100 books like Foley

By Michael Smith,

Here are 100 books that Foley fans have personally recommended if you like Foley. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Spy Who Loved: The Secrets and Lives of Christine Granville

Sarah Percy Author Of Forgotten Warriors: The Long History of Women in Combat

From my list on women in combat.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an academic, writer, and broadcaster, and I’ve always been fascinated by the big questions of who fights wars and why. A puzzle caught my eye: the only profession (short of maybe priest) where women were actively banned in the 1980s and as late as the 2010s, was combat. How could Western democracies ban women from an entire profession? This was especially odd, given that the plentiful historical evidence that women were perfectly capable of combat. So I wrote a book explaining how women in combat fit into the broader sweep of military history, and how the suppression and dismissal of their stories has had a profound social and cultural impact. 

Sarah's book list on women in combat

Sarah Percy Why did Sarah love this book?

The stories of women spies during World War II are not as well known as they should be – especially  because these women were highly trained, incredibly brave, and trained in all kinds of combat techniques.

I find them fascinating because they demonstrate that ordinary women are capable of the greatest feats of physical bravery – these women were not recruited because they were muscle-bound or could shoot a bullseye from a great distance.

They were usually just regular women who happened to speak a European language fluently. Krystyna Skarbek, brilliantly written about in this exciting biography by Clare Mulley, was one such woman – her adventures, including crucial organization of French resistance fighters and rescuing her colleagues from the Nazis – make for irresistible reading.

By Clare Mulley,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Spy Who Loved as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In June 1952, a woman was murdered by an obsessed colleague in a hotel in South Kensington. Her name was Christine Granville. That she died young was perhaps unsurprising, but that she had survived the Second World War was remarkable. The daughter of a feckless Polish aristocrat and his wealthy Jewish wife, she would become one of Britain's most daring and highly decorated special agents. Having fled to Britain on the outbreak of war, she was recruited by the intelligence services long before the establishment of the SOE, and took on mission after mission. She skied into occupied Poland, served…


Book cover of Agent Jack: The True Story of Mi5's Secret Nazi Hunter

Helen Fry Author Of Spymaster: The Man Who Saved Mi6

From my list on spies and their greatest stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

Helen is an ambassador for the Museum of Military Intelligence, President of the Friends of the National Archives, and a trustee of the Medmenham Collection. Her history of MI9 – the first such history for over 40 years – was shortlisted for The Duke of Wellington Medal for Military History 2021. Her latest book is ‘Spymaster: The Man Who Saved MI6’ about one of the greatest spies of the 20th century.

Helen's book list on spies and their greatest stories

Helen Fry Why did Helen love this book?

When Nazi Germany posed a threat to peace in Europe in the 1930s, British intelligence became increasingly concerned about right-wing groups and subversive activities in Britain, and that included the rise of the British Union of Fascists (BUF) under Sir Oswald Mosley. Robert Hutton’s compelling narratives tell the story of agent ‘Jack King’ – real name Eric Roberts (an ex-bank clerk from Cornwall) who was tasked by Maxwell Knight (‘M’) of counter-espionage at MI5 with infiltrating the BUF in the 1930s. Hutton has been able to immerse us in the world of Agent Jack because of a chance discovery of a brief reference in declassified MI5 files. Then in 1942 Agent Jack was tasked with masquerading as a Gestapo officer in London. He met with a German female recruiting officer ‘Marita’ in a safe house near Paddington and she suspected he might have been an undercover MI5 spy, but in…

By Robert Hutton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

June 1940. Britain is Europe's final bastion of freedom - and Hitler's next target. But not everyone fears a Nazi invasion. In factories, offices and suburban homes are men and women determined to do all they can to hasten it.

