100 books like Requiem For a Wren

By Nevil Shute,

Here are 100 books that Requiem For a Wren fans have personally recommended if you like Requiem For a Wren. 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 The Fair Sex - Women and the Great Western Railway

Annie Murray Author Of Meet Me Under the Clock

From my list on hidden corners of life during World War Two.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been writing novels for many years now about the social history of Birmingham and the West Midlands and often find myself writing about World War Two. It’s the history of most families in this country. But I also grew up—unusually for my generationwith parents who were active adults in the war, my father in the army in North Africa and Italy, my mother in a factory that had gone over to munitions in Coventry. So the war felt very present as they talked about it a lot. Only later I grew to understand what it means to people and explored the history for myself.

Annie's book list on hidden corners of life during World War Two

Annie Murray Why did Annie love this book?

When I wrote my book, which includes a lot about the railways wartime, I struggled to find any books which described women’s experience. When it comes to railways, nerdy descriptions of wheel configurations abound! Enter this book. Rose Matheson describes the fascinating and often troubled history of women when it comes to railway work and its opposition by male employers and unions. A good number of women were employed by the railways in World War Two, but never allowed to drive engines or stoke the fires. The work they were permitted to do is described here with plenty of photographs—as well as the ongoing history after the war when women continued the struggle to be taken seriously as railway workers.  

By Rosa Matheson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Fair Sex - Women and the Great Western Railway as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Great Western Railway struggled with what was called 'the women question' for many years. It had heartily agreed with The Railway Sheet and Official Gazette that 'the first aim of women's existence is marriage, that accomplished, the next is ordering her home'. Yet women were the cheapest form of labour, apart from young girls, presenting the company with a dilemma and the GWR finally succumbed to allowing women to work after heavy external pressures. Using over 100 pictures, Swindon author Rosa Matheson traces the development of this problematic relationship, from its beginnings in the 1870s when women were employed…


Book cover of Idle Women

Annie Murray Author Of Meet Me Under the Clock

From my list on hidden corners of life during World War Two.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been writing novels for many years now about the social history of Birmingham and the West Midlands and often find myself writing about World War Two. It’s the history of most families in this country. But I also grew up—unusually for my generationwith parents who were active adults in the war, my father in the army in North Africa and Italy, my mother in a factory that had gone over to munitions in Coventry. So the war felt very present as they talked about it a lot. Only later I grew to understand what it means to people and explored the history for myself.

Annie's book list on hidden corners of life during World War Two

Annie Murray Why did Annie love this book?

I have written two books about working life on the canal set during World War Two. Susan Woolfit’s book describing that period is a great read. Many men who worked narrowboats carrying coal and other important cargoes left to go to war. This left the women to cope—and there were not enough of them, so volunteers were drafted in. Women from all walks of life who had often never been near a narrowboat and whose upbringing was vastly different from the women who lived ‘on the cut’ all their lives. This is an entertaining book about some of those women adapting to this tough, outdoor life—and all of them having to adapt to each other. 

By Susan Woolfitt,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of Bengal Journey

Annie Murray Author Of Meet Me Under the Clock

From my list on hidden corners of life during World War Two.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been writing novels for many years now about the social history of Birmingham and the West Midlands and often find myself writing about World War Two. It’s the history of most families in this country. But I also grew up—unusually for my generationwith parents who were active adults in the war, my father in the army in North Africa and Italy, my mother in a factory that had gone over to munitions in Coventry. So the war felt very present as they talked about it a lot. Only later I grew to understand what it means to people and explored the history for myself.

Annie's book list on hidden corners of life during World War Two

Annie Murray Why did Annie love this book?

Rumer Godden is a favourite novelist of mine, but this is non-fiction. Godden was born in India and only left after Independence. Towards the end of World War Two, she made a long journey to document the work done by women volunteers in the Bengal region of India during the war, travelling huge distances, crossing many rivers, to remote places. The book, with photographs, includes the work of both European and Indian volunteers in a huge number of organizations, ranging from the Red Cross, hospital trains, and dispatch riders to the ARP and mobile canteens. Best of all are the descriptions Godden gives us in this wonderful book as she turns her novelist's eye on all these people and places of work and brings them all to life.

