100 books like Female Tommies

By Elisabeth Shipton,

Here are 100 books that Female Tommies fans have personally recommended if you like Female Tommies. 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 Testament of Youth

Deborah Carr Author Of The Poppy Sisters

From my list on World War One that live rent free in my head.

Who am I?

I discovered my passion for the First World War when researching my great-grandfather’s service history in the cavalry. I also write historical fiction with several of my books being set during the First World War and have spent thousands of hours over the past twenty years researching different aspects of this period, both from the point of view of the V.A.D.s, wounded soldiers, medical staff treating them, as well as grieving families. The stories I’ve come across never fail to haunt me and I can’t imagine I’ll ever tire of wanting to discover more about the people who survived these experiences, or stop needing to write books about them.

Deborah's book list on World War One that live rent free in my head

Deborah Carr Why did Deborah love this book?

I first read this book about twenty years ago and still find it heartbreaking to think it was written by someone who experienced first-hand the horror of the First World War and with it so much pain and grief brought about not only from her experiences as a V.A.D. but also from her own personal losses.

It is a book that helped me understand as much as anything possibly could living in the twenty-first century, how much of a struggle it must have been for ordinary people to keep going and survive that dark time in history.

By Vera Brittain,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Testament of Youth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An autobiographical account of a young nurse's involvement in World War I.


Book cover of Women as Army Surgeons: Being The History Of The Women's Hospital Corps 1914-1919

Wendy Moore Author Of No Man's Land: The Trailblazing Women Who Ran Britain's Most Extraordinary Military Hospital During World War I

From my list on women’s experiences in WW1.

Who am I?

Wendy Moore is a journalist and author of five non-fiction books on medical and social history. Her writing has appeared in the Guardian, Times, Observer and Lancet. Her new book is about Endell Street Military Hospital which was run and staffed by women in London in the First World War.

Wendy's book list on women’s experiences in WW1

Wendy Moore Why did Wendy love this book?

Murray’s book was the inspiration, guide and companion for my own. Flora Murray and her life-long partner Louisa Garrett Anderson were both doctors and suffragettes. Murray was honorary doctor to the suffragette movement and Anderson went to prison for four weeks for smashing a window. As women doctors they were confined to treating only women and children. They seized the war as a chance not only to do their bit but to prove women doctors were equal to their male counterparts. They ran two hospitals in France before setting up Endell Street in 1915. Murray wrote her book, first published in 1920, as testament to the achievements of all the women involved. Her account is bracing – in the manner of the wartime “Blighty spirit” – but packed with fascinating detail and heroic acts.

By Flora Murray,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Flora Murray's book is a record of the Women's Hospital Corps in France and the Endell Street Military Hospital, London. Despite a lack of training in trauma and orthopaedics, and with no previous experience in military medicine, she met the challenge of treating often horrific wartime casualties and returning battle-injured men to society. She, along with her partner Dr Louisa Garrett Anderson, redefined gender roles in military medicine.


Book cover of Elsie and Mairi Go to War

Wendy Moore Author Of No Man's Land: The Trailblazing Women Who Ran Britain's Most Extraordinary Military Hospital During World War I

From my list on women’s experiences in WW1.

Who am I?

Wendy Moore is a journalist and author of five non-fiction books on medical and social history. Her writing has appeared in the Guardian, Times, Observer and Lancet. Her new book is about Endell Street Military Hospital which was run and staffed by women in London in the First World War.

Wendy's book list on women’s experiences in WW1

Wendy Moore Why did Wendy love this book?

Atkinson’s book tells the story of Elsie Knocker and Mairi Chisholm who were friends and motorcycle enthusiasts. When war broke out they joined a voluntary medical unit heading for France and set up a first aid post near the frontline. They were fearless, sometimes reckless, and always cheerful as they saved the wounded. I loved the way Atkinson’s book captured their youthful exuberance and gung-ho courage.

By Diane Atkinson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Elsie and Mairi Go to War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When they met at a motorcycle club in 1912, Elsie Knocker was a thirty year-old motorcycling divorcee dressed in bottle-green Dunhill leathers, and Mairi Chisholm was a brilliant eighteen-year old mechanic, living at home and borrowing tools from her brother. Little did they know, theirs was to become one of the most extraordinary stories of the First World War.

