100 books like Instruments of Darkness

By Alfred Price,

Here are 100 books that Instruments of Darkness fans have personally recommended if you like Instruments of Darkness. 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 Blitz: The British Under Attack

Melvyn Fickling Author Of Blackbirds

From my list on the London Blitz and the bomber war.

Why am I passionate about this?

I lived in London for eighteen years and acquired an abiding affection for my nation’s capital. I wanted to write a sequel to Bluebirds and jumped at the chance of giving Bryan Hale an adventure where he could walk the streets that I knew and loved. The scars caused on the fair face of London by sticks of Nazi bombs landing in ragged lines across the streets and terraces may still be discerned from the incongruity of the buildings that have since risen to fill the gaps. London heals and thrives. Ultimately, I believe every English writer harbours an ambition to write a London novel. I did, and I did.

Melvyn's book list on the London Blitz and the bomber war

Melvyn Fickling Why did Melvyn love this book?

Juliet Gardiner blends memoirs, official accounts, and personal experiences, many derived from Mass Observation, to present a gripping and emotive history of the Blitz and illustrate the strength and resilience of the civilians whose lives were torn apart in its indiscriminate violence. She uses eyewitness accounts to throw the horrors of total war into sharp relief. Although London absorbed the brunt of the campaign, the reader is also taken to the smouldering bombsites of Coventry, Birmingham, the south coast ports, Belfast, and other cities that the Luftwaffe ranged across, where the voices of rescue squads and fire services shine an unwavering light on the harrowing consequences of aerial bombardment for civilian populations.

By Juliet Gardiner,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the author of 'Wartime' comes an outstanding history of the most sustained onslaught ever endured by Britain's civilian population - the Blitz.

September 1940 marked the beginning of Nazi Germany's aerial attack on civilian Britain. Lasting eight months, the Blitz was the form of warfare that had been predicted throughout the 1930s, and that the British people had feared since Neville Chamberlain's declaration that Britain was at war. Images of Britain's devastated cities are among the most iconic of the Second World War.

Yet compared with other great moments of that war - Dunkirk, the North African campaign, D-Day…


Book cover of Blitz Families: The Children Who Stayed Behind

Melvyn Fickling Author Of Blackbirds

From my list on the London Blitz and the bomber war.

Why am I passionate about this?

I lived in London for eighteen years and acquired an abiding affection for my nation’s capital. I wanted to write a sequel to Bluebirds and jumped at the chance of giving Bryan Hale an adventure where he could walk the streets that I knew and loved. The scars caused on the fair face of London by sticks of Nazi bombs landing in ragged lines across the streets and terraces may still be discerned from the incongruity of the buildings that have since risen to fill the gaps. London heals and thrives. Ultimately, I believe every English writer harbours an ambition to write a London novel. I did, and I did.

Melvyn's book list on the London Blitz and the bomber war

Melvyn Fickling Why did Melvyn love this book?

We’re all familiar with wartime images of young evacuees gathered together on railway stations. But over fifty percent of children were not evacuated from British cities, and it is they that Penny Starns has studied. Once we get past the mothers’ ‘keep or send’ moral dilemma, there are the issues of discipline, education, health, food, and psychological development to consider. Starns takes these subjects chapter by chapter, relating stories of disease, poverty, criminality, and terror (including one child who spent the night in a shelter within reach of an unexploded bomb). These tales she counterpoints with examples of unexpectedly increasing emotional and physical wellbeing amongst some of the stay-behinds. This is an important record of the experiences of a demographic that war histories often ignore.

By Penny Starns,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The mass evacuation of children and new and expectant mothers during the Second World War is well documented. But over fifty per cent of children were not evacuated during the War, and it is these young people who offer an unrivalled view of what life was like during the bombing raids in Britain's cities. In Blitz Families Penny Starns takes a new look at the children whose parents refused to bow to official pressure and kept their beloved children with them throughout the War. As she documents family after family which made this difficult decision, she uncovers tales of the…


Book cover of Bomber

Melvyn Fickling Author Of Blackbirds

From my list on the London Blitz and the bomber war.

Why am I passionate about this?

