100 books like Forever Nineteen

By Grigory Baklanov, Antonina W. Bouis (translator),

Here are 100 books that Forever Nineteen fans have personally recommended if you like Forever Nineteen. 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 Life and Fate

Paul Clark Author Of The Price of Dreams

From my list on life in the Soviet Union.

Why am I passionate about this?

At the age of 16, I briefly joined the International Socialists, a small British Trotskyist party. Though I soon became disillusioned, it was a formative experience that left me with a lifelong fascination with communism and the Soviet Union. Over the following decades, I read everything I could about the subject, both fiction and non-fiction. In the years after the fall of communism, the ideas that eventually culminated in the writing of this book began to form in my head.

Paul's book list on life in the Soviet Union

Paul Clark Why did Paul love this book?

Grossman consciously attempted to write the War and Peace of the Second World War, and in this panoramic masterpiece, he pulled it off. Like War and Peace, the book focuses both on the travails of a single family and the broader sweep of history, as we witness events from the perspective of persecuted Jewish scientists, soldiers (both Soviet and German), partisans, peasants, and generals.

This is an intensely personal work – Grossman covered the battle of Stalingrad for the Soviet press and knew his subject matter firsthand. Writing it was also an extremely courageous act. The KGB confiscated the manuscript and Grossman never lived to see the book published.

By Vasily Grossman,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Life and Fate as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Based around the pivotal WWII battle of Stalingrad (1942-3), where the German advance into Russia was eventually halted by the Red Army, and around an extended family, the Shaposhnikovs, and their many friends and acquaintances, Life and Fate recounts the experience of characters caught up in an immense struggle between opposing armies and ideologies. Nazism and Communism are appallingly similar, 'two poles of one magnet', as a German camp commander tells a shocked old Bolshevik prisoner. At the height of the battle Russian soldiers and citizens alike are at last able to speak out as they choose, and without reprisal…


Book cover of 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 Catch-22

Adam Kuper Author Of The Museum of Other People: From Colonial Acquisitions to Cosmopolitan Exhibitions

From my list on books that helped me to grow up.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in white South Africa, a racist, philistine, authoritarian, and puritanical society. The first four books I have chosen appeared in the 1950s, and I read them in my teens. Catch-22 was published in the ‘60s, but all five heroes–or anti-heroes–of these novels were of the same generation, about ten years my senior, so they were perfectly placed to be role models. They were rebels and mavericks, and except for Yossarian, they were all would-be writers. I recognised a kinship with them and took them as my guides into adulthood. And so I left for Paris and became a writer and an anthropologist. No regrets.

Adam's book list on books that helped me to grow up

Adam Kuper Why did Adam love this book?

This book is set during World War II. Captain John Yossarian, bombardier, has a hard time maintaining his sanity, let alone keeping alive. His crazed commander demands that the crew fly ever more dangerous missions. Yossarian realises a terrible truth: “The enemy is anybody who's going to get you killed, no matter which side he's on.” When men request leave because they are going crazy, the camp doctor explains the catch-22. "Anyone who wants to get out of combat duty isn't really crazy."

Yossarian’s predicament was more extreme, his adults more dangerous, but like my other big brothers, he insisted on doing things his way.

By Joseph Heller,

Why should I read it?

15 authors picked Catch-22 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Explosive, subversive, wild and funny, 50 years on the novel's strength is undiminished. Reading Joseph Heller's classic satire is nothing less than a rite of passage.

Set in the closing months of World War II, this is the story of a bombardier named Yossarian who is frantic and furious because thousands of people he has never met are trying to kill him. His real problem is not the enemy - it is his own army which keeps increasing the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service. If Yossarian makes any attempts to excuse himself from the…


Book cover of Every Man Dies Alone

L. Annette Binder Author Of The Vanishing Sky

From my list on German complicity and resistance in WW2.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born in Germany and came to the US as a small child. My parents spoke only German at home but rarely talked with me about their years in Germany. Years after my father had died, I came across a photograph of him wearing a Hitler Youth uniform. What I learned about his childhood and his family inspired much of my novel The Vanishing Sky. Though my novel is finished, I continue to read about the German experience of WW2 because it resonates for me personally and because the lessons it teaches us are still relevant today.

