100 books like Helmet for My Pillow

By Ross Leckie,

Here are 100 books that Helmet for My Pillow fans have personally recommended if you like Helmet for My Pillow. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa

Will McLean Greeley Author Of A Connecticut Yankee Goes to Washington: Senator George P. McLean, Birdman of the Senate

From my list on inspiring biographies.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in West Michigan, with a deep interest in American history, politics, and birds. Since boyhood I’ve wanted to learn the life story of my great-great uncle, Senator George P. McLean, who is credited with leading passage of the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The MBTA represents a turning point in how the world views and now protects birds and the environment generally. Drawing upon my love of history, my degree in political science from the University of Michigan and a master's degree in Archives Administration, I spent over a year researching McLean’s life story. Thus began my four-year research and writing journey culminating in A Connecticut Yankee Goes to Washington. 

Will's book list on inspiring biographies

Will McLean Greeley Why did Will love this book?

This is a World War II memoir by United States Marine Eugene Sledge, first published in 1981. 

It is a powerful depiction of war, honest and authentic, describing what it was like to fight in some of the fiercest battles of World War II. The writing is vivid and gripping, sometimes humorous, but mostly reflective of the horrors of war. There is a very refreshing “non-commercial” tone to the narrative.

Sledge originally wrote this as a private memoir for his immediate family, a way to finally tell them what he could never verbalize in person. Sledge’s passion comes through on every page, a reminder that the best books come from the heart.  

By E.B. Sledge,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked With the Old Breed as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The inspiration behind the HBO series THE PACIFIC

This was a brutish, primitive hatred, as characteristic of the horror of war in the Pacific as the palm trees and the islands...

Landing on the beach at Peleliu in 1944 as a twenty-year-old new recruit to the US Marines, Eugene Sledge can only try desperately to survive. At Peleliu and Okinawa - two of the fiercest and filthiest Pacific battles of WWII - he witnesses the dehumanising brutality displayed by both sides and the animal hatred that each soldier has for his enemy.

During temporary lapses in the fighting, conditions on…

Book cover of Day of Infamy: The Classic Account of the Bombing of Pearl Harbor

Angel Giacomo Author Of The Jackson MacKenzie Chronicles: In the Eye of the Storm

From my list on war that go beyond the battles.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a retired police officer, except I don’t write about law enforcement. I write about the military. My degree is in Political Science and History. I am a meticulous researcher. My emphasis has been on the Vietnam War. My father served in both the U.S. Navy and the Army National Guard. One of my great uncles served in Africa during WWII. His brother during the Occupation of Germany. I have a step-uncle who spent time as a POW in Laos during the Vietnam War. My step-father served in the Army National Guard, and my step-brother in the U.S. Army, Korea and Ft. Hood.

Angel's book list on war that go beyond the battles

Angel Giacomo Why did Angel love this book?

I got this book as a teenager. As a WWII history buff, I read it cover to cover so many times that the cover wore off. This is a complete account of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941. From the workers dipping soup with their oily hands to eat on breaks while trying to free men from the capsized USS Oklahoma to the use of coke bottles to store donor blood, it is a gritty account of the bravery of the U.S. forces caught by surprise by the attack. While newer books on Pearl Harbor have been published, this one is still my favorite.

By Walter Lord,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Day of Infamy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A special 60th anniversary edition of the bestselling re-creation of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, by the author of A Night to Remember.

Sunday, December 7, 1941, was, as President Roosevelt said, "a date which will live in infamy." Day of Infamy is a fascinating account of that unforgettable day's events. In brilliant detail Walter Lord traces the human drama of the great attack: the spies behind it; the Japanese pilots; the crews on the stricken warships; the men at the airfields and the bases; the Japanese pilot who captured an island single-handedly when he could not get back…

Book cover of Guadalcanal Diary

Johnnie M. Clark Author Of Guns Up!: A Firsthand Account of the Vietnam War

From my list on war and the Marines.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a combat Marine, I believe these books honor the brave men who served and died for America. I joined the Marine Corps at 17 years of age after graduating from St. Petersburg High School. I served as a machine gunner with the famed 5th Marine Regiment during the Tet Offensive in Vietnam. I was wounded 3 times by mortar round, grenade, and gunshot. I've written nine books around these subjects as well as an off-Broadway stage play titled The Battle For Nong Son. Many of my books are recommended reading for all newly commissioned officers at The Basic School. I am the recipient of the U.S. Marine Corps Combat Correspondents Association Brigadier General Robert L. Denig Memorial Distinguished Service Award for writing, as well as the Silver Star, 3 Purple Hearts, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm, the Civil Action Combat Medal, and the Marine Combat Ribbon among other decorations.

