100 books like I Worked Alone

By Lily Sergueiew,

Here are 100 books that I Worked Alone fans have personally recommended if you like I Worked Alone. 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 London Cage: The Secret History of Britain's World War II Interrogation Centre

Mary Kathryn Barbier Author Of Spies, Lies, and Citizenship: The Hunt for Nazi Criminals

From my list on WW2 intelligence history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor at Mississippi State University and a historian of World War II in general and, more specifically, of WWII intelligence history. My interest stems from a research topic that my Ph.D. advisor recommended and that became the subject of my dissertation – Operation Fortitude, which was the deception plan that provided cover for the Normandy Invasion. While my own research interests are focused on the intelligence history of the Normandy invasion, I am increasingly drawn to intelligence history or novels that showcase the people, technologies, and other theaters of war.

Mary's book list on WW2 intelligence history

Mary Kathryn Barbier Why did Mary love this book?

Intelligence was collected in multiple ways by all sides during World War II. The British housed German prisoners at a site called the London Cage, which was located in an upper-class London neighborhood. The London Cage was later used as a Nazi war criminal detention site. While in residence, the German prisoners underwent interrogation, in some cases what we would now call “enhanced interrogation” and in others while under the influence of “truth drugs.” As Fry’s book reveals, the post-9/11 “enhanced interrogations” were not the first of its kind. I recommend this book because it demonstrates the lengths to which governments, in this case the British government, would go during wartime to gather actionable intelligence about an enemy.

By Helen Fry,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The first complete account of the fiercely guarded secrets of London's clandestine interrogation center, operated by the British Secret Service from 1940 to 1948

Behind the locked doors of three mansions in London's exclusive Kensington Palace Gardens neighborhood, the British Secret Service established a highly secret prison in 1940: the London Cage. Here recalcitrant German prisoners of war were subjected to "special intelligence treatment." The stakes were high: the war's outcome could hinge on obtaining information German prisoners were determined to withhold. After the war, high-ranking Nazi war criminals were housed in the Cage, revamped as an important center for…


Book cover of Destination Casablanca: Exile, Espionage, and the Battle for North Africa in World War II

Mary Kathryn Barbier Author Of Spies, Lies, and Citizenship: The Hunt for Nazi Criminals

From my list on WW2 intelligence history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor at Mississippi State University and a historian of World War II in general and, more specifically, of WWII intelligence history. My interest stems from a research topic that my Ph.D. advisor recommended and that became the subject of my dissertation – Operation Fortitude, which was the deception plan that provided cover for the Normandy Invasion. While my own research interests are focused on the intelligence history of the Normandy invasion, I am increasingly drawn to intelligence history or novels that showcase the people, technologies, and other theaters of war.

Mary's book list on WW2 intelligence history

Mary Kathryn Barbier Why did Mary love this book?

This is an exciting new book by Meredith Hindley. Instead of Humphrey Bogart and Rick’s Café, this book features interesting real people, such as the famous singer Josephine Baker, who, although not members of armed forces, still did their part to help the Allied cause. After conducting extensive research in archives and secondary sources, Hindley crafted an engaging narrative in which she connects exiles who gathered information about the Germans with the fight for control of North Africa and the Mediterranean. I recommend this book because it provides a human dimension to the story of the Battle for North Africa.

By Meredith Hindley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the summer of 1940, following France's surrender to Germany, Casablanca was transformed from an exotic travel destination to a key military target. Nazi agents and collaborators soon overran the city looking to capitalize on the new Vichy regime. The resistance was not far behind, as bartenders, shopkeepers, taxi drivers, celebrities, and disgruntled bureaucrats formed a network of Allied spies. Meanwhile, Jewish refugees from Europe flooded the city, hoping to obtain visas to the United States and beyond.

In November 1942, Casablanca's wartime fate changed in 74 hours, when 33,000 American soldiers stormed the beaches of French Morocco as part…


Book cover of The Message

Mary Kathryn Barbier Author Of Spies, Lies, and Citizenship: The Hunt for Nazi Criminals

From my list on WW2 intelligence history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor at Mississippi State University and a historian of World War II in general and, more specifically, of WWII intelligence history. My interest stems from a research topic that my Ph.D. advisor recommended and that became the subject of my dissertation – Operation Fortitude, which was the deception plan that provided cover for the Normandy Invasion. While my own research interests are focused on the intelligence history of the Normandy invasion, I am increasingly drawn to intelligence history or novels that showcase the people, technologies, and other theaters of war.

