10 books like Not All of Us Were Brave

By Stanley Scislowski,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Not All of Us Were Brave. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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And No Birds Sang

By Farley Mowat,

Book cover of And No Birds Sang

Mowat’s title is taken from John Keats’ poem La Belle Dame Sans Merci: “O what can ail thee, Knight in arms, Alone and palely loitering? The sedge has withered from the Lake, And no birds sing!” 

Best known for his books People of the Deer and Never Cry Wolf, Farley Mowat here turns his naturalist’s eye to the experience of war. His brief memoir describes joining, training, and fighting as part of Canadian forces in WWII. He led a rifle platoon in the invasion of Sicily and up the spine of Italy against fierce German resistance. From humorous to horrible, from youthful fervor to enormous weariness, Mowat takes us with him. He was relieved of combat duty after crying over the unconscious body of a friend brought in with an enemy bullet in his head. I love this book for its vivid observations of men before, during, and after…

And No Birds Sang

By Farley Mowat,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked And No Birds Sang as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Turned away from the Royal Canadian Air Force for his apparent youth and frailty, Farley Mowat joined the infantry in 1940. The young second lieutenant soon earned the trust of the soldiers under his command, and was known to bend army rules to secure a stout drink, or find warm -- if nonregulation -- clothing. But when Mowat and his regiment engaged with elite German forces in the mountains of Sicily, the optimism of their early days as soldiers was replaced by despair. With a naturalist's eyes and ears, Mowat takes in the full dark depths of war; his moving…


The Guns of Normandy

By George Blackburn,

Book cover of The Guns of Normandy: A Soldier's Eye View, France 1944

Why two books instead of one. Well, because the two are equally excellent accounts that taken together span the combat service of a young Canadian artillery forward observation officer (FOO). The life span of many FOOs was short, the long antennas of the wireless sets they carried out front with the advancing infantry to call in artillery support were magnets for Germans snipers. But Blackburn beat the odds and survived to write this remarkably frank and honest memoir of eleven months of almost constant battlefield action. Over this course of a journey from Normandy through Belgium, the Netherlands, and into northwestern Germans in the final push, the reader feels literally by Blackburn’s side and inside his thoughts and emotions. From early confidence in his abilities and training to a slow descent toward fatalism and a simple grim determination to survive, Blackburn’s journey is both highly individualistic and simultaneously an epic…

The Guns of Normandy

By George Blackburn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the weeks after D-Day, the level of artillery action in Normandy was unprecedented. In what was a relatively small area, both sides bombarded each other relentlessly for three months, each trying to overwhelm the other by sheer fire power.

The Guns of Normandy puts the reader in the front lines of this horrific battle. In the most graphic and authentic detail, it brings to life every aspect of a soldier’s existence, from the mortal terror of impending destruction, to the unending fatigue, to the giddy exhilaration at finding oneself still, inexplicably, alive.

The story of this crucial battle opens…


A Thousand Shall Fall

By Murray Peden,

Book cover of A Thousand Shall Fall

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…

A Thousand Shall Fall

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…


Battle Diary

By Charles Cromwell Martin,

Book cover of Battle Diary: From D-Day and Normandy to the Zuider Zee and VE

On June 6, 1944, Charles (Charlie) Martin was twenty-four and one of the youngest Company Sergeant Majors in the Queen’s Own Rifles. He was also one of the first Canadian soldiers to pile out of a landing craft onto Juno Beach in the face of heavy German machine-gun fire. From that day on the beach to when he was finally wounded for the first time on April 16, 1945, Martin was always at the forefront of the battle. While an excellent account of his combat experience, Martin also deeply examines the role of a Company Sergeant Major in leading and running an infantry company during the war. And he provides detailed descriptions of how such a company conducted itself during specific types of combat from patrols, to set-piece assaults, to setting up defensive positions. For anyone wanting to understand the experience of soldiers in World War II, Battle Diary is…

Battle Diary

By Charles Cromwell Martin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A fast-paced account by a soldier who was twice decorated. Charlie Martin, company sergeant-major in the Queen's Own, was with his beloved A Company in all of the significant Normandy actions.


