100 books like Resisting Hitler

By Shareen Blair Brysac,

Here are 100 books that Resisting Hitler fans have personally recommended if you like Resisting Hitler. 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 Oster Conspiracy of 1938: The Unknown Story of the Military Plot to Kill Hitler and Avert World War II

Greg Lewis Author Of Defying Hitler: The Germans Who Resisted Nazi Rule

From my list on the Germans who stood up to the Nazis.

Who am I?

I am a writer and television producer who researches and writes in an attic surrounded by tumbling bookshelves. When I was young I watched a BBC series called Secret Army which got me hooked on the people who stood up to the Nazis when their country was occupied. Over the years I’ve travelled around Europe to interview many of WW2’s resisters and veterans, and I became interested in the people inside Germany who defied the Nazis. Trying to tell the stories of the people who dared to oppose Hitler became something of an obsession.

Greg's book list on the Germans who stood up to the Nazis

Greg Lewis Why did Greg love this book?

For me, Hans Oster is one of the most noble and courageous of the military resisters to the Nazis.

Unlike many in uniform, Oster’s opposition did not waver during Hitler’s military successes or begin with Germany’s defeats: he always hated them. Terry Parssinen’s book centres on Oster’s pre-war plot to kill Hitler, which failed after Britain signed the Munich peace treaty with Germany.

It inspired me to research Oster’s continuing resistance throughout the war and even his efforts to help Jews. As Oster said later, after being captured by the Nazis, it is “my duty to free Germany and the world of this plague”.

By Terry Parssinen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Oster Conspiracy of 1938 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

September 1938. In power more than five years, Hitler unilaterally dismantled the Treaty of Versailles, provision by provision, daring Britain and France to stand up to him. Earlier that year, he forced Austria into his Third Reich without firing a single shot. Now his sights were set on Czechoslovakia.

It was in this dangerous climate that the first anti-Nazi coup was born. The plot was spearheaded by Lieutenant-Colonel Hans Oster, and its members included top German military leaders, the Berlin police, local troop commanders, civil authorities, religious leaders, and a group of resisters whose names have been wiped from the…


Book cover of Sophie Scholl: The Real Story of the Woman who Defied Hitler

Greg Lewis Author Of Defying Hitler: The Germans Who Resisted Nazi Rule

From my list on the Germans who stood up to the Nazis.

Who am I?

I am a writer and television producer who researches and writes in an attic surrounded by tumbling bookshelves. When I was young I watched a BBC series called Secret Army which got me hooked on the people who stood up to the Nazis when their country was occupied. Over the years I’ve travelled around Europe to interview many of WW2’s resisters and veterans, and I became interested in the people inside Germany who defied the Nazis. Trying to tell the stories of the people who dared to oppose Hitler became something of an obsession.

Greg's book list on the Germans who stood up to the Nazis

Greg Lewis Why did Greg love this book?

The story of Sophie Scholl and the student resistance group, the White Rose, never fails to being me to tears.

Sophie, her brother Hans, and friends in Munich printed and distributed thousands of anti-Nazi leaflets, which describe a post-war need for international cooperation. She believed that it was wrong for anyone to side with their own nation if they knew that nation was doing wrong.

She and her friends paid the price for their resistance but remained defiant to the end. Sophie wrote one word on the back of the indictment against her: ‘Freedom’.

Never has her story been more inspiringly told than by McDonough.

By Frank McDonough,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

On 22 February 1943, Sophie Scholl, a 21-year-old student at Munich University, was executed by the Nazi regime, along with two fellow students from the White Rose resistance movement. They had fought against Hitler's tyranny, not with bullets and bombs, but with words, printed in leaflets, that proclaimed a passionate desire to live in a free and democratic society. Her brave and principled stand made her a legend in Germany, and she was voted 'Woman of the Century' by a popular women's magazine in 1999. Frank McDonough has used a variety of original documents from German archives, including letters and…


Book cover of Counterfeit Nazi

Greg Lewis Author Of Defying Hitler: The Germans Who Resisted Nazi Rule

From my list on the Germans who stood up to the Nazis.

Who am I?

I am a writer and television producer who researches and writes in an attic surrounded by tumbling bookshelves. When I was young I watched a BBC series called Secret Army which got me hooked on the people who stood up to the Nazis when their country was occupied. Over the years I’ve travelled around Europe to interview many of WW2’s resisters and veterans, and I became interested in the people inside Germany who defied the Nazis. Trying to tell the stories of the people who dared to oppose Hitler became something of an obsession.

