100 books like Four Soldiers

By Hubert Mingarelli,

Here are 100 books that Four Soldiers fans have personally recommended if you like Four Soldiers. 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 A War of Nerves: Soldiers and Psychiatrists in the Twentieth Century

Matthew Parker Author Of Monte Cassino: The Hardest Fought Battle of World War II

From my list on less-well-known books about World War 2.

Who am I?

As a Brit growing up in the 1970s, I was obsessed with the Second World War as a heroic narrative and my country’s ‘Finest Hour’. Then I went out on the road and interviewed hundreds of veterans of the Battle of Monte Cassino and learned a somewhat different story…

Matthew's book list on less-well-known books about World War 2

Matthew Parker Why did Matthew love this book?

It was working with the author on this book that first put me on to Monte Cassino – the whole place was one massive nervous breakdown. Compassionate but utterly unsentimental, Shephard tells the story of the very different diagnoses and treatments for what was called Shell Shock, then Battle Exhaustion, then PTSD. At its heart is the military doctor’s dilemma – the incompatibility of his role as healer and his obligation to get men back to the front. Nowhere else have I read such a vivid account of the effect of combat on the minds of soldiers.

By Ben Shephard,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A War of Nerves is a history of military psychiatry in the twentieth century-an authoritative, accessible account drawing on a vast range of diaries, interviews, medical papers, and official records, from doctors as well as ordinary soldiers. It reaches back to the moment when the technologies of modern warfare and the disciplines of psychological medicine first confronted each other on the Western Front, and traces their uneasy relationship through the eras of shell-shock, combat fatigue, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

At once absorbing historical narrative and intellectual detective story, A War of Nerves weaves together the literary, medical, and military lore…


Book cover of Shrapnel

Matthew Parker Author Of Monte Cassino: The Hardest Fought Battle of World War II

From my list on less-well-known books about World War 2.

Who am I?

As a Brit growing up in the 1970s, I was obsessed with the Second World War as a heroic narrative and my country’s ‘Finest Hour’. Then I went out on the road and interviewed hundreds of veterans of the Battle of Monte Cassino and learned a somewhat different story…

Matthew's book list on less-well-known books about World War 2

Matthew Parker Why did Matthew love this book?

Another link is that the highly-acclaimed author fought at Cassino. In my book, I tell how US servicemen in waterlogged fox-holes suffered terribly from ‘Trench Foot’. Wharton lifts the lid on how he and his fellow GIs did everything they could to get it as it meant being withdrawn from combat! Utterly unheroic, Wharton tells of the muddle, confusion, boredom, and exhaustion of frontline infantrymen – an account much closer to the stories I heard from veterans than almost anything else I’ve read.

By William Wharton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Author of such classic wartime novels as Birdy and A Midnight Clear, William Wharton was one of the most acclaimed writers of his generation. However, he was also a very private man—he wrote under a pseudonym and rarely gave interviews—so fans and critics could only speculate how much of his work was autobiographical and how much was fiction.

Now, for the first time, we are able to read the author's own account of his experiences during World War II—events that went on to influence some of his greatest works.

These are the tales that Wharton never wanted to tell his…


Book cover of To Die in Spring

Matthew Parker Author Of Monte Cassino: The Hardest Fought Battle of World War II

From my list on less-well-known books about World War 2.

Who am I?

As a Brit growing up in the 1970s, I was obsessed with the Second World War as a heroic narrative and my country’s ‘Finest Hour’. Then I went out on the road and interviewed hundreds of veterans of the Battle of Monte Cassino and learned a somewhat different story…

Matthew's book list on less-well-known books about World War 2

Matthew Parker Why did Matthew love this book?

German novelist Rothman tells the story of two young friends caught up in the death spiral of Nazism at the end of the war when they are forced to ‘volunteer’ for the Waffen-SS. Only recently translated into English, it is a masterpiece of precision and unsentimentality that packs a punch as brutal as almost any other war novel I know.

By Ralf Rothmann,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked To Die in Spring as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The lunacy of the final months of World War II, as experienced by a young German soldier

Distant, silent, often drunk, Walter Urban is a difficult man to have as a father. But his son―the narrator of this slim, harrowing novel―is curious about Walter’s experiences during World War II, and so makes him a present of a blank notebook in which to write down his memories. Walter dies, however, leaving nothing but the barest skeleton of a story on those pages, leading his son to fill in the gaps himself, rightly or wrongly, with what he can piece together of…


Book cover of The Singapore Grip

John Burgess Author Of A Woman of Angkor

From my list on fiction set in Southeast Asia throughout time.

Who am I?

I first saw Angkor, capital of the Khmer Empire, in 1969 as a teenager and was bowled over by the place. I kept coming back as a journalist and author. They say you should write about things that truly crank your engine, and I found mine—imperial conquest, Hindu and Buddhist spirituality, astounding architecture, and the lives of the millions of people who inhabited and built the place. I’ve now written three non-fiction books and two historical novels set in the civilization’s twelfth-century peak. The novels are an effort to recreate life in the old days. They draw heavily on my years in Southeast Asia, experiencing what life is like in the present day.

