100 books like Savage Continent

By Keith Lowe,

Here are 100 books that Savage Continent fans have personally recommended if you like Savage Continent. 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 Suite Française

David Snell Author Of Sing to Silent Stones: Part One

From my list on wartime books about families torn apart by the conflict in WW1 and WW2.

Why am I passionate about this?

My reading is almost entirely influenced by my own family’s extraordinary history. My mother and father-in-law were both illegitimate. Both suffered for the fact and my father-in-law was 11 years old when he first found out and was reunited with his mother, albeit on a second-class basis compared to his half siblings. My mother trained bomb aimers. My father flew Lancaster bombers and was just 19 years old in the skies above wartime Berlin. My own books combine history, my personal experiences, and my family’s past to weave wartime stories exploring the strains that those conflicts imposed on friendships.

David's book list on wartime books about families torn apart by the conflict in WW1 and WW2

David Snell Why did David love this book?

An abiding theme within my own book is that love and friendship can supplant racial and cultural differences, and this book, set in a village in France during the 2nd World War, highlights a growing and reluctant friendship between an occupier and the occupied.

The hatred that invasion induces causes any fraternisation to be labelled ‘collaboration.’ Sometimes it is. Sometimes, it is just people caught out of context seeking comfort and normality.

It is easy for those whose countries have never been occupied to scoff at the behaviour of those who had to live in the atmosphere and the reality of a hostile invasion. Let’s hope we never have to find out firsthand.

By Irene Nemirovsky,

Why should I read it?

11 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…


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

Gemma Liviero Author Of The Road Beyond Ruin

From my list on WW2 occupation, resistance, and the aftermath.

Why am I passionate about this?

Gemma is the bestselling author of historical fiction novels, translated into several languages. Set against the backdrop of war in Europe, her fifth book in this genre will be released later this year. She has combined the war experiences of family members in WWI and WWII, information collected during her research and travels, and her academic studies in writing and history, to create the authentic scenes and characters for her books.

Gemma's book list on WW2 occupation, resistance, and the aftermath

Gemma Liviero Why did Gemma love this book?

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.

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…


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

Abby Smith Rumsey Author Of Memory, Edited: Taking Liberties with History

From my list on when history gets personal.

Why am I passionate about this?

It was in 1982, while a Fulbright scholar in the USSR researching my doctoral dissertation, that I realized my responsibility as a historian extended far beyond writing history books. I lived among Russians and saw up close how the Kremlin-controlled what citizens knew about their own past. The future was already determined—the end of class struggle. The past was merely a made-up prologue. As a consequence of that year, I focus on the creation, preservation, and accessibility of cultural knowledge. History clues us into where we come from. Like a DNA test, it reveals how our single life is intricately braided with people we will never meet.

Abby's book list on when history gets personal

Abby Smith Rumsey Why did Abby love this book?

Another first-person account of war, this time seen through the other end of the telescope: when the victorious Red Army occupied Berlin in 1945.

The order of the day was sadistic revenge meted out on the civilian population. As usual, women bore the worst of it. Regardless of age, each was raped and brutalized. After the war, none spoke of this for fear of being stigmatized. The author was an exception: she wrote matter-of-factly about what she experienced and witnessed, not trying to make sense of it.

She recorded the horrid reality in order to hold on to her sanity. She noted how scared and confused the Russians were, bewildered by the abundance of bourgeois life and embittered by their own poverty at home. 

By Anonymous, Philip Boehm (translator),

Why should I read it?

5 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…


Book cover of The Second World War: A Complete History

Gemma Liviero Author Of The Road Beyond Ruin

From my list on WW2 occupation, resistance, and the aftermath.

Why am I passionate about this?

Gemma is the bestselling author of historical fiction novels, translated into several languages. Set against the backdrop of war in Europe, her fifth book in this genre will be released later this year. She has combined the war experiences of family members in WWI and WWII, information collected during her research and travels, and her academic studies in writing and history, to create the authentic scenes and characters for her books.

Gemma's book list on WW2 occupation, resistance, and the aftermath

Gemma Liviero Why did Gemma love this book?

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.

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.


Book cover of Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin

Ursula Wong Author Of Amber Wolf

From my list on WWII and Eastern Europe (that you may not know about).

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Lithuanian-American with a Chinese name, thanks to my husband. Thirty years ago, I found papers among my uncle’s possessions telling a WWII story about our ancestral Lithuania. I had heard about it in broad terms, but I could hardly believe what I was reading. I spent years validating the material. The result was Amber Wolf, a historical novel about a war within the war: the fight against the Russian occupation of Eastern Europe. While many countries were involved in separate struggles, I focused on Lithuania and their David and Goliath fight against the Russian army. After all this time, the story still moves me.

Ursula's book list on WWII and Eastern Europe (that you may not know about)

Ursula Wong Why did Ursula love this book?

Bloodlands is a story about the dead. Using archives made available after the break-up of the Soviet Union, Mr. Snyder sheds light on both Stalin’s and Hitler’s brutality.

In a confined area that includes just eastern Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, and the Baltic countries, 14 million civilians died from the 1930s to the end of the war. Most were either starved or shot. Even more startling were the plans to kill millions more.

Stalin said, “a single death is a tragedy, a million deaths are a statistic.” Mr. Snyder reminds us of the tragedy.

