100 books like The End of the Beginning

By Tim Clayton, Phil Craig,

Here are 100 books that The End of the Beginning fans have personally recommended if you like The End of the Beginning. 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 Fortress Malta: An Island Under Siege, 1940-1943

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?

James Holland is a popular historian because his works are so eminently readable. This book was his first and sprang from the BBC documentary, Battle for Malta, that he also wrote and presented.

Once Mussolini declared war on Britain, Malta, an island no bigger than the Isle of Wight, became a strategic keystone in the Mediterranean and was destined to become the most bombed place on earth. Holland uses survivor testimonies, diaries, and personal letters to focus his narrative on the tribulations and suffering as well as the hopes and fears of the ordinary Maltese and the servicemen sent to defend them. This is a splendid book that does much to illuminate a somewhat neglected part of British military history.

By James Holland,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The extraordinary drama of Malta's WWII victory against impossible odds told through the eyes of the people who were there.

In March and April 1942, more explosives were dropped on the tiny Mediterranean island of Malta - smaller than the Isle of Wight - than on the whole of Britain during the first year of the Blitz. Malta had become one of the most strategically important places in the world. From there, the Allies could attack Axis supply lines to North Africa; without it, Rommel would be able to march unchecked into Egypt, Suez and the Middle East. For the…


Book cover of Faithful Through Hard Times: The uncensored story of WW2 Malta

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?

George Taylor, young and Scottish, a private in the Royal Army Medical Corps, arrived in Malta in 1940, naïve to what the future held for him. Four years later he left as a cynical sergeant (and incidentally, a Master Freemason). In the interim, while letters home were heavily censored, he kept his own truths in an extensive secret diary. His candid narrative documenting the siege of Malta and the daily, pounding attacks from Axis air forces is shot through with his real anxieties for the survival of his relationship with Nettie, his fiancée back home. This is both a war story and a love story from a private world into which we have been invited by George and Nettie’s own daughter.

By Jean Gill,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Faithful Through Hard Times as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Four years: 3 million bombs: Zero Hour Food approaching
’The diary was kept secret because it had to be. Taylor knew he would be in trouble if it were found. There is no censor in the diary.' The Scottish Association for the Teachers of History
'Based on words and feelings recorded at the time it is probably unique.' Don Marshall, Military History Enthusiast
The true story of WW2 Malta from an eye-witness account written at the time in a secret diary, a diary too dangerous to show anyone, and too precious to destroy.
Four years, 3 million bombs, one small…


Book cover of Malta 1940-42: The Axis' Air Battle for Mediterranean Supremacy

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?

This compact, but detailed, history has been painstakingly researched from original Italian and German sources. The author explains the technical and tactical capabilities of the Axis air forces involved in the attacks on Malta and how their campaigns related to the wider Mediterranean war. We are treated to three full colour battle scenes painted by the renowned aviation artist, Graham Turner, as well as 3D tactical diagrams that recreate the airspace during key moments of the battle. The concise text is peppered with contemporary photos of the aircraft used, the personalities involved, and scenes on the ground. An essential handbook to fully understand the siege of Malta.

By Ryan K. Noppen, Graham Turner (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Malta 1940-42 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1940, the strategically vital island of Malta was Britain's last toehold in the central Mediterranean, wreaking havoc among Axis shipping. Launching an air campaign to knock Malta out of the war, first Italy and then Germany sought to force a surrender or reduce the defences enough to allow an invasion. Drawing on original documents, multilingual aviation analyst Ryan Noppen explains how technical and tactical problems caused the original Italian air campaign of 1940-41 to fail, and then how the German intervention came close to knocking Malta out of the war. Using stunning full colour artwork, this fascinating book explains…


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 Alamein: War Without Hate

John Sadler Author Of Blitzing Rommel

From my list on the War in the Desert 1940 – 1943.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a successful published author of military history nonfiction and fiction with 44 titles in print and have been a lifelong obsessive on the subject of WWII which was my parents’ war. I started on a diet of black & white war movies, then epics such as Tobruk, Raid on Rommel et al. I have been lecturing on the subject at the former Centre for Lifelong Learning at Newcastle University (Now the ‘Explore’ Programme) for 25 years. I am also an experienced and much travelled WWII Battlefield tour guide, with experience of guiding all the major Western Front campaigns. I’m a lifelong historical interpreter and re-enactor.

John's book list on the War in the Desert 1940 – 1943

John Sadler Why did John love this book?

