100 books like Masters of the Air

By Donald L. Miller,

Here are 100 books that Masters of the Air fans have personally recommended if you like Masters of the Air. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of Wolf Hall

Iris Mwanza Author Of The Lions' Den

From my list on immersed in another culture, country and time.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Zambia, a small, landlocked country where travel was prohibitively expensive, but through books, I could travel to any place and across time without ever leaving my bedroom. Now, I’m fortunate that I get to travel for work and leisure and have been to over thirty countries and counting. Before I go to a new country, I try to read historical fiction as a fun way to educate myself and better understand that country’s history, culture, food, and family life. I hope you also enjoy traveling worldwide and across time through this selection.

Iris' book list on immersed in another culture, country and time

Iris Mwanza Why did Iris love this book?

I was surprised by how much I loved this book about England in the 1500s. The story of Thomas Cromwell and Henry VIII has been told and retold, but even when I thought I knew what was coming (it is history, after all), I didn’t!

I laughed, cried, and found myself rooting for Cromwell. Yes, Cromwell! Such is the power of Hilary Mantle; there is no better historical fiction writer.

By Hilary Mantel,

Why should I read it?

20 authors picked Wolf Hall as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Man Booker Prize Shortlisted for the the Orange Prize Shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award

`Dizzyingly, dazzlingly good' Daily Mail

'Our most brilliant English writer' Guardian

England, the 1520s. Henry VIII is on the throne, but has no heir. Cardinal Wolsey is his chief advisor, charged with securing the divorce the pope refuses to grant. Into this atmosphere of distrust and need comes Thomas Cromwell, first as Wolsey's clerk, and later his successor.

Cromwell is a wholly original man: the son of a brutal blacksmith, a political genius, a briber, a charmer, a bully, a man with…


Book cover of The Remains of the Day

Victor Lodato Author Of Honey

From my list on packing an emotional punch.

Why am I passionate about this?

In addition to writing novels, I’m also a playwright. Whatever form I work in, I’m drawn to character, drama, and emotion. I aspire to write literary page-turners that feel as rich and complicated as real life.  Also, I want the endings of my books to slay readers and break their hearts. Of course, when I say that, I’m not necessarily speaking of sorrow; sometimes your heart breaks from expanding, from a surfeit of feeling. Your heart breaks only to grow larger.

Victor's book list on packing an emotional punch

Victor Lodato Why did Victor love this book?

This novel about an English butler’s lifetime of service and his friendship with the housekeeper, Miss Kenton, is an absolute stunner.

Near the end of the book, when the butler and the housekeeper run into each other again, years after their service to Lord Darlington, the scene is expertly understated. 

This book doesn’t give in to trite sentimentality, but rather, it moves you by its keen understanding of human nature.

By Kazuo Ishiguro,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked The Remains of the Day as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*Kazuo Ishiguro's new novel Klara and the Sun is now available to preorder*

The Remains of the Day won the 1989 Booker Prize and cemented Kazuo Ishiguro's place as one of the world's greatest writers. David Lodge, chairman of the judges in 1989, said, it's "a cunningly structured and beautifully paced performance". This is a haunting evocation of lost causes and lost love, and an elegy for England at a time of acute change. Ishiguro's work has been translated into more than forty languages and has sold millions of copies worldwide.

Stevens, the long-serving butler of Darlington Hall, embarks on…


Book cover of War Diaries 1939-1945

James B. Conroy Author Of The Devils Will Get No Rest: FDR, Churchill, and the Plan That Won the War

From my list on making history live and breathe.

Why am I passionate about this?

History has enthralled me from a very young age, drawn as a child as I was to Vikings, cowboys and Indians, medieval knights, ancient conquerors, and mythological gods. After practicing law in Boston for 38 years, I retired to write history full time, not to string dates and facts together in a powder-dry mix but to try to breathe life into the vibrant men and women who enlivened their times and can shed a timeless light on the challenges of ours. Hard work though it is, I have never been so satisfied with life.

James' book list on making history live and breathe

James B. Conroy Why did James love this book?

I have read many military diaries in my research on World War II, and none are more enthralling than this. Lieutenant General Alan Brooke (Colonel Shrapnel, a subordinate called him) was Britain’s complicated Chief of the Imperial General Staff from November 1941 through the final victory.