I lived in London for eighteen years and acquired an abiding affection for my nation’s capital. I wanted to write a sequel to Bluebirds and jumped at the chance of giving Bryan Hale an adventure where he could walk the streets that I knew and loved. The scars caused on the fair face of London by sticks of Nazi bombs landing in ragged lines across the streets and terraces may still be discerned from the incongruity of the buildings that have since risen to fill the gaps. London heals and thrives. Ultimately, I believe every English writer harbours an ambition to write a London novel. I did, and I did.

Melvyn's book list on the London Blitz and the bomber war

Melvyn Fickling Why did Melvyn love this book?

It is June 1943 and the RAF are mounting another bombing raid on Fortress Europe, part of the whirlwind that Arthur Harris had promised Germans would reap following the night blitz they waged against Britain. Deighton’s fictional account follows a single crew on a mission that would go horribly wrong, mixing their narrative with the stories of their adversaries in the air and their victims on the ground. Deighton writes with forensic clarity and at key points delivers events in a kind of literary slow-motion that drills the harrowing details into his reader. Set over a single twenty-four-hour period, and played out mostly in darkness, the drama is tense and exhausting. This is indeed a modern classic that illuminates the biggest contradictory moral dilemma of the war.

By Len Deighton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The classic novel of the Second World War that relates in devastating detail the 24-hour story of an allied bombing raid.

Bomber is a novel of war. There are no victors, no vanquished. There are simply those who remain alive, and those who die.

Bomber follows the progress of an Allied air raid through a period of twenty-four hours in the summer of 1943. It portrays all the participants in a terrifying drama, both in the air and on the ground, in Britain and in Germany.

In its documentary style, it is unique. In its emotional power it is overwhelming.…


Book cover of The Secret History of the Blitz

Melvyn Fickling Author Of Blackbirds

From my list on the London Blitz and the bomber war.

Why am I passionate about this?

I lived in London for eighteen years and acquired an abiding affection for my nation’s capital. I wanted to write a sequel to Bluebirds and jumped at the chance of giving Bryan Hale an adventure where he could walk the streets that I knew and loved. The scars caused on the fair face of London by sticks of Nazi bombs landing in ragged lines across the streets and terraces may still be discerned from the incongruity of the buildings that have since risen to fill the gaps. London heals and thrives. Ultimately, I believe every English writer harbours an ambition to write a London novel. I did, and I did.

Melvyn's book list on the London Blitz and the bomber war

Melvyn Fickling Why did Melvyn love this book?

Today, it is almost impossible to imagine aircraft roaming freely over British cities, disgorging bombs onto the streets below. So, it’s vital for us to have access to the personal, unvarnished stories and contemporary accounts from those that actually lived through this particular horror. In The Secret History of the Blitz Levine pulls no punches as he documents the behaviour of ordinary people faced with extreme experiences. Some reacted with fortitude, uniting in neighbourhood solidarity and extending charity to strangers. Others exploited the chaos, breaking legal and moral codes for their own personal enrichment. To this day, the British psyche collectively benefits from the social concept of a Blitz Spirit. But we should remember it was always a two-sided coin.

By Joshua Levine,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Blitz of 1940-41 is one of the most iconic periods in modern British history - and one of the most misunderstood. The 'Blitz spirit' is celebrated by some, whereas others dismiss it as a myth. Joshua Levine's thrilling biography rejects the tired arguments and reveals the human truth: the Blitz was a time of extremes of experience and behaviour. People werepulling together and helping strangers, but they were also breaking rules and exploiting each other. Life during wartime, the author reveals, was complex and messy and real.

From the first page readers will discover a different story to the…


Book cover of Combat Crew: The Story of 25 Combat Missions Over Europe From the Daily Journal

Jay A. Stout Author Of Jayhawk: Love, Loss, Liberation, and Terror Over the Pacific

From my list on personal accounts of World War II air combat.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an aviation historian and writer, a defense analyst, and a retired, combat-experienced, Marine Corps fighter pilot. I am one of the lucky ones. Since early childhood, I wanted nothing more than to become a fighter pilot. It was a combination of good fortune, hard work, and a bit of talent that made it possible for me to realize that dream. I was inspired by the memoirs and recollections of World War II fighter pilots, and I read every book on the topic that I could find.  Following my military service, I transitioned from a reader to a writer; my experience as a military pilot helps to make my books real and credible.

Jay's book list on personal accounts of World War II air combat

Jay A. Stout Why did Jay love this book?

