100 books like The Cut Out Girl

By Bart Van Es,

Here are 100 books that The Cut Out Girl fans have personally recommended if you like The Cut Out Girl. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II

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?

What I loved about this book is that it is the true story of an American woman living in Nazi-occupied France, where she organised and ran resistance groups and led them in action.

The book, though factual, reads like a fictional novel, and her exploits and shear "daring do" almost beggar belief. She only had one leg, a fact that many who met her were completely unaware of, yet she crossed the Pyrenees on foot in winter!

It didn’t surprise me to find out that the men who "ran" the operations from London and Washington denigrated her achievements and consigned her to obscurity, describing her in the words of the book’s title. But she was a truly amazing heroine, and I would have loved to have met her.

By Sonia Purnell,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked A Woman of No Importance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Chosen as a BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR by NPR, the New York Public Library, Amazon, the Seattle Times, the Washington Independent Review of Books, PopSugar, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, BookBrowse, the Spectator, and the Times of London

Winner of the Plutarch Award for Best Biography

"Excellent...This book is as riveting as any thriller, and as hard to put down." -- The New York Times Book Review

"A compelling biography of a masterful spy, and a reminder of what can be done with a few brave people -- and a little resistance." - NPR

"A…


Book cover of Anne Frank Remembered: The Story of the Woman Who Helped to Hide the Frank Family

Rosemary Sullivan Author Of Villa Air-Bel: World War II, Escape, and a House in Marseille

From my list on courage and putting your life on the line.

Why am I passionate about this?

In Villa Air-Bel, I wrote about an extraordinary man, Varian Fry. A journalist sent to France in 1940 with a list of 200 artists to save, he expected to stay 2 weeks. He stayed 15 months, establishing the Emergency Rescue Committee. By the time the Vichy police expelled him, he’d saved 2,000 people. Who has the courage to put their lives on the line for strangers? In The Betrayal of Anne Frank: A Cold Case Investigation, I recorded how five people risked their lives to hide the Frank family until they were finally betrayed. Two of the helpers were sent to concentration camps.  It takes courage to resist Fascism. Would I/ we have that courage?

Rosemary's book list on courage and putting your life on the line

Rosemary Sullivan Why did Rosemary love this book?

Miep Gies was one of the people who hid Anne Frank, her family, and four friends in the Secret Annex in Amsterdam in 1942.

At great risk, four of Otto Frank’s employees secured food stamps from the underground and took care of the hiders for an astonishing two years and one month before they were betrayed. Gies’s book gives a real sense of what it was like to live under enemy occupation when it was impossible to trust anyone.

“We were no longer keeping silent. We had lost the habit of speech. Do you understand the difference?” she once said. She didn’t consider herself heroic for helping the Franks. “It was simple. You were asked. You said yes.”

By Miep Gies, Alison Leslie Gold,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Anne Frank Remembered as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For the millions moved by Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, here is Miep Gies's own astonishing story. For more than two years, Miep and her husband helped hide the Franks from the Nazis. Like thousands of unsung heroes of the Holocaust, they risked their lives every day to bring food, news, and emotional support to its victims. From her remarkable childhood as a World War I refugee to the moment she places a small, red-orange-checkered diary -- Anne's legacy -- into Otto Frank's hands, Miep Gies remembers her days with simple honesty and shattering clarity. Each page…


Book cover of Midnight at the Pera Palace: The Birth of Modern Istanbul

Gareth M. Winrow Author Of Whispers Across Continents: In Search of the Robinsons

From my list on social and family history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became interested in social and family history when my Turkish friend, Ahmet Ceylan, told me amazing stories about his family. An academic by training, I used my expertise in the history of Turkey to explore the archives and uncover extraordinary details about the lives of the Robinsons. My field research took me to the wolds of Lincolnshire, the side streets of Istanbul, and the foothills of the Himalayas. I am keen to learn more about my own family, and for my next book, I am exploring the lives of people who owned/occupied the land/property where I live in Oxford, UK.

Gareth's book list on social and family history

Gareth M. Winrow Why did Gareth love this book?

I was fascinated by this book and its colourful stories about the lives of individuals who played a role in the formation of today’s Istanbul. The backdrop is the famous Pera Palace in the centre of Istanbul, the much-loved hotel of the crime writer, Agatha Christie. Much of the book concentrates on the inter-war period. Superbly written, you can almost see and hear the sights and sounds of the alleyways, nightclubs, shops, and restaurants of a now almost forgotten Istanbul.

By Charles King,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Midnight at the Pera Palace as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When the Ottoman Empire collapsed, so many spies mingled in the lobby of Istanbul's Pera Palace Hotel that the manager put up a sign asking them to relinquish seats to paying guests.

