10 books like Savage Continent

By Keith Lowe,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Savage Continent. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Suite Française

By Irene Nemirovsky,

Book cover of Suite Française

I’ve chosen this book not just for the incredible picture it paints of German occupation, but for the story of its survival. Irène Némirovsky was a Ukrainian-Jewish author living in Paris with her young family until she was denied French citizenship and forced to flee to the French countryside. In July 1942 she was arrested during a period of vicious roundups by the Germans and transported to Auschwitz, where she died a month later from typhus. Irène’s two daughters were amongst the crowd that gathered daily outside the Hotel Lutetia in Paris, where returnees from concentration camps were processed after the liberation of France. Her daughter Denise kept the notebook containing Suite Française for fifty years before realising what it contained, and Irène’s masterpiece was finally published in 2004.

Suite Française

By Irene Nemirovsky,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Suite Française as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1941, Irene Nemirovsky sat down to write a book that would convey the magnitude of what she was living through, not in terms of battles and politicians, but by evoking the domestic lives and personal trials of the ordinary citizens of France. She did not live to see her ambition fulfilled, or to know that sixty-five years later, "Suite Francaise" would be published for the first time, and hailed as a masterpiece. Set during a year that begins with France's fall to the Nazis in June 1940 and ends with Germany turning its attention to Russia, "Suite Francaise" falls…


Primo Levi's Resistance

By Sergio Luzzatto,

Book cover of Primo Levi's Resistance: Rebels and Collaborators in Occupied Italy

The partisan experiences of Primo Levi—chemist, Auschwitz survivor, and writer—are researched and offered in gritty, thorough detail by Luzzatto. Levi, in his writings, alluded to incidents that occurred during his time as a partisan, and Luzzatto delves deeper into the motivations behind these events and the personalities involved. The Resistance in its early days, while being hunted by Nazis and their Italian allies, became a small force of its own making, using collective, military-style decisions and tactics, and meting out its own forms of justice. An important book to gain insight into the complexities of purpose within the Resistance, learn about the crimes and subsequent justice of members of Salò—the puppet government installed in northern Italy—and understand the influences on political alignments and fascism in the period beyond the war.

Primo Levi's Resistance

By Sergio Luzzatto,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

No other Auschwitz survivor has been as literarily powerful and historically influential as Primo Levi. Yet Levi was not only a victim or a witness. In the fall of 1943, at the very start of the Italian Resistance, he was a fighter, participating in the first attempts to launch guerrilla warfare against occupying Nazi forces. Those three months have been largely overlooked by Levi's biographers; indeed, they went strikingly unmentioned by Levi himself. For the rest of his life he barely acknowledged that autumn in the Alps. But an obscure passage in Levi's The Periodic Table hints that his deportation…


A Woman in Berlin

By Anonymous, Philip Boehm (translator),

Book cover of A Woman in Berlin: Eight Weeks in the Conquered City

Just like Api’s diary, A Woman in Berlin begins on April 20, 1945, and she, too, writes daily to maintain her sanity in a world of chaos and death. The author, who wanted to remain anonymous, gives a clear-eyed perspective of a woman alone, trapped in Berlin, fighting starvation and the terrors of Soviet invasion. For women above all this meant rape. They tried to hide in the ruins, make themselves look old, dress up as men. Nevertheless, Soviet soldiers raped over 100,000 women. I read in Api’s diary that Berlin doctors soon began to perform then illegal abortions for victims who begged them for one. 

The author’s unflinching and courageous account is “among the most chilling indictments of war I have ever read” (Arundhati Roy).

A Woman in Berlin

By Anonymous, Philip Boehm (translator),

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked A Woman in Berlin as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice

For eight weeks in 1945, as Berlin fell to the Russian army, a young woman kept a daily record of life in her apartment building and among its residents. "With bald honesty and brutal lyricism" (Elle), the anonymous author depicts her fellow Berliners in all their humanity, as well as their cravenness, corrupted first by hunger and then by the Russians. "Spare and unpredictable, minutely observed and utterly free of self-pity" (The Plain Dealer, Cleveland), A Woman in Berlin tells of the complex relationship between civilians and an occupying army and the…


The Second World War

By Martin Gilbert,

Book cover of The Second World War: A Complete History

This 900-page history is a vivid account of WWII across all fronts. Though the research is meticulous and covers the length of the war, the explanations are clear and fascinating and the chronology makes it feel like a guided tour through time. Along the way, Gilbert interposes a human face and a very personal account, revealing upheaval and atrocities, but ensuring that there is a permanent record of those civilians, particularly Jews, who died without just cause. And the examples and conditions endured are at times difficult to read and heartbreaking. The book covers all aspects, from battle lines to partisan attacks, to numbers killed, to firsthand accounts, to Hitler’s inners circle, and more. This is an outstanding read and this book is just one of Gilbert’s many significant contributions as a historian.

The Second World War

By Martin Gilbert,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Originally published by Weidenfeld in 1989 and now available in paperback, a history of the Second World War, which looks at its political, diplomatic, military and civilian aspects.


The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich

By William L. Shirer,

Book cover of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany

The first half of the book is like watching a slow-motion car wreck. There were so many missed opportunities to stop Hitler before he did his worst, I wanted to shout ‘Stop this guy before it’s too late!’ Alas… Shirer was our man in Vienna and Berlin from the late 1920s-early 1940s, which adds an intimacy to his words that I find lacking in other similar accounts.

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich

By William L. Shirer,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It was Hitler's boast that the Third Reich would last a thousand years. Instead it lasted only twelve. But into its short life was packed the most cataclysmic series of events that Western civilisation has ever known.