By Rumer Godden,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of Joyce's War 1939-1945

Annie Murray Author Of Meet Me Under the Clock

From my list on hidden corners of life during World War Two.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been writing novels for many years now about the social history of Birmingham and the West Midlands and often find myself writing about World War Two. It’s the history of most families in this country. But I also grew up—unusually for my generationwith parents who were active adults in the war, my father in the army in North Africa and Italy, my mother in a factory that had gone over to munitions in Coventry. So the war felt very present as they talked about it a lot. Only later I grew to understand what it means to people and explored the history for myself.

Annie's book list on hidden corners of life during World War Two

Annie Murray Why did Annie love this book?

Personal stories are usually the best way of getting the flavour of a time. Joyce Storey, who would describe herself as an ordinary working-class woman, married in 1939. Her story tells of the everyday struggles of a young mother of two daughters with a husband absent in the RAF. She spent some of the war living with him when he was posted to Grimsbyvery foreign to her as she came from Bristoland with all the everyday battles of in-laws, air raids, and struggling for every penny. She’s a lively writer, conjuring up pictures of her new neighbours in Grimsby, the birth of her babies, and early motherhood ‘Yuk!’which she did grow into. You get very fond of Joyce and her challenges.

By Joyce Storey,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The story of Our Joyce's war, 1939-1945, with the destiny everyone else wanted to carve out for her. With an army husband rarely on leave, Joyce, very quickly the mother of two, fights her own battles with air-raids, in-laws and factory work - always searching for the dream house and a life to call her own. The author also wrote "Our Joyce".


Book cover of Khaki Town

Karen McMillan Author Of The Paris of the East

From my list on World War II that may surprise you.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an author from New Zealand, and I’ve always been drawn to the personal stories from WWII. I am interested in the moral and ethical decisions made by ordinary people in those extraordinary times. I often wonder if I would have made the right choices in the same situation. I gravitate towards reading books about the Second World War, especially books that include previously unknown information, view the war from a different angle, or offer a new insight. I’ve been fortunate to travel the world with my career, and my novel, The Paris of the East was inspired after visiting Poland on an author tour. I’ve also written other novels, non-fiction books, and children’s books.

Karen's book list on World War II that may surprise you

Karen McMillan Why did Karen love this book?

This novel is based on a true wartime story kept secret for more than seventy years. The story is set in March 1942, Townsville, Australia, after Singapore has fallen and Darwin has been bombed. The small town is transformed into a hub for 70,000 soldiers. But Australian troops begrudge the confident American soldiers, and there is growing conflict within the American ranks, and racial tensions are exposed. This compelling read is made even more poignant when you discover that it’s based on a mutiny that was covered up by the military. Khaki Town is a thought-provoking novel that will have you rallying against the injustices it exposes.

By Judy Nunn,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of World War II Letters: A Glimpse into the Heart of the Second World War Through the Eyes of Those Who Were Fighting It

Clément Horvath Author Of Till Victory: The Second World War By Those Who Were There

From my list on World War II letters.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a Frenchman with a great interest in the history of the Second World War, specializing in the correspondence of Allied soldiers. Almost 20 years of collecting WWII letters led to the publication of my first book Till Victory which was an award-winning bestseller in France, before it was released in English worldwide in 2021. I also host a podcast (Till Victory: a podcast about WWII and Peace), where I interview British and American veterans, and have made documentaries such as Red Beret & Dark Chocolate or The Missing Highlander. It's all about trying to understand what the young men who fought and died to liberate my country went through when they were my age.

Clément's book list on World War II letters

Clément Horvath Why did Clément love this book?