From cover to cover, the diary he kept in the form of a chat with his wife “My evening talk with you on paper” – enlightened and often moved me with Brooke’s unique insights about the perilous course of the war and his intimate, unfiltered observations and typically caustic opinions about his legendary British, French, and American colleagues, Winston Churchill memorably among them.

I know of no more candid, heartfelt exposure of the burdens, rewards, and personal challenges of high command in wartime.

By Alanbrooke (editor), Alex Danchev (editor), Daniel Todman (editor)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked War Diaries 1939-1945 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For most of the Second World War, General Sir Alan Brooke (1883-1963), later Field Marshal Lord Alanbrooke, was Britain's Chief of the Imperial General Staff (CIGS) and Winston Churchill's principal military adviser, and antagonist, in the inner councils of war. He is commonly considered the greatest CIGS in the history of the British Army. His diaries--published here for the first time in complete and unexpurgated form--are one of the most important and the most controversial military diaries of the modern era. The last great chronicle of the Second World War, they provide a riveting blow-by-blow account of how the war…


Book cover of Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power

James B. Conroy Author Of The Devils Will Get No Rest: FDR, Churchill, and the Plan That Won the War

From my list on making history live and breathe.

Why am I passionate about this?

History has enthralled me from a very young age, drawn as a child as I was to Vikings, cowboys and Indians, medieval knights, ancient conquerors, and mythological gods. After practicing law in Boston for 38 years, I retired to write history full time, not to string dates and facts together in a powder-dry mix but to try to breathe life into the vibrant men and women who enlivened their times and can shed a timeless light on the challenges of ours. Hard work though it is, I have never been so satisfied with life.

James' book list on making history live and breathe

James B. Conroy Why did James love this book?

In researching and writing my book about our third president, I revisited Jon Meacham’s masterly portrait of the man and rediscovered its many rewards, steeped as it is in the subtleties of Jefferson’s character, the brilliance of his mind, and his unsurpassed contributions to our country’s democratic foundations, despite his disappointing flaws and missed opportunities.

I have always found Meacham’s peerless prose and storytelling skills a worthy match for his perceptive insights. If I could recommend just one book about Jefferson (excluding my own, of which I have positive opinions), it would be his. 

By Jon Meacham,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
The New York Times Book Review • The Washington Post • Entertainment Weekly • The Seattle Times • St. Louis Post-Dispatch • Bloomberg Businessweek

In this magnificent biography, the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of American Lion and Franklin and Winston brings vividly to life an extraordinary man and his remarkable times. Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power gives us Jefferson the politician and president, a great and complex human being forever engaged in the wars of his era. Philosophers think; politicians maneuver. Jefferson’s genius was that he was both and could…


Book cover of The Tenth Air Force in World War II: Strategy, Command, and Operations 1942-1945

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?

If you could only have a single book about American involvement in the air war over Burma during World War II, this would be the one. Ted Young’s history of the Tenth Air Force has it all, from high-level political maneuvering (and there was plenty of it) and seemingly endless reorganizations to in-the-cockpit combat accounts and a generous selection of photos and maps. He describes in detail the constantly shifting priorities and strategies faced by the Tenth Air Force, along with the many innovative tactics and techniques developed by units such as the First Air Commando Group. In addition, Young brings fresh insight into many of the officers who led the efforts in Burma, men such as Clayton L. Bissell. Young describes him as “a capable staff officer with broad administrative experience” who nevertheless was unable to establish a good working relationship with Claire L. Chennault, his more colorful counterpart…

By Edward M. Young,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Tenth Air Force in World War II as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

During World War II, flying B-24 Liberator bombers on missions deep into Burma, B-25 Mitchell bombers attacking Japanese lines of communications, and P-40 Warhawks, P-47 Thunderbolts, and P-51 Mustangs flying close support for General Joseph Stilwell's Chinese and American forces in northern Burma, the Tenth Air Force worked closely with the squadrons of the Royal Air Force to push the Japanese out of Burma. The first comprehensive history of the Tenth Air Force and the Army Air Forces, India-Burma sector, this book covers these operations in the context of Allied strategic objectives for prosecuting the war in China and Southeast…


Book cover of 81 Days Below Zero: The Incredible Survival Story of a World War II Pilot in Alaska's Frozen Wilderness

Bradford Smith Author Of Atlin Where Everyone Knows Your Dog's Name

From my list on Northern wilderness and people who survive there.

Why am I passionate about this?