William Shirer is one of the very few historians to have gained full access to the secret German archives which the Allies captured intact. He was also present at the Nuremberg trials.

First published sixty years ago, Shirer's account of the years 1933-45, when the Nazis, under the rule of their despotic leader Adolf Hitler, ruled Germany is held up as a classic…


Hitler's Lost State

By Tim Heath, Michela Cocolin,

Book cover of Hitler's Lost State: The Fall of Prussia and the Wilhelm Gustloff Tragedy

A detailed and terrifying account of the German civilians' plight as they were overwhelmed by the vengeful Russians - and of the Russian sinking of the German liner the ' Wilhelm Gustloff' resulting in some 6,000 civilian deaths, the worst maritime disaster ever.

Hitler's Lost State

By Tim Heath, Michela Cocolin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Seen as an agricultural utopia within Hitler's Germany, it is often the view that both East and West Prussia had remained relatively untouched during the Second World War. Yet the violence, prejudice and murder associated with the National Socialist regime that brought most of Europe to ruin were widespread throughout Prussia during its brief existence.

When the MV _Wilhelm Gustloff_ was sunk by a Russian submarine just after 9pm on 30 January 1945, 9,343 passengers - 5,000 of them children - would perish. It was the worst loss of life in maritime history, six times greater than the one of…


A Social History of the Third Reich. Richard Grunberger

By Richard Grunberger,

Book cover of A Social History of the Third Reich. Richard Grunberger

The Nazis developed a unique social structure of total compliance with fear and terror just out of sight. The work describes family life struggling with the ritual of Nazism from the privileged elite, the average German family seeking some normality to the open oppression of the Jews.

A Social History of the Third Reich. Richard Grunberger

By Richard Grunberger,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Social History of the Third Reich. Richard Grunberger as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the most devastating portraits ever drawn of a human society - life in Hitler's Germany during the Third Reich

The Nazis developed a social system unprecedented in history. It was rigidly hierarchical, with the seemingly beneficent and ascetic figure of Hitler at the top - focus for the homage and aspirations of every man,
woman and child. How did the 'ordinary citizen' live under such a system? The author discusses such subjects as beauty in the Third Reich (no cosmetics, no slimming) as well as charting how you progressed to the elite Nazi cadres - administrators, propagandists or…


Hitler's Alpine Headquarters

By James Wilson,

Book cover of Hitler's Alpine Headquarters

The book's wealth of contemporary photographs and maps is a spellbinding work and makes the complexity of Hitler's alpine headquarters easy to understand - and reveals how the German people adored Hitler - at least in his early days.  Hitler's headquarters and adjacent Nazi properties were seriously plundered and looted by the victorious allies - although, in the interest of history, the location has been largely restored.

Hitler's Alpine Headquarters

By James Wilson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Hitlers Alpine Headquarters look at the development of the Obersalzberg from a small, long established farming community, into Hitlers country residence and the Nazis southern headquarters. Introducing new images and additional text, this book is a much expanded sequel to the authors acclaimed Hitlers Alpine Retreat (P & S 2005). This book will appeal to those with a general interest in the Third Reich. It explains how and why Hitler chose this area to build a home and his connection to this region.

New chapters focus on buildings and individuals of Hitlers inner circle not covered in the earlier book.…


The Long Road Home

By Ben Shephard,

Book cover of The Long Road Home: The Aftermath of the Second World War

The greatest challenge to the Allies in the aftermath of the war in Europe was how to repatriate the millions of people from all countries who had been displaced by the violence. This included prisoners of war, Holocaust survivors, and eastern European slave laborers, many of whom no longer had homes or even countries to return to. For several years after 1945, the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration ran the greatest humanitarian operation Europe has ever seen. They not only fed, clothed, and housed millions of refugees but gave them hope for a better future. Ben Shephard’s history of how they achieved this is truly inspiring. The history of World War II is one of violence and killing, and my bookshelves are heaving with stories of atrocities – but beautifully-written, compassionate books like this one are enough to restore anyone’s faith in human nature.

The Long Road Home

By Ben Shephard,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

After the Great War, the millions killed on the battlefields were eclipsed by the millions more civilians carried off by disease and starvation when the conflict was over. Haunted by memories, the Allies were determined that the end of the Second World War would not be followed by a similar disaster, and they began to lay plans long before victory was assured.

Confronted by an entire continent starving and uprooted, Allied planners devised strategies to help all 'displaced persons', and repatriate the fifteen million people who had been deprived of their homes and in many cases forced to work for…


Out on Assignment

By Alice Fahs,

Book cover of Out on Assignment: Newspaper Women and the Making of Modern Public Space

The book Out on Assignment examines the careers of overlooked women who wrote for major metropolitan newspapers at the beginning of the twentieth century. Using archival materials, Alice Fahs describes a community of female journalists from numerous American cities. These newspaper women were part of a wave of women seeking a journalism career although their options were often limited. Although a few female journalists found hard-news reporting jobs in stunt work and undercover assignments, most found work in the women’s pages.

In these sections, they interviewed celebrities, advice columns, and suffrage news. Very little research has been done on women’s page journalism; this book provides an excellent foundation.

Out on Assignment

By Alice Fahs,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Out on Assignment illuminates the lives and writings of a lost world of women who wrote for major metropolitan newspapers at the start of the twentieth century. Using extraordinary archival research, Alice Fahs unearths a richly networked community of female journalists drawn by the hundreds to major cities--especially New York--from all parts of the United States.

Newspaper women were part of a wave of women seeking new, independent, urban lives, but they struggled to obtain the newspaper work of their dreams. Although some female journalists embraced more adventurous reporting, including stunt work and undercover assignments, many were relegated to the…


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