Finally, a book with WWII letters that doesn’t focus exclusively on the British or Americans! Some of the soldiers are also from Australia, New Zealand, and even Germany! It helps to have a broader view of the conflict and it is very interesting to observe the differences in points of view. Moreover, this book provides the reader with beautiful photos of the letter writers, in addition to their names and stories before and after the war. Unfortunately, there is little or no historical context surrounding each letter, which is not disturbing when one is already familiar with the subject but is essential to understand all their subtleties.

By Bill Adler (editor), Tracy Quinn McLennan (contributor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked World War II Letters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Writers from 20 Allied and Axis countries are gathered in this unique collection of letters from service-men and women to their friends, families and sweethearts. WORLD WAR II LETTERS provides an unflinching perspective on the lives of those who served throughout the world - in Europe, the Pacific, Northern Africa and Asia. Wide-ranging in scope, WORLD WAR II LETTERS includes writings by officers and infantry, nurses and doctors, pilots, POWs, those injured in action, killed in combat, and those reported missing. Introductory biographies and photographs vividly capture military life before, during and after the war.


Book cover of A Town Like Alice

L.P. Fergusson Author Of The Summer Fields

From my list on handsome men in a parlous state.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in a medical family, my father and brother both surgeons and my mother a nurse. My parents met while serving in WW2 and that combination of compassion and horror in the field hospitals of Europe have stayed with me ever since. In fact, my first novel A Dangerous Act of Kindness, is set during WW2. I’m also a career hypochondriac. I avoid reading about illnesses or injuries I may suffer from myself, but I am fascinated by disease and pioneering surgery, thus The Summer Fields revolves around a disease that has now been eradicated (smallpox) and pre-anaesthetic surgery, something I hope I shall never have to face. 

L.P.'s book list on handsome men in a parlous state

L.P. Fergusson Why did L.P. love this book?

Some odd 1950s social attitudes caught me by surprise when I re-read this much-loved book from my past (what are those bruises all about?). Don’t let this put you off this wonderful story of courage and hardship as Jean Paget, an ordinary woman is swept up in the Japanese invasion of Malaya, faces terrible hardships in her group of female prisoners. Starving and sick, they are helped by an Australian, Sgt Joe Harman, also a prisoner, but his kindness results in the most terrible retribution. To say more would ruin the shock of this fabulous story, but I guarantee that Joe Harman will have your heart by the end of the book.

By Nevil Shute,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked A Town Like Alice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Probably more people have shed tears over the last page of A Town Like Alice than about any other novel in the English language... remarkable' Guardian

Jean Paget is just twenty years old and working in Malaya when the Japanese invasion begins.

When she is captured she joins a group of other European women and children whom the Japanese force to march for miles through the jungle - an experience that leads to the deaths of many.

Due to her courageous spirit and ability to speak Malay, Jean takes on the role of leader of the sorry gaggle of prisoners…


Book cover of Behind Bamboo: Hell on the Burma Railway

Peter Grose Author Of Ten Rogues: The unlikely story of convict schemers, a stolen brig and an escape from Van Diemen's Land to Chile

From my list on the history of Australia.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve now written four books, of which three are Australian history. My first two books were World War 2 military history. My publishers persist in calling each book a best-seller, and who am I to disagree? I live in France and my third book A Good Place To Hide is about a French community that rescued Jews from the Nazis. My fourth book Ten Rogues took me back to Australian history, telling the story of a bunch of ten convicts who in 1834 nicked a brig and sailed it from Tasmania to Chile without a map or a compass.

Peter's book list on the history of Australia

Peter Grose Why did Peter love this book?

I was five years old when this book first appeared (in 1946) but I must have been about 12 when I first read it, and the memory has stayed with me ever since. Rohan Rivett was a fine Australian journalist. He was captured by the Japanese when Singapore fell in February 1942, and stayed as a prisoner-of-war for the duration. It has stuck in my memory ever since, a simple and modest account of the horrors faced by Allied prisoners held by the Japanese.

