10 books like Tanamera

By Noel Barber,

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

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The Wooden Horse

By Eric Williams,

Book cover of The Wooden Horse: The Classic World War II Story of Escape

This is, quite simply, the greatest escape story of all time. I’ve chosen this book because I’ve read it so often, at least five times, mostly when I was a teenager. It is brilliant story-telling, and it may just be the book that most got me hooked on World War 2 history. It tells the story of a tunnel dug from under a vaulting horse in the middle of an exercise yard in a German POW camp. The original plan was for a mass escape of prisoners through the tunnel, but in the end, only three prisoners made it back to England and freedom. All brilliantly told.

The Wooden Horse

By Eric Williams,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Eric Williams, Royal Air Force bomber captain, was shot down over Germany in 1942 and imprisoned in Stalag Luft III, the infamous German POW camp. Digging an underground tunnel hidden beneath a wooden vaulting horse, he managed to escape after ten months and, accompanied by a fellow officer, made his way back to England. In this thinly fictionalized retelling, Williams relates his story in three distinct phases: the construction of a tunnel (its entrance camouflaged by the wooden vaulting horse in the exercise yard) and hiding the large quantities of sand he dug; the escape; and the journey on foot…


Ghost Soldiers

By Hampton Sides,

Book cover of Ghost Soldiers: The Epic Account of World War II's Greatest Rescue Mission

I find Ghost Soldiers to be an excellent account of the rescue of Allied POWs, many held since the outset of the U.S. involvement in World War II, from the infamous Cabanatuan Japanese Prisoner of War Camp in central Luzon in the Philippines. Based upon interviews of those involved, it would be used as one of two true-to-life books to create the 2005 movie The Great Raid. This book has a strong place in my heart since Ed Babler was marched to this POW camp soon after surrendering on the offshore island of Corregidor and would spend at least three months there.

Ghost Soldiers

By Hampton Sides,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • “The greatest World War II story never told” (Esquire)—an enthralling account of the heroic mission to rescue the last survivors of the Bataan Death March.

On January 28, 1945, 121 hand-selected U.S. troops slipped behind enemy lines in the Philippines. Their mission: March thirty rugged miles to rescue 513 POWs languishing in a hellish camp, among them the last survivors of the infamous Bataan Death March. A recent prison massacre by Japanese soldiers elsewhere in the Philippines made the stakes impossibly high and left little time to plan the complex operation.

In Ghost Soldiers Hampton Sides vividly…


Code Talker

By Chester Nez, Judith Schiess Avila,

Book cover of Code Talker

Can there be anything more poignant than a story about a hero who doesn’t think he’s a hero? About a man who endured a boarding school full of abuse, lived through the horrors and injuries of WWII, returned to hate and racism, lost family, and yet confronted it all with resilience and forgiveness?

This memoir is from Chester Nez—one of the original Navajo code talkers. It contains wonderful photos and the actual Navajo code. This is an important piece of history as well as a genuinely insightful read and peek into Navajo culture.

The last line of the book, written when Mr. Nez was 86, reads “It’s been a good life—so far.” As an outsider I couldn’t disagree more. His life was tragic and profoundly difficult, but he endured with grace and strength. This simple last line says much about the heroes we should all admire. It has been a…

Code Talker

By Chester Nez, Judith Schiess Avila,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The first and only memoir by one of the original Navajo code talkers of WWII.

His name wasn’t Chester Nez. That was the English name he was assigned in kindergarten. And in boarding school at Fort Defiance, he was punished for speaking his native language, as the teachers sought to rid him of his culture and traditions. But discrimination didn’t stop Chester from answering the call to defend his country after Pearl Harbor, for the Navajo have always been warriors, and his upbringing on a New Mexico reservation gave him the strength—both physical and mental—to excel as a marine.

During…


When We Were Brave

By Suzanne Kelman,

Book cover of When We Were Brave

This is a ‘going back in time’ novel, not original, but well-written and very engaging. A woman finds a photograph of a woman in an attic. She discovers the woman is an aunt no one talks about. Her crime: to fall in love and flee to Paris with a Nazi prisoner of war.

I am recommending this book because of the emotions it evoked in me, the tension throughout, and the beautiful love story that unraveled in a time of war. It has stuck with me.

When We Were Brave

By Suzanne Kelman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked When We Were Brave as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The face of the woman in the photograph was tilted upwards, as if enjoying the sunshine just for a moment, even as the wreckage of the bombed-out street lay behind her…

1944, Cornwall: Blinded by love, Vivienne Hamilton eloped to Paris with a Nazi prisoner-of-war, never to be seen again. A disgrace to her family, her name would not be mentioned by any of her relatives for over 75 years.

Present day, London: When Sophie discovers a photograph of her great aunt Vivi from World War Two, it throws her into a world of confusion. Because, as she learns about…


The Defence and Fall of Singapore

By Brian Farrell,

Book cover of The Defence and Fall of Singapore

I have known Brian Farrell both as a colleague and friend for more than two decades but that isn’t the reason why his book on the fall of Malaya and Singapore appears on my book list. It does so because I believe it’s the best book on the subject that has been written thus far. I have read many and, in my opinion, none of them matches the quality and range of research, analysis, and insight that he brings to the subject. Moreover, he isn’t afraid to say it how it was. He doesn’t skulk about in the shadows but draws out where the problems were and who caused them. Anyone who knows Professor Farrell wouldn’t be surprised about that! He remains impressively scholarly and independent. 