In 1914, they roared off to London 'to do their bit', and within a month they were in the thick of things in Belgium driving ambulances to distant military hospitals. Frustrated by the number of men dying of shock in the…


Book cover of Between the Lines: Diaries and Letters from Elsie Inglis's Russian Unit

Wendy Moore Author Of No Man's Land: The Trailblazing Women Who Ran Britain's Most Extraordinary Military Hospital During World War I

From my list on women’s experiences in WW1.

Who am I?

Wendy Moore is a journalist and author of five non-fiction books on medical and social history. Her writing has appeared in the Guardian, Times, Observer and Lancet. Her new book is about Endell Street Military Hospital which was run and staffed by women in London in the First World War.

Wendy's book list on women’s experiences in WW1

Wendy Moore Why did Wendy love this book?

History is just “one damned thing after another” is a common phrase. For me this is the book which has led me to my next project. Cahill traces the story of the women who went to Russia in 1916 with the voluntary outfit the Scottish Women’s Hospitals. Set up by a Scottish surgeon, Elsie Inglis, the SWH became the biggest women’s medical organisation serving abroad in the war. The SWH women ran hospitals in France, Serbia and Russia. Here Cahill tells the story of their astonishing adventures in Russia – driving ambulances close to the firing line, retreating with the Serbian and Russian armies, surviving the cold, food shortages and the Russian Revolution – through the women’s own words. It’s staggering stuff – and great material for my next book about one of those incredible women pioneers.

By Audrey Fawcett Cahill,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Shipped from UK, please allow 10 to 21 business days for arrival. First Published by PENTLAND, EDINBURGH, 1999 BETWEEN THE LINES: Letters and Diaries from Elsie Inglis's Russian Unit. Arranged and edited by Audrey Fawcett Cahill. 372 p., ill., maps A very good, near fine soft-cover copy.


Book cover of Singled Out: How Two Million British Women Survived Without Men After the First World War

Melvyn Fickling Author Of Farewell to the Glory Boys: A Battle of Arras Novel

From my list on the battles, corps and aftermath of WW1 for women.

Who am I?

I had finished The Bluebird Trilogy, three novels that centred on the first half of the Second World War, and I heard echoes of the Great War ringing faintly in the egos of my older characters. I started to read more of the history and was drawn to the aerial maelstrom that befell the RFC over Arras in 1917. I was also interested in working with a larger cast of characters, many transients, and telling their stories over a short stretch of time. The result was Major Claypole and Jackdaw Squadron, Glory Boys every last one.

Melvyn's book list on the battles, corps and aftermath of WW1 for women

Melvyn Fickling Why did Melvyn love this book?

The First World War stripped Britain of hundreds of thousands of its young men. In an age where women’s lives were funnelled towards the certainty of marriage, this left a big shortfall on the balance sheet of matrimony, creating what became known as the Surplus Women. Now they had to find their own sources of income and become responsible for their own future happiness.

Nicholson curates many memoirs and diaries of such women from all tiers of society. Adding material from interviews she conducted herself, she tells the stories of lost potential and loneliness, together with inspirational tales of liberation, fresh-forged independence, and the unprecedented freedom that self-reliance brought for those who rose to the challenge.

By Virginia Nicholson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The First World War deprived Britain of three-quarters of a million soldiers, with as many more incapacitated. In 1919 a generation of women who unquestioningly believed marriage to be their birthright discovered that there were, quite simply, not enough men to go round. The press ran alarming stories about the `Problem of the Surplus Women - Two Million who can never become Wives . . .'. But behind the headlines were thousands of brave, emancipated individuals forced by a tragedy of historic proportions to rethink their entire futures.

Tracing their fates, Virginia Nicholson shows how the single woman of the…


Book cover of Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest

Benjamin Hruska Author Of Valor and Courage: The Story of the USS Block Island Escort Carriers in World War II

From my list on the human superpower of teamwork overcoming challenges.

Who am I?