Every book on my list has a personal connection. I’ve either been to these locations, have had similar experiences, or have met the authors. The connecting threads of my list are perseverance over incredible odds, survival in a harsh landscape, and the courageous and undefeatable spirit of the characters. I love all these books because they tell great stories about amazing people in the land and environs that I have made my home for my entire life.

Bradford's book list on Northern wilderness and people who survive there

Bradford Smith Why did Bradford love this book?

In December 1943, an army test flight took off from Ladd Field near Fairbanks Alaska the instruments malfunctioned and the plane crashed. Read about how the only survivor battled against bitterly cold temperatures, injuries, and starvation. Leon Crane was a city boy from Philadelphia with little wilderness experience. What he did have was an indomitable spirit and an intense desire to live. He soon realized he wouldn’t be rescued so he took it upon himself and walked to safety through some of the harshest terrain on the planet. Well-written and fast-paced, the author's prose inserts the reader into the story. You can feel Cranes hunger pangs and the winds stabbing icy fingers. This book is a tribute to the man's uncrushable will to survive.

By Brian Murphy, Toula Vlahou,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked 81 Days Below Zero as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Shortly before Christmas in 1943, five Army aviators left Alaska's Ladd Field on a routine flight to test their hastily retrofitted B-24 Liberator in harsh winter conditions. The mission ended in a crash that claimed all but one- Leon Crane, a city kid from Philadelphia with no wilderness experience. With little more than a parachute for cover and an old Boy Scout knife in his pocket, Crane now found himself alone in subzero temperatures. Crane knew, as did the Ladd Field crews who searched unsuccessfully for the crash site, that his chance of survival dropped swiftly with each passing day.But…


Book cover of The First Team: Pacific Naval Air Combat from Pearl Harbor to Midway

Barrett Tillman Author Of When the Shooting Stopped: August 1945

From my list on WWII aircraft carrier operations in the Pacific.

Why am I passionate about this?

Like all Boomers, I grew up in the shadow of “The War.” My parents, relatives, and others participated in World War II to various extents; all were affected by it. Therefore, I absorbed the Pacific Theater early on. My father trained as a naval aviator, and among my early TV memories is the 1950s series Victory at Sea. My mother coaxed me early on, and an aunt was an English teacher, so I began learning to read before kindergarten. In retrospect, that gave me extra time to start absorbing the emerging literature. Much later I helped restore and flew WW II aircraft, leading to my first book.

Barrett's book list on WWII aircraft carrier operations in the Pacific

Barrett Tillman Why did Barrett love this book?

Published ten years apart (1984 and 1994), John Lundstrom’s two-volume set was well worth the wait. 

His first installment set an exceptionally high bar with minutely detailed analysisoften including cockpit-to-cockpit matchups—of U.S. and Japanese aerial encounters. Volume One rightly peaks with the vital Battle of Midway in June 1942, while the second covers land and carrier-based operations at Guadalcanal from August to November.

Both volumes place the combatants in the context of time and place including their institutional backgrounds. With numerous veteran contributions dating from the 1970s, neither book could be written today.

By John B. Lundstrom,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Hailed as one of the finest examples of aviation research, this comprehensive 1984 study presents a detailed and scrupulously accurate operational history of carrier-based air warfare. From the earliest operations in the Pacific through the decisive Battle of Midway, it offers a narrative account of how ace fighter pilots like Jimmy Thach and Butch O'Hare and their skilled VF squadron mates-called the `first team'--amassed a remarkable combat record in the face of desperate odds.

Tapping both American and Japanese sources, historian John B. Lundstrom reconstructs every significant action and places these extraordinary fighters within the context of overall carrier operations.…


Book cover of Fighter Pilot: The Memoirs of Legendary Ace Robin Olds

Colin D. Heaton Author Of The Star of Africa: The Story of Hans Marseille, the Rogue Luftwaffe Ace Who Dominated the WWII Skies

From my list on true stories of survival.

Why am I passionate about this?

I began reading about history as a child and fell in love with the WW II aviation stories. Later in life I was able to meet many of the men I read about, interview them, and then write my books with their first person accounts. The greatest satisfaction was putting former enemies together who I could prove had fought each other. The reunions were amazing.

Colin's book list on true stories of survival

Colin D. Heaton Why did Colin love this book?

I knew and interviewed General Robin Olds (he is in my next book out June 8th, 2021), and his daughter Christina. His story is a wonderful addition to the history of American airpower, leadership, and the character of a great man who defied the odds, and even his superiors rather than back down from what he knew was right.

