100 books like Ring of Steel

By Alexander Watson,

Here are 100 books that Ring of Steel fans have personally recommended if you like Ring of Steel. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Wild Goose and the Eagle: A Life of Marshal Von Browne 1705-1757

Peter H. Wilson Author Of Iron and Blood: A Military History of the German-Speaking Peoples since 1500

From my list on German military history saying something different.

Who am I?

I have been drawn to the history of the German lands ever since I opened a historical atlas as a child and wondered why the middle of Europe was a colorful patchwork compared to the solid blocks depicting other countries. I then wondered how the people living under this multitude of authorities could manage their affairs, resolve differences, and defend themselves against each other and outsiders. Digging deeper into these questions has unearthed fascinating stories, not all of them pleasant, but which also shed light on the complexities of our shared existence. 

Peter's book list on German military history saying something different

Peter H. Wilson Why did Peter love this book?

This is one of the first ‘proper’ history books I read, having borrowed it from my local public library, and gave me a lasting interest in the wars and warriors of Central Europe.

First published in 1964, it recounts the life of an Irish exile who became a field marshal in the Austrian Habsburg army and died leading a bayonet charge against the Prussians. Browne’s career exemplifies how ‘German’ military history is far more diverse than it might first appear.

Christopher Duffy vividly brings the eighteenth century to life, and I warmly recommend his many other books on early modern warfare. 

By Christopher Duffy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Maximilian von Browne is counted among the finest soldiers of the old Imperial Austrian Army. As the present biography sets out to show, he was outstanding in his time for his vigorous conduct of war, and his extremely advanced idea of leadership and responsibility. Few commanders have taken so literally the phrase ‘to share the hardships of his men’.

A son of that generation of Irishmen who fled from a penal regime to take service in Catholic Europe, Browne rose in the Army of the Empress Maria Theresa. In 1746, he could take the greater part of the credit for…


Book cover of Hitler's Soldiers: The German Army in the Third Reich

Peter H. Wilson Author Of Iron and Blood: A Military History of the German-Speaking Peoples since 1500

From my list on German military history saying something different.

Who am I?

I have been drawn to the history of the German lands ever since I opened a historical atlas as a child and wondered why the middle of Europe was a colorful patchwork compared to the solid blocks depicting other countries. I then wondered how the people living under this multitude of authorities could manage their affairs, resolve differences, and defend themselves against each other and outsiders. Digging deeper into these questions has unearthed fascinating stories, not all of them pleasant, but which also shed light on the complexities of our shared existence. 

Peter's book list on German military history saying something different

Peter H. Wilson Why did Peter love this book?

More than one in four Germans served during the Second World War, but only one in ten of these volunteered.

In the eight decades since that conflict, the history of this staggering mobilization has been rewritten several times but remains controversial, particularly as more recent research is revealing the scale and complexity of the German military’s involvement in the genocidal policies of the Nazi regime.

Ben Shepherd offers a balanced and finely nuanced account of the German armed forces, their organization, culture, and conduct of total war, noting the importance of context, whilst indicating that the postwar distinction between ‘good German soldiers’ and ‘bad Nazis’ is a myth. 

By Ben H. Shepherd,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A penetrating study of the German army's military campaigns, relations with the Nazi regime, and complicity in Nazi crimes across occupied Europe

For decades after 1945, it was generally believed that the German army, professional and morally decent, had largely stood apart from the SS, Gestapo, and other corps of the Nazi machine. Ben Shepherd draws on a wealth of primary sources and recent scholarship to convey a much darker, more complex picture. For the first time, the German army is examined throughout the Second World War, across all combat theaters and occupied regions, and from multiple perspectives: its battle…


Book cover of German Colonial Wars and the Context of Military Violence

Peter H. Wilson Author Of Iron and Blood: A Military History of the German-Speaking Peoples since 1500

From my list on German military history saying something different.

Who am I?

I have been drawn to the history of the German lands ever since I opened a historical atlas as a child and wondered why the middle of Europe was a colorful patchwork compared to the solid blocks depicting other countries. I then wondered how the people living under this multitude of authorities could manage their affairs, resolve differences, and defend themselves against each other and outsiders. Digging deeper into these questions has unearthed fascinating stories, not all of them pleasant, but which also shed light on the complexities of our shared existence. 

Peter's book list on German military history saying something different

Peter H. Wilson Why did Peter love this book?

