100 books like Night Witches

By Bruce Myles,

Here are 100 books that Night Witches fans have personally recommended if you like Night Witches. 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 A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II

David Snell Author Of Sing to Silent Stones: Part One

From my list on wartime books about families torn apart by the conflict in WW1 and WW2.

Why am I passionate about this?

My reading is almost entirely influenced by my own family’s extraordinary history. My mother and father-in-law were both illegitimate. Both suffered for the fact and my father-in-law was 11 years old when he first found out and was reunited with his mother, albeit on a second-class basis compared to his half siblings. My mother trained bomb aimers. My father flew Lancaster bombers and was just 19 years old in the skies above wartime Berlin. My own books combine history, my personal experiences, and my family’s past to weave wartime stories exploring the strains that those conflicts imposed on friendships.

David's book list on wartime books about families torn apart by the conflict in WW1 and WW2

David Snell Why did David love this book?

What I loved about this book is that it is the true story of an American woman living in Nazi-occupied France, where she organised and ran resistance groups and led them in action.

The book, though factual, reads like a fictional novel, and her exploits and shear "daring do" almost beggar belief. She only had one leg, a fact that many who met her were completely unaware of, yet she crossed the Pyrenees on foot in winter!

It didn’t surprise me to find out that the men who "ran" the operations from London and Washington denigrated her achievements and consigned her to obscurity, describing her in the words of the book’s title. But she was a truly amazing heroine, and I would have loved to have met her.

By Sonia Purnell,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked A Woman of No Importance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Chosen as a BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR by NPR, the New York Public Library, Amazon, the Seattle Times, the Washington Independent Review of Books, PopSugar, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, BookBrowse, the Spectator, and the Times of London

Winner of the Plutarch Award for Best Biography

"Excellent...This book is as riveting as any thriller, and as hard to put down." -- The New York Times Book Review

"A compelling biography of a masterful spy, and a reminder of what can be done with a few brave people -- and a little resistance." - NPR

"A…


Book cover of We Band of Angels: The Untold Story of the American Women Trapped on Bataan

Eileen A. Bjorkman Author Of The Fly Girls Revolt: The Story of the Women Who Kicked Open the Door to Fly in Combat

From my list on hidden histories of women in the military.

Why am I passionate about this?

I work in aviation, so it was natural to write about it when I started as a freelance writer. But I quickly realized that writing about aviation people is much more interesting than writing about airplanes. Because of my military background I found myself writing veterans’ stories. I’ve uncovered many stories that have never been told or have been forgotten over the years. And because I was in the Air Force in the 1980s and 1990s, I knew the events in my new book had never been told. During my research, I found more books with hidden histories and rediscovered some I read decades ago. This list is my favorites.

Eileen's book list on hidden histories of women in the military

Eileen A. Bjorkman Why did Eileen love this book?

This is the story of 99 Army and Navy nurses who I consider the first U.S. women to serve in combat.

The women endured four months of harrowing bombings, dwindling supplies, and disease as they tended to U.S. casualties from the Japanese invasion of The Philippines in the early days of WWII.

After U.S. forces surrendered, 77 of the nurses were interred in civilian camps in the Philippines until February 1945. The women continued to work as nurses while enduring starvation diets and disease.

Part of my fascination with this story of strength and courage also lies with the fact that one of my great uncles was a survivor of the Bataan Death March. I like to think that my uncle encountered one of these wonderful women at some point.

By Elizabeth M. Norman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the fall of 1941, the Philippines was a gardenia-scented paradise for the American Army and Navy nurses stationed there. War was a distant rumor, life a routine of easy shifts and dinners under the stars. On December 8 all that changed, as Japanese bombs began raining down on American bases in Luzon, and this paradise became a fiery hell. Caught in the raging battle, the nurses set up field hospitals in the jungles of Bataan and the tunnels of Corregidor, where they tended to the most devastating injuries of war, and suffered the terrors of shells and shrapnel.
 
But…


Book cover of Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

Johanna van Zanten Author Of The Imposter

From my list on how the Second World War affected regular people and their families.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child with older sisters, I read their books beyond my age level under the blankets with a flashlight in bed at night. I became a reading addict. Raised in The Netherlands with the Second World War casting its large shadow on our lives, I only became interested, after my parents were gone, in how people survived and had to find their courage under impossible circumstances. They would never talk about those occupation years. My search into history led me to find the answers.

Johanna's book list on how the Second World War affected regular people and their families

Johanna van Zanten Why did Johanna love this book?

I loved this non-fiction book, and reading it, I often broke down in tears, realizing this personal and innocent true teenage story was all leading up to the tremendous death of millions of innocent people.