Mary's book list on WW2 intelligence history

Mary Kathryn Barbier Why did Mary love this book?

The Message is a novel about five codebreakers and one traitor. Set in China during World War II when the Chinese resistance challenged the Japanese backed puppet government, this is a complex counterintelligence novel, written by a Chinese storyteller, who is no stranger to the Chinese intelligence services. By telling the same story from two different perspectives, Mai Jia, as a colleague recently suggested, intentionally problematized the truth because both versions were plausible. I recommend this book because it provides insight into the multilayered intelligence story of wartime China, it is one of the few books on this topic, and it was written in China and published outside of the country with permission from the government.

By Mai Jia,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A dazzling literary thriller set in Japan-occupied China from the most translated Chinese novelist of our time.

China, 1941.

At the height of the Second World War, Japan rules over China. In Hangzhou, a puppet government propped up by the Japanese wages an underground war against the Communist resistance.

Late one night, five intelligence officers, employed as codebreakers by the regime, are escorted to an isolated mansion outside the city. The secret police are certain that one of them is a communist spy. None of them is leaving until the traitor is unmasked.

It should be a straightforward case of…


Book cover of Night Soldiers

James Stejskal Author Of A Question of Time

From my list on spies by Americans who really know the score.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a military historian and an author. To get inspiration for my writing, I spent 35 years in Special Forces (as a "Green Beret") and as a CIA officer in strange places working with interesting people. I first wrote non-fiction but I needed US Government approval for everything. So, following the saying “Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth,” I tell my tales as “faction”—stories reflecting a reality most people don’t know or understand. I write about “Us Versus Them”—stories about teamwork—and the result is The Snake Eater Chronicles. I leave it to the reader to decide where fact ends and fiction begins.

James' book list on spies by Americans who really know the score

James Stejskal Why did James love this book?

Another master, Alan Furst’s 1st novel (of 15 so far) is a great place to start. His stories are so well researched you might think you were reading a travel guide.

Filled with intricate details of the conflict between Russia and Germany as World War II begins, Khristo Stoianev is a young man recruited to work for the Russian secret service, the NKVD. From his recruitment in Bulgaria through training and successive secret missions, Khristo must survive not only the Nazis, but his own employers, who decide he too must be killed.

Furst builds both the pace and tension as Khristo fights his way across Europe trying to escape. Relentless.  

By Alan Furst,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Bulgaria, 1934. A young man is murdered by the local fascists. His brother, Khristo Stoianev, is recruited into the NKVD, the Soviet secret intelligence service, and sent to Spain to serve in its civil war. Warned that he is about to become a victim of Stalin's purges, Khristo flees to Paris. Night Soldiers masterfully re-creates the European world of 1934-45: the struggle between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia for Eastern Europe, the last desperate gaiety of the beau monde in 1937 Paris, and guerrilla operations with the French underground in 1944. Night Soldiers is a scrupulously researched panoramic novel, a…


Book cover of Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal

David Andrew Westwood Author Of Kelsmeath, 1940

From my list on the weirder side of World War II.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in London, and while I was born sometime after WWII, its devastation was still clear in my bombed suburb and in the stories from my family. My father and his brother served in the Royal Air Force, and an Austrian aunt had managed to escape the rest of her family's fate in Auschwitz. I've had five nonfiction books published when I decided to write a biography of my uncle David Lloyd, an RAF Spitfire pilot killed in 1942. Sadly, little information was available from his military records. All I had was a photograph of him in his plane, looking young and confident. I went on to write nine books set during WWII, and five during WWI.

David's book list on the weirder side of World War II

David Andrew Westwood Why did David love this book?

Nowhere is the phrase "stranger than fiction" more appropriate than in describing Agent Zigzag. Charming British conman Eddie Chapman turned himself into one of the best double agents his country ever produced. But for whom was he really working? None of his handlers seemed to be sure. His squirming loyalties allowed him to keep a family and a mistress, to remain alive despite interrogation by both sides, and earn an Iron Cross from Germany's Abwehr and a pardon from MI5 for blowing up a British factory. I was astonished by this tale, and left wondering if Chapman, in the end, just worked for Chapman.