L. Annette's book list on German complicity and resistance in WW2

L. Annette Binder Why did L. Annette love this book?

Based on a true story, this novel focuses on Anna and Otto Quangel, a working-class married couple who begin to resist the Nazis after losing their only son in the fighting. The novel is dense, immersive, and rich with characters, ranging from rabid Nazi members to those opposing the murderous goals of the party and those in the middle trying to survive the regime. “Most people today are afraid, basically everyone, because they’re all up to something forbidden, one way or another, and are worried someone will get wind of it,” Quangel thinks to himself. Fallada wrote the novel in just twenty-four days while in a mental institution, and he died before it was published. A compelling read with characters that linger in the imagination.

By Hans Fallada, Michael Hofmann (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This never-before-translated masterpiece—by a heroic best-selling writer who saw his life crumble when he wouldn’t join the Nazi Party—is based on a true story.

It presents a richly detailed portrait of life in Berlin under the Nazis and tells the sweeping saga of one working-class couple who decides to take a stand when their only son is killed at the front. With nothing but their grief and each other against the awesome power of the Reich, they launch a simple, clandestine resistance campaign that soon has an enraged Gestapo on their trail, and a world of terrified neighbors and cynical…


Book cover of Germany and the Second World War: Volume IV: The Attack on the Soviet Union

David Stahel Author Of Operation Barbarossa and Germany's Defeat in the East

From my list on Operation Barbarossa.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was a young man reading my first books about the Second World War I was struck by the dimensions of Germany’s war in the East. Battles at El Alamein, Monte Cassino, and Normandy were familiar to me, but suddenly there emerged dozens of new battlefields in the East, most dwarfing the Anglo-American experience of the war, which I’d never heard of. My curiosity drove my reading and, as the saying goes, the more I knew, the more questions I had. Thirty years on, and ten books under my belt, has not yet satisfied that curiosity, but at least, thanks to Shepherd, I can share some of it.

David's book list on Operation Barbarossa

David Stahel Why did David love this book?

Admittedly, this is neither a cheap book nor a light read (it has 1,364 pages), but it remains a landmark work that no serious scholar of Operation Barbarossa can afford to ignore. As volume 4 of the semi-official German history of the war it concerns mainly German plans, operations, and occupation policies, although some sections do deal with Soviet responses as well as the early contributions of German allies to the invasion. It is the work of six German historians with generally even quality throughout, although the military chapters by Klink and Hoffmann are now somewhat dated. Overall, a work of superb scholarship.

By Horst Boog, Jurgen Forster, Joachim Hoffman , Ernst Klink , Rolf-Dieter Muller , Gerd R. Ueberschar , Ewald Osers (translator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Germany and the Second World War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Nine months after the beginning of the Second World War, German dominance over much of Europe seemed assured. Hitler not only stood on the pinnacle of his popularity in Germany but more than ever his ideological fixations and political calculations determined German war policy. This volume, the fourth in the acclaimed Germany and the Second World War series, examines the thinking behind the decision to go to war with the Soviet Union which was to prove the
undoing of the German war effort. The authors examine in revealing detail the military and political policies behind the attack on the Soviet…


Book cover of Hitlers Heerführer: Die Deutschen Oberbefehlshaber Im Krieg Gegen Die Sowjetunion 1941/42

David Stahel Author Of Operation Barbarossa and Germany's Defeat in the East

From my list on Operation Barbarossa.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was a young man reading my first books about the Second World War I was struck by the dimensions of Germany’s war in the East. Battles at El Alamein, Monte Cassino, and Normandy were familiar to me, but suddenly there emerged dozens of new battlefields in the East, most dwarfing the Anglo-American experience of the war, which I’d never heard of. My curiosity drove my reading and, as the saying goes, the more I knew, the more questions I had. Thirty years on, and ten books under my belt, has not yet satisfied that curiosity, but at least, thanks to Shepherd, I can share some of it.

