100 books like In the Ruins of the Reich

By Douglas Botting,

Here are 100 books that In the Ruins of the Reich fans have personally recommended if you like In the Ruins of the Reich. 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 Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945

Adin Dobkin Author Of Sprinting Through No Man's Land: Endurance, Tragedy, and Rebirth in the 1919 Tour de France

From my list on people and societies grapple with the end of wars.

Why am I passionate about this?

Before I started writing, my understanding of war largely came about through its manifestation over subsequent decades in individuals. My grandfather selectively shared stories from his time as a bomber, then as a POW in Germany. Maybe it was this conjunction, a personal sense of rebuilding and of storytelling, that has driven my interest in the subject over these years, as a journalist and critic and then as an author of a book on the subject.

Adin's book list on people and societies grapple with the end of wars

Adin Dobkin Why did Adin love this book?

My own background, process, and style have me reaching for ever-tinier stories that I think I can go deep on, in order to hopefully excavate something larger. Judt’s Postwar is the opposite: a colossal swing at a multi-decade period across European history. In this, he synthesizes political, economic, social, and cultural histories to guide the reader through Europe’s development after World War II. It’s a book where you find yourself going over each line a few times in order to make sure you’ve wrung all meaning from it and every sentence returns you to your notes.

By Tony Judt,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize * Winner of the Council on Foreign Relations Arthur Ross Book Award * One of the New York Times' Ten Best Books of the Year

"Impressive . . . Mr. Judt writes with enormous authority." -The Wall Street Journal

"Magisterial . . . It is, without a doubt, the most comprehensive, authoritative, and yes, readable postwar history." -The Boston Globe

Almost a decade in the making, this much-anticipated grand history of postwar Europe from one of the world's most esteemed historians and intellectuals is a singular achievement. Postwar is the first modern history that covers…


Book cover of Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II

Loren Stephens Author Of All Sorrows Can Be Borne

From my list on the traditional and modern Japanese mind.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been fascinated by family histories, and am the self-selected historian in my family. I wrote my mother’s memoir, I Turned a Key and the Birds Began to Sing, put together a newsletter for aunts, uncles, and cousins near and far, and became a ghostwriter to help other people mine their personal and family stories. I’ve worked with company CEOs, survivors of the Holocaust; World War II U.S. veterans, and Hollywood celebrities. In the midst of writing books for other people I turned my sights on my husband who was born in Osaka, Japan and asked his permission to write his family’s story.  

Loren's book list on the traditional and modern Japanese mind

Loren Stephens Why did Loren love this book?

Winner of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction, this book gives the reader an in-depth analysis of the effects of World War II on the political, economic, and social life of the Japanese people. It depicts the ways in which Japan moved into the twentieth century and gave up many of its feudalistic habits – some for the better and some for the worse. 

By John W. Dower,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Drawing on a vast range of Japanese sources and illustrated with dozens of astonishing documentary photographs, Embracing Defeat is the fullest and most important history of the more than six years of American occupation, which affected every level of Japanese society, often in ways neither side could anticipate. Dower, whom Stephen E. Ambrose has called "America's foremost historian of the Second World War in the Pacific," gives us the rich and turbulent interplay between West and East, the victor and the vanquished, in a way never before attempted, from top-level manipulations concerning the fate of Emperor Hirohito to the hopes…


Book cover of The Long Road Home: The Aftermath of the Second World War

Keith Lowe Author Of Savage Continent: Europe in the Aftermath of World War II

From my list on the aftermath of World War 2.

Why am I passionate about this?

Keith Lowe is the author of several works on postwar history. His international bestseller, Savage Continent, won the English PEN/Hessell Tiltman Prize and Italy’s Cherasco History Prize. His book on the long-term legacy of World War II, The Fear and the Freedom, was awarded China’s Beijing News Annual Recommendation and was shortlisted for the Historical Writers Association Non-Fiction Crown. His books have been translated into more than twenty languages.

Keith's book list on the aftermath of World War 2

Keith Lowe Why did Keith love this book?

The greatest challenge to the Allies in the aftermath of the war in Europe was how to repatriate the millions of people from all countries who had been displaced by the violence. This included prisoners of war, Holocaust survivors, and eastern European slave laborers, many of whom no longer had homes or even countries to return to. For several years after 1945, the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration ran the greatest humanitarian operation Europe has ever seen. They not only fed, clothed, and housed millions of refugees but gave them hope for a better future. Ben Shephard’s history of how they achieved this is truly inspiring. The history of World War II is one of violence and killing, and my bookshelves are heaving with stories of atrocities – but beautifully-written, compassionate books like this one are enough to restore anyone’s faith in human nature.