John's book list on fiction set in Southeast Asia throughout time

John Burgess Why did John love this book?

I love how this novel veers between the comic (the preening self-importance of a British family that runs a trading company) and the tragic (death and mayhem as Japanese troops set Singapore on fire in 1942). Father cynically manipulates markets; daughter carries on with unsuitable men; approved suitor arrives from Europe to reveal himself as an idealist who spouts praise for the League of Nations. You’ll learn a thing or two about how colonial companies of the time built enormous wealth by squeezing it from impoverished plantation workers, and how the war turned everything upside down.

By J. G. Farrell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NOW A MAJOR ITV DRAMA, THE SINGAPORE GRIP IS A MODERN CLASSIC FROM THE BOOKER-PRIZE WINNING J.G. FARRELL

'Brilliant, richly absurd, melancholy' Observer

'Enjoyable on many different levels' Sunday Times

'One of the most outstanding novelists of his generation' Spectator

Singapore, 1939: Walter Blackett, ruthless rubber merchant, is head of British Singapore's oldest and most powerful firm. And his family's prosperous world of tennis parties, cocktails and deferential servants seems unchanging. No one suspects it - but this world is poised on the edge of the abyss. This is the eve of the Fall of Singapore.

A love story and…


Book cover of Open Fire

Eva Seyler Author Of The War in Our Hearts

From my list on historical fiction books about WWI.

Who am I?

I’ve always loved history and historical stories, but like the majority of people, didn’t really know very much about WWI. That changed in early 2017 when I read The Zimmermann Telegram by Barbara W Tuchman. I immediately fell into a vortex of further reading, resulting in my writing The War in Our Hearts at the end of that year--because although there is a lot of great non-fiction out there about WWI, there aren’t nearly as many novels that quite scratched the itch I had for fiction…so I wrote the book I wanted to read!

Eva's book list on historical fiction books about WWI

Eva Seyler Why did Eva love this book?

This is a fantastic novel about a girl soldier in Russia who joins the Women’s Battalion of Death, during the time that the Russian Revolution was beginning and morale among male soldiers was flagging. The Russian army thought the men’s morale might be boosted if girls came along and gave the men a little competition. I love the camaraderie and amazing determination of these women to do their bit for their country.

By Amber Lough,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Open Fire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

A dramatic page-turner that captures the devastating toll of war and the impact of women's struggles and solidarity, through the lens of a little-known slice of history.

In 1917, Russia is losing the war with Germany, soldiers are deserting in droves, and food shortages on the home front are pushing people to the brink of revolution. Seventeen-year-old Katya is politically conflicted, but she wants Russia to win the war. Working at a munitions factory seems like the most she can do to serve her country―until the government begins recruiting an all-female army battalion. Inspired, Katya enlists. Training with other brave…


Book cover of Red Storm Rising

Chuck Barrett Author Of The Savannah Project

From my list on spy thrillers.

Who am I?

I cut my teeth loving the intrigue of the spy world. Days of old TV shows like Man from U.N.C.L.E. (the original not the remake). All the James Bond movies—old and new. As a child, I had a Man from U.N.C.L.E. spy kit, equipped with a miniature camera and all. It seemed only fitting that when I started writing, I stayed with what I loved. The espionage thriller genre has evolved over time to a more sophisticated, action-packed storyline…which is right up my alley.

Chuck's book list on spy thrillers

Chuck Barrett Why did Chuck love this book?

As a child I was fascinated with everything espionage. I read many authors from Ian Fleming to Stephen King, but when I read my first Tom Clancy novel, I was hooked. This was my genre! I read and read and ultimately, when I decided to write my first novel, this was the only choice. Red Strom Rising was the inauguration of that dream. It planted that seed. It had it all—espionage, intrigue, action, adventure, suspense—all key ingredients for the thriller genre.

By Tom Clancy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Tom Clancy's second classic No 1 bestselling thriller - a chillingly authentic vision of modern war - now reissued in a new cover.

Three Muslim terrorists who destroyed the Soviet Union's largest petrochemical plant thought they were striking a blow for freedom. What they had done, unknowingly, was fire the first shots in World War III.

Desperately short of oil, the Kremlin hawks see only one way of solving their problem: seize supplies in the Persian Gulf. To do that, they must first neutralise NATO's forces and eliminate their response - and so they develop Red Storm, a dazzling master…


Book cover of The Diamond Eye

Paul E. Kotz Author Of Start Late, Finish Happy: Random Encounters - Unexpected Joy

From my list on that capture the magic of seeing everyday good.

Who am I?

Every time I see a wonderful episode of life, I want to capture it in writing or tell a compelling story about it. Too often, we let the good memories go, and remember the difficult ones. So, I keep writing books that have a real—yet positive outlook that can ignite a smile out of someone—or a hearty laugh. In 2020, I published Profiles in Kindness—an award-winning CIPA/Reader's Choice Award for motivation & inspirational leadership. In 2018, I first released the CIPA Award-winning Something Happened Today, addressing seeing the goodness in everyday life even in the face of difficulties. 