Throughout the Second World War, Britain's defence against the enemy within was Eric Roberts, a former bank clerk from Epsom. Equipped with an extraordinary ability to make people trust him, he was recruited into the shadowy world of espionage by the great spymaster Maxwell Knight. Roberts penetrated first the Communist Party and then the British Union of Fascists, before playing…


Book cover of Night

James Taing Author Of Under the Naga Tail: A True Story of Survival, Bravery, and Escape from the Cambodian Genocide

From my list on surviving impossible odds.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since arriving as a refugee in America, my father, Mae Bunseng has always wanted to tell his story. It would take many decades later for me, as I was coming of age, to consider what exactly my father had lived through. I was shocked at what he told me and knew his story had to be told. Thus over a decade ago I worked with my him to what eventually became Under the Naga Tail. In addition to this book, along the way, a short documentary called Ghost Mountain was created and released on PBS, which is accessible for streaming here. The film would win the best documentary at the HAAPI Film Festival.

James' book list on surviving impossible odds

James Taing Why did James love this book?

The masterpiece memoir by Elie Wiesel is an astonishingly short autobiographical of his survival as a teenager in the Nazi death camps. His account of surviving a concentration camp is important as any other, a narrative that is chilling, yet with compassion put into each word. Night is a book that has to be read. Elie would become an important human rights activist and this continued beyond the subject matter of the Holocaust. During the refugee crisis on the Thai-Cambodia border in 1980, he and several other notables (such as Joan Baez, Liv Ullman, and Bayard Rustin), mobilized to bring relief assistance for Cambodians fleeing the dangerous borders of their country. When asked by a journalist why help Cambodia, he replied, “When I needed people to come, they didn't. That's why I am here.” It demonstrated Elie’s resolve and will to prevent the next genocide from happening somewhere else.

By Elie Wiesel, Marion Wiesel (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Born into a Jewish ghetto in Hungary, as a child, Elie Wiesel was sent to the Nazi concentration camps at Auschwitz and Buchenwald. This is his account of that atrocity: the ever-increasing horrors he endured, the loss of his family and his struggle to survive in a world that stripped him of humanity, dignity and faith. Describing in simple terms the tragic murder of a people from a survivor's perspective, Night is among the most personal, intimate and poignant of all accounts of the Holocaust. A compelling consideration of the darkest side of human nature and the enduring power of…


Book cover of Ethel Rosenberg: An American Tragedy

Barron H. Lerner Author Of The Good Doctor: A Father, a Son, and the Evolution of Medical Ethics

From my list on the Julius and Ethel Rosenberg case.

Why am I passionate about this?

The executions of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg seem so distant that it is jarring for me to contemplate that I was born in 1960, only seven years after their deaths. Growing up Jewish, I often heard the Rosenberg case invoked as an example of anti-Semitism. But it was not until I was an undergraduate history major that I read the scholarly literature about the Rosenbergs and subscribed to the newsletter of the Committee to Reopen the Rosenberg Case. My ongoing interest in the case helps me remind students about two crucial points: ongoing historical scholarship gets us closer to the “truth” but we may never know what “actually” happened. Which is OK.

Barron's book list on the Julius and Ethel Rosenberg case

Barron H. Lerner Why did Barron love this book?

This 2021 book, the latest in the Rosenberg oeuvre, not only recounts the history of what happened to the Rosenbergs but chronicles past historical accounts. One of the most important legacies of this literature is to remind us how all events are historically grounded. The Schneirs wrote that the Rosenberg trial “was a product of its times, displaying in microcosm many of the prevalent sociopolitical assumptions and preoccupations of the day.” The same could be said of the books by the Schneirs, the Meeropols, and Doctorow, which viewed the Rosenbergs through the sympathetic prism of American progressivism of the 1960s and 1970s.

Sebba also explores the enduring mystery of the “single-minded” Ethel Rosenberg, a “tragic figure” who herself committed no espionage but orphaned her sons rather than naming names or implicating her husband.

By Anne Sebba,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'A heart-piercingly brilliant book about a woman whose personal life put her in the cross-hairs of history' HADLEY FREEMAN
'Totally riveting. I couldn't put it down' VICTORIA HISLOP
'Ethel sings out for all women who have been misunderstood and wronged, and refuse to bow down' NICHOLAS SHAKESPEARE
'A shocking tale of betrayal, naivety, misogyny and judicial failure' SONIA PURNELL
'A historic miscarriage of justice laid bare for our times' PHILIPPE SANDS

Ethel Rosenberg was a supportive wife, loving mother to two small children and courageous idealist who grew up during the Depression with aspirations to become an opera singer.

