92 books like Neptune’s Inferno

By James D. Hornfischer,

Here are 92 books that Neptune’s Inferno fans have personally recommended if you like Neptune’s Inferno. 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 Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of 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?

Shattered Sword is proof that history is a journey rather than a destination. When published in 2005, Parshall and Tully set a milepost on the then-six-decade road to understanding the pivotal June 1942 battle.  

Aside from correcting “settled facts” about the battle, the authors added depth with detailed examinations of rare subjects.  Among other things, how the Imperial Navy managed its flight and hangar decks; how the combat air patrols were cycled. What some readers might consider “nuts and bolts” provide revelations to those seeking deeper knowledge, especially for relevant individuals and Japanese culture.

By Jonathan Parshall, Anthony Tully,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Shattered Sword as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Many consider the Battle of Midway to have turned the tide of the Pacific War. It is without question one of the most famous battles in history. Now, for the first time since Gordon W. Prange's bestselling Miracle at Midway, Jonathan Parshall and Anthony Tully offer a new interpretation of this great naval engagement.

Unlike previous accounts, Shattered Sword makes extensive use of Japanese primary sources. It also corrects the many errors of Mitsuo Fuchida's Midway: The Battle That Doomed Japan, an uncritical reliance upon which has tainted every previous Western account. It thus forces a major, potentially controversial reevaluation…


Book cover of Rising Sun, Falling Skies: The disastrous Java Sea Campaign of World War II

Walter R. Borneman Author Of The Admirals: Nimitz, Halsey, Leahy, and King--The Five-Star Admirals Who Won the War at Sea

From my list on naval battles in WW2.

Why am I passionate about this?

Walter R. Borneman is an American military and political historian. He won the Samuel Eliot Morison Prize in Naval Literature for The Admirals: Nimitz, Halsey, Leahy, and King, a national bestseller. Borneman's other titles include Brothers Down: Pearl Harbor and the Fate of the Many Brothers Aboard the USS Arizona; MacArthur at War: World War II in the Pacific; and 1812: The War That Forged a Nation.

Walter's book list on naval battles in WW2

Walter R. Borneman Why did Walter love this book?

Perceptions of the first several months of World War II in the Pacific war usually focus on Douglas MacArthur’s actions in the Philippines. Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy and its British, Dutch, and Australian allies waged a largely unsung and losing battle against the Japanese onslaught to control the natural resources of the Netherlands East Indies.

Rising Sun, Falling Skies scrutinizes the learning curve of allied command, the hopelessness of facing numerical superiority, and the grim awakening that airpower plays a decisive role no matter how powerful the fleet. Cox’s portraits of admirals Thomas Hart and Karl Doorman beg a host of intriguing “what ifs.”

By Jeffrey Cox,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rising Sun, Falling Skies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Few events have ever shaken a country in the way that the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor affected the United States. The Japanese forces then continued to overwhelm the Allies, attacking Malaya with its fortress of Singapore, and taking resource-rich islands in the Pacific in their own blitzkrieg offensive. Allied losses in these early months after America's entry into the war were great, and among the most devastating were those suffered during the Java Sea Campaign, where a small group of Americans, British, Dutch, and Australians were isolated in the Far East - directly in the path of the Japanese…


Book cover of Sea of Thunder: Four Commanders and the Last Great Naval Campaign 1941-1945

James G. Stavridis Author Of To Risk It All: Nine Conflicts and the Crucible of Decision

From my list on to help you make decisions under extreme pressure.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a retired 4-star Admiral who spent over forty years at sea, rising from Midshipman at the Naval Academy to Supreme Allied Commander at NATO. Along the way, I served in and commanded destroyers, cruisers, and aircraft carriers in combat, and I have faced many very difficult decisions under extreme pressure. In addition, I’ve been in the Pentagon for many assignments, including as Senior Military Assistant to the Secretary of Defense – which also created countless high-pressure decisions. What I learned in the Navy has helped me again and again in calculating risk and making the right decisions. 

James' book list on to help you make decisions under extreme pressure

James G. Stavridis Why did James love this book?

The US Navy at war in the Pacific is the backdrop to a series of high-pressure decisions made by various officers in command. The most striking is the heroic attack of a group of lightly armed US destroyers against the main forces of the Japanese Imperial Navy in the battle of Leyte Gulf. The so-called “Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors” and the heroism in particular of Commander Ernest Evans, a Native American who receives the Medal of Honor for his decisions in the battle. I’ve always been awestruck by Evans, who was a quiet, thoughtful man who had to make the hardest choice literally “to risk it all” to achieve his mission.