The Defence and Fall of Singapore

By Brian Farrell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Shortly after midnight on 8 December 1941, two divisions of crack troops of the Imperial Japanese Army began a seaborne invasion of southern Thailand and northern Malaya. Their assault developed into a full-blown advance towards Singapore, the main defensive position of the British Empire in the Far East. The defending British, Indian, Australian and Malayan forces were outmanoeuvred on the ground, overwhelmed in the air and scattered on the sea. By the end of January 1942, British Empire forces were driven back onto the island of Singapore itself, cut off from further outside help. When the Japanese stormed the island…


The Sacrifice of Singapore

By Michael Arnold,

Book cover of The Sacrifice of Singapore: Churchill's Biggest Blunder

The fate of Singapore was sealed long before the Japanese attack on Malaya in December 1941. The blame lay with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill who refused to listen to warnings from military advisers to reinforce defences in Singapore and Malaya. Her was convinced the Japanese would never dare to attack a white power. Obsessed with beating Rommel, Churchill poured into the Middle East massive resources that should have gone to the Far East. However, when inevitably Singapore fell to the Japanese in February 1942, Churchill attempted to deflect criticism by accusing the defenders of spineless capitulation.

The Sacrifice of Singapore

By Michael Arnold,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The fate of Singapore was sealed long before the Japanese attack in December 1941. The blame lay with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill who refused to listen to warnings from military advisors to reinforce defences in Singapore/Malaya, convinced the Japanese would never dare to attack a white power . Obsessed with beating German General Erwin Rommel, he poured into the Middle East massive resources that should have gone to the Far East. However when, inevitably, Singapore fell to the Japanese in February 1942, Churchill attempted to deflect criticism by accusing the defenders there of spineless capitulation. Recently released information from…


Warlight

By Michael Ondaatje,

Book cover of Warlight

Since my own novel is set partly in post-war England, I was drawn to Ondaatje’s Warlight, which begins in 1945 London as the city is recovering from brutal bombing. Another hook for me was the youthful characters; my book is also populated with war-confused children. Ondaatje’s narrator, 14-year-old Nathaniel, recalls his youth with the benefit of adult wisdom. He and his sister Rachel are abandoned by their parents to the care of some eccentric and slightly dangerous characters. Their teen years are marked by many mysterious events and experiences, only beginning to clarify in retrospect. Do we ever know what’s really happening?

Warlight

By Michael Ondaatje,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

**LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2018**

An elegiac novel set in post-WW2 London about memory, family secrets and lies, from the internationally acclaimed author of The English Patient

It is 1945, and London is still reeling from the Blitz. 14-year-old Nathaniel and his sister, Rachel, are apparently abandoned by their parents, left in the care of an enigmatic figure named The Moth. They suspect he might be a criminal, and grow both more convinced and less concerned as they get to know his eccentric crew of friends: men and women all who seem determined to protect Rachel and Nathaniel.…


Khaki Town

By Judy Nunn,

Book cover of Khaki Town

This novel is based on a true wartime story kept secret for more than seventy years. The story is set in March 1942, Townsville, Australia, after Singapore has fallen and Darwin has been bombed. The small town is transformed into a hub for 70,000 soldiers. But Australian troops begrudge the confident American soldiers, and there is growing conflict within the American ranks, and racial tensions are exposed. This compelling read is made even more poignant when you discover that it’s based on a mutiny that was covered up by the military. Khaki Town is a thought-provoking novel that will have you rallying against the injustices it exposes.

Khaki Town

By Judy Nunn,

Why should I read it?

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


The Piano Teacher

By Janice Y. K. Lee,

Book cover of The Piano Teacher

Janice Y.K Lee marries historical fiction with music and passion in this epic story set in Singapore in the 1940s and 1950s. Like all the best historical novels, this book highlighted aspects of history not always discussed, and did it with a thread of beautiful music woven through the story. This book is all-consuming.  

The Piano Teacher

By Janice Y. K. Lee,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ambitious, exotic, and a classic book club read, 'The Piano Teacher' is a combination of 'Tenko' meets 'The Remains of the Day'.

Sometimes the end of a love affair is only the beginning...

In 1942, Will Truesdale, an Englishman newly arrived in Hong Kong, falls headlong into a passionate relationship with Trudy Liang, a beautiful Eurasian socialite. But their love affair is soon threatened by the invasion of the Japanese, with terrible consequences for both of them, and for members of their fragile community who will betray each other in the darkest days of the war.

Ten years later, Claire…


King Rat

By James Clavell,

Book cover of King Rat

James Clavell’s first book, King Rat, is the story of allied servicemen trapped by the Japanese in Singapore at the beginning of World War II and held captive for the duration in the infamous Changi prison. The captured consisted of some 10,000 men made up of a British regiment, a few Australian companies, and one small American platoon. After three years of brutal, virtually starvation conditions even the British Commanding General was reduced to a uniform of nothing more than rags. Only one prisoner, an American Corporal, had lost no weight, wore a freshly pressed uniform and spit-shined shoes every day. With physical courage and an understanding of human weaknesses and breaking points he dominated all the other prisoners and many of the guards as well. When the camp was liberated he was the only man among the survivors who left without one friend. Why? The key to both his…

King Rat

By James Clavell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Set in Changi, the most notorious prisoner of war camp in Asia, King Rat is an heroic story of survival told by a master story-teller who lived through those years as a young soldier. Only one man in fifteen had the strength, the luck, and the cleverness simply to survive Changi. And then there was King.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Singapore, World War 2, and Japan?

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