The Long Take

By Robin Robertson,

Book cover of The Long Take: A Noir Narrative

Of course, the guilt that exists after wars isn’t relegated to those who commit horrific crimes. It exists on the level of the individual, too, one who’s asked to take part in violence, a changing act, and who then must go back to wherever they have left. Robertson’s The Long Take is only one (particularly good) example of this type of narrative, set in post-war San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York. It’s a gorgeous book and feels utterly coherent.

The Long Take

By Robin Robertson,

Why should I read it?

1 author 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…


Wave of Terror

By Theodore Odrach, Emma Odrach (translator),

Book cover of Wave of Terror

Hidden from the English-speaking world for more than 50 years, this panoramic novel begins with the Red Army invasion of Belarus in 1939. Ivan Kulik has just become headmaster of school number 7 in Hlaby, a rural village in the Marsh of Pinsk. Through his eyes, I witnessed the tragedy of Stalinist domination where people are oppressed, randomly deported to labor camps, or tortured in Zovty Prison in Pinsk.

The author’s individual gift that sets him apart from his contemporaries is the range of his sympathies and his unromantic, unsentimental approach to the sensual lives of women. His debt to Chekhov is obvious in his ability to capture the internal drama of his characters with psychological conciseness.

This historical novel serves as a stern warning against adopting socialism in America.

Wave of Terror

By Theodore Odrach, Emma Odrach (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This panoramic novel hidden from the English-speaking world for more than 50 years begins with the Red Army invasion of Belarus in 1939. Ivan Kulik has just become Headmaster of school number 7 in Hlaby, a rural village in the Pinsk Marshes. Through his eyes we witness the tragedy of Stalinist domination where people are randomly deported to labour camps or tortured in Zovty Prison in Pinsk. The author's individual gift that sets him apart from his contemporaries is the range of his sympathies and his unromantic, unsentimental approach to the sensual lives of females. His debt to Chekhov is…


Cairo in the War, 1939-45

By Artemis Cooper,

Book cover of Cairo in the War, 1939-45

Cairo in the War, 1939–1945 is a brilliant, fast-moving, narrative-driven piece of historical writing focussed on the British ruling elite in Egypt, before they won the war and subsequently lost this once vital North African imperial land-holding. The cast of characters reads like a Who’s Who of mid-century literary heavyweights, political operators, and military strategists, including everyone from Lawrence Durrell (whose Alexandria Quartet is also set in this period), Evelyn Waugh, Fitzroy Maclean, Olivia Manning, the brilliant Alexandrian Greek poet C.P. Cavafy, and Paddy Leigh Fermor. While much of the rest of the world burned, the British elite in Cairo partied, and in the process managed to annoy many American, Australian, and New Zealand allies and Egyptian foes alike, while sowing the seeds of an anti-monarchical feeling that eventually saw King Farouk toppled in 1952.

Cairo in the War, 1939-45

By Artemis Cooper,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cairo in the War, 1939-45 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For troops in the desert, Cairo meant fleshpots or brass hats. For well-connected officers, it meant polo at the Gezira Club and drinks at Shepheard's. For the irregular warriors, Cairo was a city to throw legendary parties before the next mission behind enemy lines. For countless refugees, it was a stopping place in the long struggle home.

