100 books like SENSŌ

By Frank Gibney, Beth Cary (translator),

Here are 100 books that SENSŌ fans have personally recommended if you like SENSŌ. 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 Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War

Robert Stewart Author Of No Greater Duty

From my list on duty and courage in peace and war.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fortunate to write and publish three books on America’s service academies: two on the U.S. Naval Academy, and one on the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. The two nonfiction books were appealing photographic and narrative presentations of academy life at Navy and West Point. The third, my debut novel happening at the Naval Academy, is an inspiring tale of moral courage and dedication to duty with war and peacetime conflicts. Each book was a rewarding creative project.

Robert's book list on duty and courage in peace and war

Robert Stewart Why did Robert love this book?

Matterhorn is one of the most memorable works of realistic fiction written about The Vietnam War. The author and a Marine infantry officer, decorated for valor during combat several times in duty tours in Vietnam, presents a striking story about the true nature of warfare. The Marines of Bravo Company with whom his protagonist serves present the sheer toil, strength of character, the cost of lost and wounded brothers, unique personalities, moments of weakness and courage, laughter and sadness, brothers-in-arms’ trust, and the will to literally survive until the battle ends and the next one begins. Matterhorn inspired me while I wrote my debut military novel.

By Karl Marlantes,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Fire Support Base Matterhorn: a fortress carved out of the grey-green mountain jungle. Cold monsoon clouds wreath its mile-high summit, concealing a battery of 105-mm howitzers surrounded by deep bunkers, carefully constructed fields of fire and the 180 marines of Bravo Company. Just three kilometres from Laos and two from North Vietnam, there is no more isolated outpost of America's increasingly desperate war in Vietnam.

Second Lieutenant Waino Mellas, 21 years old and just a few days into his 13-month tour, has barely arrived at Matterhorn before Bravo Company is ordered to abandon their mountain and sent deep in-country in…


Book cover of The Cleanest Race: How North Koreans See Themselves and Why It Matters

Zachary Shore Author Of A Sense of the Enemy: The High Stakes History of Reading Your Rival's Mind

From my list on knowing your enemy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian of international conflict who focuses on understanding the enemy. For most of my career, I have studied why we so often misread others, and how those misperceptions lead to war. The current crisis in Ukraine is just one more example of how the parties involved misunderstood each other. I believe that if we could improve this one ability, we would substantially lessen the likelihood, frequency, and severity of war.

Zachary's book list on knowing your enemy

Zachary Shore Why did Zachary love this book?

Myers, a professor and North Korea watcher, draws on a careful reading of the “Hermit Kingdom’s” cultural products (its political speeches, novels, pamphlets, and more) to tease out a worldview that is too often opaque to outsiders. While escapee literature focuses on how average Koreans suffer under that brutal regime, this book affords us insight into how the regime sees itself – in ways that will surprise you.

By B.R. Myers,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Cleanest Race as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Understanding North Korea through its propagandaA newly revised and updated edition that includes a consideration of Kim Jung Il's successor, Kim Jong-On What do the North Koreans really believe? How do they see themselves and the world around them? Here B.R. Myers, a North Korea analyst and a contributing editor of The Atlantic, presents the first full-length study of the North Korean worldview. Drawing on extensive research into the regime’s domestic propaganda, including films, romance novels and other artifacts of the personality cult, Myers analyzes each of the country’s official myths in turn€”from the notion of Koreans’ unique moral purity,…


Book cover of A Vietcong Memoir: An Inside Account of the Vietnam War and Its Aftermath

Mark Scott Smith Author Of Night Fire Morning Snow: The Road to Chosin

From my list on understanding America and her enemies in wartime.

Why am I passionate about this?

After retiring from academic medicine, I moved to the ocean and learned of WWII Japanese submarine and balloon bomb attacks on Oregon. With extensive research, consultation, and trips to Europe, Latin America, and Asia, I have now published three historical fiction novels on Amazon: Enemy in the Mirror: Love and Fury in the Pacific War, The Osprey and the Sea Wolf: The Battle of the Atlantic 1942, and Night Fire Morning Snow: The Road to Chosin. My website is intended to promote understanding of America and her enemies in wartime.

