100 books like Joyce's War 1939-1945

By Joyce Storey,

Here are 100 books that Joyce's War 1939-1945 fans have personally recommended if you like Joyce's War 1939-1945. 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 The Fair Sex - Women and the Great Western Railway

Annie Murray Author Of Meet Me Under the Clock

From my list on hidden corners of life during World War Two.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been writing novels for many years now about the social history of Birmingham and the West Midlands and often find myself writing about World War Two. It’s the history of most families in this country. But I also grew up—unusually for my generationwith parents who were active adults in the war, my father in the army in North Africa and Italy, my mother in a factory that had gone over to munitions in Coventry. So the war felt very present as they talked about it a lot. Only later I grew to understand what it means to people and explored the history for myself.

Annie's book list on hidden corners of life during World War Two

Annie Murray Why did Annie love this book?

When I wrote my book, which includes a lot about the railways wartime, I struggled to find any books which described women’s experience. When it comes to railways, nerdy descriptions of wheel configurations abound! Enter this book. Rose Matheson describes the fascinating and often troubled history of women when it comes to railway work and its opposition by male employers and unions. A good number of women were employed by the railways in World War Two, but never allowed to drive engines or stoke the fires. The work they were permitted to do is described here with plenty of photographs—as well as the ongoing history after the war when women continued the struggle to be taken seriously as railway workers.  

By Rosa Matheson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Fair Sex - Women and the Great Western Railway as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Great Western Railway struggled with what was called 'the women question' for many years. It had heartily agreed with The Railway Sheet and Official Gazette that 'the first aim of women's existence is marriage, that accomplished, the next is ordering her home'. Yet women were the cheapest form of labour, apart from young girls, presenting the company with a dilemma and the GWR finally succumbed to allowing women to work after heavy external pressures. Using over 100 pictures, Swindon author Rosa Matheson traces the development of this problematic relationship, from its beginnings in the 1870s when women were employed…


Book cover of Idle Women

Annie Murray Author Of Meet Me Under the Clock

From my list on hidden corners of life during World War Two.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been writing novels for many years now about the social history of Birmingham and the West Midlands and often find myself writing about World War Two. It’s the history of most families in this country. But I also grew up—unusually for my generationwith parents who were active adults in the war, my father in the army in North Africa and Italy, my mother in a factory that had gone over to munitions in Coventry. So the war felt very present as they talked about it a lot. Only later I grew to understand what it means to people and explored the history for myself.

Annie's book list on hidden corners of life during World War Two

Annie Murray Why did Annie love this book?

I have written two books about working life on the canal set during World War Two. Susan Woolfit’s book describing that period is a great read. Many men who worked narrowboats carrying coal and other important cargoes left to go to war. This left the women to cope—and there were not enough of them, so volunteers were drafted in. Women from all walks of life who had often never been near a narrowboat and whose upbringing was vastly different from the women who lived ‘on the cut’ all their lives. This is an entertaining book about some of those women adapting to this tough, outdoor life—and all of them having to adapt to each other. 

By Susan Woolfitt,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of Bengal Journey

Annie Murray Author Of Meet Me Under the Clock

From my list on hidden corners of life during World War Two.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been writing novels for many years now about the social history of Birmingham and the West Midlands and often find myself writing about World War Two. It’s the history of most families in this country. But I also grew up—unusually for my generationwith parents who were active adults in the war, my father in the army in North Africa and Italy, my mother in a factory that had gone over to munitions in Coventry. So the war felt very present as they talked about it a lot. Only later I grew to understand what it means to people and explored the history for myself.

Annie's book list on hidden corners of life during World War Two

Annie Murray Why did Annie love this book?

Rumer Godden is a favourite novelist of mine, but this is non-fiction. Godden was born in India and only left after Independence. Towards the end of World War Two, she made a long journey to document the work done by women volunteers in the Bengal region of India during the war, travelling huge distances, crossing many rivers, to remote places. The book, with photographs, includes the work of both European and Indian volunteers in a huge number of organizations, ranging from the Red Cross, hospital trains, and dispatch riders to the ARP and mobile canteens. Best of all are the descriptions Godden gives us in this wonderful book as she turns her novelist's eye on all these people and places of work and brings them all to life.

By Rumer Godden,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of Requiem For a Wren

Annie Murray Author Of Meet Me Under the Clock

From my list on hidden corners of life during World War Two.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been writing novels for many years now about the social history of Birmingham and the West Midlands and often find myself writing about World War Two. It’s the history of most families in this country. But I also grew up—unusually for my generationwith parents who were active adults in the war, my father in the army in North Africa and Italy, my mother in a factory that had gone over to munitions in Coventry. So the war felt very present as they talked about it a lot. Only later I grew to understand what it means to people and explored the history for myself.

Annie's book list on hidden corners of life during World War Two

Annie Murray Why did Annie love this book?