By Ben Shephard,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

After the Great War, the millions killed on the battlefields were eclipsed by the millions more civilians carried off by disease and starvation when the conflict was over. Haunted by memories, the Allies were determined that the end of the Second World War would not be followed by a similar disaster, and they began to lay plans long before victory was assured.

Confronted by an entire continent starving and uprooted, Allied planners devised strategies to help all 'displaced persons', and repatriate the fifteen million people who had been deprived of their homes and in many cases forced to work for…


Book cover of Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-1956

Keith Lowe Author Of Savage Continent: Europe in the Aftermath of World War II

From my list on the aftermath of World War 2.

Why am I passionate about this?

Keith Lowe is the author of several works on postwar history. His international bestseller, Savage Continent, won the English PEN/Hessell Tiltman Prize and Italy’s Cherasco History Prize. His book on the long-term legacy of World War II, The Fear and the Freedom, was awarded China’s Beijing News Annual Recommendation and was shortlisted for the Historical Writers Association Non-Fiction Crown. His books have been translated into more than twenty languages.

Keith's book list on the aftermath of World War 2

Keith Lowe Why did Keith love this book?

People in the West tend to celebrate 1945 as a year of liberation; but, of course, in Eastern Europe, the defeat of Germany merely heralded the beginning of four more decades of repression. In this book, Anne Applebaum describes the Communist takeover of three European countries – East Germany, Poland, and Hungary. It’s a masterpiece both of research and of analysis. Communism, just like capitalism, had many faces: this book shows brilliantly just how varied repression can be. In 2013 it won the lucrative Cundill Prize, and deservedly so.

By Anne Applebaum,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Chosen 16 times as a 'Book of the Year' - the top non-fiction pick of 2012

'The best work of modern history I have ever read' A. N. Wilson, Financial Times

At the end of the Second World War, the Soviet Union unexpectedly found itself in control of a huge swathe of territory in Eastern Europe. Stalin and his secret police set out to convert a dozen radically different countries to a completely new political and moral system: Communism. Anne Applebaum's landmark history of this brutal time shows how societies were ruthlessly eviscerated by Communist regimes, how opposition was destroyed…


Book cover of Hitlerland: American Eyewitnesses to the Nazi Rise to Power

Robert Teigrob Author Of Four Days in Hitler's Germany: MacKenzie King's Mission to Avert a Second World War

From my list on eyewitnesses to the rise of Adolf Hitler.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since 2011 I have taught a summer course at Freie Universität Berlin, and have grown fond of the city, including its admirable efforts to acknowledge and atone for its former status as the capital of the Nazi empire. I’ve seen pictures of Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King touring the city and interacting (cheerfully) with Reich officials, and a couple of years ago I made a point of retracing his steps to observe the vestiges (very little) of prewar Berlin. This compelled me to dig deeply into what motivated King to break bread with Nazis, and how the prime minister’s trip was viewed by Canadians and the world – at the time, and since.

Robert's book list on eyewitnesses to the rise of Adolf Hitler

Robert Teigrob Why did Robert love this book?

As the title suggests, this is a compendium of American visitors’ impressions of Nazism in the 1930s. Their reactions varied from confusion to rage to applause, but Nagorski notes that, sooner or later, most came to the realization that Germany was “a society undergoing a horrific transformation in the name of a demented ideology,” and feared the implications for humanity. Another useful reminder of the essential role of solid, independent journalism, and of the methods by which seemingly decent people and entire societies can be devoured by hatred and tribalism. It seems, sadly, that we need a lot of reminding about such things…

By Andrew Nagorski,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

World War II historian Andrew Nagorski recounts Adolf Hitler’s rise to and consolidation of power, drawing on countless firsthand reports, letters, and diaries that narrate the creation of the Third Reich.

“Hitlerland is a bit of a guilty pleasure. Reading about the Nazis is not supposed to be fun, but Nagorski manages to make it so. Readers new to this story will find it fascinating” (The Washington Post).

Hitler’s rise to power, Germany’s march to the abyss, as seen through the eyes of Americans—diplomats, military officers, journalists, expats, visiting authors, Olympic athletes—who watched horrified and up close. “Engaging if chilling…a…


Book cover of Goebbels: A Biography

Debbie Rix Author Of The German Mother

From my list on WW2 books that will inform and inspire.