Addressing his troops prior to their departure for China in 1900, Kaiser Wilhelm urged them to behave like the Huns and give no quarter to the Chinese accused of murdering the German ambassador during the Boxer Rebellion.

Four years later, German troops mercilessly drove the Herero and Nama people of what is now Namibia into the desert to die, while their comrades in what is now Tanzania fought a vicious war to suppress another colonial revolt. These events have recently returned to broader consciousness as the victims’ descendants demand reparations.

Without minimizing the violence, Kuss shows how it was rooted in specific situations and that there was no simple, inevitable line ‘from Windhoek to Auschwitz’. 

By Susanne Kuss, Andrew Smith (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked German Colonial Wars and the Context of Military Violence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Germany fought three major colonial wars from 1900 to 1908: the Boxer War in China, the Herero and Nama War in Southwest Africa, and the Maji Maji War in East Africa. Recently, historians have emphasized the role of German military culture in shaping the horrific violence of these conflicts, tracing a line from German atrocities in the colonial sphere to those committed by the Nazis during World War II. Susanne Kuss dismantles such claims in a close examination of Germany's early twentieth-century colonial experience. Despite acts of unquestionable brutality committed by the Kaiser's soldiers, she finds no direct path from…


Book cover of Coping with Life during the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648)

Peter H. Wilson Author Of Iron and Blood: A Military History of the German-Speaking Peoples since 1500

From my list on German military history saying something different.

Who am I?

I have been drawn to the history of the German lands ever since I opened a historical atlas as a child and wondered why the middle of Europe was a colorful patchwork compared to the solid blocks depicting other countries. I then wondered how the people living under this multitude of authorities could manage their affairs, resolve differences, and defend themselves against each other and outsiders. Digging deeper into these questions has unearthed fascinating stories, not all of them pleasant, but which also shed light on the complexities of our shared existence. 

Peter's book list on German military history saying something different

Peter H. Wilson Why did Peter love this book?

The Thirty Years War remains seared into the popular consciousness across Germany and Austria as a momentous catastrophe against which other conflicts are still measured.

The conflict was indeed terrible, yet its impact was uneven across time, place, social status, and gender.

Sigrun Haude writes sympathetically about how ordinary people coped with calamity whilst skillfully weaving individual stories with the wider dynamic of military and political events. 

By Sigrun Haude,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Coping with Life during the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At its core, Coping with Life during the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) explores how people tried to survive the Thirty Years' War, on what resources they drew, and how they attempted to make sense of it. A rich tapestry of stories brings to light contemporaries' trauma as well as women and men's unrelenting initiatives to stem the war's negative consequences. Through these close-ups, Sigrun Haude shows that experiences during the Thirty Years' War were much more diverse and often more perplexing than a straightforward story line of violence and destruction can capture. Life during the Thirty Years' War was not…


Book cover of Canone Inverso

Gerald Elias Author Of Cloudy with a Chance of Murder: A Daniel Jacobus Mystery

From my list on mysteries in the world of classical music.

Who am I?

I’ve spent a lifetime as a professional classical musician and a mystery reader. Starting with Hardy Boys adventures at the same time I started playing the violin, my intertwined love affairs with music and the mystery genre continue to this day. As a long-time member of major American symphony orchestras, I’ve heard and experienced so many stories about the dark corners of the classical music world that they could fill a library. It gives me endless pleasure to read other mystery authors’ take on this fascinating, semi-cloistered world and to share some of my own tales with the lay public in my Daniel Jacobus mystery series.

Gerald's book list on mysteries in the world of classical music

Gerald Elias Why did Gerald love this book?

Intense and intricate with complex human interactions subjected to the forces of history and destiny, Canone Inverso is both literary fiction and mystery. This gripping tale of evolving relationships centers around the field of classical music and a particular violin. With the setting in Germany, Austria, and Hungary during the turbulent 1930s and ’40s, a brilliant, working-class young violinist is secluded in a prison-like music conservatory with an aristocratic boy who befriends him. Gradually, their bond is severely tested. What is genius? What is friendship? What is the price paid for beauty and greatness? These are some of the issues we’re confronted with in this riveting novel.

By Paolo Maurensig,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When a strangely carved violin appears at auction in London, one bidder is prepared to pay any price to have it in his possession again. Many years before, two boys were united in their lust for music; how they were ultimately divided is revealed as the story journeys to pre-Nazi Vienna.