I read this story in my teens and as a result, spent years wanting to join the navy. (That did wear off!) Having read it again recently, it seems a much darker story than I had remembered. But the mystery at its heart won’t let you go. Nevil Shute was a great storyteller and like many writers of his generation had many experiences to draw on. The story is quite slow-moving, but poignantheartbreaking in fact. Gradually, he unfolds the mystery of Jessie Proctor, an Englishwoman working for a family in Australia. It begins with Jessie’s suicide and we uncover the events that have haunted this young, ex-servicewoman’s life. As Shute says, "a war can go on killing people for a long time after it’s all over."  

By Nevil Shute,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Requiem For a Wren as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The mysterious death of a young woman on an Australian farm reveals a bittersweet story of doomed wartime romance amidst a family crisis.

Alan Duncan returns to his family home in Australia after the war and several years of study in England. But his homecoming is marred by the mysterious suicide of his parents' quiet and reliable parlour-maid. A search through her belongings in search of clues leads to heartbreaking revelations about the woman's identity, the death of Alan's brother Bill and, above all, the disappearance of his brother's fiancee, Janet.


Book cover of You'll Die Laughing

Tom Mead Author Of The Murder Wheel: A Locked-Room Mystery

From my list on mystery with a hint of magic.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a devourer of Golden Age Detective Fiction, and a writer of locked-room mysteries inspired by the classics. When it comes to old-school mystery writers, my favourites are John Dickson Carr, Ellery Queen, and of course Agatha Christie. What I love about that era is the brilliance of the puzzles, and the way those writers really engaged with the reader and (in some cases) addressed them directly, challenging them to solve the crime along with the detective. Additionally, I’m fascinated by stage illusions (though I’m terrible at performing them myself), and this has also had a major influence on my writing.

Tom's book list on mystery with a hint of magic

Tom Mead Why did Tom love this book?

This is a bizarre and obscure one-hit wonder that definitely needs to be rediscovered.

The style is crisp and witty, with nicely barbed dialogue. The puzzle is utterly bizarre – just the way I like them. And while the book itself doesn’t feature magical themes per se, it’s actually written by a magician.

I admire You’ll Die Laughing for its sheer originality; having read many murder mysteries, I can honestly say I’ve never read one that repeats the trick at the heart of this decidedly idiosyncratic novel. 

By Bruce Elliott,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked You'll Die Laughing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"I think I'll die ... ho ho ... laughing!" So exclaimed the practical-joking host of the elegant weekend party, after the siren that was attached to the flush lever on the commode went off. That set the mood for the rest of the weekend as the high-powered guests, including the mysterious analyst Dr. Guelph and a bunch of show-biz personalities, "enjoyed" the hospitality of the Grimsby brothers, Ben and the obnoxious Jesse. After choking down octopus and a dessert made of raw eggs, the party-goers were ready to murder Jesse, and each of them told him as much. Well, it…


Book cover of RAF On the Offensive: The Rebirth of Tactical Air Power 1940-1941

Vic Flintham Author Of Close Call: RAF Close Air Support in the Mediterranean Volume II Sicily to Victory in Italy 1943-1945

From my list on modern military aviation.

Why am I passionate about this?

Born in London at the height of the Blitz I am a retired NHS Director with a lifelong interest in military aviation. My first journal article, on the Suez Campaign, was published in 1965 since when I have written some 90 articles and eight books and have contributed chapters to several more. Most of my books are triggered by a challenge and I always try to cover ground hitherto ignored so that my books become a unique reference. Works in progress include a history of the RAF involvement in Greece from 1940 to 1950 and the work of the RAF between the wars. I live in Sherborne, Dorset, England.

Vic's book list on modern military aviation

Vic Flintham Why did Vic love this book?

Greg Baughen had written over a million words on the evolving role and functions of the Royal Air Force from its foundation in 1918 to the post-second world war period, then decided to find a publisher!

The work is thus published in a number of volumes this being the fourth. Never frightened to challenge conventional wisdom the author deals with the RAF and British Government’s preoccupation with strategic bombing at the cost of developing effective tactical air power. As he notes German occupation of much of Europe was accomplished on the ground with effective air support.

By Greg Baughen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Long before the start of the Second World War it had been believed that strategic bombing would be the deciding factor in any future conflict. Then Hitler launched the Blitzkrieg upon France and the Low Countries in 1940, and the much-vaunted French Army and the British Expeditionary Force were swept away in just six weeks.

This new form of warfare shook the Air Ministry, but the expected invasion never came and the Battle of Britain was fought in the air. It seemed that air forces operating independently could determine the course of the war. An Army scarcely seemed necessary for…


Book cover of One Wing High: Halifax Bomber - the Navigator's Story

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?

This a rare autobiography about flying in RAF Bomber Command from the perspective of a navigator rather than a pilot.

Also unusual among books of this nature, the author flew in the Halifax rather than the Lancaster. The book opens as the author prepares to report for induction into the RAF and follows him through initial, advanced, and operational training, then into the war and the early post-war period as well.

Although written long after the events depicted, the author relied on his diaries, letters, and logbooks when putting it together, so it does not feel distant from events or didactic.