I have always been drawn to narratives where a group of individuals needs to collectively overcome a seemingly insurmountable challenge. And, as someone who loves reasonable outdoor challenges such as whitewater rafting trips, I love stories that combine the two. I have been lucky enough to partake in two private float trips of the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. With no internet, or electricity for 16 days at a time, a carefully crafted book list is key for any river descend. All these books at their core are narratives of individuals digging in deep, and cultivating that collective human superpower known as teamwork, to overcome challenges many thought could not be overcome.

Benjamin's book list on the human superpower of teamwork overcoming challenges

Benjamin Hruska Why did Benjamin love this book?

Davis in this book completes the literary equivalent of juggling bowling balls and razor blades. He crafts an incredible, readable adventure narrative on a generation of men seeking to make sense of the world after the slaughter of the Western Front concluded.

Using the vehicle of Mallory and Irvines’ 1924 attempt to summit Everest, Davis interweaves several intriguing narratives including the British coming to terms with the cause and effects of empire, climbers using mountains to overcome survivor’s guilt, and man’s indelible need to explore.

Sweeping in both detailed research and the human costs of mechanized warfare, Davis book is a prime example of the paradoxical notion of wounded men seeking solace on the top of the world’s tallest peaks.  

By Wade Davis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The definitive story of the British adventurers who survived the trenches of World War I and went on to risk their lives climbing Mount Everest.

On June 6, 1924, two men set out from a camp perched at 23,000 feet on an ice ledge just below the lip of Everest’s North Col. George Mallory, thirty-seven, was Britain’s finest climber. Sandy Irvine was a twenty-two-year-old Oxford scholar with little previous mountaineering experience. Neither of them returned.
 
Drawing on more than a decade of prodigious research, bestselling author and explorer Wade Davis vividly re-creates the heroic efforts of Mallory and his fellow…


Book cover of The Thirty-Nine Steps

Jonathan Payne Author Of Citizen Orlov

From my list on spy thrillers for readers of literary fiction.

Who am I?

I’m a reader and writer of thrillers, especially espionage, but I also love literary fiction, including contemporary writers like Kazuo Ishiguro, Mohsin Hamid, and Amor Towles. And I enjoy reading classic writers including Gogol, Dostoyevsky, and Kafka. So, when it comes to reading thrillers, I gravitate towards those that are very well written, with precise prose and evocative imagery. This is my crossover list of the best five spy thrillers for readers of literary fiction. If you’re a literary reader interested in dabbling in a bit of espionage, these five books would be a great place to start.  

Jonathan's book list on spy thrillers for readers of literary fiction

Jonathan Payne Why did Jonathan love this book?

Buchan’s 1915 masterpiece is the first spy thriller I read and the start of my long-term love affair with espionage fiction.

It’s the blueprint for many of the great 20th-century spy thrillers and our first introduction to the dashing Richard Hannay. An adventure that moves at breathtaking pace, Hannay has just returned to London from Africa when he meets a shady American who warns him of a political assassination plot.

Soon, the American is dead and Hannay is racing across England and Scotland in fear of his life and searching for the mysterious thirty-nine steps that hold the key to the mystery. Spy fiction has rarely been as much fun as this.   

By John Buchan,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Thirty-Nine Steps as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Richard Hannay has just returned to England after years in South Africa and is thoroughly bored with his life in London. But then a murder is committed in his flat, just days after a chance encounter with an American who had told him about an assassination plot which could have dire international consequences. An obvious suspect for the police and an easy target for the killers, Hannay goes on the run in his native Scotland where he will need all his courage and ingenuity to stay one step ahead of his pursuers.


Book cover of Finding Thoroton: The Royal Marine Who Ran British Naval Intelligence in the Western Mediterranean in World War One

Roseanna M. White Author Of The Number of Love

From my list on British intelligence in WW1.

Who am I?

Roseanna M. White is a historical fiction writer whose bestselling stories always seem to find their way to war, espionage, and intrigue. A fascination with her family’s heritage led her to tales set in Edwardian and Great War England, and she’s spent the last seven years studying that culture and how the era’s events intersected with things like faith, family, the arts, and social reforms. Of course, she does all this study and writing about war and mayhem from the safety of her home in West Virginia, where life is blessedly ordinary and no one expects her to actually crack any codes in order to survive...which is definitely a good thing.

