100 books like Malta 1940-42

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

Here are 100 books that Malta 1940-42 fans have personally recommended if you like Malta 1940-42. 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 Fortress Malta: An Island Under Siege, 1940-1943

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?

James Holland is a popular historian because his works are so eminently readable. This book was his first and sprang from the BBC documentary, Battle for Malta, that he also wrote and presented.

Once Mussolini declared war on Britain, Malta, an island no bigger than the Isle of Wight, became a strategic keystone in the Mediterranean and was destined to become the most bombed place on earth. Holland uses survivor testimonies, diaries, and personal letters to focus his narrative on the tribulations and suffering as well as the hopes and fears of the ordinary Maltese and the servicemen sent to defend them. This is a splendid book that does much to illuminate a somewhat neglected part of British military history.

By James Holland,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The extraordinary drama of Malta's WWII victory against impossible odds told through the eyes of the people who were there.

In March and April 1942, more explosives were dropped on the tiny Mediterranean island of Malta - smaller than the Isle of Wight - than on the whole of Britain during the first year of the Blitz. Malta had become one of the most strategically important places in the world. From there, the Allies could attack Axis supply lines to North Africa; without it, Rommel would be able to march unchecked into Egypt, Suez and the Middle East. For the…


Book cover of Faithful Through Hard Times: The uncensored story of WW2 Malta

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?

George Taylor, young and Scottish, a private in the Royal Army Medical Corps, arrived in Malta in 1940, naïve to what the future held for him. Four years later he left as a cynical sergeant (and incidentally, a Master Freemason). In the interim, while letters home were heavily censored, he kept his own truths in an extensive secret diary. His candid narrative documenting the siege of Malta and the daily, pounding attacks from Axis air forces is shot through with his real anxieties for the survival of his relationship with Nettie, his fiancée back home. This is both a war story and a love story from a private world into which we have been invited by George and Nettie’s own daughter.

By Jean Gill,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Faithful Through Hard Times as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Four years: 3 million bombs: Zero Hour Food approaching
’The diary was kept secret because it had to be. Taylor knew he would be in trouble if it were found. There is no censor in the diary.' The Scottish Association for the Teachers of History
'Based on words and feelings recorded at the time it is probably unique.' Don Marshall, Military History Enthusiast
The true story of WW2 Malta from an eye-witness account written at the time in a secret diary, a diary too dangerous to show anyone, and too precious to destroy.
Four years, 3 million bombs, one small…


Book cover of The End of the Beginning

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?

Clayton and Craig’s work covers the pivotal period of May to November 1942. Focussing their narrative on north Africa, they nevertheless clarify the contribution Malta’s dogged resistance made to bringing about this first British victory of the war to date. Ranging widely, this history touches on the experience of an American soldier caught up in the raid on Dieppe, RAF bomber crews flying into Europe from British airfields, and a nurse working in appalling conditions in a hospital in Malta. More than a dozen individuals, many of which will inspire your emotional investment, have their stories stitched together to present this solid and comprehensive account of a wildly dynamic theatre of war. Fittingly, each one is eulogised in the book’s short epilogue.

By Tim Clayton, Phil Craig,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

1942 - British troops are stranded in the desert, struggling to hold back Rommel's Afrika Corps. Hitler's armies have reached Moscow, and there are murmurs of discontent at home as new doubts emerge about Churchill's leadership. Elsewhere in Europe there is chilling evidence of the mounting persecution of the Jews, stretching from Poland to the Channel Islands. For many, it seems there is little hope. The authors use the personal testimony of ordinary people to tell the story of the war at a moment of great crisis. In this book we meet again some of the people first encountered in…


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…


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 A Thousand Shall Fall

Mark Zuehlke Author Of Juno Beach: Canada's D-Day Victory -- June 6, 1944

From my list on Canadians on their World War 2 service.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since the mid-1990s, I’ve written thirteen volumes in The Canadian Battles Series—more than a million words on the battles, campaigns, and experiences of my nation’s army during World War II. I started this because Canadians were usually no more than a footnote in the WWII histories written by American and British historians, despite having been the third-largest army serving alongside their armies in Italy and Northwest Europe. Realizing that the Canadian story would only be told if we wrote it ourselves, I embraced the task and continue to do so thirty years later.

Mark's book list on Canadians on their World War 2 service

Mark Zuehlke Why did Mark love this book?

As a pilot with Bomber Command, Murray Peden flew thirty combat missions and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. While many bomber veterans have written solid memoirs to their experiences, this book is also a fine examination of the Bomber Command Campaign. To my knowledge, no other memoir of Bomber Command garnered the praise of its British Commander, Royal Air Force Marshal, Sir Arthur (Bomber) Harris. “I consider it not only the best and most true to life ‘war’ book I’ve ever read about this war, but the best about all the wars of my lifetime,” Harris wrote. Not only does it relate the story of Bomber Command operations, but it authentically captures the flavour of life experienced by its aircrews both during missions and in the downtime between. Peden was a gifted writer with a mastery of language that combined with a keen ability as a witness to war…

By Murray Peden,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Thousand Shall Fall as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the finest war memoirs ever written.