Greg's book list on the Germans who stood up to the Nazis

Greg Lewis Why did Greg love this book?

One of the strangest and morally-complex stories from WW2 and the one I most struggled with while exploring the nature of resistance for my own book.

Could someone at the heart of the apparatus of Nazi terror also be a resister? After joining the Waffen SS to expose its crimes, Kurt Gerstein become involved in the supply of the deadly Zyklon B gas to the death camps.

At the height of the war, he destroyed consignments of gas and tried to tell the Allies and the Vatican about the Holocaust, but was ignored.

Prague-born Friedländer’s parents were murdered by the Nazis but he explores the paradoxes in Gerstein’s story with heart-rending humanity.

By Saul Friedlander,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of A Spy at the Heart of the Third Reich: The Extraordinary Story of Fritz Kolbe, America's Most Important Spy in World War II

Greg Lewis Author Of Defying Hitler: The Germans Who Resisted Nazi Rule

From my list on the Germans who stood up to the Nazis.

Who am I?

I am a writer and television producer who researches and writes in an attic surrounded by tumbling bookshelves. When I was young I watched a BBC series called Secret Army which got me hooked on the people who stood up to the Nazis when their country was occupied. Over the years I’ve travelled around Europe to interview many of WW2’s resisters and veterans, and I became interested in the people inside Germany who defied the Nazis. Trying to tell the stories of the people who dared to oppose Hitler became something of an obsession.

Greg's book list on the Germans who stood up to the Nazis

Greg Lewis Why did Greg love this book?

The story of the nondescript German diplomat who became one of the United States' greatest spies in Nazi Germany reads like a thriller.

It was important to me because it showed how a single person, working alone, could do incredible damage to the Nazi war effort.

Kolbe’s story did not come out until well after the war, when declassified CIA documents revealed 1,600 diplomatic cables copied by Fritz Kolbe, a career-functionary in the German Foreign Office. Koble had smuggled the documents into Switzerland – mainly tucked down into his pants – to be passed to the OSS bureau head, Allen Dulles.

Only a tight circle of people knew who Kolbe was; even the president, Franklin D Roosevelt, who read his reports with astonishment, only knew of Kolbe by the codename, George Wood.

Kolbe disappeared into obscurity after the war, but the CIA left a wreath on his grave.

By Lucas Delattre, George A Holoch Jr (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Spy at the Heart of the Third Reich as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A fascinating account of Fritz Kolbe, a German bureaucrat who worked secretly with the Allies during World War II, describes his harrowing espionage work relaying valuable information on high-level Axis meetings and munitions factories to the Allies. 25,000 first printing.


Book cover of The Von Hassell Diaries

Brian Walters Author Of Treason: Claus von Stauffenberg and the Plot to Kill Hitler

From my list on plots to kill Hitler.

Who am I?

I’ve lived with the example of Claus von Stauffenberg and other members of the German resistance for most of my adult life. Their clarity of purpose – when most around them clamoured in support of the Führer and his regime – is a recurring source of inspiration. This impelled me into ever deeper research into the topic, including accessing archives in several countries and using my legal training to weigh evidence. Today we face different challenges, but we can draw strength from the courage of these men and women. They failed, and many died, but there is life in a struggle for a just cause.

Brian's book list on plots to kill Hitler

Brian Walters Why did Brian love this book?

After his dismissal as German ambassador to Italy in 1938, Ulrich von Hassell kept a detailed diary, which he hid by burying it in his garden. He met frequently with resistance figures, including Stauffenberg. Designated foreign minister if the July plot succeeded, the Nazis placed him on trial. Despite the Nazis’ attempt to humiliate him by refusing to let him wear a belt or tie, and allowing him only a rumpled suit, Hassell cut a stylish figure with his pocket-handkerchief and his poised bearing. At one point, he calmly told the foaming judge: ‘Herr President, I have not lived sixty-two years to be told by you that I am a liar.’ He was hanged.

His diary is an essential primary source on the German opposition to Hitler.

By Ulrich von Hassell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this secret diary, Ulrich von Hassell gives us a vivid contemporary account of the various plots against Hitler's wartime Reich in Germany from 1938-1944. It is a first complete edition of his wartime memoir with new material from his grandson, Agostino von Hassell.