By Evan Thomas,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Sea of Thunder is a taut, fast-paced, suspenseful narrative of the Pacific War that culminates in the battle of Leyte Gulf, the greatest naval battle ever fought.

Told from both the American and Japanese sides, through the eyes of commanders and sailors of both navies, Thomas's history adds an important new dimension to our understanding of World War II.

Drawing on oral histories, diaries, correspondence, postwar testimony from both American and Japanese participants, and interviews with survivors, Thomas provides an account not only of the great sea battle and Pacific naval war, but of the contrasting cultures pitted against each…


Book cover of The Hunters 1939-1942

Walter R. Borneman Author Of The Admirals: Nimitz, Halsey, Leahy, and King--The Five-Star Admirals Who Won the War at Sea

From my list on naval battles in WW2.

Why am I passionate about this?

Walter R. Borneman is an American military and political historian. He won the Samuel Eliot Morison Prize in Naval Literature for The Admirals: Nimitz, Halsey, Leahy, and King, a national bestseller. Borneman's other titles include Brothers Down: Pearl Harbor and the Fate of the Many Brothers Aboard the USS Arizona; MacArthur at War: World War II in the Pacific; and 1812: The War That Forged a Nation.

Walter's book list on naval battles in WW2

Walter R. Borneman Why did Walter love this book?

Yes, there was a naval war in the Atlantic, too. Had not the Allies defeated Hitler’s U-boats over a multi-year battle—the longest of the war—World War II would likely have been lost no matter the heroics in the Pacific. Hitler’s U-Boat War does for the Battle of the Atlantic what Blair did with Silent Victory for submarine actions in the Pacific.

This book is exhaustive in detail—pick a boat or an engagement, and Blair has chronicled it— but taken overall, these volumes show the tenuous nature of the battle that was won in the aggregate by individual conflicts between hunter and hunted. This is a reliable desktop reference as well as a compelling read.

By Clay Blair,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Hunters 1939-1942 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"His monumental work...is the most thorough study of the U-boat campaign available."    --Library Journal

Hitler's U-boat War is an epic sea story about the most arduous and prolonged naval battle in history. For a period of nearly six years, the German U-boat force attempted to blockade and isolate the British Isles in hopes of forcing the British out of the war, thereby thwarting both the Allied strategic air assault on German cities and Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of Occupied France. Fortunately for the Allies, the U-boat force failed to achieve either of these objectives, but in the attempt they…


Book cover of Ordinary Heroes

Scott Lord Author Of Come November

From my list on thrillers to make you wish you lived in another time.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a longtime Los Angeles trial lawyer, as well as a writer and librettist. I graduated with honors from the University of California at Santa Cruz and from the Santa Clara University School of Law where I was a member of the Law Review. Me and my wife, Susan, are the parents of six children and live in Santa Monica, California. My previous novel, The Logic Bomb, a legal thriller, was published in 2015.

Scott's book list on thrillers to make you wish you lived in another time

Scott Lord Why did Scott love this book?

Scott Turow, author of numerous legal thrillers, turns his hand to historical fiction Ordinary Heroes, which manages to combine action and suspense with the touching personal journey of a journalist looking for the truth about his father and what he did during and after World War II.

The father, a JAG lawyer, is on the hunt for a rogue OSS agent and on the way, falls in love, finds himself in the middle of the Battle of the Bulge, and uncovers the horrors of a concentration camp. 

Far removed from his usual Kindle County milieu – Turow, often unjustly pigeonholed as a genre writer – turns in some of his best writing. Its ending left me in tears.

As a post-script, I was so moved by the book that I did something I almost never do – I emailed Turow a fan letter. I got a call from his…

By Scott Turow,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the bestselling author of Presumed Innocent comes Ordinary Heroes, Scott Turow's Second World War story of family and bravery.

All parents keep secrets from their children. My father, it seemed, kept more than most . . .

Whilst mourning the death of his father, journalist Stewart Dubin decides to research the life of a man he had always respected, always admired, but possibly never quite knew . . .

As a young, idealistic lawyer during the last terrible months of the Second World War, David Dubin was sent to the European Front - ostensibly to bring charges against a…


Book cover of The 509th Remembered

Robert O. Harder Author Of The Three Musketeers of the Army Air Forces: From Hitler's Fortress Europa to Hiroshima and Nagasaki

From my list on the atomic bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Why am I passionate about this?

