down by a young detective, Richard Prince. The secret services have need of a man like him...

In occupied Europe, Denmark is a hotbed of problems for British intelligence. Rumours of a war-ending weapon being developed by the Germans are rife.

Sent to Copenhagen, Prince is soon caught in a deadly game of cat and mouse. Dodging Gestapo agents, SS muscle and the danger…


Book cover of Snow on the Tulips

Terrie Todd Author Of Rose Among Thornes

From my list on relationships between characters on opposing sides of WWII.

Who am I?

I’m a Canadian author and I set my novels here. When I first attempted to write a book, I chose historical fiction because I thought it would be easier to get my characters into trouble—without cell phones and other modern conveniences to bail them out. I wasn’t wrong. However, the research involved with writing good historical fiction soon gave me a whole new appreciation for the genre and I was hooked. I find the WWII era far enough in the past to provide historical insight into humanity’s many weaknesses and strengths, yet near enough to make it relatable. I’ve been thrilled with the feedback on my faith-based stories.

Terrie's book list on relationships between characters on opposing sides of WWII

Terrie Todd Why did Terrie love this book?

I love how Tolsma sets up a very believable story of a Dutch war widow who ends up harboring a wounded Resistance worker. Although saving him means risking everything and although liberation is within sight, Cornelia’s faith won’t allow her to turn the man out. Fearing their story will end before it even begins, she must make an impossible choice between relative safety for her brother and herself, or joining Gerrit in the Resistance. I learned so much about what the Dutch went through during WWII.

By Liz Tolsma,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Snow on the Tulips as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A stranger's life hangs in the balance. But to save him is to risk everything.

The war is drawing to a close, but the Nazis still occupy part of the Netherlands. After the losses she's endured, war widow Cornelia is only a shadow of the woman she once was. She fights now to protect her younger brother, Johan, who lives in hiding.

When Johan brings Gerrit Laninga, a wounded Dutch Resistance member, to Cornelia's doorstep, their ives are forever altered. Although scared of the consequences of harboring a wanted man, Cornelia's faith won't let her turn him out.

As she…


Book cover of All the Light We Cannot See

Vanessa Lee Author Of High Rise

From my list on celebrating the bravery of everyday heroes.

Who am I?

I am an Australian writer living in Europe. Returning to my hometown on the East Coast of Australia post-COVID, I confronted relentless rain and king tides threatening the beach promenade cafes. Witnessing the potential demise of these familiar spots sparked the idea for my novel. Opening with a dystopian scene of future tourists exploring submerged coastal cafes with snorkels, my work delves into the realm of "cli-fi" (climate fiction). Against the backdrop of imminent climate danger, my characters, a lovable yet obstinate Australian ensemble, navigate a world profoundly altered by the impacts of climate change. I hope what I have written is an exaggeration. I fear it may not be.

Vanessa's book list on celebrating the bravery of everyday heroes

Vanessa Lee Why did Vanessa love this book?

Last summer, I visited Saint-Malo in Brittany, France, an extraordinary walled city on the Atlantic Coast where this beautiful novel is set.

Wars breed everyday heroes, and this book introduces us to one, the blind, young Marie-Laure. Despite Saint-Malo being under German occupation in WW2, she courageously risks her own life by using a radio to send daily dispatches from her attic to the Allied Forces. Her stoic heroism and valuable intelligence ultimately play a pivotal role in the Allies liberating Saint-Malo and afterward, the whole of France.

A well-deserved international bestseller, the book powerfully underscores the notion that ordinary individuals can indeed change history.

By Anthony Doerr,

Why should I read it?

37 authors picked All the Light We Cannot See as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE 2015 PULITZER PRIZE FOR FICTION
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
WINNER OF THE CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR FICTION

A beautiful, stunningly ambitious novel about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II

Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.'

For Marie-Laure, blind since the age of six, the world is full of mazes. The miniature of a Paris neighbourhood, made by her father to teach her the way home. The microscopic…


Book cover of Courage, My Love

Alyssa Palombo Author Of The Borgia Confessions

From my list on historical fiction set in Italy.

Who am I?

I’ve been fascinated by history my whole life, and have been reading historical fiction for as long as I can remember. I have a particular passion for the history of Italy, in all its complicated, bloody, and dazzling glory, from the politics to the music to the art to, of course, the food and wine. There is so much within Italian history that captivates, and as a woman of Italian descent it holds a special interest for me. I try to capture the drama, beauty, and complexity of Italy in my own historical novels, and the books on this list all do that in the most compelling way.