The odds of completing a full combat tour as a bomber crewman with the Eighth Air Force over Europe during 1943 were about twenty percent. John Comer, a B-17 flight engineer and top turret gunner, arrived in England during that time and his descriptions of air combat are well worth the read.  Perhaps just as valuable are his descriptions of the relationships between his comrades, the non-combat aspects of his life as a combat crewman, and the sheer, mental and physical exhaustion that such duty exacted on the men.

By John Comer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

What People Are Saying About Combat Crew: “I find your remarkable book, Combat Crew, engrossing. It’s one of the best records of aerial combat in World War II I’ve ever read, and I want to tell you how impressed I am.” -Charlton Heston, actor “Combat Crew was a very special experience for me to read. You certainly put it down the way it was.” -James Stewart, actor “The author flew on many of the most violent air raids flows by the United States 8th Air Force during World War II. Combat Crew gives the reader an accurate, dramatic, and firsthand,…


Book cover of Paratrooper!: The Saga of the U. S. Army and Marine Parachute and Glider Combat Troops during World War II

Flint Whitlock Author Of If Chaos Reigns: The Near-Disaster and Ultimate Triumph of the Allied Airborne Forces on D-Day, June 6, 1944

From my list on D-Day airborne operations.

Why am I passionate about this?

Flint Whitlock spent five years on active duty as an officer in the U.S. Army (1965-1970, including tours in West Germany and Vietnam), and is a qualified parachutist (Fort Benning, 1965). He has been an award-winning, full-time military historian since 2003, and has 14 books (mostly about WWII) to his credit. He has also been the editor of WWII Quarterly magazine since 2010 and gives battlefield tours for the Smithsonian, National Geographic, and other organizations.

Flint's book list on D-Day airborne operations

Flint Whitlock Why did Flint love this book?

This large (718 pages) book covers the entire history of U.S. military parachute and glider operations—from the early evolution of the concept through landings in North Africa, Sicily, Salerno, Normandy, Southern France, Holland, Battle of the Bulge, Leyte, Manila, and Corregidor. Anyone wanting to appreciate the myriad American parachute and glider operations will find a wealth of information in Devlin’s book.

By William P. Yarborough, Gerald M. Devlin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Photographs and text document the bravery and daring exhibited by American parachute and glider combat forces and offer in-depth treatment of British, German, Japanese, Italian, and French parachute operations


Book cover of Night Airwar: Personal Recollections of the Conflict over Europe 1939-45

Jon Trigg Author Of The Air War Through German Eyes: How the Luftwaffe Lost the Skies over the Reich

From my list on the bombing of Nazi Germany–war miles in the sky!.

Why am I passionate about this?

Some of my first memories as a kid are of films and TV shows about World War Two; the theme tune and credits of The World At War TV series still haunt me even now. But to be honest, the bombing of Germany never gripped me as much as, say, the war in Russia, that is, until I started to read up on it. It was a revelation. Suddenly, I saw incredibly young men fighting to survive in the most hostile environment on the planet–or rather above the planet, miles above, in fact. To me, I find the war they fought alien, but at the same time so absorbing I lose myself in it.      

Jon's book list on the bombing of Nazi Germany–war miles in the sky!

Jon Trigg Why did Jon love this book?

The best thing about reading this book was that it shone a light–if you can forgive the pun–on the otherwise unseen world of the nighttime air battles over Germany.

Before I read it, I admit I thought of the night war as some sort of game of chess, somehow fought at a comfortable distance. Boiten’s book shredded that distance and brought me face-to-face with the reality of it all in a gratifyingly unsentimental way.

Perhaps the most powerful image it left me with was of young British (and allied) airmen suddenly being blown out of the sky by an enemy they all so often never saw until their aircraft was turned into a horrifying fireball.      

By Theo Boiten,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The night airwar over Western Europe was a long, intensive and costly airwar campaign. Theo Boiten tells this often harrowing and sometimes inspiring story using the personal accounts of over 70 veterans from both sides. The book is illustrated with many rare and previously unpublished photographs from the personal collections of those veterans and forms a record of this important aspect of 20th-century history.