As the multi-ethnic empire became a Turkish republic, Russian emigres sold family heirlooms, an African American impresario founded a jazz club and Miss Turkey became the first Muslim beauty queen. Turkey's president Kemal Ataturk, Muslim feminist Halide Edip, the exiled Leon Trotsky and the future Pope John XXIII fought for new visions of human freedom. During the Second World War, German intellectuals ran from the Nazis while Jewish…


Book cover of Common People: The History of an English Family

Gareth M. Winrow Author Of Whispers Across Continents: In Search of the Robinsons

From my list on social and family history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became interested in social and family history when my Turkish friend, Ahmet Ceylan, told me amazing stories about his family. An academic by training, I used my expertise in the history of Turkey to explore the archives and uncover extraordinary details about the lives of the Robinsons. My field research took me to the wolds of Lincolnshire, the side streets of Istanbul, and the foothills of the Himalayas. I am keen to learn more about my own family, and for my next book, I am exploring the lives of people who owned/occupied the land/property where I live in Oxford, UK.

Gareth's book list on social and family history

Gareth M. Winrow Why did Gareth love this book?

This book is more than just a history of the author’s family. It is full of reflections on life and on family and history in general. At times reading like a detective story, this book inspired me to write about family history. The author delves deep into her working-class origins and explores the lives of characters whose stories – much like the Robinsons in my own work - would have been lost if it had not been for the publication of this book.

By Alison Light,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Shortlisted for the 2014 Samuel Johnson Prize

'Part detective story, part Dickensian saga, part labour history. A thrilling and unnerving read' Observer

'Mesmeric and deeply moving' Daily Telegraph

'Remarkable, haunting, full of wisdom' The Times

Family history is a massive phenomenon of our times but what are we after when we go in search of our ancestors? Beginning with her grandparents, Alison Light moves between the present and the past, in an extraordinary series of journeys over two centuries, across Britain and beyond.

Epic in scope and deep in feeling, Common People is a family history but also a new…


Book cover of Islam in Victorian Britain: The Life and Times of Abdullah Quilliam

Gareth M. Winrow Author Of Whispers Across Continents: In Search of the Robinsons

From my list on social and family history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became interested in social and family history when my Turkish friend, Ahmet Ceylan, told me amazing stories about his family. An academic by training, I used my expertise in the history of Turkey to explore the archives and uncover extraordinary details about the lives of the Robinsons. My field research took me to the wolds of Lincolnshire, the side streets of Istanbul, and the foothills of the Himalayas. I am keen to learn more about my own family, and for my next book, I am exploring the lives of people who owned/occupied the land/property where I live in Oxford, UK.

Gareth's book list on social and family history

Gareth M. Winrow Why did Gareth love this book?

I found this to be an engrossing and detailed account of the life of the founder of arguably the first mosque in Victorian England in Liverpool. The author closely examines the adventures of the controversial and charismatic Quilliam and his family. Given his relationship with Hannah Rodda/Robinson, which is actually scarcely mentioned by Geaves, Quilliam is a key character in my book on the lives of the Robinsons. The lawyer and self-styled sheikh cultivated close ties with the Ottoman Sultan and was regarded with great suspicion by the British authorities.

By Ron Geaves,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Islam in Victorian Britain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is the first full biography of Abdullah Quilliam (1856-1932), the most significant Muslim personality in nineteenth century Britain. Uniquely ennobled as the Sheikh of Islam of the British Isles by the Ottoman caliph, Sultan Abdul Hamid II in 1893, Quilliam, as a charismatic preacher, created a remarkable community of Muslims in Victorian Liverpool, which included a substantial number of converts.A successful solicitor, Quilliam fought for the rights of the city's poor and, in the high noon of European colonialism, defended the Ottoman caliphate and independent Muslim states through his two international publications, "The Crescent" and "The Islamic World". After…


Book cover of The Black Russian

Gareth M. Winrow Author Of Whispers Across Continents: In Search of the Robinsons

From my list on social and family history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became interested in social and family history when my Turkish friend, Ahmet Ceylan, told me amazing stories about his family. An academic by training, I used my expertise in the history of Turkey to explore the archives and uncover extraordinary details about the lives of the Robinsons. My field research took me to the wolds of Lincolnshire, the side streets of Istanbul, and the foothills of the Himalayas. I am keen to learn more about my own family, and for my next book, I am exploring the lives of people who owned/occupied the land/property where I live in Oxford, UK.

Gareth's book list on social and family history

Gareth M. Winrow Why did Gareth love this book?