During World War II, Canada trained tens of thousands of airmen under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. Those selected for Bomber Command operations went on to rain devastation upon the Third Reich in the great air battles over Europe, but their losses were high. German fighters and anti-aircraft guns took a terrifying toll. The chances of surviving a tour of duty as a bomber crew were almost nil.

Murray Peden's story of his training in Canada and England, and his crew's operations on Stirlings and Flying Fortresses with 214 Squadron, has…


Book cover of The Battle of Hamburg: The Firestorm Raid

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?

I was enraptured by this book. It took me right into the middle of one of the defining events of the air war over Germany in a way that no other book did, not even Sinclair McKay’s superb Dresden.

Through Middlebrook’s book, I saw the bombing of Germany’s second city through the eyes of the British bomber crews, the helpless German fighter pilots, and the people of Hamburg itself. It made me realise how close bombing came at that point in the war to causing a German collapse–totally absorbing.     

By Martin Middlebrook,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Martin Middlebrook enjoys an international reputation with his superbly researched compelling accounts of major turning points in the two World Wars. An absorbing account of the battle of Hamburg, based on the accounts of those who experienced it on both sides - in the air and on the ground. 'Documentary evidence and eye witness reports...The most harrowing, horrifying descriptions of what it was like to be the victim of a massed bombing attack.' Economist


Book cover of No Ordinary Pilot: One Young Man’s Extraordinary Exploits in World War II

Michael Tappenden Author Of Pegasus to Paradise

From my list on war that show the awful impact on the individual.

Why am I passionate about this?

On D-Day 1944, three gliders carrying elite British soldiers landed to capture and hold the vital Pegasus bridge. In the first glider to land was my father, Ted Tappenden. Ted was one of several close relatives who served with distinction in WW2 including a naval officer and two fighter pilots. It was then no surprise when instead of following my grammar school direction to University, I volunteered instead to serve with the Parachute Regiment (my degree came later). My close connection with the military allowed me an insight into both the physical and mental strain and the awful consequences that might afflict those who serve and their nearest and dearest.

Michael's book list on war that show the awful impact on the individual

Michael Tappenden Why did Michael love this book?

This book is written about my uncle Bob Allen. He was a career RAF officer, not easy to know, quite distant and intimidating, and he had a secret.

This is a true story that lay deliberately hidden for fifty years until unearthed on his death by the author. I say deliberately because of the need – common-felt amongst survivors of war – to remain tight-lipped. Even when his hand-written memoirs were discovered, they had been written in the third person. But this is the story of an ordinary man caught up in extraordinary times. He joined the RAF aged nineteen, was flying a Hurricane in dogfights that year, saw action in West Africa, in Normandy at D-Day, was shot down, presumed killed and captured by the SS. Interrogated by the Gestapo and sent to Stalag-Luft 3. In 1945, he suffered one of the infamous winter marches on which many POWs…

By Suzanne Campbell-Jones,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked No Ordinary Pilot as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

After a lifetime in the RAF, Group Captain Bob Allen, finally allowed his children and grandchildren to see his official flying log. It contained the line: 'KILLED WHILST ON OPERATIONS'. He refused to answer any further questions, leaving instead a memoir of his life during World War II.

Joining up aged 19, within six months he was in No.1 Squadron flying a Hurricane in a dog fight over the Channel. For almost two years he lived in West Africa, fighting Germany's Vichy French allies, as well as protecting the Southern Atlantic supply routes. Returning home at Christmas 1942, he retrained…


Book cover of Eighth Passenger: A Flight of Recollection & Discovery

Sean Feast Author Of Halton Boys: True Tales from Pilots and Ground Crew Proud to be Called 'Trenchard Brats'

From my list on British Bomber Command in World War 2.

Why am I passionate about this?

Sean Feast has been a journalist and PR professional for more than 35 years and is a Director of a global marketing consultancy, Gravity Global. He is the author and co-author of more than 20 books on Bomber Command (seven with Grub St) with a particular specialism in Pathfinder Force. He co-authored the books that went with the opening of the Bomber Command Memorial and the International Bomber Command Centre. He is a Trustee of the RAF Pathfinder Archive.

Sean's book list on British Bomber Command in World War 2

Sean Feast Why did Sean love this book?

My favourite autobiography is The Eighth Passenger by Miles Tripp. First published in 1969, the book charts the author’s journey to re-discover his former crewmates 30-years after they had last met and flown operations. He seeks to discover how they felt both then and now, and whether his experiences were shared. What really comes across is how extraordinarily ‘ordinary’ they all were, and yet how they gelled into an expert crew. One of their numbers is black, a rarity at the time and adding a certain significance today, and another proves particularly elusive such that you wonder whether he will ever be found. The author very cleverly weaves in the past and the present, their experiences as a Lancaster crew, and what happened after demob and a return to civilian life. It’s a very intelligent book that will ultimately lead you to the identity of The Eighth Passenger.

By Miles Tripp,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is a first-hand account of World War II combat-flying, enhanced by the addition of a series of notes in which the author reappraises, in the light of information learned since the first edition was published, some of the events described and the views expressed. Seven young men, brought together by chance from, almost literally, the four corners of the earth, wake up day after day - or are woken up in the middle of the night - fully aware that the odds on their seeing the sun rise again are not good. The author has been a novelist for…


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