By Rohan Rivett,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


The definitive first-hand account of life as an Australian POW during World War II, particularly on the notorious Burma railway, the setting for Richard Flanagan's Booker Prize-winning The Narrow Road to the Deep North. Rohan Rivett was a journalist in Singapore when it fell to the Japanese in 1942.  He escaped south—across the treacherous Bangka Strait—to Indonesia, but was soon captured and became just one of thousands of POWs struggling for existence in a Japanese camp.  The struggle was to last for more than three years. Behind Bamboo is unflinching in its honesty and haunting in its realism.  It is…


Book cover of The Cricketer's Arms

Jude Tresswell Author Of A Right To Know

From my list on M/M for asexuals.

Why am I passionate about this?

I chose the ‘Best’ title with trepidation: there are many sorts of aces and reading tastes will differ. I’m a cis-gender female, sex averse, verging on sex-repulsed. So, why M/M? Firstly, because reading about other females is too much like being involved myself. Secondly, because I’m het-romantic so I like my MCs to be male. And sex? I can take sex on the page as long as it isn’t gratuitous; it must be meaningful. I’ve chosen five very different books, but they all have gay protagonists and they meet my ace-based needs. In case it’s an issue, I’ve commented on the flame count.   

Jude's book list on M/M for asexuals

Jude Tresswell Why did Jude love this book?

Another crime story. It’s a lengthy tale that, because so many men and partnerships are involved, made me work hard, but the intriguing plot is character-driven, which I like. The setting is fifties Australia. I’m English and I admit that I tend to forget about the huge part played in the Second World War by Australian, New Zealand, and Canadian troops, aka ANZAC. What links Jones’ gay protagonists is their military background. I felt that I learnt something and that pleased me. Nothing on the page to worry aces.

By Garrick Jones,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"I'm sorry I have to tell you this, Harry, but Daley Morrison was murdered. It was no heart attack. He was stabbed through the heart and then staked out, naked, in the middle of the Sydney Cricket Ground as some sort of warning to someone."

Harry Jones almost fell into his chair, such was his shock.

Clyde Smith is brought into the investigation by his former colleague, Sam Telford, after a note is found in the evidence bags with Clyde's initials on it. Someone wants ex-Detective Sergeant Smith to investigate the crime from outside the police force. It can only…


Book cover of The Mascot: Unraveling the Mystery of My Jewish Father's Nazi Boyhood

Susan J. Eischeid Author Of Mistress Of Life And Death: The Dark Journey of Maria Mandl, Head Overseer of the Women's Camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau

From my list on Holocaust books exploring the precious lives lost.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been drawn to the Holocaust ever since a school project in the tenth grade. Later, as I worked to become a professional musician, the passion to learn more about the topic never left me. When I was first asked to perform some music of the Holocaust, the reaction of the audience (tears) and my own realization that through the power of this music, I could return a voice to so many who had their own voices so cruelly silenced changed my life. To date, I have interviewed multiple survivors of the Holocaust. Many became very dear friends, and my life has been infinitely enriched by knowing them. 

Susan's book list on Holocaust books exploring the precious lives lost

Susan J. Eischeid Why did Susan love this book?

This book, based on a true story, absolutely blew my mind when I first read it, and I have re-read it multiple times since!

I am still overwhelmed by the sheer fact of survival of the main character, a young Jewish boy who survived a massacre in the Holocaust and then went into hiding as a mascot in the SS. I also identified strongly with his son, who researched and wrote the book and encountered frequent naysayers who questioned the validity of his father’s memories. As someone who has approached the Holocaust as a non-traditional writer, I have struggled with similar challenges.

This book, for me, remains an unforgettable and remarkable read.

By Mark Kurzem,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The "spellbinding" (The New York Times) true story of a Jewish boy who became the darling of the Nazis

When a Nazi death squad massacred his mother and fellow villagers, five-year-old Alex Kurzem escaped, hiding in the freezing Russian forest until he was picked up by a group of Latvian SS soldiers. Alex was able to hide his Jewish identity and win over the soldiers, becoming their mascot and an honorary "corporal" in the SS with his own uniform. But what began as a desperate bid for survival became a performance that delighted the highest ranks of the Nazi elite.…


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