Mark's book list on understanding America and her enemies in wartime

Mark Scott Smith Why did Mark love this book?

This fascinating book provides insight into the mind of a cultured, erudite Vietnamese man who grew up in French Indochina. Truong Nhu Tang, simultaneously a South Vietnamese government official and a clandestine Viet Cong urban organizer, has inspirational encounters with Ho Chi Minh in Paris and Viet Minh guerrillas in the jungle. Captured by South Vietnamese police in 1968, he was released to the North in a US-Viet Cong prisoner exchange. After the War, becoming disillusioned with political repression and economic mismanagement by the new communist government, he escapes from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and ends up living in exile in Paris.

By Truong Nhu Tang,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Vietcong Memoir as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"An absorbing and moving autobiography...An important addition not only to the literature of Vietnam but to the larger human story of hope, violence and disillusion in the political life of our era."—Chicago Tribune

When he was a student in Paris, Truong Nhu Tang met Ho Chi Minh. Later he fought in the Vietnamese jungle and emerged as one of the major figures in the "fight for liberation"—and one of the most determined adversaries of the United States. He became the Vietcong's Minister of Justice, but at the end of the war he fled the country in disillusionment and despair. He…


Book cover of The German War: A Nation Under Arms, 1939-1945

Mark Scott Smith Author Of Night Fire Morning Snow: The Road to Chosin

From my list on understanding America and her enemies in wartime.

Why am I passionate about this?

After retiring from academic medicine, I moved to the ocean and learned of WWII Japanese submarine and balloon bomb attacks on Oregon. With extensive research, consultation, and trips to Europe, Latin America, and Asia, I have now published three historical fiction novels on Amazon: Enemy in the Mirror: Love and Fury in the Pacific War, The Osprey and the Sea Wolf: The Battle of the Atlantic 1942, and Night Fire Morning Snow: The Road to Chosin. My website is intended to promote understanding of America and her enemies in wartime.

Mark's book list on understanding America and her enemies in wartime

Mark Scott Smith Why did Mark love this book?

Compiled from personal diaries and letters, wartime arts and entertainment, court records, military correspondence, secret police reports and Nazi propaganda ministry assessments, an Oxford professor of modern European history has written this engrossing account of the German military and civilian experience during World War II. Initial enthusiasm for the war effort during the early years of WWII, gradually gives way under the intense bombing of German cities, awareness of the regime’s genocidal activities and military losses on both fronts. In the final year of the war ordinary Germans, realizing the war could not be won, were simply determined to hold on until a just peace can be attained.

By Nicholas Stargardt,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

As early as 1941, Allied victory in World War II seemed all but assured. How and why, then, did the Germans prolong the barbaric conflict for three and a half more years?In The German War , acclaimed historian Nicholas Stargardt draws on an extraordinary range of primary source materials,personal diaries, court records, and military correspondence,to answer this question. He offers an unprecedented portrait of wartime Germany, bringing the hopes and expectations of the German people,from infantrymen and tank commanders on the Eastern front to civilians on the home front,to vivid life. While most historians identify the German defeat at Stalingrad…


Book cover of The Rising Sun: The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire, 1936-1945

Michael Schuman Author Of Superpower Interrupted: The Chinese History of the World

From my list on Asian history.

Why am I passionate about this?

Michael Schuman is the author of three history books on Asia, most recently Superpower Interrupted: The Chinese History of the World, released in 2020. He has spent the past quarter-century as a journalist in the region. Formerly a correspondent for The Wall Street Journal and Time magazine, he is currently a contributor to The Atlantic and a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion.

Michael's book list on Asian history

Michael Schuman Why did Michael love this book?

The masterful Toland weaves a narrative of jaw-dropping detail, drama and complexity that tells the grand and harrowing story of the Pacific War between the United States and Japan from the perspective of the Japanese. The tale takes the reader from Tokyo cabinet meetings to the deck of warships to the frontline of critical battles, to share the experiences of everyone from national leaders to top generals to ordinary soldiers. It’s one of those books that’s so good it leaves you wondering how it was even written.