On…


Book cover of Red Sea Spies: The True Story of Mossad's Fake Diving Resort

Helen Fry Author Of Spymaster: The Man Who Saved Mi6

From my list on spies and their greatest stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

Helen is an ambassador for the Museum of Military Intelligence, President of the Friends of the National Archives, and a trustee of the Medmenham Collection. Her history of MI9 – the first such history for over 40 years – was shortlisted for The Duke of Wellington Medal for Military History 2021. Her latest book is ‘Spymaster: The Man Who Saved MI6’ about one of the greatest spies of the 20th century.

Helen's book list on spies and their greatest stories

Helen Fry Why did Helen love this book?

Who would have imagined that a fake diving resort on the Red Sea would become the focus of a clandestine operation by the Israeli intelligence service, Mossad? Raffi Berg’s book tells the epic story of a mission behind enemy lines by Israeli spies to secretly rescue thousands of Ethiopian Jews and bring them to Israel. It was a clandestine operation sparked by a single cryptic message pleading for help from the Ethiopian Jewish community. During his research, Raffi Berg was given rare permission to interview the Mossad agents involved in the mission, including the commander Dani. He also gathered testimonies from those who were brought out of Ethiopia and narrates this human story with honesty and openness.

Rare video footage of the operation has now been released. It uses night vision technology and provides deeply moving footage of the exodus of these people in the middle of the night to…

By Raffi Berg,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE TRUE STORY THAT INSPIRED THE NETFLIX FILM THE RED SEA DIVING RESORT.

'Secret missions, brazen deceptions and thrilling, clandestine operations - Red Sea Spies has it all. But it has something more important, too - a genuine human mission that made a difference.' David Hoffman, author of The Billion Dollar Spy

'[A] thrilling and meticulous account.' The Times

In the early 1980s on a remote part of the Sudanese coast, a new luxury holiday resort opened for business. Catering for divers, it attracted guests from around the world. Little did the holidaymakers know that the staff were undercover spies,…


Book cover of Soaring Underground: A Young Fugitive's Life in Nazi Berlin

Monica Porter Author Of Deadly Carousel: A Diva’s Exploits in Wartime Budapest

From my list on the Holocaust and the stories of victims and heroes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was 12 years old when, in Amsterdam on a family holiday, I was taken to see the Anne Frank House. Until then I knew very little about WW2, the Nazis, and the Holocaust. After viewing the ‘secret annexe’ my father bought me The Diary of Anne Frank, which was on sale there, and I started reading it in the car as we drove off. The book sparked my deep lifelong interest in that chapter of history. Many years later I discovered that my own mother also had an extraordinary wartime story. By then I was a journalist and knew I’d have to write a book about it—Deadly Carousel.  

Monica's book list on the Holocaust and the stories of victims and heroes

Monica Porter Why did Monica love this book?

This autobiography showed me that a tale of survival against the odds, in the most dangerous of times, can also be highly entertaining. To avoid deportation to the death camps, Jewish teenager Lothar Orbach assumes a fake Aryan identity and launches into a precarious underground existence in the heart of the Nazi empire, living off his wits, dodging the authorities and mixing with various shady characters. In my favourite episode, he and his hustler pal Tad meet two sex-starved teenage sisters, the daughters of a prominent Nazi family living in the elegant house of a deported Jewish professor. As the parents are away, Lothar and Tad move in and fulfil the girls’ lusty desires in return for homecooked meals…until the day they stuff two suitcases with food, clothes, alcohol and jewellery, and scarper back underground. Marvellous.

By Larry Orbach, Vivien Orbach-Smith,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Now in book form, this is the intensely moving first-person account of "the Auschwitz Memoirist's extraordinary manuscript" described in Philip Roth's Patrimony: A True Story.

This is the true story of a young man born at the wrong time in the wrong place. Lothar Orbach's family proudly traces its German heritage back to the fifteenth century, but that is no help to a Jewish boy coming of age in Hitler's Berlin.