This is the only Anne Frank book that I recommend to everybody from a young age. It is THE introduction to the real events of World War 2.

By Anne Frank, B.M. Mooyaart (translator),

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked Anne Frank as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

With 30 per cent more material than previous editions, this new contemporary and fully anglicized translation gives the reader a deeper insight into Anne's world. Publication of the unabridged Definitive Edition on Penguin Audiobook, read by Helena Bonham-Carter, coincides.


Book cover of The Bronze Horseman

Emma Lombard Author Of Discerning Grace

From my list on unforgettable characters who stay with you.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been described as ‘the Energizer bunny,’ so it’s no surprise that I’m drawn to colorful and passionate fictional characters—especially historical ones who have not only life’s circumstances to deal with but societal limitations too. My personality is such that if I’m told I can’t achieve something, I grit my teeth and say, ‘Watch me!’ So, it’s only natural that I draw on this sheer bloody-mindedness to breathe life into my own historical fiction ensembles. Creating characters who are as limp as wet lettuces is one of my biggest challenges. I want everyone to have gumption, but I also understand that good balance in a story is important.

Emma's book list on unforgettable characters who stay with you

Emma Lombard Why did Emma love this book?

A toast to Tatiana and Alexander! *throws back a shot of vodka*

Compounded by Simons’ exquisitely detailed storytelling, which waxes lyrical about the siege of Leningrad during the summer of 1941, these lovebirds from The Bronze Horseman sit high on my list of unforgettable historical fiction characters.

The superb languor of Alexander’s courtship with Tatiana during a time of terrible hardship helped me overlook both of their faults, and become wholly invested in them as a couple.

He is unrelenting in his desire to take care of Tatiana and her family, and while she is young and at times incredibly naïve, she is also brilliantly resilient.

The character I love to hate: Dasha. Ugh! How can a sister be so cruel?

Boy, did my emotions run the gauntlet with this one!

By Paullina Simons,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Bronze Horseman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A magnificent epic of love, war and Russia from the international bestselling author of TULLY and ROAD TO PARADISE

Leningrad 1941: the white nights of summer illuminate a city of fallen grandeur whose palaces and avenues speak of a different age, when Leningrad was known as St Petersburg.

Two sisters, Tatiana and Dasha, share the same bed, living in one room with their brother and parents.

The routine of their hard impoverished life is shattered on 22 June 1941 when Hitler invades Russia. For the Metanov family, for Leningrad and particularly for Tatiana, life will never be the same again.…


Book cover of The Codebreakers

Belinda Alexandra Author Of Tuscan Rose

From my list on women in WW2.

Why am I passionate about this?

Belinda Alexandra is the author of nine bestselling historical fiction novels and a non-fiction book about the history of women and cats. The daughter of a Russian mother and an Australian father, Belinda has been fascinated by world history and culture since her youth. Having had grandparents whose lives had been turned upside by revolutions and wars, she is deeply interested in how global events affect the course of ordinary people’s lives.

Belinda's book list on women in WW2

Belinda Alexandra Why did Belinda love this book?

The Codebreakers is based on real events and tells the little-known story of the young Australian women who worked with Central Bureau in Brisbane, during the Second World War. Ellie O’Sullivan is recruited from her aviation engineering job to decipher enemy communications. It quickly becomes evident that what happens on the home front – especially in intelligence services – is as important in deciding the outcome of the conflict as are soldiers, aeroplanes, and tanks. If Ellie misses an important code, it could cost thousands of Allied lives. What struck me most about Ellie and her colleagues was how young they were to have such a responsibility on their shoulders. They could never talk about their work and, even when experiencing the most heartbreaking grief at the loss of their own menfolk, they had to hold their nerves and carry on. Alli Sinclair tells this tale with such deep affection…

By Alli Sinclair,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

They will dedicate their lives to their country, but no one will ever know...

A compelling story about tenacity and friendship, inspired by the real codebreaking women of Australia's top-secret Central Bureau in WWII. For readers who love Judy Nunn and Kate Quinn.


1943, Brisbane: The war continues to devastate and the battle for the Pacific threatens Australian shores. For Ellie O'Sullivan, helping the war effort means utilising her engineering skills for Qantas as they evacuate civilians and deliver supplies to armed forces overseas. Her exceptional logic and integrity attract the attention of Central Bureau - an intelligence organisation working…


Book cover of The Women with Silver Wings: The Inspiring True Story of the Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II

Eileen A. Bjorkman Author Of The Fly Girls Revolt: The Story of the Women Who Kicked Open the Door to Fly in Combat

From my list on hidden histories of women in the military.