By John Toland,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“[The Rising Sun] is quite possibly the most readable, yet informative account of the Pacific war.”—Chicago Sun-Times

This Pulitzer Prize–winning history of World War II chronicles the dramatic rise and fall of the Japanese empire, from the invasion of Manchuria and China to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Told from the Japanese perspective, The Rising Sun is, in the author’s words, “a factual saga of people caught up in the flood of the most overwhelming war of mankind, told as it happened—muddled, ennobling, disgraceful, frustrating, full of paradox.”

In weaving together the historical facts and human drama leading…


Book cover of Crucible of Hell: The Heroism and Tragedy of Okinawa, 1945

Malcolm H. Murfett Author Of Naval Warfare 1919-1945: An Operational History of the Volatile War at Sea

From my list on Asian theatre in the Second World War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I lived and taught in Asia for over 30 years and love the place to bits. Leaving Oxford for Singapore may have seemed like a daring adventure in 1980, but it complemented my doctoral research and introduced me to a wonderful set of students who have enriched my life ever since. Asia has a fascination for me that I can’t resist. I have written and edited 15 books on naval and defence themes, much of which have been set in the Asian continent. An associate editor of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography for the past 25 years, I am also the editor for the series Cold War in Asia. 

Malcolm's book list on Asian theatre in the Second World War

Malcolm H. Murfett Why did Malcolm love this book?

If you know your Pacific War and are familiar with all the major land and sea battles, you may think there’s not much that’s new to discover about the campaign for Okinawa. And maybe there isn’t. But for those who aren’t specialists, this book will prove fascinating. It’s not a page-turner in the accepted sense of the term because most pages appall with the dreadful futility of it all. I couldn’t read more than a dozen pages at a time without feeling a sense of desperation at the almost casual sacrifice of lives on both sides in this war of attrition. No wonder many veterans of Okinawa found it difficult to talk about the horror of it afterward and carried dark memories of their tortured experiences to their graves.

By Saul David,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the award-winning historian, Saul David, the riveting narrative of the heroic US troops, bonded by the brotherhood and sacrifice of war, who overcame enormous casualties to pull off the toughest invasion of WWII's Pacific Theater -- and the Japanese forces who fought with tragic desperation to stop them.

With Allied forces sweeping across Europe and into Germany in the spring of 1945, one enormous challenge threatened to derail America's audacious drive to win the world back from the Nazis: Japan, the empire that had extended its reach southward across the Pacific and was renowned for the fanaticism and brutality…


Book cover of Emperor Hirohito and the Pacific War

Gerhard Weinberg Author Of A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II

From my list on World War 2.

Why am I passionate about this?

Gerhard Weinberg fled Germany at the end of 1938 and experienced the first year of World War II – including the beginning of the Blitz – in England. He completed his PhD after serving in the US Army of Occupation in Japan, researched the captured German documents, established the program for microfilming them, and after writing an analysis of the origins of World War II decided to prepare a book covering the war as a whole.

Gerhard's book list on World War 2

Gerhard Weinberg Why did Gerhard love this book?

At last (2015) there is a balanced and carefully researched study of a central figure in the modern history of Japan and the war in the Pacific. The substantial utilization and integration of Japanese sources enhances the work but does not lead to any distortion of the real picture.

By Noriko Kawamura,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Emperor Hirohito and the Pacific War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This reexamination of the controversial role Emperor Hirohito played during the Pacific War gives particular attention to the question: If the emperor could not stop Japan from going to war with the Allied Powers in 1941, why was he able to play a crucial role in ending the war in 1945? Drawing on previously unavailable primary sources, Noriko Kawamura traces Hirohito's actions from the late 1920s to the end of the war, analyzing the role Hirohito played in Japan's expansion. Emperor Hirohito emerges as a conflicted man who struggled throughout the war to deal with the undefined powers bestowed upon…


Book cover of The Blossom and the Firefly

Amanda McCrina Author Of Traitor: A Novel of World War II

From my list on unusual YA books about WWII.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a degree in history and political science, with a particular interest in military history—especially World War II history, and most especially Eastern Front history. My family has Polish roots, and my own stories tend to focus on the Polish and Ukrainian experiences, but I keenly feel the need for more YA books not only about the Eastern Front but about other, even lesser-known theaters of World War II.

Amanda's book list on unusual YA books about WWII

Amanda McCrina Why did Amanda love this book?