The author does not focus on the darkness but instead tells his story in an easy, anecdotal fashion. His voice and personality shine through, engaging you easily. 

Book cover of Malta 1940-42: The Axis' Air Battle for Mediterranean Supremacy

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?

This compact, but detailed, history has been painstakingly researched from original Italian and German sources. The author explains the technical and tactical capabilities of the Axis air forces involved in the attacks on Malta and how their campaigns related to the wider Mediterranean war. We are treated to three full colour battle scenes painted by the renowned aviation artist, Graham Turner, as well as 3D tactical diagrams that recreate the airspace during key moments of the battle. The concise text is peppered with contemporary photos of the aircraft used, the personalities involved, and scenes on the ground. An essential handbook to fully understand the siege of Malta.

By Ryan K. Noppen, Graham Turner (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Malta 1940-42 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1940, the strategically vital island of Malta was Britain's last toehold in the central Mediterranean, wreaking havoc among Axis shipping. Launching an air campaign to knock Malta out of the war, first Italy and then Germany sought to force a surrender or reduce the defences enough to allow an invasion. Drawing on original documents, multilingual aviation analyst Ryan Noppen explains how technical and tactical problems caused the original Italian air campaign of 1940-41 to fail, and then how the German intervention came close to knocking Malta out of the war. Using stunning full colour artwork, this fascinating book explains…


Book cover of RAF Evaders: The Complete Story of RAF Escapees and Their Escape Lines, Western Europe, 1940-1945

Anne-Marie Walters Author Of Moondrop to Gascony

From my list on escaping from occupied France during WW2.

Why am I passionate about this?

Anne-Marie Walters was born in 1923 in Geneva to a British father and French mother. At the outbreak of war in 1940, the family escaped to Britain, where Anne-Marie volunteered for the WAAF (Women’s Auxiliary Air Force). Having been approached by SOE in 1943, she was accepted for training and in January the following year dropped into France by parachute to work as a courier with George Starr, head of the Wheelwright circuit of the SOE in SW France. This she did until August 1944, when Starr sent her back to Britain under somewhat controversial  circumstances. Anne-Marrie was awarded the OBE in 1945 in recognition of her “personal courage and willingness to undergo danger.” 

Anne-Marie's book list on escaping from occupied France during WW2

Anne-Marie Walters Why did Anne-Marie love this book?

This book provides one of the most detailed accounts of the many escape routes (and their ‘passengers’) from France -- by land, sea or air. It is a mine of information, including biographies of the key people involved and invaluable listings of over 2000 of the more than 4000 evaders identified by Airey Neave of MI9. Of these, 3000 were airmen (including many Americans). But it is also eminently readable, combining historical background with stories of the individuals who made the perilous journey, some of the details being published here for the first time.

By Oliver Clutton-Brock,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

During the five years from May 1940 to May 1945 several thousand Allied airmen, forced to abandon their aircraft behind enemy lines, evaded capture and reached freedom, by land, sea and air. The territory held by the Germans was immense - from Norway and Denmark in the north, through Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg to the south of France - and initially there was no organisation to help the men on the run. The first one to assist the evaders and escapers ('E & E' as the Americans called them) was the PAT line, along the Mediterranean coast to Perpignan and down…


Book cover of The Forgotten Air Force: The Royal Air Force in the War Against Japan 1941-1945

Carl Molesworth Author Of Flying Tiger Ace: The story of Bill Reed, China’s Shining Mark

From my list on the Air War in the China-Burma-India Theater during WWII.

Why am I passionate about this?

Carl Molesworth’s interest in China and the Far East dates back to childhood memories of stories told by his mother and grandmother of their experiences living in China during the 1920s. He acquired his interest in aviation from his father. Carl began researching the air war in the China-Burma-India Theater while working as a newspaper editor in the late 1970s and published his first book on the subject, Wing To Wing – Air Combat in China 1943-45, in 1990. Of his 14 subsequent books, nine have covered various aspects of air combat in the CBI.

Carl's book list on the Air War in the China-Burma-India Theater during WWII

Carl Molesworth Why did Carl love this book?

Understanding the full scope of the air war in the CBI requires knowledge of Royal Air Force operations against the Japanese, and Probert’s book delivers. I regret that I am not aware of a similar book covering the CBI story from the point of view of the Japanese Army Air Force. Probert begins his book with the arrival of RAF flying boats at Singapore in 1928 and recounts in detail the events of World War II from the debacle in Burma and Malaya in 1941-42 to the hard-won victory in 1945. Substantial appendices, notes, photographs and maps complete the package.

By Henry Probert,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The role of the Royal Air Force in the Far Eastern war has received much less attention from historians than its many activities in the war against Germany and Italy. Indeed, just as the Fourteenth Army was and still is referred to as the Forgotten Army, so can the airmen and airwomen who fought alongside them reasonably consider themselves the Forgotten Air Force. This book, published to mark the 50th anniversary of the defeat of Japan, recalls and explains their achievements, and pays them their rightful tribute. The history covers, among other things, the problems of the 1930s as they…


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