By Ben Macintyre,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the bestselling author of Operation Mincemeat, now a major film SHORTLISTED FOR THE COSTA BIOGRAPHY AWARD 'Engrossing as any thriller' Daily Telegraph 'Superb. Meticulously researched, splendidly told, immensely entertaining' John le Carre 'This is the most amazing book, full of fascinating and hair-raising true life adventures ... It would be impossible to recommend it too highly' Mail on Sunday _______ One December night in 1942, a Nazi parachutist landed in a Cambridgeshire field. His mission: to sabotage the British war effort. His name was Eddie Chapman, but he would shortly become MI5's Agent Zigzag. Dashing and suave, courageous and…


Book cover of Game of Spies

Peter Dixon Author Of Return to Vienna: The Special Operations Executive and the Rebirth of Austria

From my list on living undercover in constant danger during WW2.

Why am I passionate about this?

Hodder and IVP had already published two of my earlier books—during my three decades as a Royal Air Force pilot and another one leading a conflict resolution NGO—when my journey as a WW2 author began. It all started with my wife's book about her German mother and British Intelligence Corps father (The Bride's Trunk). That got me interested in the links between 'the Corps' and the Special Operations Executive. Three SOE books later, I’m following the organisation into Austria. I've barely scratched the surface of undercover operations and I’m always finding new niches to discover.

Peter's book list on living undercover in constant danger during WW2

Peter Dixon Why did Peter love this book?

Apart from viewing the late Paddy Ashdown as perhaps the best Prime Minister Britain never had, I also know him as an under-recognised author of gripping Second World War books. The community of WW2 researchers is mutually supportive; knowledgeable colleagues have been immensely helpful to me over the years, and I recall helping Paddy with some information for one of his books. Several of them are worth reading, but here he tells the true stories of three men who pitted their wits against each other in the treacherous milieu of wartime France. The stakes were measured in lives, betrayals, and deaths.

By Paddy Ashdown,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Spies, bed-hopping, treachery and executions - this story of espionage in wartime Bordeaux is told for the first time.

Game of Spies uncovers a lethal spy triangle at work during the Second World War. The story centres on three men - on British, one French and one German - and the duels they fought out in an atmosphere of collaboration, betrayal and assassination, in which comrades sold fellow comrades, Allied agents and downed pilots to the Germans, as casually as they would a bottle of wine.

In this thrilling history of how ordinary, untrained people in occupied Europe faced the…


Book cover of Hitler's Last Army: German POWs in Britain

Ken Scott Author Of Do the Birds Still Sing in Hell?

From my list on WWII prisoner of war.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have studied WW2 and prisoners of war during that period for more than 20 years. They're very much the forgotten soldiers of war in my opinion. Few spoke of their treatment and brutality at the hands of the enemy, starvation, and the psychological effects that they lived with for many years afterward. Marriages fell apart, alcoholism was commonplace and many committed suicide, during a time where the term PTSD hadn't been invented. I've selected books that tell the story from several different perspectives. There were good and bad on all sides and for every ten stories of brutality and murder, there were another ten stories of good men and women who did their best to help the POWs survive.

Ken's book list on WWII prisoner of war

Ken Scott Why did Ken love this book?

Not a subject often written about and sometimes we forget that the Allies held POWs too. A fascinating insight into German POWS held on UK soil helped me with another one of my collaborations, the book, The Psychiatrist by John West.

Very well researched and written, at times sad, other times very moving, and some nice tales which reflect the old adage that all wars are futile. One arrives at the clear conclusion that young German men were no different to our own boys, except those who took on the Nazi propaganda and believed it until the bitter end.

By Robin Quinn,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hitler's Last Army as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

After the Second World War, 400,000 German servicemen were imprisoned on British soil, some remaining until 1948. These defeated men in their tattered uniforms were, in every sense, Hitler's Last Army. Britain used the prisoners as an essential labour force, especially in agriculture, and in the devastating winter of 1947 the Germans helped avert a national disaster by clearing snow and stemming floods, working shoulder to shoulder with Allied troops.

Slowly, friendships were forged between former enemies. Some POWs fell in love with British women, though such relationships were often frowned upon: `Falling pregnant outside marriage was bad enough -…


Book cover of Delusions of Intelligence: Enigma, Ultra, and the End of Secure Ciphers

Mark Baldwin

From my list on the Enigma Machine and Bletchley Park.

Why am I passionate about this?

Dr. Mark Baldwin – aka Dr. Enigma – is a world expert and speaker on the Enigma machine and has delivered over 700 presentations and demonstrations (using his own, genuine wartime Enigma machine) to some 70,000 people around the world. He has spoken to a wide range of audiences, from cybersecurity experts and software developers at leading Silicon Valley tech companies such as Facebook, Dropbox, and PayPal, to academic audiences at universities, executives at business conferences, and the general public in a couple of hundred one-man theatre shows.

Mark's book list on the Enigma Machine and Bletchley Park

Mark Baldwin Why did Mark love this book?

