100 books like Sunk

By Mochitsura Hashimoto,

Here are 100 books that Sunk fans have personally recommended if you like Sunk. 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 I-Boat Captain

John J. Geoghegan Author Of Operation Storm: Japan's Top Secret Submarines and Its Plan to Change the Course of World War II

From my list on submarine warfare during World War II.

Why am I passionate about this?

I spent more than five years researching and writing a book about the Japanese submarine force during World War II—a topic virtually untouched by western historians. My research took me to Japan where I interviewed surviving members of the Imperial Japanese Navy’s Sixth Fleet—its submarine branch. These men told incredible stories of what it was like to serve aboard a Japanese sub during World War II; stories filled with courage, fear, pathos, and humor revealing the universality of the human condition. I remained moved by them to this day.

John's book list on submarine warfare during World War II

John J. Geoghegan Why did John love this book?

This is the first book I’ve ever read written by a Japanese sub commander that describes submarine warfare from the Japanese point of view. Few Japanese sub commanders survived the war, so how Orita lived to tell the tale is just one of the many remarkable stories he recounts in his book. Not only does it read like a suspense thriller, you’ll have newfound respect for the suffering he and his crews went through. Bottom line: The Japanese version of Das Boot!

By Zenji Orita, Joseph D. Harrington,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I-Boat Captain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Book by Orita, Zenji


Book cover of Operation Drumbeat: The Dramatic True Story of Germany's First U-Boat Attacks Along the American Coast in World War II

John J. Geoghegan Author Of Operation Storm: Japan's Top Secret Submarines and Its Plan to Change the Course of World War II

From my list on submarine warfare during World War II.

Why am I passionate about this?

I spent more than five years researching and writing a book about the Japanese submarine force during World War II—a topic virtually untouched by western historians. My research took me to Japan where I interviewed surviving members of the Imperial Japanese Navy’s Sixth Fleet—its submarine branch. These men told incredible stories of what it was like to serve aboard a Japanese sub during World War II; stories filled with courage, fear, pathos, and humor revealing the universality of the human condition. I remained moved by them to this day.

John's book list on submarine warfare during World War II

John J. Geoghegan Why did John love this book?

Few people understand just how lousy the East Coast of the United States was with U-boats during the opening months of World War II. Operating with virtual impunity, they sank tankers and merchant ships up and down the coast for nearly a year before the U.S. finally organized an effective defense. Gannon does an excellent job both setting the scene and relating the history of the U-boat war—a story that few people know but will keep you riveted.

By Michael Gannon,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Operation Drumbeat is the story of Germany's first deliberate attacks against the United States in World War II. The attacks took the form of torpedo launchings, and deck-gun actions by submarines, called U-boats, against American and Allied freighters and tankers steaming with war cargoes along the U.S. Atlantic Coast, in the Caribbean, and across the Gulf of Mexico during the first eight months of 1942.

By August, the number of sinkings reached nearly 400, with loss of over 5,000 U.S. and Allied merchant seamen and sailors-twice the number of fatal casualties at Pearl Harbor the preceding December. In his magisterial…


Book cover of Undersea Victory: The Influence of Submarine Operations on the War in the Pacific

John J. Geoghegan Author Of Operation Storm: Japan's Top Secret Submarines and Its Plan to Change the Course of World War II

From my list on submarine warfare during World War II.

Why am I passionate about this?

I spent more than five years researching and writing a book about the Japanese submarine force during World War II—a topic virtually untouched by western historians. My research took me to Japan where I interviewed surviving members of the Imperial Japanese Navy’s Sixth Fleet—its submarine branch. These men told incredible stories of what it was like to serve aboard a Japanese sub during World War II; stories filled with courage, fear, pathos, and humor revealing the universality of the human condition. I remained moved by them to this day.

John's book list on submarine warfare during World War II

John J. Geoghegan Why did John love this book?

Undersea Victory is the definitive history of submarine warfare in the Pacific during World War II. Holmes was a giant in the field and really knows his stuff. You’ll come away having a much greater appreciation for how sub combat operations were conducted both by the U.S. and Japan. Importantly, Holmes doesn’t hesitate to tell you the good and the bad regardless of which side he’s writing about. No sub enthusiast’s library is complete without it.