Alyssa's book list on historical fiction set in Italy

Alyssa Palombo Why did Alyssa love this book?

I just recently read this wonderful debut novel, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since! Courage, My Love tells the story of two women living in Nazi-occupied Rome who become involved in the Italian resistance and its effort to rid their country of fascism. This is a beautiful, heart-wrenching, timely novel of ordinary people living in extraordinary times, and the courage they have in standing up to evil.

By Kristin Beck,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When the Nazi occupation of Rome begins, two courageous young women are plunged deep into the Italian Resistance to fight for their freedom in this captivating debut novel.

Rome, 1943

Lucia Colombo has had her doubts about fascism for years, but as a single mother in an increasingly unstable country, politics are for other people--she needs to focus on keeping herself and her son alive. Then the Italian government falls and the German occupation begins, and suddenly, Lucia finds that complacency is no longer an option. 

Francesca Gallo has always been aware of injustice and suffering. A polio survivor who…


Book cover of A Kiss from Maddalena

Elisa M. Speranza Author Of The Italian Prisoner

From my list on strong WWII female characters who aren’t spies.

Who am I?

I am the granddaughter of Irish and Italian immigrants, raised Catholic, and educated by nuns. Years ago, I heard a friend’s story about his parents: an Italian prisoner of war and a French Quarter Sicilian woman who met during World War II in New Orleans. I became determined to find out more, and connected with scholars, researchers, and families who’ve been piecing together the little-known stories of some of the 51,000 Italian POWs held in the US from 1943-1945. Their stories, and the plight of women working on the home front, inspired The Italian Prisoner.

Elisa's book list on strong WWII female characters who aren’t spies

Elisa M. Speranza Why did Elisa love this book?

Castellani’s warm and beautiful prose takes us on a journey with Maddelana, an innocent young woman in a tiny Italian village where everyone knows everyone. As she embarks on a journey that will change her life, we watch her future unfold across the ocean and through generations of the family she starts, immigrant descendants making a life in America. The best part is there are two more books following this one! 

By Christopher Castellani,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Kiss from Maddalena as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It is 1943, and Santa Cecilia has become a village of women. All the young men are away at war, except for Vito Leone, his best friend, and the shopkeeper's son. When Vito falls in love with Maddalena Picinelli, the shy and beautiful daughter of the town's most powerful family, a few obstacles appear in his path. Maddalena's sassy, iron-willed sister Carolina thinks he's a penniless fool. Her parents think his crazy mother has turned him into a mammoni, a mama's boy. But Maddalena sees another side of Vito. He's romantic. He builds a bicycle for the girls to ride.…


Book cover of War in Val d'Orcia: An Italian War Diary, 1943-1944

Christine Foster Meloni Author Of Growing Up in Mussolini's Fascist Italy: The Story of Andrea Marcello Meloni

From my list on the dangers of living under Hitler and Mussolini.

Who am I?

I became very interested in this topic when I moved to Italy and met and married Andrea Meloni. I had never been particularly interested in wars and battles but, when he began to tell me about his very personal experience growing up in Mussolini’s Fascist Italy, I was captivated and felt that his unique story was important. I, therefore, encouraged him to write his memoirs. My book is based on them, and so it is more his book than mine. However, I did extensive research to set his story in a coherent historical context. 

Christine's book list on the dangers of living under Hitler and Mussolini

Christine Foster Meloni Why did Christine love this book?

Origo was an English woman married to a wealthy Italian.

They were living on their estate in Italy (Tuscany) when Mussolini came to power and soon allied himself with Hitler. Her personal account of how they, both anti-Fascists, lived during this very difficult period brings history to life. They often put themselves in harm’s way by helping others hide from Fascist pursuers.

By Iris Origo,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked War in Val d'Orcia as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The bestselling diaries of WWII in Tuscany, with a new introduction by writer and social historian Virginia Nicholson, and stunning rediscovered photographsAt the height of the Second World War, Italy was being torn apart by German armies, civil war, and the eventual Allied invasion. In a corner of Tuscany, one woman - born in England, married to an Italian - kept a record of daily life in a country at war. Iris Origo's compellingly powerful diary, War in Val d'Orcia, is the spare and vivid account of what happened when a peaceful farming valley became a battleground.

At great personal…


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