In May 1968, I arrived at my first duty station as a new B-52 navigator-bombardier. Later, at the bar, I was hailed by a booming voice from behind the beer taps. "Hi ya, lieutenant!" Moments later, he asked what I thought of the USAF so far. I said I was career-minded. ‘‘Hell, only the pilots get promoted; navigators get diddley-squat. Get out as soon as you can.” After he departed, the bartender came over. “Know who that was, lieutenant? He’s Tom Ferebee, the man who dropped the bomb on Hiroshima." The colonel had both underscored my dismal career prospects and instilled a lifelong passion for the subjects discussed in this book.

Robert's book list on the atomic bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Robert O. Harder Why did Robert love this book?

A meticulously compiled coffee-table ‘yearbook’ of the 509th Composite Group, including over 850 photos of people, places, and planes, along with 346 pages of text. A sometimes hard-to-come-by collector’s volume that is always pricey, it is nevertheless worth every penny. One will discover information nuggets here that cannot be found anywhere else. A must-book for anyone interested in the 509th CG. As told by the veterans who dropped the atomic bombs on Japan.

By Robert Krauss,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The 509th Remembered as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Complete History Of the 509th Composite Group the WWII Army Aircorps Unit that dropped the Atomic Bombs on Japan. From their formation In 1944 to their return home to the United States in December 1945. The Book contains over 125 personal stories from veterans of the unit as well as over 800 Illustrations and 8 page color section with pictures of the Nose Art of the B-29s.Photos of all crews, all missions and the history of each plane Is detailed In the book, as well as a complete roster of all men In the unit


Book cover of The Charioteer

Kenneth Martin Author Of Aubade

From my list on important stories for saving gay men’s lives.

Why am I passionate about this?

Long ago I lived in a world of blackouts and food rationing and German planes threatening overhead, children dying in epidemics of polio and TB, and food on the dinner table not always certain. In that world, homosexuality was a criminal and psychiatric term and queer men were objects of ridicule, tragic sissies it was normal to mock as sick monsters who could go to jail for their forbidden behavior. I’ve listed some of the books that trace part of the long journey queer men took until it felt reasonably safe to discuss queerness nonjudgmentally. Question: In how many American schools, even today, would a teacher be banned from assigning one of these books?

Kenneth's book list on important stories for saving gay men’s lives

Kenneth Martin Why did Kenneth love this book?

Written in the fifties, perhaps the author’s gender helped excuse her brave assumption that the intimate thoughts and feelings of a group of young gay men attempting to come to terms with their sexual identity was a valid topic. Renaud writes of stunted lives: the invented girlfriends, the cautious hints to probe another man’s preferences, the desperate need to belong, provoking the retreat into society’s stereotyping even amongst themselves. The novel is dated; one character has to explain to another what drag is! But it was one more step towards gay men’s forming their identity and self-acceptance. 

By Mary Renault,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Injured at Dunkirk, Laurie Odell, a young corporal, is recovering at a rural veterans' hospital. There he meets Andrew, a conscientious objector serving as an orderly, and the men find solace in their covert friendship. Then Ralph Lanyon appears, a mentor from Laurie's schooldays. Through him, Laurie is drawn into a tight-knit circle of gay men for whom liaisons are fleeting and he is forced to choose between the ideals of a perfect friendship and the pleasures of experience. First published in 1953, The Charioteer is a a tender, intelligent coming-of-age novel and a bold, unapologetic portrayal of homosexuality that…


Book cover of The Long Take: A Noir Narrative

Ward Howarth Author Of River City Blues

From my list on WWII era reads no crime fiction fan should miss.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an author, reader, and cinephile with a real appetite for all things crime. If it’s a mystery, if it’s a detective story, if there are questionable morals at play in a story with no easy answers and no clear way out, then count me in. I’m also fascinated by the WWII era and was spellbound by the stories my maternal grandfather told me about his time as an infantry soldier in Italy during the war. These passions moved me to write my own novels and continue to inspire me in my embrace of art. I hope you enjoy the books on this list as much as I do!

Ward's book list on WWII era reads no crime fiction fan should miss

Ward Howarth Why did Ward love this book?

Robin Robertson’s noir narrative The Long Take might seem like an unusual choice for this list.

Essentially a long noir poem, The Long Take concerns Walker, a Canadian veteran of D-Day with acute PTSD who finds life unraveling in the urban landscapes he inhabits after the war.