By W. J Holmes,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Vintage World War II book


Book cover of Run Silent, Run Deep

John J. Geoghegan Author Of Operation Storm: Japan's Top Secret Submarines and Its Plan to Change the Course of World War II

From my list on submarine warfare during World War II.

Why am I passionate about this?

I spent more than five years researching and writing a book about the Japanese submarine force during World War II—a topic virtually untouched by western historians. My research took me to Japan where I interviewed surviving members of the Imperial Japanese Navy’s Sixth Fleet—its submarine branch. These men told incredible stories of what it was like to serve aboard a Japanese sub during World War II; stories filled with courage, fear, pathos, and humor revealing the universality of the human condition. I remained moved by them to this day.

John's book list on submarine warfare during World War II

John J. Geoghegan Why did John love this book?

This is one of the classics that started it all. Although fiction, Beach was a sub commander during World War II who fought against the Japanese. As a result, he really knows his stuff. The sometimes fraught personal dynamics between sub commanders and their first officers (as well as the crew) are one of the driving forces of this narrative. And you’ll never forget Bungo Pete!

By Edward L. Beach,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Run Silent, Run Deep as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Universally praised for its powerfully authentic depiction of submarine warfare, Run Silent, Run Deep was an immediate success when published in 1955 and shot to the top of best-seller lists. The New York Times said of it, "If ever a book had a ring of reality, this is it. . . combat passages rank with the most exciting written about any branch of the service." The Saturday Review called the book "a classic," and many reviewers compared its author to such greats as C.S. Forester and Erich Remarque. Today these accolades still ring true for Edward L. Beach's gripping first…


Book cover of Combined Fleet Decoded: The Secret History of American Intelligence and the Japanese Navy in World War II

Robbyn Swan Author Of A Matter of Honor: Pearl Harbor: Betrayal, Blame and a Family’s Quest For Justice

From my list on American code-breaking in World War II.

Why are we passionate about this?

Anthony Summers and I are the authors of several books that focus on the world of intelligence, including The Eleventh Day: The Full Story of 9/11 and Osama bin Laden- which was a Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. As we revealed in our most recent book, A Matter of Honor, U.S. code-breaking efforts in World War II began with a colossal failure – Pearl Harbor. According to the first official report on the disaster, the attack “had been clearly foreshadowed” in the Japanese diplomatic traffic the U.S had decoded. The story of how the Americans turned that initial failure into success came to fascinate me.

Robbyn's book list on American code-breaking in World War II

Robbyn Swan Why did Robbyn love this book?

A groundbreaking work of research that is at the same time a page-turning read that sheds new light on the epic battles of the conflict. Prados interweaves the intelligence successes and failures of the U.S. and Japanese combatants in a way that has not previously been attempted. The resulting work adds hugely to our understanding of the war in the Pacific.

By John Prados,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Combined Fleet Decoded as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The most authoritative and revealing examination yet of the way intelligence--of all kinds--was instrumental in defeating Japan. Prados gives a new picture of the war in the Pacific, one which will challenge many previous conceptions about that conflict, and one which will be irresistible to those readers who find histories of that period fascinating. 16 pages of photos.


Book cover of Seizing the Enigma: The Race to Break the German U-boat Codes, 1939-1943

Mark Ciampa Author Of Security Awareness: Applying Practical Security in Your World

From my list on how to break things (encryption, passwords, etc.).

Why am I passionate about this?

I have had the opportunity to write (I have written over 30 college textbooks on technology, most of them in the area of cybersecurity), study (my PhD dissertation was on cybersecurity), teach (I have taught at colleges and universities my entire career about technology, networking, and cybersecurity), and research (I have published numerous peer-reviewed journal articles) on the topic of cybersecurity. But I have always had a soft spot in my heart for the average computer user who struggles with how to protect their technology devices. This has helped drive my passion to focus on practical cybersecurity for everyone.

Mark's book list on how to break things (encryption, passwords, etc.)