Book cover of Fallen Soldiers: Reshaping the Memory of the World Wars

Shannon Bontrager Author Of Death at the Edges of Empire: Fallen Soldiers, Cultural Memory, and the Making of an American Nation, 1863-1921

From my list on the memory of the war dead.

Who am I?

I am a professor who holds a Ph.D. in American history. I researched several archives in the United States and Paris, France to write this book and I am very proud of it. I was inspired to write this story mainly from listening to the friends of my parents, when I was younger, who went to war in Vietnam and came back broken yet committed to making the world a better place. The kindness they showed me belied the stories they shared of their harrowing experiences and I wanted to understand how this divergence happened in men that rarely spoke of their past.      

Shannon's book list on the memory of the war dead

Shannon Bontrager Why did Shannon love this book?

This may be the book that started it all. Mosse has many books that try to explain the rise of the Nazis in Germany who Mosse and his parents fled in the 1930s. Here Mosse describes how Nazis used the war dead from the First World War in an explicit attempt to harness the nationalism of Germans to support Nazi politics. Winter disagrees with Mosse and developed arguments that are probably more accepted by historians today but, for me, that doesn’t take away from the power of Mosse’s argument. Even though I don’t always agree with Mosse’s analysis, I can’t help but be engrossed by his writing, his passion, and his ability to describe how the war dead could be used as political weapons. 

By George L. Mosse,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Millions were killed and maimed in the senseless brutality of the First World War, but once the armistice was signed the realities were cleansed of their horror by the nature of the burial and commemoration of the dead. In the interwar period, war monuments and cemeteries provided the public with places of worship and martyrs for the civic religion of nationalism. The cult of the fallen soldier blossomed in Germany and other European countries, and people seemed to
build war into their lives as a necessary and glorious event - a proof of manhood and loyalty to the flag. Ultimately…


Book cover of The Green Rust

Wesley Britton Author Of Behind Alien Lines

From my list on containing the origins of Spy-fi.

Who am I?

Dr. Wesley Britton is the author of four non-fiction books—Spy Television, Beyond Bond: Spies in Fiction and Film, Onscreen and Undercover: The Ultimate Book of Movie Espionage, and The Encyclopedia of TV Spies. He's also the author of eight Beta-Earth Chronicles sci-fi stories. For seven years, he was co-host of online radio’s Dave White Presents. He earned his doctorate in American Literature at the University of North Texas. In 2016 he retired from teaching English at Harrisburg Area Community College, after 33 years as an instructor. He lives with his wife, Grace, their dog Joey and their cat Molly in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Wesley also has a Radio show and podcast called Remember When.

Wesley's book list on containing the origins of Spy-fi

Wesley Britton Why did Wesley love this book?

One of the most prolific thriller writers of the early 20th century, Edgar Wallace wasn't alone in writing speculative fiction employing new technology that reflected concerns over the First World War. He wasn't alone in fearing biological weapons as in the Green Rust in which Germany planned to use to release germs that would wipe out much of earth's wheat, giving Germany domination after their surrender at the end of the Great War.

The biological weapon in the Green Rust wasn't Wallace's first use of a concept that would be employed countless times ever since; his 1913 The Fourth Plague had an Italian gang called the Red Hand blackmailing England with their own biological threat much in the spirit of what Blofeld and his Spectre would try out in the thrillers of Ian Fleming.

Later, Wallace’s Little Green Man and Other Stories also anticipated the technology of the future, including…

By Edgar Wallace,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The chase is on to stop Dr. Van Heerden before he can release the threat of the Green Rust and take over the world in this exciting page-turner, originally published in 1919, from the undisputed "King of Thrillers, " Edgar Wallace.


Book cover of Hitler's First War: Adolf Hitler, the Men of the List Regiment, and the First World War

Benjamin Carter Hett Author Of The Death of Democracy: Hitler's Rise to Power and the Downfall of the Weimar Republic

From my list on the legacy of the First World War.

Who am I?

I was a law school graduate heading for my first job when, unable to think of anything better to do with my last afternoon in London, I wandered through the First World War galleries of the Imperial War Museum. I was hypnotized by a slide show of Great War propaganda posters, stunned by their clever viciousness in getting men to volunteer and wives and girlfriends to pressure them. Increasingly fascinated, I started reading about the war and its aftermath. After several years of this, I quit my job at a law firm and went back to school to become a professor. And here I am.