Why am I passionate about this?

My parents both fought in the Second World War – my father as a bomber pilot, my mother as a Wren.  Dad often entertained us at family mealtimes with tales of his wartime adventures – of how was shot down over Germany, captured, imprisoned, but finally escaped. My interest in the period grew from there, and my first ‘wartime’ novel The Secret Letter was in fact largely based on my parents experiences.  Since then, I have become increasingly fascinated by the period, with now a total of four novels set in WW2, culminating in my present book The German Mother.

Debbie's book list on WW2 books that will inform and inspire

Debbie Rix Why did Debbie love this book?

Joseph Goebbels was the Minister for Propaganda in Hitler’s Nazi Germany, and is one of the central characters in my latest novel. I recommend Longerich’s biography of this complex man in its own right, and not just because I plundered it for information when writing my novel.

Scholarly but written in a lively style, the book will appeal to anyone interested in what made the ‘master of the dark arts of propaganda’ tick. Drawing heavily on Goebbels’ own diaries (which run to an astonishing twenty-nine volumes), Longerich has written the definitive history of this complex and fascinating man, who was so attracted to Nazi ideology that he ultimately lost his soul to evil.

By Peter Longerich, Alan Bance (translator), Jeremy Noakes (translator) , Lesley Sharpe (translator)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Joseph Goebbels was one of Adolf Hitler's most loyal acolytes. But how did this club-footed son of a factory worker rise from obscurity to become Hitler's malevolent minister of propaganda, most trusted lieutenant and personally anointed successor?

In this definitive one-volume biography, renowned German Holocaust historian Peter Longerich sifts through the historical record - and thirty thousand pages of Goebbels's own diary entries - to answer that question. Longerich paints a chilling picture of a man driven by a narcissistic desire for recognition who found the personal affirmation he craved within the virulently racist National Socialist movement - and whose…


Book cover of I Shall Bear Witness: The Diaries Of Victor Klemperer 1933-41

David Roman Author Of Geli Hitler

From my list on the batshit-crazy history of Nazi Germany.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a long-time correspondent for American media across the world. I reported on Europe and Asia for the Wall Street Journal, and on Southeast Asia for Bloomberg News. I was always fascinated by deep historical layers to be found in ancient societies like those of Europe, and the sometimes accurate clichés about European tribes and their strange customs; no European tribe is weirder than the Germans, for a long time the wildest of the continent and then the most cultured and sophisticated until they came under the spell of a certain Austrian. The twelve years that followed still rank as the most insane historical period for any nation ever.

David's book list on the batshit-crazy history of Nazi Germany

David Roman Why did David love this book?

The coming of the Third Reich in 1933 left Klemperer, a cash-strapped Jewish scholar, without his teaching job in a German university, but somehow sheltered from the worst excesses of Nazism due to his marriage to an “Aryan” German woman. His diaries are a window to the daily life of a childless middle-aged couple that observes world-shaking events from close proximity, while worrying about debts and the high costs of keeping the family car, Klemperer's most cherished possession. 

By Victor Klemperer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Shall Bear Witness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A publishing sensation, the publication of Victor Klemperer's diaries brings to light one of the most extraordinary documents of the Nazi period.

'A classic ... Klemperer's diary deserves to rank alongside that of Anne Frank's' SUNDAY TIMES

'I can't remember when I read a more engrossing book' Antonia Fraser

'Not dissimilar in its cumulative power to Primo Levi's, is a devastating account of man's inhumanity to man' LITERARY REVIEW

The son of a rabbi, Klemperer was by 1933 a professor of languages at Dresden. Over the next decade he, like other German Jews, lost his job, his house and many…


Book cover of Witnesses of War: Children's Lives Under the Nazis

Helen Roche Author Of The Third Reich's Elite Schools: A History of the Napolas

From my list on childhood in Nazi Germany.

Why am I passionate about this?

Why did I end up spending almost a third of my life researching Nazi boarding schools, and childhood under the Third Reich more generally? I sometimes wonder if it was because I myself was sent to boarding school at the age of nine – somehow, I can sympathise with what these children had to endure, as well as knowing full well from a historian’s perspective which hardships were truly unique to a National Socialist elite education, and which were simply the kind of heart-ache that’s common to any institution which takes children away from their parents at a young age… 

Helen's book list on childhood in Nazi Germany

Helen Roche Why did Helen love this book?