This book brings to life the story of the little-known Frederick Bruce Thomas, born in 1872 to ex-slaves who had become successful farmers in Mississippi. I was amazed at how the entrepreneurial Frederick found employment in various cities across Europe before becoming a successful nightclub owner in Moscow and then in Istanbul after the Bolshevik Revolution. Well-researched and documented, the book critiques American racism and, in my opinion, offers a new and refreshing insight into the politics and society of Russia and Turkey.

By Vladimir Alexandrov,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The extraordinary story of Frederick Bruce Thomas, the son of former slaves who fled America to build a life in Tsarist Russia.

'A fascinating tale' Anne Applebaum
'Thoroughly enjoyable' Spectator
'Extraordinary and gripping' Adam Hochschild

After the brutal death of his father when he was a teenager, Frederick Thomas fled the stifling racism of the American South and headed for New York City, where he worked as a valet and trained as a singer. Through charisma and cunning, Thomas emigrated to Europe, where his acquired skills as a multilingual maitre d'hotel allowed him to travel from London to Monte Carlo…


Book cover of The Magician

Rosemary Sullivan Author Of Villa Air-Bel: World War II, Escape, and a House in Marseille

From my list on courage and putting your life on the line.

Why am I passionate about this?

In Villa Air-Bel, I wrote about an extraordinary man, Varian Fry. A journalist sent to France in 1940 with a list of 200 artists to save, he expected to stay 2 weeks. He stayed 15 months, establishing the Emergency Rescue Committee. By the time the Vichy police expelled him, he’d saved 2,000 people. Who has the courage to put their lives on the line for strangers? In The Betrayal of Anne Frank: A Cold Case Investigation, I recorded how five people risked their lives to hide the Frank family until they were finally betrayed. Two of the helpers were sent to concentration camps.  It takes courage to resist Fascism. Would I/ we have that courage?

Rosemary's book list on courage and putting your life on the line

Rosemary Sullivan Why did Rosemary love this book?

The Irish writer Colm Toíbín is one of our greatest novelists.

The Magician, a fictional biography of the German writer Thomas Mann, is a madcap family epic. So immediate are Toíbín’s portraits of Mann, his wife, and his children that one thinks one knows them. But Toíbín also offers a brilliant portrait of Mann as a writer.

We get inside his mind as he writes about his unfulfilled erotic desires. But perhaps what is most compelling for me is Toíbín’s portrait of Germany in the 1930s. Mann fled Germany for Switzerland in 1933 when Hitler became Chancellor, and eventually moved to the U.S. He was one of the few ex-pat German writers to speak publicly against the Nazis.

What is most impressive is how Toíbín examines, through Mann, what made Germany susceptible to Nazism. I have not read it more subtly and more compellingly explained.  

By Colm Toibin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE SUNDAY TIMES TOP TEN BESTSELLER
WINNER OF THE RATHBONES FOLIO PRIZE 2022
SHORTLISTED FOR THE WALTER SCOTT PRIZE FOR HISTORICAL FICTION 2022

From one of our greatest living writers comes a sweeping novel of unrequited love and exile, war and family.

The Magician tells the story of Thomas Mann, whose life was filled with great acclaim and contradiction. He would find himself on the wrong side of history in the First World War, cheerleading the German army, but have a clear vision of the future in the second, anticipating the horrors of Nazism.

He would have six children and…


Book cover of Cracking the Nazi Code: The Untold Story of Canada's Greatest Spy

Rosemary Sullivan Author Of Villa Air-Bel: World War II, Escape, and a House in Marseille

From my list on courage and putting your life on the line.

Why am I passionate about this?

In Villa Air-Bel, I wrote about an extraordinary man, Varian Fry. A journalist sent to France in 1940 with a list of 200 artists to save, he expected to stay 2 weeks. He stayed 15 months, establishing the Emergency Rescue Committee. By the time the Vichy police expelled him, he’d saved 2,000 people. Who has the courage to put their lives on the line for strangers? In The Betrayal of Anne Frank: A Cold Case Investigation, I recorded how five people risked their lives to hide the Frank family until they were finally betrayed. Two of the helpers were sent to concentration camps.  It takes courage to resist Fascism. Would I/ we have that courage?

Rosemary's book list on courage and putting your life on the line

Rosemary Sullivan Why did Rosemary love this book?

This is the real-life biography of a little-known Canadian from Nova Scotia, Winthrop Bell.

Bell worked as a spy for British MI6 in Germany. Bell understood that Hitler, an insignificant minion, rose to lead the Nazi Party because he served as a tool for extreme and powerful Nationalists who fashioned the genocidal program—the Holocaust.