Why am I passionate about this?

I work in aviation, so it was natural to write about it when I started as a freelance writer. But I quickly realized that writing about aviation people is much more interesting than writing about airplanes. Because of my military background I found myself writing veterans’ stories. I’ve uncovered many stories that have never been told or have been forgotten over the years. And because I was in the Air Force in the 1980s and 1990s, I knew the events in my new book had never been told. During my research, I found more books with hidden histories and rediscovered some I read decades ago. This list is my favorites.

Eileen's book list on hidden histories of women in the military

Eileen A. Bjorkman Why did Eileen love this book?

The Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) were more than 1,000 women who ferried aircraft around the U.S. and flew other support missions during World War II.

They were technically civilian government employees, but for all practical purposes were in the U.S. Army and later earned veteran’s status, which is why I include them here.

The military women of my generation in the 1970s and 1980s (especially aviators) stood on the shoulders of what the WASP accomplished. 

Quite a few books have been written about the WASP, but this is the best one in my opinion. It’s extremely well researched, highly readable, and does an excellent job of portraying the two main characters, the media-savvy Jacqueline Cochran and her less flashy counterpart Nancy Love.

By Katherine Sharp Landdeck,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Women with Silver Wings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“With the fate of the free world hanging in the balance, women pilots went aloft to serve their nation. . . . A soaring tale in which, at long last, these daring World War II pilots gain the credit they deserve.”—Liza Mundy, New York Times bestselling author of Code Girls

“A powerful story of reinvention, community and ingenuity born out of global upheaval.”—Newsday

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Cornelia Fort was already in the air. At twenty-two, Fort had escaped Nashville’s debutante scene for a fresh start as a flight instructor in Hawaii. She and her…


Book cover of Women in the Military: An Unfinished Revolution

Eileen A. Bjorkman Author Of The Fly Girls Revolt: The Story of the Women Who Kicked Open the Door to Fly in Combat

From my list on hidden histories of women in the military.

Why am I passionate about this?

I work in aviation, so it was natural to write about it when I started as a freelance writer. But I quickly realized that writing about aviation people is much more interesting than writing about airplanes. Because of my military background I found myself writing veterans’ stories. I’ve uncovered many stories that have never been told or have been forgotten over the years. And because I was in the Air Force in the 1980s and 1990s, I knew the events in my new book had never been told. During my research, I found more books with hidden histories and rediscovered some I read decades ago. This list is my favorites.

Eileen's book list on hidden histories of women in the military

Eileen A. Bjorkman Why did Eileen love this book?

The definitive book about women in the U.S. military, beginning with the American Revolution and ending in the early 1990s.

Written by a retired 2-star general who lived much of the history and originally published in the 1980s (which is when I first read it), Holm updated the book in 1993 after the Persian Gulf War.

As an academic text, the pace can be a bit tedious at times, but readers will enjoy Holm’s wit and anecdotes that illustrate the history of the women who gradually overcame discrimination to become full members of the military team. My primary “go-to” source for information as I researched my most recent book!

By Jeanne Holm,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This revised edition of Maj. Gen. Jeanne Holm's classic work on the history and role of women in the U.S. armed forces brings the reader up to date by covering the role of American military women in all post-Vietnam military operations - including the recent Persian Gulf war. Just as important is her discussion of the changing role of women in the military during the 1980s and the current debate over combat exclusion law and policies.


Book cover of To Serve My Country, to Serve My Race: The Story of the Only African-American WACS Stationed Overseas During World War II

Eileen A. Bjorkman Author Of The Fly Girls Revolt: The Story of the Women Who Kicked Open the Door to Fly in Combat

From my list on hidden histories of women in the military.

Why am I passionate about this?

I work in aviation, so it was natural to write about it when I started as a freelance writer. But I quickly realized that writing about aviation people is much more interesting than writing about airplanes. Because of my military background I found myself writing veterans’ stories. I’ve uncovered many stories that have never been told or have been forgotten over the years. And because I was in the Air Force in the 1980s and 1990s, I knew the events in my new book had never been told. During my research, I found more books with hidden histories and rediscovered some I read decades ago. This list is my favorites.

Eileen's book list on hidden histories of women in the military

Eileen A. Bjorkman Why did Eileen love this book?

This book represents another facet of military women, those with a double whammy: Black women. This was especially a problem during WWII, when the army still practiced segregation and initially prohibited Black women from serving overseas, unlike their white counterparts.

After pressure from groups such as the NAACP and intervention by President Roosevelt, the army formed the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion as an all-Black Women’s Army Corps unit. About 850 women served in the 6888th, which was stationed in the UK and France from January 1945 until March 1946. The unit was responsible for routing mail to about 7 million U.S. personnel who served in the European Theater of Operations.