David's book list on Operation Barbarossa

David Stahel Why did David love this book?

I realise few people reading this list will have the ability to read German, but if you indulge me in one German title—if only to promote its eventual translation to English—it would be Johannes Hürter’s majestic book about the leading German generals in Operation Barbarossa. He covers 25 of the most important commanders and it is without doubt one of the best books ever written about the German army in the Second World War. The research is impeccable and the analysis is first-rate. 

By Johannes Hurter,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Wehrmacht in der NS-Diktatur

Über die Wehrmacht im Vernichtungskrieg gegen die Sowjetunion ist viel geschrieben und gestritten worden. Jedoch wusste man bisher wenig über jene höchsten Generale, die das deutsche Heer auf Befehl Hitlers nach Osten führten, unter ihnen so bekannte Namen wie Bock, Guderian, Kluge, Manstein und Rundstedt. Was dachten und wie handelten die Oberbefehlshaber der Heeresgruppen und Armeen, die über Leben und Tod von vielen Millionen Soldaten und Zivilisten zu entscheiden hatten? Johannes Hürter zeichnet erstmals ein genaues Porträt dieser militärischen Elite und darüber hinaus das Panorama eines beispiellosen Feldzugs, in dem traditionelles Kriegshandwerk und nationalsozialistischer Rassenwahn eine…


Book cover of Thunder in the East: The Nazi-Soviet War 1941-1945

David Stahel Author Of Operation Barbarossa and Germany's Defeat in the East

From my list on Operation Barbarossa.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was a young man reading my first books about the Second World War I was struck by the dimensions of Germany’s war in the East. Battles at El Alamein, Monte Cassino, and Normandy were familiar to me, but suddenly there emerged dozens of new battlefields in the East, most dwarfing the Anglo-American experience of the war, which I’d never heard of. My curiosity drove my reading and, as the saying goes, the more I knew, the more questions I had. Thirty years on, and ten books under my belt, has not yet satisfied that curiosity, but at least, thanks to Shepherd, I can share some of it.

David's book list on Operation Barbarossa

David Stahel Why did David love this book?

The final recommendation I’d make is only partly related to Operation Barbarossa, but deserves inclusion in that discussion as well as the wider coverage of the war (for those seeking to go further). Mawdsley covers the war from many angles (economic, political, military as well as the experience of occupation) and provides insightful analysis for each turn of events. The endnotes and bibliography are exhaustive, providing a useful guide for whatever subject of interest a reader exploring the vast historiography of the Nazi-Soviet war might have. A first-rate read for both Operation Barbarossa and the wider war in the East.

By Evan Mawdsley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The battles in Russia played the decisive part in Hitler's defeat. Gigantic, prolonged, and bloody, they contrasted with the general nature of the fighting on other fronts. The Russians fought on their own in "their" theater of war and with an indepedent strategy. Stalinist Russia was a country radically different from its liberal democratic allies. Hitler and the German high command, for their part, conceived and carried out the Russian campaign as a singular "war of annihilation." This riveting new book is a penetrating, broad-ranging, yet concise overview of this vast conflict. It investigates the Wehrmacht and the Red Army…


Book cover of Factory and Manager in the USSR

Mark Harrison Author Of Secret Leviathan: Secrecy and State Capacity under Soviet Communism

From my list on working inside Soviet communism.

Why am I passionate about this?

I visited Moscow for the first time in 1964. The Cold War was in full swing. I was still at school, learning beginners' Russian. I returned a few years later as a graduate student. By this point I was hopelessly infected with an incurable and progressive disease: curiosity about the Soviet Union under communism. I was full of questions, many of which could not be answered for decades, until communist rule collapsed. Becoming a professional scholar, I spent the next half-century studying the history, economics, and politics of communist societies. The biggest obstacle was always secrecy, so it seems fitting that the system of secrecy is the topic of my most recent book.

Mark's book list on working inside Soviet communism

Mark Harrison Why did Mark love this book?

This is one of two books I kept by my bedside during my three years as head of an academic department.