Nick Stargardt’s Witnesses of War is the kind of book I’d love to write – it’s really one of the most comprehensive and accessible studies of children’s experiences under Nazism out there. The author doesn’t shy away from describing the lives of the Third Reich’s youthful victims in harrowing detail, but he also explores the lives of children who were seduced by the Nazi dictatorship. "In war," he writes, "all children are victims." 

By Nicholas Stargardt,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Even in this most murderous of European wars, children were not merely passive victims of genocide, bombing, mechanised warfare, starvation policies and mass flight. They were also active participants, going out to smuggle food, ply the black market, and care for sick parents and siblings. As they absorbed the brutal new realities of German occupation, Polish boys played at being Gestapo interrogators, and Jewish children at being ghetto guards or the SS. Within days of Germany's own surrender, German children were playing at being Russian soldiers. As they imagined themselves in the roles of their enemies, children expressed their hopes,…


Book cover of Defying Hitler: A Memoir

Moritz Föllmer Author Of Culture in the Third Reich

From my list on life in Nazi Germany.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a historian at the University of Amsterdam, one of my concerns is to understand why so many Germans supported and participated in Adolf Hitler’s atrocious political project. I am equally interested in the other side: the Nazis’ political opponents and victims. In two decades of researching, writing, and teaching, I have read large numbers of official documents, newspapers, diaries, novels, and memoirs. These contemporary texts have made me vividly aware of how different people lived through the Nazi years, how they envisioned their lives, and how they remembered them after World War II. The questions they faced and the solutions they found continue to challenge and disconcert me.  

Moritz's book list on life in Nazi Germany

Moritz Föllmer Why did Moritz love this book?

How do people react when a dictatorship forces them to make choices? To learn more, read this brilliant memoir by a journalist looking back on his life in 1930s Berlin. Happily focused on his legal training and circle of friends, Sebastian Haffner at first showed little interest in politics and rejected the Nazis out of instinct rather than principle. Disgusted but powerless, he was content to keep a low profile under the new regime. To his own lasting shame, however, he one day answered “yes” when an SA stormtrooper demanded to know if he was “Aryan.” But Haffner’s friendships and liaisons with Jews, and his belief in the rule of law, ultimately made him realize that he couldn’t live in Nazi Germany. His final choice? Exile in Britain.   

By Sebastian Haffner, Oliver Pretzel (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An absolute classic of autobiography and history - one of the few books to explore how and why the Germans were seduced by Hitler and Nazism.

'If you have never read a book about Nazi Germany before, or if you have already read a thousand, I would urge you to read DEFYING HITLER. It sings with wisdom and understanding' DAILY MAIL

Sebastian Haffner was a non-Jewish German who emigrated to England in 1938. This memoir (written in 1939 but only published now for the first time) begins in 1914 when the family summer holiday is cut short by the outbreak…


Book cover of Black Edelweiss: A Memoir of Combat and Conscience by a Soldier of the Waffen-SS

David Roman Author Of Geli Hitler

From my list on the batshit-crazy history of Nazi Germany.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a long-time correspondent for American media across the world. I reported on Europe and Asia for the Wall Street Journal, and on Southeast Asia for Bloomberg News. I was always fascinated by deep historical layers to be found in ancient societies like those of Europe, and the sometimes accurate clichés about European tribes and their strange customs; no European tribe is weirder than the Germans, for a long time the wildest of the continent and then the most cultured and sophisticated until they came under the spell of a certain Austrian. The twelve years that followed still rank as the most insane historical period for any nation ever.

David's book list on the batshit-crazy history of Nazi Germany

David Roman Why did David love this book?

Voss volunteered to join the elite Nazi forces as a teenager in 1943, when (unbeknownst to him) the war was already lost for Germany. His memoir of barely two years in history’s most notorious military unit will surprise many who are used to seeing SS members in Holocaust movies and memoirs; Voss was an infantryman who fought in Finland and later in the Western front, fully devoted to Nazi ideology until Germany was defeated and he saw the flip side of the coin. A very unique book.

By Johann Voss,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Originally written while the author was a prisoner of the US Army in 1945–46, Black Edelweiss is a boon to serious historians and WWII buffs alike. In a day in which most memoirs are written at half a century’s distance, the former will be gratified by the author’s precise recall facilitated by the chronologically short-range (a matter of one to seven years) at which the events were captured in writing. Both will appreciate and enjoy the abundantly detailed, exceptionally accurate combat episodes.

Even more than the strictly military narrative, however, the author has crafted a searingly candid view into his…


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