Unexpected for a book about kamikaze, this is a quiet and gentle story, about two young people—Taro, a kamikaze pilot, and Hana, one of the Nadeshiko Tai, assigned to serve the pilots—who meet through a shared vital love of music. They both know the inevitability and finality of Taro’s upcoming mission; they both are at the mercy of circumstances beyond their control. Yet their hopes and dreams remain larger than the war. This is another one that will stay with you for a long time.

By Sherri L. Smith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Blossom and the Firefly as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Japan 1945. Taro is a talented violinist and a kamikaze pilot in the days before his first and only mission. He believes he is ready to die for his country... until he meets Hana. Hana hasn't been the same since the day she was buried alive in a collapsed trench during a bomb raid. She wonders if it would have been better to have died that day...until she meets Taro. A song will bring them together. The war will tear them apart. Is it possible to live an entire lifetime in eight short days?


Book cover of Japan at War: An Oral History

Stewart Binns Author Of Barbarossa: And The Bloodiest War In History

From my list on 20th century conflict.

Why am I passionate about this?

Stewart Binns is a former academic, soldier, and documentary filmmaker, who became a writer quite late in life. He has since written a wide range of books in both fiction and non-fiction. His passions are history and sport. He has completed a medieval quartet called the Making of England Series, two books about the Great War and a novel set during Northern Ireland’s Troubles. His latest work of non-fiction, Barbarossa, tells the story of the Eastern Front (1945 to 1944) from the perspective of the peoples of Eastern Europe. He is now working on a history of modern Japan.

Stewart's book list on 20th century conflict

Stewart Binns Why did Stewart love this book?

Oral history sources have always been central to my work, both as an author and a documentary-maker. Cook’s account of the experiences of ordinary Japanese people during the Second World War is one of the best. It is both powerful and a lesson about the utter tragedy of war.

By Haruko Taya Cook, Theodore F. Cook,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Japan at War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A "deeply moving book" (Studs Terkel) and the first ever oral history to document the experience of ordinary Japanese people during World War II

"Hereafter no one will be able to think, write, or teach about the Pacific War without reference to [the Cooks'] work." -Marius B. Jansen, Emeritus Professor of Japanese History, Princeton University

This pathbreaking work of oral history by Haruko Taya Cook and Theodore F. Cook was the first book ever to capture the experience of ordinary Japanese people during the war and remains the classic work on the subject.

In a sweeping panorama, Japan at War…


Book cover of The Japanese Merchant Marine in World War II

Malcolm H. Murfett Author Of Naval Warfare 1919-1945: An Operational History of the Volatile War at Sea

From my list on Asian theatre in the Second World War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I lived and taught in Asia for over 30 years and love the place to bits. Leaving Oxford for Singapore may have seemed like a daring adventure in 1980, but it complemented my doctoral research and introduced me to a wonderful set of students who have enriched my life ever since. Asia has a fascination for me that I can’t resist. I have written and edited 15 books on naval and defence themes, much of which have been set in the Asian continent. An associate editor of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography for the past 25 years, I am also the editor for the series Cold War in Asia. 

Malcolm's book list on Asian theatre in the Second World War

Malcolm H. Murfett Why did Malcolm love this book?

This book doesn’t have a catchy title and sounds rather pedestrian, but we are told never to judge a book by its cover and in this case it’s true about the title as well! Mark Parillo’s magisterial thesis taught me a great deal about why the Japanese lost the Pacific War. He explains why they stubbornly refused to convoy their merchant fleet even when, by failing to do so, they were aiding the enemy’s cause. Japan needed to import most of its war material, but once the US submarine campaign began to decimate the ships that were bringing in those vital supplies in 1944-45 the game was essentially up. Therefore, a case can be made that the war was effectively lost before the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 

By Mark P. Parillo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Japanese Merchant Marine in World War II as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Making extensive use of Japanese and U.S. sources, including wartime intelligence reports from the National Defense Archives in Tokyo and recently declassified U.S. documents, this book examines the reasons for Japan's failure to protect its merchant fleet.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Japan, Asia, and the Pacific War in WW2?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Japan, Asia, and the Pacific War in WW2.

Japan Explore 482 books about Japan
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The Pacific War In WW2 Explore 47 books about the Pacific War in WW2