Johnnie's book list on war and the Marines

Johnnie M. Clark Why did Johnnie love this book?

Written by a war correspondent who landed on Guadalcanal with the Marines, this book is another must-read for history buffs and every Marine. It is an accurate story of this critical and now legendary battle. 

By Richard Tregaskis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This celebrated classic gives a soldier's-eye-view of the Guadalcanal battles--crucial to World War II, the war that continues to fascinate us all, and to military history in general. Unlike some of those on Guadalcanal in the fall of 1942, Richard Tregaskis volunteered to be there. An on-location news correspondent (at the time, one of only two on Guadalcanal), he lived alongside the soldiers: sleeping on the ground--only to be awoken by air raids--eating the sometimes meager rations, and braving some of the most dangerous battlefields of World War II. He more than once narrowly escaped the enemy's fire, and so…

Book cover of Twilight of the Gods

Daniel Hammel Author Of Two Flags Over Iwo Jima: Solving the Mystery of the U.S. Marine Corps' Proudest Moment

From my list on the war in the Pacific 1941-1945.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am Daniel Hammel and my father Eric Hammel was a prolific author and military historian. He specialized in the Marine Corps and specifically World War II. Though he has passed, several of these books, especially Day of Infamy, inspired him to become an author, where he wrote over 40 books. This list is an ode to my father, Eric, and to his many accomplishments.

Daniel's book list on the war in the Pacific 1941-1945

Daniel Hammel Why did Daniel love this book?

The third and final book of the epic Pacific War Trilogy, Twilight of the Gods is the story of the crushing of the once venerable Japanese Empire. At just under 800 pages the book describes in the great detail the coming apocalypse for the Japanese war machine. While 1943 was pivotal with the war in the Pacific having essentially been won by the Allies, it was 1944 and 1945 where the real murder of empire happened. In these two years of horrendous fighting, hundreds of thousands died for what was clearly a lost cause. The Japanese tried one last time at the Battle of Leyte Gulf, but were massacred by the incredible might of the U.S. Navy and combined forces. Toll brings the reader into the little details of the war, and how they affected everything.

By Ian W. Toll,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In June 1944, the United States launched a crushing assault on the Japanese navy in the Battle of the Philippine Sea. The capture of the Mariana Islands and the accompanying ruin of Japanese carrier airpower marked a pivotal moment in the Pacific War. No tactical masterstroke or blunder could reverse the increasingly lopsided balance of power between the two combatants. The War in the Pacific had entered its endgame.

Beginning with the Honolulu Conference, when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt met with his Pacific theater commanders to plan the last phase of the campaign against Japan, Twilight of the Gods brings…

Book cover of The Cruel Sea

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by "sea stories" since I could read, maybe before. I was born in Liverpool, my dad was in the navy, my family ran an 18th-century inn named the Turk’s Head after a nautical knot, and I’ve directed or written more than twenty films, plays, and novels with the sea as their setting. But they’re not really about the sea. For me, the sea is a mirror to reflect the human condition, a theatre for all the human dramas I can imagine. More importantly, I’ve read over a hundred sea stories for research and pleasure, and those I’ve chosen for you are the five I liked best.

Seth's book list on books about the sea that aren’t just about sailing on it, or fighting on it, or drowning in it, but are really about the human condition

Seth Hunter Why did Seth love this book?

I love this book because it’s the best book I’ve ever read about love at a time of war.

Put simply, this is the story of an escort ship during the Battle of the Atlantic in WW2, but there’s nothing simple about it. Montserrat uses the sea and the ever-present danger of the U-boats as a monstrous vice to squeeze blood onto the page.

All the hopes and fears of his characters, their passions and guilts, their love of life, and of their male comrades and the women they leave behind them. It’s all there under the magnifying lens of the war at sea, and of all five books, this is the best about the sea itself, the all-pervasive, relentless leviathan that rages and roars and rampages across every page.

By Nicholas Monsarrat,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Cruel Sea as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Based on the author's own vivid experiences, The Cruel Sea is the nail-biting story of the crew of HMS Compass Rose, a corvette assigned to protect convoys in World War Two.

Darting back and forth across the icy North Atlantic, Compass Rose played a deadly cat and mouse game with packs of German U-boats lying in wait beneath the ocean waves.

Packed with tension and vivid descriptions of agonizing U-boat hunts, this tale of the most bitter and chilling campaign of the war tells of ordinary, heroic men who had to face a brutal menace which would strike without warning…

Book cover of Iron Coffins: A Personal Account of the German U-Boat Battles of World War II

Taylor Zajonc Author Of The Wrecking Crew

From my list on rogue submarines and underwater mayhem.