The political scene was dominated by the British Ambassador Sir Miles Lampson. In February 1942 he surrounded the Abdin Palace with tanks and attempted to depose King Farouk. Five months later it looked as if the British would be thrown out of Egypt…


Lee Miller's War

By Antony Penrose (editor),

Book cover of Lee Miller's War: Beyond D-Day

Lee Miller was the most unlikely of war correspondents. As a fashion model for Condé Nast, a surrealist collaborator of Man Ray, and a celebrity New York photographer, world events never impacted much on her work. But when she moved to London to become a photojournalist for Vogue, she found her own special subject in the war. Among the highlights of this handsome collection is Miller’s vivid report of the battle for St Malo where, as the darling of the US 83rd Division, she and her camera were given unfettered access. No less compelling are her accounts of liberated Paris, her haunting photographs and descriptions of concentrations camps; and one of the most iconic images in this book is the photograph taken of Lee sitting naked in Hitler’s own bathtub as she scrubs off the filth and stink of Dachau. 

Lee Miller's War

By Antony Penrose (editor),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Lee Miller's War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Lee Miller's work for Vogue from 1941-1945 sets her apart as a photographer and writer of extraordinary ability. The quality of her photography from the period has long been recognized as outstanding, and its full range is shown here, accompanied by her brilliant despatches. Starting with her first report from a field hospital soon after D-Day, the despatches and nearly 160 photographs show war-ravaged cities, buildings and landscapes, but above all they portray the war-resilient people - soldiers, leaders, medics, evacuees, prisoners of war, the wounded, the villains and the heroes. There is the raw edge of combat portrayed at…


The Persecution of the Jews in Photographs

By Rene Kok, Erik Somers,

Book cover of The Persecution of the Jews in Photographs: The Netherlands 1940-1945

This book is the catalog of a 2019 exhibition of the same name. It’s a collection of 440 images that cover all facets of Jewish life in the Netherlands during the German occupation. What’s most interesting and compelling are the rare, so-called bystander photos that show what life under Nazi rule looked like for ordinary people going about their lives, both those who were persecuted and those who committed genocide, as well as those who witnessed it. While we can look into the faces of people knowing the horrors that were to come, seeing these images—weddings, dinners, strolls in the parkas a preface to the more familiar images of round-ups, transports, and concentration camps provides deeper insight into history. I revisit the photos in this book often.

The Persecution of the Jews in Photographs

By Rene Kok, Erik Somers,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Persecution of the Jews in Photographs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Persecution of the Jews in Photographs, the Netherlands 1940-1945 is the first book of its kind on the subject. Both the professional photographers commissioned by the occupying forces and amateurs took moving photographs.

On 10 May 1940, the day of the German invasion, there were 140,000 Jewish inhabitants living in the Netherlands. The full extent of their terrible fate only became known after the war: at least 102,000 were murdered, died of mistreatment or were worked to death in the Nazi camps. This tragedy has had a profound effect on Dutch society.

Photographic archives and private collections were consulted…


HHhH

By Laurent Binet, Sam Taylor (translator),

Book cover of HHhH

You’ve heard of Hitler, Goebbels, Göring, Eichmann, and Himmler, but what about Heydrich? One of the masterminds of the terrible “final solution,” he was installed as Protector of Bohemia and Moravia under Nazi occupation and was assassinated in 1942 by two Czech patriots parachuted in by the British. I have visited the church in Prague where they were eventually hunted down and killed, so I knew I had to read this novel, and it is a delightful read. Written in short, snappy chapters, the seriousness of the underlying story is lightened by a playful double narrative with the author’s account of his own struggles while writing the book and reflections on the treatment of historical characters in fiction. 

HHhH

By Laurent Binet, Sam Taylor (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER

Two men have been enlisted to kill the head of the Gestapo. This is Operation Anthropoid, Prague, 1942: two Czechoslovakian parachutists sent on a daring mission by London to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich - chief of the Nazi secret services, 'the hangman of Prague', 'the blond beast', 'the most dangerous man in the Third Reich'. His boss is Heinrich Himmler but everyone in the SS says 'Himmler's brain is called Heydrich', which in German spells HHhH.

HHhH is a panorama of the Third Reich told through the life of one outstandingly brutal man, a story of unbearable heroism…


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