Paul's book list on that capture the magic of seeing everyday good

Paul E. Kotz Why did Paul love this book?

A true story of a heroine who is a sharpshooter in WW II is not one that I would immediately gravitate to. But, she is complex and can compartmentalize her need to defend her country, while at the same time trying to live an ordinary life when not in the military. She meets up with U.S. dignitaries such as Eleanor Roosevelt and FDR, and charms them with her no-nonsense approach to life. It is a historical fiction piece based on a true story and has been a NY Times bestseller.

By Kate Quinn,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Diamond Eye as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The brand-new historical novel based on a true story from the bestselling author of The Rose Code and The Alice Network

In the snowbound city of Kiev, aspiring historian Mila Pavlichenko's life revolves around her young son - until Hitler's invasion of Russia changes everything. Suddenly, she and her friends must take up arms to save their country from the Fuhrer's destruction.

Handed a rifle, Mila discovers a gift - and months of blood, sweat and tears turn the young woman into a deadly sniper: the most lethal hunter of Nazis.

Yet success is bittersweet. Mila is torn from the…


Book cover of The International Brigades: Fascism, Freedom and the Spanish Civil War

Christopher Othen Author Of Franco's International Brigades: Adventurers, Fascists, and Christian Crusaders in the Spanish Civil War

From my list on international intervention Spanish Civil War.

Who am I?

Christopher Othen is the author of Franco’s International Brigades: Adventurers, Fascists, and Christian Crusaders in the Spanish Civil War (Hurst, 2013) and four other books on subjects such as French gangsters in Nazi Paris, mercenaries in post-colonial Africa, and political opposition to Islam in Europe and America. He lives in Eastern Europe and his day jobs have included journalist, legal representative for asylum seekers, and English language teacher. In off-the-clock adventures, he has interviewed retired mercenaries about forgotten wars and got drunk with an ex-mujahidin who knew Osama Bin Laden.

Christopher's book list on international intervention Spanish Civil War

Christopher Othen Why did Christopher love this book?

In 1936 an attempt by a coalition of reactionary army officers to overthrow the Spanish government outraged left-wingers around the world. By the start of the next year the International Brigades had been formed under the watchful eye of the Soviet Union to help the beleaguered Republic. At least 35,000 men from countries as diverse as Britain, China, Sweden, and Cuba fought and died on Spanish battlefields for a lost cause. Giles Tremlett’s expansive narrative history brings them vividly to life, with both their heroism and flaws, and shows why their struggle is still remembered today.

By Giles Tremlett,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Magnificent. Narrative history at its vivid and compelling best' Fergal Keane

The first major history of the International Brigades: a tale of blood, ideals and tragedy in the fight against fascism.

The Spanish Civil War was the first armed battle in the fight against fascism, and a rallying cry for a generation. Over 35,000 volunteers from sixty-one countries around the world came to defend democracy against the troops of Franco, Hitler and Mussolini.

Ill-equipped and disorderly, yet fuelled by a shared sense of purpose and potential glory, disparate groups of idealistic young men and women banded together to form a…


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.

Who am I?

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 The Orchard

Alina Adams Author Of My Mother's Secret: A Novel of the Jewish Autonomous Region

From my list on Soviet historical fiction which skips the cliches.

Who am I?

I was born in Odessa, USSR, a Southern Ukrainian city that many more people know now than when my family and I immigrated in 1977. Growing up in the US, everything I read about Soviet immigrants was either cliched, stereotyped, or plain wrong. A 1985 short film, Molly’s Pilgrim, about a (presumably Jewish) Soviet immigrant girl showed her wearing a native peasant costume and a scarf on her head which, for some reason, Americans insisted on calling a “babushka.” “Babushka” means “grandmother” in Russian. Why would you wear one of those on your head? I was desperate for more realistic portrayals. So I wrote my own. And the five books I picked definitely offer them.

Alina's book list on Soviet historical fiction which skips the cliches

Alina Adams Why did Alina love this book?

Mariza Kuznetsova (Something Unbelievable), Irina Reyn (Mother Country), and I all left the Soviet Union as children, before Putin and before all the changes he brought. Kristina Gorcheva-Newberry came of age in the new Russia. The Orchard is a tale of what our own lives might have been if our families had stayed. This loose retelling of Chekov zeroes in on how a childhood begun in the USSR and a young adulthood lived in Russia affected everyone who went through it, how it shaped worldviews, and how it continues to resonate even after decades of immigrant life in America.

By Kristina Gorcheva-Newberry,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Four teenagers grow inseparable in the last days of the Soviet Union—but not all of them will live to see the new world arrive in this powerful debut novel, loosely based on Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard.

“Spectacular . . . intensely evocative and gorgeously written . . . will fill readers’ eyes with tears and wonder.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune

Coming of age in the USSR in the 1980s, best friends Anya and Milka try to envision a free and joyful future for themselves. They spend their summers at Anya’s dacha just outside of Moscow, lazing in the apple orchard, listening…


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