At the center of this world gone mad is Lothar, outwardly a cagey, amoral street thug, inwardly a sensitive, romantic youth, devoted son, and increasingly religious Jew, clinging to…


Book cover of Desperate Journey: Vienna-Paris-Auschwitz

Monica Porter Author Of Deadly Carousel: A Diva’s Exploits in Wartime Budapest

From my list on the Holocaust and the stories of victims and heroes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was 12 years old when, in Amsterdam on a family holiday, I was taken to see the Anne Frank House. Until then I knew very little about WW2, the Nazis, and the Holocaust. After viewing the ‘secret annexe’ my father bought me The Diary of Anne Frank, which was on sale there, and I started reading it in the car as we drove off. The book sparked my deep lifelong interest in that chapter of history. Many years later I discovered that my own mother also had an extraordinary wartime story. By then I was a journalist and knew I’d have to write a book about it—Deadly Carousel.  

Monica's book list on the Holocaust and the stories of victims and heroes

Monica Porter Why did Monica love this book?

If Lothar Orbach survived in Berlin by creeping about in the shadows, Freddie did the opposite. This Viennese Jew brazenly entered the lion’s den of Nazi-occupied Paris and hobnobbed with the Wehrmacht. His true story is so amazing it would seem preposterous in a novel. Freddie left Austria after Hitler’s annexation of his country, and aged 20, with a false Aryan identity, he headed for the City of Lights. There he befriended Nazi soldiers and sold them his services as a guide to the red-light district, thereby earning commission from the nightspots and brothels to which he ushered them. "In reality I was a pimp," he writes. "But I didn’t consider it a situation I should be ashamed of. Because it saved my life." His luck ran out when a spurned lover betrayed him to the Gestapo, and he ended up in Auschwitz. Thankfully this remarkably resourceful man stayed alive…but…

By Freddie Knoller, John Landaw,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Freddie Knoller was so used to anti-semitism that he hardly questioned it, not since the day at school when, aged six years old, he punched a fellow pupil for shouting "Sans Jud" at him. November 9th 1938 the telephone rang: "The Synagogue is burning" Brownshirts entered the courtyard of the Knoller's apartment building. The crash of breaking windows, a scream and the body of a neighbour lay crumpled in the courtyard. Kristallnacht had come to the Knollers. This is the all too familiar background to Freddie Knoller's story of persecution, flight and the death camps of Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen. From…


Book cover of The Hero of Budapest: The Triumph and Tragedy of Raoul Wallenberg

Monica Porter Author Of Deadly Carousel: A Diva’s Exploits in Wartime Budapest

From my list on the Holocaust and the stories of victims and heroes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was 12 years old when, in Amsterdam on a family holiday, I was taken to see the Anne Frank House. Until then I knew very little about WW2, the Nazis, and the Holocaust. After viewing the ‘secret annexe’ my father bought me The Diary of Anne Frank, which was on sale there, and I started reading it in the car as we drove off. The book sparked my deep lifelong interest in that chapter of history. Many years later I discovered that my own mother also had an extraordinary wartime story. By then I was a journalist and knew I’d have to write a book about it—Deadly Carousel.  

Monica's book list on the Holocaust and the stories of victims and heroes

Monica Porter Why did Monica love this book?

For me (and not just because my family is Hungarian), Wallenberg’s story is the most heart-wrenching of all accounts of Holocaust heroism. He was the Swedish diplomat in Nazi-occupied Budapest who worked tirelessly to save Jewish lives, despite death threats to himself. He issued thousands of Swedish protection documents and set up Jewish safe-houses. One incident particularly brings a lump to my throat. Hearing of a death march of Jewish deportees, he drove to the Hungarian border to head it off. Clutching a bunch of Swedish passports, he ordered the Arrow Cross guards (Hungarian fascists) to stand aside whilst he searched for the Jews entitled to them. The suspicious guards surrounded him with pointed bayonets, but he shouted above their heads that he had passes for anyone who had ‘lost’ them. Hands were raised throughout the crowd. Wallenberg was so convincing that the SS officer in charge finally relented. The…