Mark Ciampa Why did Mark love this book?

David Kahn explains the most widely-known effort (widely-known today but in complete secrecy then) to decipher messages sent by the Germans using their Enigma machines during World War II. This book looks at the groundbreaking work done by Polish mathematicians in the 1930s, how Enigma machines were rescued from sinking German U-boats, and how Bletchley Park in Britain became the focal point of breaking these transmissions. Much of the book focuses on how Enigma machines, rotors, and codebooks were confiscated from German submarines and surface vessels, and how these were then used to allow the Allies, by the war's end, to read German messages almost as quickly as the Germans could send them.

By David Kahn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Seizing the Enigma tells the thrilling story of the Royal Navy's battle to crack the Germans' supposedly unbreakable U-boat Enigma code, which would allow the vital Allied convoys in the North Atlantic to be routed away from Doenitz's wolfpacks. This battle was fought both on shore and at sea: by an assortment of scientists, chess champions and linguists, including Alan Turing, the father of the modern computer, who struggled to crack Enigma at Bletchley Park, and in the Atlantic by sailors and intelligence officers, such as Ian Fleming, the future creator of James Bond, who undertook dangerous and often fatal…


Book cover of Das Boot

Kevin J. Glynn Author Of Voyage of Reprisal

From my list on epic sea voyages filled with drama and conflict.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been a fan of history. As a journalist by education and an investigator by trade, I love to carefully research my settings and weave original fictional plots through actual history in a seamless manner that both entertains and informs the reader. I also appreciate the need for compelling characters, page-turning plots, conflict, and tension to keep readers engaged. I have a long-term fascination with piracy, privateering, and exploration during the early age of sail. I am also attracted to Elizabethan England and the Renaissance period with its ideological struggles. I really love a good sea story, and who doesn’t? Enjoy my reading list!   

Kevin's book list on epic sea voyages filled with drama and conflict

Kevin J. Glynn Why did Kevin love this book?

This book is a gritty, realistic fiction novel about a WWII German U-boat captain and crew facing immense challenges from the elements and the enemy while attempting to sink as many allied merchant ships as possible before running out of torpedoes or being destroyed. I particularly appreciated a view of war from “the other side” and details of life aboard a cramped submarine in wartime. The book is a timeless exploration of the privations faced by seamen who dare to wage war at sea. The tragic ending mirrors reality and adds irony and pathos to the story. I found this to be a page-turner that was very hard to put down once started.      

By Lothar-Günther Buchheim,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Das Boot as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Filled with almost unbearable tension and excitement, DAS BOOT is one of the best stories ever written about war, a supreme novel of the Second World War and an acclaimed film and TV drama.

It is autumn 1941 and a German U-boat commander and his crew set out on yet another hazardous patrol in the Battle of the Atlantic. Over the coming weeks they must brave the stormy waters of the Atlantic in their mission to seek out and destroy British supply ships. But the tide is beginning to turn against the Germans in the war for the North Atlantic.…


Book cover of War Beneath the Sea: Submarine Conflict During World War II

Melvyn Fickling Author Of Falcons

From my list on the Siege of Malta and the Mediterranean War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was seeking a direction for the third novel in the Bluebird series and my dates led me to Malta. Even as an avid reader of history, I knew shockingly little about the island’s tortuous punishment at the hands of Axis air forces. After much reading I was compelled to visit Malta myself, to tour the locations I would use, and ensure my fiction reflected the character of the landscape and the nature of the people that defended it so doggedly. Standing at Ta’Qali, where an airfield received in one single raid the same tonnage of bombs that crippled Coventry, I felt I’d been given permission.  

Melvyn's book list on the Siege of Malta and the Mediterranean War

Melvyn Fickling Why did Melvyn love this book?

Malta operated a small fleet of submarines from Manoel Island in Valletta’s north harbour. Painted cobalt for camouflage, they were kept submerged at their moorings to avoid enemy attention. Padfield’s book is a huge tour de force that details all aspects of the Mediterranean campaign together with all the other major submarine campaigns during the second world war. We learn about the submarine arms of Britain, America, Japan, and Italy, as well as the anti-submarine measures deployed by all sides. First-hand accounts, from submariners at the sharp end to the decision-makers in dusty ministry offices, are used to embellish this technically definitive account of the cloak and dagger world of underwater warfare.