Benjamin's book list on the legacy of the First World War

Benjamin Carter Hett Why did Benjamin love this book?

Weber is another outstanding and original historian. Here he takes apart all the myths that have accumulated around Hitler’s military service in the First World War, showing that Hitler was a mediocre soldier with a relatively safe job who got medals because the officers knew who he was. Weber also shows how crucial a (legendary) version of Hitler’s war service was to his rise to power.

By Thomas Weber,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Hitler claimed that his years as a soldier in the First World War were the most formative years of his life. However, for the six decades since his death in the ruins of Berlin, Hitler's time as a soldier on the Western Front has, remarkably, remained a blank spot. Until now, all that we knew about Hitler's life in these years and the regiment in which he served came from his own account in Mein Kampf and the equally mythical accounts of his comrades.

Hitler's First War for the first time looks at what really happened to Private Hitler and…


Book cover of The Whistlers' Room

Emily Mayhew Author Of Wounded: A New History of the Western Front in World War I

From my list on human casualties of World War One.

Who am I?

Dr. Emily Mayhew is the historian in residence in the Department of Bioengineering at Imperial College London. Her primary research interest is the infliction, treatment, and long-term outcomes of complex casualty in contemporary warfare. She is the author of the Wounded trilogy. A Heavy Reckoning, The Guinea Pig Club, and Wounded: From Battlefield to Blighty which was shortlisted for the Wellcome Prize in 2014. She is Imperial College Internal Lead on the Paediatric Blast Injury Partnership and co-edited The Paediatric Blast Injury Field Manual.

Emily's book list on human casualties of World War One

Emily Mayhew Why did Emily love this book?

A small and beautiful story of three young soldier casualties who lie in a German hospital ward as the Great War grinds its way to an end. They've survived the bullet wounds to their throats and faces that have reduced each of their voices to a whispering whistle. But there is little left of their lives beyond survival, despite the efforts of their dedicated surgeon and their devotion to each other. A novella, based on the real-life experiences of the author, his comrades, and the English PoW they met in the Whistlers Room.

By Basil Creighton, Paul Alverdes,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Whistlers' Room is the surprisingly gentle, sensitive story of a section in a German hospital where three soldiers try to recover from battle injuries. They are known as the Whistlers, as all were shot in the throat and their breathing results in a sound "like the squeaking of mice". The author vividly captures the strong young men the soldiers used to be and the battered, wounded people they have become. Pointner, whose obstinacy in holding onto an English sniper's cap means he is mistaken for the enemy, is the worst injured of the trio. Kollin continually dreams that he…


Book cover of Haig's Enemy: Crown Prince Rupprecht and Germany's War on the Western Front

Eric Dorn Brose Author Of The Kaiser's Army: The Politics of Military Technology in Germany During the Machine Age, 1870-1918

From my list on the German army in World War One.

Who am I?

I retired from Drexel University in 2015 after thirty-six years as a professor of German and European History of the 19th and 20th Centuries. My sub-specialty in the History of Technology carried over into publications that over the years focused increasingly on the Prussian/German Army (The Politics of Technological Change in Prussia [1993] and The Kaiser’s Army [2001]) and naval conflict (Clash of the Capital Ships [2021]).  

Eric's book list on the German army in World War One

Eric Dorn Brose Why did Eric love this book?

Boff’s book, impressively researched with extensive use of rare primary sources, and winner of two impressive British book awards, examines the war life and times of Bavarian Crown Prince Rupprecht. In high command on the Western Front for the entire war, Rupprecht remained in position to witness the limitations of Prussian generalship, especially in 1914 and 1918; the growing preponderance of allied strength after U.S. entry in 1917; and divisive home front politics throughout Germany. He lost not only the war, but also a son, as well as his throne, which was swept away in the revolutionary upheaval at the war’s end. 

By Jonathan Boff,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

During the First World War, the British Army's most consistent German opponent was Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria. Commanding more than a million men as a General, and then Field Marshal, in the Imperial German Army, he held off the attacks of the British Expeditionary Force under Sir John French and then Sir Douglas Haig for four long years. But Rupprecht was to lose not only the war, but his son and his throne.

Haig's Enemy by Jonathan Boff explores the tragic tale of Rupprecht's war-the story of a man caught under the wheels of modern industrial warfare. Providing a…


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