By Christina Olds, Ed Rasimus, Robin Olds

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Robin Olds was a larger-than-life hero with a towering personality. A graduate of West Point and an inductee in the National College Football Hall of Fame for his All-American performance for Army, Olds was one of the toughest college football players at the time. In WWII, Olds quickly became a top fighter pilot and squadron commander by the age of 22 - and an ace with 12 aerial victories. But it was in Vietnam where the man became a legend. He arrived in 1966 to find a dejected group of pilots and motivated them by placing himself on the flight…


Book cover of Enterprise: America's Fightingest Ship and the Men Who Helped Win World War II

Benjamin Hruska Author Of Valor and Courage: The Story of the USS Block Island Escort Carriers in World War II

From my list on the human superpower of teamwork overcoming challenges.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been drawn to narratives where a group of individuals needs to collectively overcome a seemingly insurmountable challenge. And, as someone who loves reasonable outdoor challenges such as whitewater rafting trips, I love stories that combine the two. I have been lucky enough to partake in two private float trips of the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. With no internet, or electricity for 16 days at a time, a carefully crafted book list is key for any river descend. All these books at their core are narratives of individuals digging in deep, and cultivating that collective human superpower known as teamwork, to overcome challenges many thought could not be overcome.

Benjamin's book list on the human superpower of teamwork overcoming challenges

Benjamin Hruska Why did Benjamin love this book?

I love this book for at its heart this is a story of the average American sailor waging war in the Pacific during World War II.

As an author of naval history, I understand it is all too easy to get bogged down in the writing about motivations of top commanders and the newest advances in military weaponry. Tillman successfully walks the thin line in telling the individual stories of the sailors of the Enterprise and how this single vessel fits into the greater campaign of the U.S. Navy against the Empire of Japan.

This book demonstrates that detailed military scholarship can retain a human face. 

By Barrett Tillman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Offering a naval history of the entire Pacific Theater in World War II through the lens of its most famous ship, this is the epic and heroic story of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, and of the men who fought and died on her from Pearl Harbor to the end of the conflict.

Pearl Harbor . . . Midway . . . Guadalcanal . . . The Marianas . . . Leyte Gulf . . . Iwo Jima . . . Okinawa. These are just seven of the twenty battles that the USS Enterprise took part in during World War…


Book cover of Pacific Payback: The Carrier Aviators Who Avenged Pearl Harbor at the Battle of Midway

Kevin Miller Author Of The Silver Waterfall: A Novel of the Battle of Midway

From my list on The Battle of Midway and how it changed the course of WW2.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a retired U.S. Navy carrier pilot, having flown the A-7 Corsair II and F/A-18 Hornet operationally, and formerly the Executive Vice President of the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation. Over 20 years I have spoken about the battle to diverse audiences, and my historical fiction novel The Silver Waterfall was written without changing any facts of the battle and features the real men who fought it. I am also the author of the Raven One trilogy of aircraft carrier techno-thrillers.

Kevin's book list on The Battle of Midway and how it changed the course of WW2

Kevin Miller Why did Kevin love this book?

It was the carrier-based dive-bombers that carried the day at Midway, and Moore’s narrative non-fiction account of the battle through the eyes of the actual men who fought at Midway in these dive-bombers is an entertaining and gripping page turner.

You learn of their fears, the uncertainty, and of their humble courage. Moore brings you with them in their SBD Dauntless cockpits. These men were what the United States had at the onset of the Pacific War, and Moore’s tribute to them is moving.

By Stephen L. Moore,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Deeply researched and well written....By far the most detailed account of USS Enterprise’s dive-bombers and their decisive role at the Battle of Midway.”*

Sunday, December 7, 1941, dawned clear and bright over the Pacific....

But for the Dauntless dive-bomber crews of the USS Enterprise returning to their home base on Oahu, it was a morning from hell. Flying directly into the Japanese ambush at Pearl Harbor, they lost a third of their squadron and witnessed the heart of America’s Navy broken and smoldering on the oil-slicked waters below.

The next six months, from Pearl Harbor to the Battle of Midway—a…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in aviation, WW2 aviation, and Germany?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about aviation, WW2 aviation, and Germany.

Aviation Explore 37 books about aviation
WW2 Aviation Explore 65 books about WW2 aviation
Germany Explore 483 books about Germany