As Winthrop Bell pursues the truth, the twists and turns of his often dangerous life are fascinating. 

By Jason Bell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The thrilling true story of Agent A12, the earliest enemy of the Nazis 

In public life, Dr. Winthrop Bell of Halifax was a Harvard philosophy professor and wealthy businessman. As MI6 secret agent A12, he evaded gunfire and shook off pursuers to break open the emerging Nazi conspiracy in 1919 Berlin. His reports, the first warning of the Nazi plot for WWII, went directly to the man known as C, the mysterious founder of MI6, and to prime ministers. But a powerful fascist politician quietly worked to suppress his alerts. Nevertheless, his intelligence sabotaged the Nazis in ways only now…


Book cover of The Persecution of the Jews in Photographs: The Netherlands 1940-1945

C.F. Yetmen Author Of The Roses Underneath

From my list on photo books that tell stories of World War II.

Why am I passionate about this?

In my “day job” I write about architecture, which means I often write about things I see in photos. When I began writing fiction, I continued using photos as inspiration and research. My novels are inspired by my family’s circumstances at the end of World War II and my fascination with the work of the Monuments Men. Photos show me details like a little girl playing with her doll under a sign that declares her building to be at risk of collapse, or a woman using the ruins of a building to hang out the wash. I love finding ways to use these elements in my writing.

C.F.'s book list on photo books that tell stories of World War II

C.F. Yetmen Why did C.F. love this book?

This book is the catalog of a 2019 exhibition of the same name. It’s a collection of 440 images that cover all facets of Jewish life in the Netherlands during the German occupation. What’s most interesting and compelling are the rare, so-called bystander photos that show what life under Nazi rule looked like for ordinary people going about their lives, both those who were persecuted and those who committed genocide, as well as those who witnessed it. While we can look into the faces of people knowing the horrors that were to come, seeing these images—weddings, dinners, strolls in the parkas a preface to the more familiar images of round-ups, transports, and concentration camps provides deeper insight into history. I revisit the photos in this book often.

By Rene Kok, Erik Somers,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Persecution of the Jews in Photographs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Persecution of the Jews in Photographs, the Netherlands 1940-1945 is the first book of its kind on the subject. Both the professional photographers commissioned by the occupying forces and amateurs took moving photographs.

On 10 May 1940, the day of the German invasion, there were 140,000 Jewish inhabitants living in the Netherlands. The full extent of their terrible fate only became known after the war: at least 102,000 were murdered, died of mistreatment or were worked to death in the Nazi camps. This tragedy has had a profound effect on Dutch society.

Photographic archives and private collections were consulted…


Book cover of Ashes in the Wind: The Destruction of Dutch Jewry

Deborah Hopkinson Author Of We Must Not Forget: Holocaust Stories of Survival and Resistance

From my list on World War II in Europe.

Why am I passionate about this?

The books I’ve recommended here range from scholarship, young adult historical fiction, literary fiction, and a good spy mystery—all set in World War II. I’ve read widely in the field since I’ve written several nonfiction books for young readers and teens about World War II. Along with We Must Not Forget, these include Courage & Defiance, about the Danish resistance, Dive!, about the submarine war in the Pacific, D-Day: The World War II Invasion that Changed History, and We Had to Be Brave: Escaping the Nazis on the Kindertransport. I’m currently working on a book about a 1945 POW rescue in the Philippines.

Deborah's book list on World War II in Europe

Deborah Hopkinson Why did Deborah love this book?

The late Jacob Presser (1899-1970) was a historian, scholar, and a Holocaust survivor himself. His wife was deported and died, and he survived by going into hiding He spent fifteen years researching the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands and the plight of the Dutch Jews.

He speaks movingly of finding small scraps of paper, messages thrown from trains leaving Westerbork (an internment camp and later a transit camp in the Netherlands), noting that “Before me, hardly anyone has read them and, after me, they are locked into the archives and it’s possible nobody else will see them.” They awoke in him, he said, an awareness that one of the tasks of the historian is to “give the dead a voice.”

By Jacob Presser,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Beginning in 1940, 110,000 Jews were deported from the Netherlands to concentration camps. Of those, fewer than 6,000 returned.

Ashes in the Wind is a story of murder on a scale never known before. It is a monumental history of the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, and a detailed and moving description of how the Nazi party first discriminated against Jews, before segregating them and finally deporting them to the gas chambers (a process fully outlined in the mass of administrative documents discovered by Dr Presser).

At a time when there are increasingly few survivors of the Holocaust, the eye-witness…


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Interested in Jewish history, the Netherlands, and Nazism?

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