Book cover of Above Suspicion

Pauline Baird Jones Author Of Relatively Risky

From my list on thrilling, chilling, romantic, blush-free reads.

Who am I?

I feel like I’ve read all of my life—though I know at some point someone had to teach me—but stories and storytelling are in my DNA. The first four books were my writing “primers.” I learned more about storytelling from them than any how-to book. They also fueled my passion to write in different genres. You will notice the words “blush free” in some of my recommendations. That is because I love well-told stories that live between prim and steamy, books where I don’t have to flip past the steamy stuff to get back to the story. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have!

Pauline's book list on thrilling, chilling, romantic, blush-free reads

Pauline Baird Jones Why did Pauline love this book?

Helen McInnes books made their way into my family via those Readers Digest Condensed books that used to come in the mail. They were hard bound and heavy to hold, but it was fun to open them and explore new books. The only one I remember, though, is one by Helen McInnes. I had to go find the complete book because when they condense? You miss a lot. I recommend starting with her first book, Above Suspicion. I loved her characters right off. This isn’t one of those stories that starts with a big bang. The tension rises very slowly and you don’t realize you are being wound up like a spring until it’s too late to put it down. And cool factoid, the author was in the OAS in World War II. She knew her stuff. 

By Helen MacInnes,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Nazi Germany, 1939. Von Aschenhausen sat on the edge of a large desk, his eyes fixed on the man standing over the girl roped to a chair. "You fool. You stupid little fool. Can't you see I must, I will find out? My patience is limited. Kurt, try some more of your persuasion." The girl felt a hand of iron on her aching shoulder. She struggled weakly against the ropes that held her, but they only cut deeper...


Book cover of Resistance Women

Linda Kass Author Of A Ritchie Boy

From my list on World War II that bring history to life.

Who am I?

I am a first-generation American. My parents grew up in Eastern Europe, both experiencing Nazi persecution. They escaped to America from their respective countries, my mother from eastern Poland, my father from Austria. As such, the stories of World War II have fascinated me since childhood. I began my career as a journalist and took it upon myself to be the family historian, documenting my parents’ unique experiences. I believe in the importance of speaking out against injustice, and of bearing witness so our history of this consequential time and place is never lost. The novels I recommend take pieces of this history and bring them to life!

Linda's book list on World War II that bring history to life

Linda Kass Why did Linda love this book?

Mildred Fish, an American woman, marries a German economist, Arvid Harnack, and moves with him to Germany to build their life together. As the Nazi party rises to power, Mildred and her friends conspire to resist, working together to provide information about the Germans to the American forces. When the Harnack resistance cell is exposed, everyone is at risk. Beautifully written and heavily researched—the novel is inspired by actual events—author Jennifer Chiaverini brings Mildred and her compatriots to vivid life on the page. Resistance Women is an unforgettable story of ordinary people determined to resist the rise of evil, sacrificing their own lives and liberty to fight injustice and defend the oppressed.

By Jennifer Chiaverini,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One of BookBub's best historical novels of the year and Oprah magazine's buzziest books of the month.

From the New York Times bestselling author of Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker, an enthralling historical saga that recreates the danger, romance, and sacrifice of an era and brings to life one courageous, passionate American-Mildred Fish Harnack-and her circle of women friends who waged a clandestine battle against Hitler in Nazi Berlin.

After Wisconsin graduate student Mildred Fish marries brilliant German economist Arvid Harnack, she accompanies him to his German homeland, where a promising future awaits. In the thriving intellectual culture of 1930s Berlin, the…


Book cover of Cradles of the Reich

Kitty Zeldis Author Of The Dressmakers of Prospect Heights

From my list on historical novels that feature bad-ass women.

Who am I?

As a girl growing up in the 1960s, I loved books that were set in the past—Anne of Green Gables, A Little Princess, and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn were among my favorites. But those books weren’t historical fiction because they were written back then. So discovering that I could set my own books in the past was a thrill. I love evoking the sights, sounds, and smells of the past. And I especially love describing what my characters wear. Vintage clothes are my passion and being able to incorporate that love into my work is an ongoing delight.

Kitty's book list on historical novels that feature bad-ass women

Kitty Zeldis Why did Kitty love this book?