It taught me how building a network of peers and a loyal team of subordinates are keys to survival under a suspicious boss. Berliner based his work on hundreds of interviews of managers who left the Soviet Union before, during, and after World War II. From a scholarly point of view, the book contains astonishing detail and insights from the inside of the Soviet system in its most secretive and repressive period. 

Book cover of Ivan's War: Life and Death in the Red Army, 1939-1945

Harold J. Goldberg Author Of D-Day in the Pacific: The Battle of Saipan

From my list on on World War II according to my students.

Why am I passionate about this?

In 1974 I started my full-time teaching career at a small liberal arts college and realized how much I love teaching and discussing historical events with students. With Russian and Soviet history as my areas of specialization, expanding my course offerings to include World War II was a natural addition. My World War II class became extremely popular and led to demands that I take students to Europe to visit many of the places we discussed in class. Every summer for about ten years I led study-abroad trips to England, France, and Germany. Watching student reactions to Omaha Beach and the American Cemetery made every trip worthwhile.

Harold's book list on on World War II according to my students

Harold J. Goldberg Why did Harold love this book?

Merridale uses archival material and interviews with Soviet war veterans to personalize the war on the Eastern Front. This work moves beyond the number of combatants and tanks to focus on real life at the frontlines. She talks about issues that help the reader “feel” the war: what did soldiers eat given the well-known shortages and privations throughout the USSR; how did soldiers get warm clothes and boots; how did they obtain ammunition and artillery shells and new guns despite the long supply lines; was stealing accepted in the army; what behaviors were tolerated and which ones were punished; how did hierarchy allow officers to get first choice of captured enemy equipment. She reveals how officers might not report all the dead in their unit so they would not lose the lost soldier’s food ration. While Alexander Werth’s Russia at War provides a sweeping view of Soviet organization, suffering, and…

By Catherine Merridale,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Ivan's War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A powerful, groundbreaking narrative of the ordinary Russian soldier's experience of the worst war in history, based on newly revealed sources.

Of the thirty million who fought in the eastern front of World War II, eight million died, driven forward in suicidal charges, shattered by German shells and tanks. They were the men and women of the Red Army, a ragtag mass of soldiers who confronted Europe's most lethal fighting force and by 1945 had defeated it. Sixty years have passed since their epic triumph, but the heart and mind of Ivan -- as the ordinary Russian soldier was called…


Book cover of All Hell Let Loose: The World at War 1939-1945

Glyn Harper Author Of The Battle for North Africa: El Alamein and the Turning Point for World War II

From my list on Great WW2 books published after 2000.

Why am I passionate about this?

Glyn Harper has been researching and writing military history for over forty years. He is the author of numerous best-selling books on military history and is also an award-winning author of books for children and young adults. A former army officer, Glyn is New Zealand’s only Professor of War Studies.

Glyn's book list on Great WW2 books published after 2000

Glyn Harper Why did Glyn love this book?

Max Hastings is the author of more than thirty books, many of them about the Second World War. All Hell Let Loose describes the Second World War in considerable detail but focuses on the human experience of what it was like to be a participant in this critical period of history. For its breadth, its power of expression, and penetrating analysis, this book is unsurpassed. There are many excellent single-volume studies of the Second World War, but I rate this as one of the very best.

By Max Hastings,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked All Hell Let Loose as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A magisterial history of the greatest and most terrible event in history, from one of the finest historians of the Second World War. A book which shows the impact of war upon hundreds of millions of people around the world- soldiers, sailors and airmen; housewives, farm workers and children.

Reflecting Max Hastings's thirty-five years of research on World War II, All Hell Let Loose describes the course of events, but focuses chiefly upon human experience, which varied immensely from campaign to campaign, continent to continent.

The author emphasises the Russian front, where more than 90% of all German soldiers who…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the Soviet Union, Operation Barbarossa, and philosophy?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the Soviet Union, Operation Barbarossa, and philosophy.

The Soviet Union Explore 327 books about the Soviet Union
Operation Barbarossa Explore 6 books about Operation Barbarossa
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