Why am I passionate about this?

My fascination with underwater adventure began as a teenager, when I accompanied a Russian expedition to the deepest archaeological site on the planet. I descended three miles deep into the Bermuda Triangle aboard a Soviet-era submersible to explore a mysterious wooden shipwreck inadvertently discovered during the search for astronaut Gus Grissom’s lost space capsule Liberty Bell 7. Since then, I’ve contributed to a number of historic shipwreck discoveries, including World War II treasure ships, lost Nazi U-Boats, Admiral Balchen’s HMS Victory, and the treasure steamship SS Connaught. These adventures and others serve as the inspiration for my novels.

Taylor's book list on rogue submarines and underwater mayhem

Taylor Zajonc Why did Taylor love this book?

Brilliantly told and deeply tragic, Iron Coffins recounts the Battle of the Atlantic from the firsthand perspective of one of the few surviving German submarine captains.

Herbert A. Werner’s service took him on multiple tours, including the Mediterranean and various battlegrounds in the Atlantic, where he sank ships, dodged sub hunters, and watched the Third Reich crumble, all the while as his personal losses and wartime guilt mounted.

By Herbert A. Werner,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Iron Coffins as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The former German U-boat commander Herbert Werner navigates readers through the waters of World War II, recounting four years of the most significant and savage battles. By war's end, 28,000 out of 39,000 German sailors had disappeared beneath the waves.

Book cover of The U-Boat War: A Global History 1939-45

Arthur W. Gullachsen Author Of Bloody Verrières: The I. SS-Panzerkorps Defence of the Verrières-Bourguebus Ridges: Volume II: The Defeat of Operation Spring and the Battles of Tilly-la-Campagne, 23 July–5 August 1944

From my list on the First and Second World Wars.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a lifetime interest in military events of the First and Second World Wars, and my current status as an Associate Professor teaching military history within the Royal Military College of Canada’s RMC History Department allows me to live my dream of exploring past conflicts for a living. I am currently also a contracted author at Casemate Publishing of Havertown, PA, and I am very lucky to have this company support me and publish my work.

Arthur's book list on the First and Second World Wars

Arthur W. Gullachsen Why did Arthur love this book?

The majority of books written about the German U-boat naval campaign in the Second World War focus on the Battle of the Atlantic.

A new approach by Lawrence Paterson challenges this narrative and makes the argument that the German U-boat Wolfpacks fought a truly global naval campaign, one that occurred during the entire wartime period 1939-1945.

Paterson also makes the argument that the operations by the U-Boats were not separate from the activities of other German service branches, but in concert with them to attain larger strategic goals.

He concludes that the ultimate failure of the U-Boats was due to this overreaching global strategy, combined with the impact of overpowering Allied anti-submarine warfare resources directed against them.

By Lawrence Paterson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The accepted historical narrative of the Second World War predominantly assigns U-boats to the so-called 'Battle of the Atlantic', almost as if the struggle over convoys between the new world and the old can be viewed in isolation from simultaneous events on land and in the air. This has become an almost accepted error. The U-boats war did not exist solely between 1940 and 1943, nor did the Atlantic battle occur in seclusion from other theatres of action. The story of Germany's second U-boat war began on the first day of hostilities with Britain and France and ended with the…

Book cover of The U-boat War

Lawrence Paterson Author Of Schnellboote: A Complete Operational History

From my list on U-boats that aren't Das Boot.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been writing non-fiction Second World War history books since 2000 and just recently had my twenty-first published by Osprey. Most deal with aspects of the history of Germany’s U-boats. Though I have had a lifelong interest in military history, the desire to write about this topic began while living near Brest in Brittany, France. I am a scuba diving instructor and spent a great deal of time diving on wrecks left behind by the Kriegsmarine, all in the shadow of the huge U-boat bunkers created in Brest’s military harbour. Encouraged by authors Jon Gawne and Robert Strauss I submitted the proposal for the First U-Boat Flotilla to Pen & Sword in 2000…and it went from there. 

Lawrence's book list on U-boats that aren't Das Boot

Lawrence Paterson Why did Lawrence love this book?

Related to Das Boot this may be (same author, same boat as within the novel) but this is a factual photographic essay of photos taken by Buchheim, predominantly aboard U96 during August-September 1941 as a member of the Propaganda Company. The photographs show life as it actually was in the North Atlantic on patrol, and end with shots taken aboard U309 as it escaped Brest in August 1944 and was involved in the rescue of crew from U981 which sank after hitting a mine with twelve crewmen killed.