This “double whammy” is a topic that I hope is explored more in future books!

By Brenda L. Moore,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked To Serve My Country, to Serve My Race as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The story of the historic 6888th, the first United States Women's Army Corps unit of African American women to serve overseas
While African American men and white women were invited, if belatedly, to serve their country abroad, African American women were excluded for overseas duty throughout most of WWII. However, under political pressure from legislators like Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., the NAACP, the Black press, and even President Roosevelt, the US War Department was forced to deploy African American women to the European theater in 1945.
African American women answered the call to serve from all over the country, from…


Book cover of The Unwomanly Face of War: An Oral History of Women in World War II

Sarah Percy Author Of Forgotten Warriors: The Long History of Women in Combat

From my list on women in combat.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an academic, writer, and broadcaster, and I’ve always been fascinated by the big questions of who fights wars and why. A puzzle caught my eye: the only profession (short of maybe priest) where women were actively banned in the 1980s and as late as the 2010s, was combat. How could Western democracies ban women from an entire profession? This was especially odd, given that the plentiful historical evidence that women were perfectly capable of combat. So I wrote a book explaining how women in combat fit into the broader sweep of military history, and how the suppression and dismissal of their stories has had a profound social and cultural impact. 

Sarah's book list on women in combat

Sarah Percy Why did Sarah love this book?

If you didn’t know that between 800,000 and a million Soviet women fought in combat during World War II, this book will blow your mind.

Even for those aware of the history of Soviet female combatants – Soviet women fought in every imaginable military role, from fighter pilots to snipers to tank units – Alexievich’s astonishing oral history brings their stories to life. It’s especially profound to hear from the women themselves because after the war was over, women were told to never speak of their military service and got very little recognition for it.

By the time Alexievich recorded their stories, these women were getting old – and without her work many of these stories would have been lost. 

By Svetlana Alexievich, Larissa Volokhonsky (translator), Richard Pevear (translator)

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Unwomanly Face of War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A must read' - Margaret Atwood

'It would be hard to find a book that feels more important or original' - Viv Groskop, Observer

Extraordinary stories from Soviet women who fought in the Second World War - from the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature

"Why, having stood up for and held their own place in a once absolutely male world, have women not stood up for their history? Their words and feelings? A whole world is hidden from us. Their war remains unknown... I want to write the history of that war. A women's history."

In the late…


Book cover of Defending the Motherland: The Soviet Women Who Fought Hitler''s Aces

Clare Mulley Author Of The Women Who Flew for Hitler: A True Story of Soaring Ambition and Searing Rivalry

From my list on female pilots.

Why am I passionate about this?

Clare Mulley is the award-winning author of three books re-examining the history of the First and Second World War through the lives of remarkable women. The Woman Who Saved the Children, about child rights pioneer Eglantyne Jebb, won the Daily Mail Biographers' Club Prize and is now under option. Polish-born Second World War special agent Krystyna Skarbek, aka Christine Granville, is the subject of the Spy Who Loved, a book that led to Clare being decorated with Poland’s national honour, the Bene Merito. Clare's third book, The Women Who Flew for Hitler, long-listed for the Historical Writers Association prize, tells the extraordinary story of Nazi Germany’s only two female test pilots, whose choices and actions put them on opposite sides of history. Clare reviews for the Telegraph, Spectator, and History Today. A popular public speaker, she has given a TEDx talk at Stormont, and recent TV includes news appearances for the BBC, Sky, and Channel 5 as well as various Second World War history series.

Clare's book list on female pilots

Clare Mulley Why did Clare love this book?

This is a gripping history of the Soviet female fighter, bomber and night bomber squadron pilots told through their interwoven biographies. These were the women who fought and died in the skies above Stalingrad and Kursk, and whose skills, as well as courage, astounded and terrified the Luftwaffe. Although invited to train and serve alongside their male comrades, the women were of course given uniforms and equipment designed for men, plenty of hostility, and a place, for those who survived, only at the back of the victory parades.

By Lyuba Vinogradova,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Plucked from every background and led by an NKVD Major, the new recruits who boarded a train in Moscow on October 16, 1941, to go to war had much in common with millions of others across the world. What made the members of the 586th Fighter Regiment, the 587th Heavy-Bomber Regiment, and the 588th Regiment of light night-bombers unique was their gender: the Soviet Union was creating the first all-female active combat units in modern history.

Drawing on original interviews with surviving airwomen, Lyuba Vinogradova weaves together the untold stories of the female Soviet fighter pilots of the Second World…


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