Did you know that during Hitler’s time in power, unmarried pregnant women who could prove their babies were racially pure were lavishly housed, fed, and supported in something called the Lebensborn program, which then gave their babies to Arayan families? Neither did I!

Coburn researched this little-known part of the Nazi story and creates three complex female characters who all were ensnared in this despicable breeding program. Read it and weep. Or vomit.

By Jennifer Coburn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Every historical fiction novel should strive to be this compelling, well-researched and just flat-out good." - Associated Press

For fans of The Nightingale and The Handmaid's Tale, Cradles of the Reich uncovers a topic rarely explored in fiction: the Lebensborn project, a Nazi breeding program to create a so-called master race. Through thorough research and with deep empathy, this chilling historical novel goes inside one of the Lebensborn Society maternity homes that existed in several countries during World War II, where thousands of "racially fit" babies were bred and taken from their mothers to be raised as part of the…


Book cover of Hitler's Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields

Edward B. Westermann Author Of Drunk on Genocide: Alcohol and Mass Murder in Nazi Germany

From my list on perpetrator motivation in the Holocaust.

Who am I?

Since I first began to study the events of the Holocaust in 1991, I became deeply engaged and committed to trying to understand why individuals engaged in the abuse and murder of their neighbors, fellow countrymen, and those deemed racially or politically inferior. In exploring this question, I drew in part on my own military experience to think about how a warped organizational culture and corrupted leadership emerged in Nazi Germany in which state-sponsored propaganda and ideological socialization combined to pervert existing moral and ethical norms and led many within the SS, police, and the German military to engage in genocide.

Edward's book list on perpetrator motivation in the Holocaust

Edward B. Westermann Why did Edward love this book?

Wendy Lower’s powerful examination of the role of German women as witnesses, accomplices, and perpetrators in the Holocaust exposed the participation of women in the genocide of the European Jews during World War II.

Focusing on individual histories, Lower reveals the backgrounds, actions, and motivations of a cohort of mostly young women who became complicit in mass murder.

Full of haunting descriptions, the image of the wife of a German SS officer leading a group of naked Jewish boys to a woods near her home and shooting them as they wept because she wanted to prove her toughness to the men is only one unforgettable example of women’s participation in the Holocaust.

By Wendy Lower,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

FINALIST FOR THE US NATIONAL JEWISH BOOK AWARD

'Hitler's Furies will be experienced and remembered as a turning point in both women's studies and Holocaust studies' Timothy Snyder, author of Bloodlands

History has it that the role of women in Nazi Germany was to be the perfect Hausfrau, produce the next Aryan generation and be a loyal cheerleader for the Fuhrer. Then they became the Trummerfrauen, or Rubble Women, as they cleared and tidied their ruined country to get it back on its feet. They were Germany's heroines. The few women tried and convicted after the war were simply the…


Book cover of The Ragged Edge of Night

Karla M. Jay Author Of When We Were Brave

From my list on WWII with stories we haven’t heard before.

Who am I?

I love to write stories of historical injustice, so this is mainly the genre I read. In recent years, many new novels merely rehashed the same theme, such as the horror show known as Auschwitz or the other camps. Although those are worthy of the people who died there, I’m always on the hunt for a fresh story that has never been told about those tragic years. 

Karla's book list on WWII with stories we haven’t heard before

Karla M. Jay Why did Karla love this book?

The book tells the story of a small village near Stuttgart during wartime when poverty, hunger, fear, and uncertainty plague every member of the community. Even in the face of unthinkable horrors, the characters perform amazing acts of love, faith, bravery, and sacrifice and ultimately find forgiveness and hope for the future. I really enjoyed the vivid look at the lives of the German Resistance members and what they were willing to do to sacrifice while hiding the marginalized and criminalized citizens the Nazis hunted. Beautifully written as well.

By Olivia Hawker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For fans of All the Light We Cannot See, Beneath a Scarlet Sky, and The Nightingale comes an emotionally gripping, beautifully written historical novel about extraordinary hope, redemption, and one man's search for light during the darkest times of World War II.

Germany, 1942. Franciscan friar Anton Starzmann is stripped of his place in the world when his school is seized by the Nazis. He relocates to a small German hamlet to wed Elisabeth Herter, a widow who seeks a marriage-in name only-to a man who can help raise her three children. Anton seeks something too-atonement for failing to protect…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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