By Timothy Snyder,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Bloodlands as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Americans call the Second World War "the Good War." But before it even began, America's ally Stalin had killed millions of his own citizens-and kept killing them during and after the war. Before Hitler was defeated, he had murdered six million Jews and nearly as many other Europeans. At war's end, German and Soviet killing sites fell behind the Iron Curtain, leaving the history of mass killing in darkness.
?
Assiduously researched, deeply humane, and utterly definitive, Bloodlands is a new kind of European history, presenting the mass murders committed by the Nazi and Stalinist regimes as two aspects of…


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

David Hanna Author Of Broken Icarus: The 1933 Chicago World's Fair, the Golden Age of Aviation, and the Rise of Fascism

From my list on the perils of fascism.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've found the creep of authoritarianism to be very disquieting. One would have to be willfully blind to not see its manifestations both here and abroad. I wanted to better understand how this phenomenon cast its shadow over the world and I found the '33 Chicago World's Fair an ideal lens to view this through. I've been fascinated by world's fairs since I was a child and the '33 Fair was the first to consciously feature the future. I'm also strangely drawn to this period – if I believed in reincarnation it might provide answers, but I don't. The Zeitgeist just before the full, brutal ugliness of fascism broke over the world, fascinates me.

David's book list on the perils of fascism

David Hanna Why did David love this book?

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.

By William L. Shirer,

Why should I read it?

5 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…


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

Adrian Greaves Author Of Albert Speer - Escaping the Gallows: Secret Conversations with Hitler's Top Nazi

From my list on the rise and fall of the Third Reich.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a junior British army officer, I regularly had the unique privilege of being Guard Commander at Spandau Prison (1961-64) and I regularly saw and met with top Nazi prisoners Rudolf Hess, Shirach, and Albert Speer, then serving long prison sentences. Albert Speer taught me German. I was intrigued to see photographs of these three important Nazis in better times even though they were clearly lauding it over the Germans. I had regular conversations with Speer and our relationship resulted in him admitting facts that would have seen him on the gallows in the War Crimes Trials at Nuremberg in 1945.

Adrian's book list on the rise and fall of the Third Reich

Adrian Greaves Why did Adrian love this book?

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.

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…


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

Adrian Greaves Author Of Albert Speer - Escaping the Gallows: Secret Conversations with Hitler's Top Nazi

From my list on the rise and fall of the Third Reich.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a junior British army officer, I regularly had the unique privilege of being Guard Commander at Spandau Prison (1961-64) and I regularly saw and met with top Nazi prisoners Rudolf Hess, Shirach, and Albert Speer, then serving long prison sentences. Albert Speer taught me German. I was intrigued to see photographs of these three important Nazis in better times even though they were clearly lauding it over the Germans. I had regular conversations with Speer and our relationship resulted in him admitting facts that would have seen him on the gallows in the War Crimes Trials at Nuremberg in 1945.

Adrian's book list on the rise and fall of the Third Reich

Adrian Greaves Why did Adrian love this book?

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.

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…


Book cover of Hitler's Alpine Headquarters

Adrian Greaves Author Of Albert Speer - Escaping the Gallows: Secret Conversations with Hitler's Top Nazi

From my list on the rise and fall of the Third Reich.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a junior British army officer, I regularly had the unique privilege of being Guard Commander at Spandau Prison (1961-64) and I regularly saw and met with top Nazi prisoners Rudolf Hess, Shirach, and Albert Speer, then serving long prison sentences. Albert Speer taught me German. I was intrigued to see photographs of these three important Nazis in better times even though they were clearly lauding it over the Germans. I had regular conversations with Speer and our relationship resulted in him admitting facts that would have seen him on the gallows in the War Crimes Trials at Nuremberg in 1945.

Adrian's book list on the rise and fall of the Third Reich

Adrian Greaves Why did Adrian love this book?

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.

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.…


Book cover of War of the Rats

Ursula Wong Author Of Amber Wolf

From my list on WWII and Eastern Europe (that you may not know about).

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Lithuanian-American with a Chinese name, thanks to my husband. Thirty years ago, I found papers among my uncle’s possessions telling a WWII story about our ancestral Lithuania. I had heard about it in broad terms, but I could hardly believe what I was reading. I spent years validating the material. The result was Amber Wolf, a historical novel about a war within the war: the fight against the Russian occupation of Eastern Europe. While many countries were involved in separate struggles, I focused on Lithuania and their David and Goliath fight against the Russian army. After all this time, the story still moves me.

Ursula's book list on WWII and Eastern Europe (that you may not know about)

Ursula Wong Why did Ursula love this book?

This riveting novel brings us into the lives of Russian snipers during the WW II siege of Stalingrad.

We live in a basement, learn something of extreme patience, and get a sense of how people barely remain sane in pressure-cooker situations. What struck me most were the women. One was a sniper with extreme convictions. Others were there for the pleasure of the men. But the best part of the novel was the cat-and-mouse game between opposing snipers. 

Not only did I learn something about warfare, but I couldn’t put the book down.

By David L. Robbins,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked War of the Rats as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Stalingrad in 1942 is a city in ruins, its Russian defenders fighting to the last man to repel the invading German army. One of their most potent weapons is the crack sniper school developed by Vasily Zaitsev. Its members can pick off the enemy at long range, and their daring tactics - hiding for hours in no man's land until a brief opportunity presents itself - mean that no German, and particularly no German officer, can ever feel safe. This part of the battle is as much psychological as anything, and to counter the continuing threat to German morale, the…


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