By Peter Padfield,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The first book to cover the major submarine campaigns in all the WWII theatres.

The canvas is broad and deep, from the strategic perspective at the top to the cramped and claustrophobic life of the crews in their submersible steel tubes; from the feats of ‘ace’ commanders to the terrifying experiences of men under attack in this most pitiless form of warfare.

War Beneath the Sea describes the technical and tactical measures by which the Western Allies countered Admiral Karl Dönitz’s U-boat ‘pack’ attacks in the all-important North Atlantic battle; the fanatical zeal with which, even after defeat, Dönitz continued…


Book cover of Iron Coffins: A Personal Account of the German U-Boat Battles of World War II

Taylor Zajonc Author Of The Wrecking Crew

From my list on rogue submarines and underwater mayhem.

Why am I passionate about this?

My fascination with underwater adventure began as a teenager, when I accompanied a Russian expedition to the deepest archaeological site on the planet. I descended three miles deep into the Bermuda Triangle aboard a Soviet-era submersible to explore a mysterious wooden shipwreck inadvertently discovered during the search for astronaut Gus Grissom’s lost space capsule Liberty Bell 7. Since then, I’ve contributed to a number of historic shipwreck discoveries, including World War II treasure ships, lost Nazi U-Boats, Admiral Balchen’s HMS Victory, and the treasure steamship SS Connaught. These adventures and others serve as the inspiration for my novels.

Taylor's book list on rogue submarines and underwater mayhem

Taylor Zajonc Why did Taylor love this book?

Brilliantly told and deeply tragic, Iron Coffins recounts the Battle of the Atlantic from the firsthand perspective of one of the few surviving German submarine captains.

Herbert A. Werner’s service took him on multiple tours, including the Mediterranean and various battlegrounds in the Atlantic, where he sank ships, dodged sub hunters, and watched the Third Reich crumble, all the while as his personal losses and wartime guilt mounted.

By Herbert A. Werner,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Iron Coffins as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The former German U-boat commander Herbert Werner navigates readers through the waters of World War II, recounting four years of the most significant and savage battles. By war's end, 28,000 out of 39,000 German sailors had disappeared beneath the waves.


Book cover of The U-boat War

Lawrence Paterson Author Of Schnellboote: A Complete Operational History

From my list on U-boats that aren't Das Boot.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been writing non-fiction Second World War history books since 2000 and just recently had my twenty-first published by Osprey. Most deal with aspects of the history of Germany’s U-boats. Though I have had a lifelong interest in military history, the desire to write about this topic began while living near Brest in Brittany, France. I am a scuba diving instructor and spent a great deal of time diving on wrecks left behind by the Kriegsmarine, all in the shadow of the huge U-boat bunkers created in Brest’s military harbour. Encouraged by authors Jon Gawne and Robert Strauss I submitted the proposal for the First U-Boat Flotilla to Pen & Sword in 2000…and it went from there. 

Lawrence's book list on U-boats that aren't Das Boot

Lawrence Paterson Why did Lawrence love this book?

Related to Das Boot this may be (same author, same boat as within the novel) but this is a factual photographic essay of photos taken by Buchheim, predominantly aboard U96 during August-September 1941 as a member of the Propaganda Company. The photographs show life as it actually was in the North Atlantic on patrol, and end with shots taken aboard U309 as it escaped Brest in August 1944 and was involved in the rescue of crew from U981 which sank after hitting a mine with twelve crewmen killed.

This is, quite simply, a brilliant and evocative set of photographs. Buchheim was part of the propaganda machine that he so vocally lambasted in his later years, and, talking to U-boat veterans, opinions of him as a human being were extremely polarised. However, there can be no doubt about his mastery of the visual medium.

By Lothar-Gunther Buchheim,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Chronicles submarine warfare in the North Atlantic during the Second World War, and describes the battles above and below the surface


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in submarines, Japan, and presidential biography?

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