With a poet’s precision, Robertson follows Walker as he moves from city to city, taking it all in. Homelessness, crime, race—nothing is spared.

Why, you’d think you were in a 40s film noir, reading about it all, and then you find Walker on the streets of LA in 1948 seeing some of those very films being shot, films like Act of Violence and Criss Cross.

An outstanding achievement, The Long Take is a wholly original work of art.

By Robin Robertson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2018

Winner of the Goldsmiths Prize 2018

Winner of The Roehampton Poetry Prize 2018

Winner of the 2019 Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction

'A beautiful, vigorous and achingly melancholy hymn to the common man that is as unexpected as it is daring.' --John Banville, Guardian

A noir narrative written with the intensity and power of poetry, The Long Take is one of the most remarkable - and unclassifiable - books of recent years.

Walker is a D-Day veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder; he can't return home to rural Nova Scotia, and looks instead…


Book cover of The Whiskey Rebels

Fred Van Lente Author Of Never Sleep

From my list on historical mysteries/thrillers set before World War II.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love historical fiction because it’s the next best thing to the invention of time travel. Books can immerse you in a time and a place in a way that comics and movies can only gesture at. For books like Never Sleep I even make sure to cook the foods my characters are eating, to make sure the era is evoked for the readers in all five sense. I love fantasy and science fiction as the next person, but the idea of transporting people to times and places that actually happened, to the best of my skill as a dramatist and researcher, is a challenge I find irresistible as an author. 

Fred's book list on historical mysteries/thrillers set before World War II

Fred Van Lente Why did Fred love this book?

A direct inspiration on my book, this is a great espionage thriller set in Philadelphia about a disgraced Revolution-era spy who gets hired by Alexander Hamilton to help against his arch-enemy, Thomas Jefferson, and finds his path intersecting with a farmwife standing up against a frontier uprising.

Liss is a master of the historical form (and a friend, full disclosure!)

By David Liss,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

America, 1787. Ethan Saunders, once among General Washington’s most valued spies, is living in disgrace after an accusation of treason cost him his reputation. But an opportunity for redemption comes calling when Saunders’s old enemy, Alexander Hamilton, draws him into a struggle with bitter rival Thomas Jefferson over the creation of the Bank of the United States.

Meanwhile, on the western Pennsylvania frontier, Joan Maycott and her husband, a Revolutionary War veteran, hope for a better life and a chance for prosperity. But the Maycotts’ success on an isolated frontier attracts the brutal attention of men who threaten to destroy…


Book cover of Mudbound

Toni Morgan Author Of Queenie's Place

From my list on cultural opposites, southern politics and families.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a military spouse for 26 years. My husband was stationed at MCAS Cherry Point NC and MCB Camp Lejeune NC, both for two years. We (he and I and our four children) lived on the base. He also served two tours in Vietnam, just like Doreen’s husband, and also at Headquarters, Marine Corps later. The fictional Marine base and town where this takes place is modeled after Camp Lejeune and the adjacent town. I did see the same sign welcoming us to Klan country, on Easter Sunday morning 1972 and have never forgotten it. I also knew Queenie’s counterpart. This novel is in no way autobiographical—I was never as brave as Doreen. 

Toni's book list on cultural opposites, southern politics and families

Toni Morgan Why did Toni love this book?

Mudbound is about post-WWII in the Jim Crow south. It tells the stories of two returning soldiers in a muddy farm setting. I was raised on a dairy farm with plenty of mud, so I easily identified with the setting. The situation of the two men, one White, one Black, and their families' struggles, physically with the constant mud, and emotionally with the politics of both the era and the place, were graphic. It was a book that was difficult to put down and also difficult to read. In ways I was reminded of 12 Years A Slave.

By Hillary Jordan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STARRING CAREY MULLIGAN, GARRETT HEDLUND & MARY J. BLIGE

When Henry McAllan moves his city-bred wife, Laura, to a cotton farm in the Mississippi Delta in 1946, she finds herself in a place both foreign and frightening. Henry's love of rural life is not shared by Laura, who struggles to raise their two young children in an isolated shotgun shack under the eye of her hateful, racist father-in-law. When it rains, the waters rise up and swallow the bridge to town, stranding the family in a sea of mud.

As the Second World War shudders…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in veterans, the navy, and Guadalcanal?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about veterans, the navy, and Guadalcanal.

Veterans Explore 83 books about veterans
The Navy Explore 25 books about the navy
Guadalcanal Explore 8 books about Guadalcanal