Roseanna's book list on British intelligence in WW1

Roseanna M. White Why did Roseanna love this book?

British Intelligence during the First World War is most known for the work of Room 40, which led to the more famous Bletchley Park in the next World War; however, another crucial part of the operation was all the agents in the field that reported to the same man who spearheaded the codebreaking. Those in the Mediterranean were under the command of Charles “the Bold” Thoroton, and this book, written by his granddaughter’s husband, is an enthralling peek into the life of an agent on the ground. From fascinating stories of how unnamed agents found the information the Admiralty was desperate for to being targeted by counter-agent femme fatales, Finding Thoroton reveals information not to be found in any other book, compiled through careful research. A fascinating read.

Book cover of Female Intelligence: Women and Espionage in the First World War

Kate Breslin Author Of High as the Heavens

From my list on World War One and the hidden world of espionage.

Who am I?

As an American novelist and Anglophile who enjoys writing about British history, I never planned to venture into world war fiction, but once a story led me there I was hooked. I love doing deep-dive research and learning about real men and women of the past who faced high stakes: life and death situations and having to make impossible decisions, both on the battlefield and in the hidden world of espionage. Their courage and resourcefulness inspire me, and I realize that even when we’re at our most vulnerable, we can still rise to become our best and bravest when it counts. 

Kate's book list on World War One and the hidden world of espionage

Kate Breslin Why did Kate love this book?

I’d always imagined the femme fatale, Mata Hari, as the female spy of WWI, but in this well-researched book by Tammy Proctor, I was fascinated to learn there were quite a few women agents in the Great War. Proper ladies, in long dress skirts or nurses’ uniforms, each playing her part in a dangerous game of subterfuge against the enemy to help the Allies win. They knew the risks, yet were willing to sacrifice their lives for what they saw as the greater good; and it was these women who inspired me to create the heroine in my book, Evelyn Marche. Her bravery and daring in the novel are a tribute to them.

By Tammy M. Proctor,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When the Germans invaded her small Belgian village in 1914, Marthe Cnockaert's home was burned and her family separated. After getting a job at a German hospital, and winning the Iron Cross for her service to the Reich, she was approached by a neighbor and invited to become an intelligence agent for the British. Not without trepidation, Cnockaert embarked on a career as a spy, providing information and engaging in sabotage before her capture and imprisonment in 1916. After the war, she was paid and decorated by a grateful British government for her service.
Cnockaert's is only one of the…


Book cover of Room 40: British Naval Intelligence 1914-1918

Mark Harris Author Of Harwich Submarines in the Great War: The First Submarine Campaign of the Royal Navy in 1914

From my list on WWI naval history without the same old story.

Who am I?

Military history has always fascinated me. I grew up in Britain with my parents’ tales of service in the Second World War on land, sea, and in the air. The First World War saw the zenith of British sea power and was an obvious draw. The scale and scope of the fighting were huge, and I’ve been researching the naval war in depth for over thirty years. The high levels of literacy of the combatants mean that it is also possible to gain deep insights into their experiences. This makes for stories I'm passionate about discovering as a reader and telling as an author. I hope this list helps you discover them too.

Mark's book list on WWI naval history without the same old story

Mark Harris Why did Mark love this book?

Good intelligence is the key to winning any war.

The work of Bletchley Park in the Second World War is well known. The equally important role that the enigmatically named Room 40 played in the First World War is less well known.

This book unravels the story of this formidable naval code breaking and intelligence unit. It was made up of men from all walks of life, under the leadership of the maverick genius and spymaster, Rear-Admiral ‘Blinker’ Hall.

Without the work of Room 40 there would have been no naval battles at Dogger Bank and Jutland. The U-Boat campaign against commerce would have been much harder to overcome. Most importantly, read how their work on the infamous Zimmermann Telegram led directly to the American declaration of war.

By Patrick Beesly,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Room 40 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Recounts World War I intelligence operations of the British, shows how broken German codes were used to help control the shipping lanes, and identifies the events in which Naval Intelligence played a key role


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