Book cover of Shot Down: The true story of pilot Howard Snyder and the crew of the B-17 Susan Ruth

Joy Neal Kidney Author Of What Leora Never Knew: A Granddaughter's Quest for Answers

From my list on research of World War II casualties.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm the oldest granddaughter of Leora, who lost three sons during WWII. To learn what happened to them, I studied casualty and missing aircraft reports, missions reports, and read unit histories. I’ve corresponded with veterans who knew one of the brothers, who witnessed the bomber hit the water off New Guinea, and who accompanied one brother’s body home. I’m still in contact with the family members of two crew members on the bomber. The companion book, Leora’s Letters, is the family story of the five Wilson brothers who served, but only two came home.

Joy's book list on research of World War II casualties

Joy Neal Kidney Why did Joy love this book?

Howard Snyder’s B-17 and crew were part of the 8th Air Force, stationed in England. They were shot down in February of 1944 on the French/Belgium border. Two members of the crew of 10 were killed in the plane, some were rescued and in hiding, and some were captured.

The author, Howard Snyder’s son, not only researched what happened to his father, but also the rest of the crew. He contacted a former German pilot who shot down the Susan Ruth.

Howard Snyder was kept hidden by brave Belgians. Paul Delahaye was 13 years old when the Americans forced out the Germans. Delahaye made it his mission to make sure the Americans were never forgotten, building memorials and starting museums. Steve Snyder kept in touch with his father’s rescuers, visiting Belgium and meeting Paul Delahaye.

A remarkable story.

By Steve Snyder, John Maling (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner of 20 national book awards, SHOT DOWN is set within the framework of World War II in Europe and recounts the dramatic experiences of each member of a ten man B-17 bomber crew after their plane, piloted by the author's father, was knocked out of the sky by German fighters over the French/Belgian border on February 8,1944.

Some men died. Some were captured and became prisoners of war. Some men evaded capture and were missing in action for months before making it back to England. Their individual stories and those of the courageous Belgian people who risked their lives…


Book cover of Franco and the Condor Legion: The Spanish Civil War in the Air

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.

Why am I passionate about this?

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?

General Franco’s rebellion would never have stood a chance without the support of Nazi Germany. The rebels lacked airpower and Hitler was happy to supply some in the form of the Condor Legion, intended both to support Franco and give the fledgling Luftwaffe a taste of battle. The Legion’s most notorious action was the bombing of Guernica but Michael Alpert shows Germany’s influence on all aspects of the Spanish Civil War in his very readable and wide-ranging  book that also takes in Russian and Italian airborne intervention.

By Michael Alpert,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Spanish Civil War was fought on land and at sea but also in an age of great interest in air warfare and the rapid development of warplanes. The war in Spain came a turning point in the development of military aircraft and was the arena in which new techniques of air war were rehearsed including high-speed dogfights, attacks on ships, bombing of civilian areas and tactical air-ground cooperation. At the heart of the air war were the Condor Legion, a unit composed of military personnel from Hitler's Germany who fought for Franco's Nationalists in Spain. In this book, Michael…


Book cover of The Invention That Changed the World: How a Small Group of Radar Pioneers Won the Second World War and Launched a Technological Revolution

Jacob Berkowitz Author Of The Stardust Revolution: The New Story of Our Origin in the Stars

From my list on how science won World War Two.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an author, playwright and science writer near Ottawa, Canada. One thing that fascinated me in writing The Stardust Revolution was how 20th-century astronomy advances were grounded in the re-use of military technologies developed in WWII. Both radio- and infrared astronomy emerged from the use of former Nazi and Allied military hardware. This is because WWII was the physicists war—their inventions determined its outcome. These five books describe the key science and technology—atomic weapons, radar, and rockets—that won World War Two and have shaped the world since. The books are a great mix of biography, narrative non-fiction, and investigative journalism.

Jacob's book list on how science won World War Two

Jacob Berkowitz Why did Jacob love this book?

To paraphrase Buderi, radar won the war, the atomic bomb ended it. This isn’t hyperbole. Rushed into service, radar saved Britain from invasion in the summer of 1941 and was a decisive tool in every major theatre of war, from directing night bombers to attacking U-boats.

By Robert Buderi,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Invention That Changed the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From Simon & Schuster, The Invention That Changed the World explores how a small group of radar pioneers won the second World War and launched a technical revolution.

The technology that was created to win World War II—radar—has revolutionized the modern world. This is the fascinating story of the inventors and their inventions.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the London Blitz, presidential biography, and World War 1?

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