This is, quite simply, a brilliant and evocative set of photographs. Buchheim was part of the propaganda machine that he so vocally lambasted in his later years, and, talking to U-boat veterans, opinions of him as a human being were extremely polarised. However, there can be no doubt about his mastery of the visual medium.

By Lothar-Gunther Buchheim,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Chronicles submarine warfare in the North Atlantic during the Second World War, and describes the battles above and below the surface

Book cover of Das Boot

Kevin J. Glynn Author Of Voyage of Reprisal

From my list on epic sea voyages filled with drama and conflict.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been a fan of history. As a journalist by education and an investigator by trade, I love to carefully research my settings and weave original fictional plots through actual history in a seamless manner that both entertains and informs the reader. I also appreciate the need for compelling characters, page-turning plots, conflict, and tension to keep readers engaged. I have a long-term fascination with piracy, privateering, and exploration during the early age of sail. I am also attracted to Elizabethan England and the Renaissance period with its ideological struggles. I really love a good sea story, and who doesn’t? Enjoy my reading list!   

Kevin's book list on epic sea voyages filled with drama and conflict

Kevin J. Glynn Why did Kevin love this book?

This book is a gritty, realistic fiction novel about a WWII German U-boat captain and crew facing immense challenges from the elements and the enemy while attempting to sink as many allied merchant ships as possible before running out of torpedoes or being destroyed. I particularly appreciated a view of war from “the other side” and details of life aboard a cramped submarine in wartime. The book is a timeless exploration of the privations faced by seamen who dare to wage war at sea. The tragic ending mirrors reality and adds irony and pathos to the story. I found this to be a page-turner that was very hard to put down once started.      

By Lothar-Günther Buchheim,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Filled with almost unbearable tension and excitement, DAS BOOT is one of the best stories ever written about war, a supreme novel of the Second World War and an acclaimed film and TV drama.

It is autumn 1941 and a German U-boat commander and his crew set out on yet another hazardous patrol in the Battle of the Atlantic. Over the coming weeks they must brave the stormy waters of the Atlantic in their mission to seek out and destroy British supply ships. But the tide is beginning to turn against the Germans in the war for the North Atlantic.…

Book cover of War Beneath the Sea: Submarine Conflict During World War II

Melvyn Fickling Author Of Falcons

From my list on the Siege of Malta and the Mediterranean War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was seeking a direction for the third novel in the Bluebird series and my dates led me to Malta. Even as an avid reader of history, I knew shockingly little about the island’s tortuous punishment at the hands of Axis air forces. After much reading I was compelled to visit Malta myself, to tour the locations I would use, and ensure my fiction reflected the character of the landscape and the nature of the people that defended it so doggedly. Standing at Ta’Qali, where an airfield received in one single raid the same tonnage of bombs that crippled Coventry, I felt I’d been given permission.  

Melvyn's book list on the Siege of Malta and the Mediterranean War

Melvyn Fickling Why did Melvyn love this book?

Malta operated a small fleet of submarines from Manoel Island in Valletta’s north harbour. Painted cobalt for camouflage, they were kept submerged at their moorings to avoid enemy attention. Padfield’s book is a huge tour de force that details all aspects of the Mediterranean campaign together with all the other major submarine campaigns during the second world war. We learn about the submarine arms of Britain, America, Japan, and Italy, as well as the anti-submarine measures deployed by all sides. First-hand accounts, from submariners at the sharp end to the decision-makers in dusty ministry offices, are used to embellish this technically definitive account of the cloak and dagger world of underwater warfare.

By Peter Padfield,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The first book to cover the major submarine campaigns in all the WWII theatres.

The canvas is broad and deep, from the strategic perspective at the top to the cramped and claustrophobic life of the crews in their submersible steel tubes; from the feats of ‘ace’ commanders to the terrifying experiences of men under attack in this most pitiless form of warfare.

War Beneath the Sea describes the technical and tactical measures by which the Western Allies countered Admiral Karl Dönitz’s U-boat ‘pack’ attacks in the all-important North Atlantic battle; the fanatical zeal with which, even after defeat, Dönitz continued…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in naval warfare, the Pacific Ocean, and the Pearl Harbor attack?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about naval warfare, the Pacific Ocean, and the Pearl Harbor attack.

Naval Warfare Explore 36 books about naval warfare
The Pacific Ocean Explore 51 books about the Pacific Ocean
The Pearl Harbor Attack Explore 24 books about the Pearl Harbor attack