At my presentations, I am so often asked ‘Didn’t the Germans know the Allies had broken Enigma?’ and ‘Did Germany have something like Bletchley Park?’ This book answers questions like these, and shows, in particular, the unjustified faith the Germans had in the Enigma machine. Believing its ciphers to be unbreakable, they failed to spot evidence of its weaknesses and vulnerability.

By R.A. Ratcliff,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In 1974, the British government admitted that its WWII secret intelligence organization had read Germany's ciphers on a massive scale. The intelligence from these decrypts influenced the Atlantic, the Eastern Front and Normandy. Why did the Germans never realize the Allies had so thoroughly penetrated their communications? As German intelligence experts conducted numerous internal investigations that all certified their ciphers' security, the Allies continued to break more ciphers and plugged their own communication leaks. How were the Allies able to so thoroughly exploit Germany's secret messages? How did they keep their tremendous success a secret? What flaws in Germany's organization…


Book cover of Bomber Boys: Fighting Back 1940-1945

Helena P. Schrader Author Of Moral Fibre: A Bomber Pilot's Story

From my list on R.A.F. Bomber Crews.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child, I heard tales of my uncle Ken, an RCAF Halifax navigator, who was shot down over Berlin in January 1944. As an adult, I lived in Berlin while earning a PhD in History and left roses on my uncle’s grave. Now, I am retired, and with the noise of earning a living silenced, I can hear the voices of those who want their story told. Among them are men from Bomber Command who feel they have been ignored and disparaged in fictional writing about WWII. I hope to correct that injustice and depict them as people rather than symbols or victims.

Helena's book list on R.A.F. Bomber Crews

Helena P. Schrader Why did Helena love this book?

Bishop’s Bomber Boys is a good, solid history full of facts, stats, and the bird’s eye view.

Bishop provides cogent summaries of the policy and command decisions, analyzes the social structure of the RAF, aircrew, and Bomber Command, and tackles a range of important issues topically.

For example, he has a chapter on crewing up, on “the chop,” the “crack up,” and “love in uniform,” among others. It also offers aircraft diagrams and maps, which can be very useful.

It is an excellent starting point for learning about the subject, providing useful context and framework to a researcher, although it cannot serve as a substitute for reading first-hand accounts. 

By Patrick Bishop,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Following on from his best-selling 'Fighter Boys', in this very different book, Patrick Bishop looks back at the lives, human realities and the extraordinary risks that the painfully young pilots took during the strategic air-offensive against Germany from 1940-1945.

In 'Fighter Boys' Patrick Bishop brought to life the pilots who flew Spitfires and Hurricanes in the summer of 1940. Their skill and bravery decided the Battle of Britain, which saved the nation from invasion and created the conditions for Hitler's defeat.

In 'Bomber Boys' he tells a different but equally fascinating story. The 125,000 men from all over the world…


Book cover of The Newspaper Axis: Six Press Barons Who Enabled Hitler

Brooke L. Blower Author Of Americans in a World at War: Intimate Histories from the Crash of Pan Am's Yankee Clipper

From my list on surprising histories about Americans abroad during WWII.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a history professor at Boston University, where I teach and write about modern American popular thought, political culture, trade, travel, and war especially in urban and transnational contexts. I enjoy histories that are based on deep and creative bodies of research and that push past timeworn myths and clichés about the American past.

Brooke's book list on surprising histories about Americans abroad during WWII

Brooke L. Blower Why did Brooke love this book?

The efforts of antifascist foreign correspondents to bring the United States into the war on the side of the Allies are well known. 

Olmsted shines a light on the less-recognized but equally consequential collaboration between American and British rightwing journalists who did not want their nations to war against Hitler. Olmsted’s account brims with hilarious passages about the eccentric lifestyles of media moguls such as William Randolph Hearst and Lord Beaverbrook, as well as jaw-dropping quotes from the editorial pages of their newspapers.

By Kathryn S. Olmsted,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

How six conservative media moguls hindered America and Britain from entering World War II

"A damning indictment. . . . The parallels with today's right-wing media, on both sides of the Atlantic, are unavoidable."-Matthew Pressman, Washington Post

"A first-rate work of history."-Ben Yagoda, Wall Street Journal

As World War II approached, the six most powerful media moguls in America and Britain tried to pressure their countries to ignore the fascist threat. The media empires of Robert McCormick, Joseph and Eleanor Patterson, and William Randolph Hearst spanned the United States, reaching tens of millions of Americans in print and over the…


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