By Bengt Jangfeldt, Harry D. Watson (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The story of Raoul Wallenberg - the Swedish businessman who, at immense personal risk, rescued many of Budapest's Jews from the Holocaust and subsequently disappeared into the Soviet prison system - is one of the most fascinating episodes of World War II. Yet the complete story of his life and fate can only be told now - and for the first time in this book - following access to the Russian and Swedish archival sources, previously not used. Born into a wealthy Swedish family, Wallenberg was a moderately successful businessman when he was recruited by the War Refugee Board to…


Book cover of Behind the Bedroom Wall

Melissa W. Hunter Author Of What She Lost

From my list on coming-of-age that take place during the Holocaust.

Why am I passionate about this?

As the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, this subject has always been close to my heart. I devoured any book I could on the Holocaust growing up and pursued an education with a focus on Judaic studies and Holocaust Literature in college. One day when I was in my twenties, I sat down with my grandmother and an 8mm camera and recorded her life story. It is this account that I wrote about in What She Lost. Today, I feel the need for these accounts is of utmost importance because of the rise in antisemitism and the fact that so many of the survivors are no longer with us. May we never forget.

Melissa's book list on coming-of-age that take place during the Holocaust

Melissa W. Hunter Why did Melissa love this book?

As I was compiling this list, a memory of this book came to mind. I’ve read so many novels on the Holocaust and had other titles I was planning to recommend, yet I kept coming back to this book. I distinctly remembered where I was when I read it... in my childhood bedroom... and the fact that I finished it in one sitting. I vaguely recalled the plot, but the impression it left on me was so strong that I found myself researching the book once more. I was surprised to discover it was published in 1996 when I was 22 years old, since I thought I was younger when I read it. But as I reread the novel (again in one sitting), it was definitely the book from my memories.

The story is told from the point-of-view of a young girl named Korinna, who is a member of the…

By Laura E. Williams,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Behind the Bedroom Wall as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

It's 1942. Thirteen-year-old Korinna Rehme is an active member of her local Jungmadel, a Nazi youth group, along with many of her friends. She believes that Hitler is helping Germany by instituting a program to deal with what he calls the "Jewish problem," a program that she witnesses as her Jewish neighbors are attacked and taken from their homes. Korinna's parents, however, are members of a secret underground group providing a means of escape to the Jews of their city. Korinna is shocked to discover that they are hiding a refugee family behind the wall of her bedroom. But as…


Book cover of Legacy

Michael Smith Author Of No Man Dies Twice

From my list on spy thrillers by former members of MI6.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a former military intelligence officer who left the British Army to become a journalist, initially with the BBC, then with The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Times, working as a war correspondent in the Balkans, Afghanistan, and Iraq, and breaking a number of key stories, including the infamous Downing St Memos which exposed the truth about the intelligence that led to the 2003 war in Iraq. I have written a number of books on intelligence, including the UK number one bestseller Station X and the New York Times bestseller Killer Elite.

Michael's book list on spy thrillers by former members of MI6

Michael Smith Why did Michael love this book?

My selections are based on good writing and authenticity, even Fleming peppered his Bond books with elements of the real thing that no one but insiders would know, like ‘M’ writing his memos in green ink on blue notepaper. Alan Judd who served as a British army officer before joining MI6 has written a series of books about Charles Thoroughgood, a former army officer who like Judd himself ‒ his real name is Alan Petty ‒ then joined MI6. Every one of them is a gem, reeking of authenticity. A former colleague of Judd even told me that one of his books was based on a real case. He knew because he shared an office with the author at the time! Judd is by far the best of the current bunch!

By Alan Judd,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Charles Thorougood is an agent of MI6 working in London during the Cold War, with a young Soviet assistant. Unexpectedly he learns of a strange legacy left to him by his estranged father, the implications of which are much darker than expected at first. The first novel in a spy trilogy.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in intelligence services, the Holocaust, and the Gestapo?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about intelligence services, the Holocaust, and the Gestapo.

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The Gestapo Explore 27 books about the Gestapo