A good modern account of the battle with a well-researched and detailed context. The authors are primarily journalists and the story is fully fleshed out with a good, well-paced contextual analysis and their version makes an interesting comparison/contrast with the more traditional, often hagiographic accounts of the Battle and of Montgomery as a general.

By John Bierman, Colin Smith,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Excellent ... a remarkable achievement and ought to be recognised as one of the most successful histories of the Western Desert and North African fighting yet to have appeared' John Keegan, Daily Telegraph

For the British, the battle fought at El Alamein in October 1942 became the turning point of the Second World War. In this study of the desert war, John Bierman and Colin Smith show why it is remembered by its survivors as a 'war without hate'. Through extensive research the authors provide a compellingly fresh perspective on the see-saw campaign in which the two sides chased each…


Book cover of Pendulum of War: The Three Battles of El Alamein

Glyn Harper Author Of The Battle for North Africa: El Alamein and the Turning Point for World War II

From my list on Great WW2 books published after 2000.

Why am I passionate about this?

Glyn Harper has been researching and writing military history for over forty years. He is the author of numerous best-selling books on military history and is also an award-winning author of books for children and young adults. A former army officer, Glyn is New Zealand’s only Professor of War Studies.

Glyn's book list on Great WW2 books published after 2000

Glyn Harper Why did Glyn love this book?

This was the book that established Niall Barr’s reputation as one of the United Kingdom’s leading historians of the Second World War. Meticulously researched, thoroughly readable, and compelling, Niall Barr’s Pendulum of War has become the recognised standard work on the desert war in 1942. Anyone interested in the battles of El Alamein must read this book.

By Niall Barr,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In late June 1942, the dispirited and defeated British Eighth Army was pouring back towards the tiny railway halt of El Alamein in the western desert of Egypt. Tobruk had fallen and Eighth Army had suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of Rommel's Panzerarmee Afrika. Yet just five months later, the famous bombardment opened the Eighth Army's own offensive which destroyed the Axis threat to Egypt. Explanations for the remarkable change of fortune have generally been sought in the abrasive personality of the new army commander Lieutenant-General Bernard Law Montgomery. But the long running controversies surrounding the commanders of…


Book cover of The Musical Life: Hedwig Stein: Emigree Pianist

Caroline Studdert Author Of Hellcat of The Hague: The Nel Slis Story

From my list on about and by madly inspiring women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always adored stories of courageous, sometimes outrageous women who forge ahead into the unknown, survive in strange lands in troubled times, pursue their career dreams. Like my favourite picks, I’ve relished my own adventures in distant countries (Libya, Czechia, Kyrgystan, Mongolia…), while always earning my crust from writing. From motivational research in Dublin and London, I switched to financial journalism in Holland, where I met and was inspired by ground-breaking journalist Nel Slis whose story I’ve told in my book Hellcat of the Hague. Now I’m settled in London to concentrate on my novels and short stories and be near my family, I hope you love these books too.

Caroline's book list on about and by madly inspiring women

Caroline Studdert Why did Caroline love this book?

Helen Marquard’s search for a piano teacher led her to Hedwig Stein who had fled Berlin in 1933 with her Russian Jewish husband, both concert pianists, to start again from nothing. A large, vivid woman, Hedwig freely shared her ideas on music, art, philosophy, literature. Later, Marquard discovered Hedwig had written a diary, and determined to bring us this story that would otherwise have been lost, enabling Hedwig and her husband to take their rightful place in the roll-call of émigrés who have contributed so much to UK cultural life. Hedwig put her husband’s career and her children first, yet she never gave up on her own career, which continued its own quiet flourishing after her husband’s sudden death. 

By Helen Marquard,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Hedwig Stein was starting to make her mark as a concert pianist in Germany in the early 1930s when she fell in love with a Russian emigre pianist, Iso Elinson. He was half-Jewish, and quickly the pair knew they had little choice but to flee, despite vehement family opposition to that and to their proposed marriage. They chose England as their destination although neither had visited the country or spoke the language. They arrived with just twelve bags, a very small amount of money, a recommendation about Iso from Albert Einstein, and a few letters of introduction. Bit by bit,…


Book cover of Thunderball

Stephen Holgate Author Of Tangier

From my list on spies and intrigue.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've always loved spy stories. The best offer complex characters, exotic locales, suspense, and stakes higher than any detective story. I got to know quite a few CIA types during my foreign service career. Some became good friends. I never asked them about their work, but once or twice passed a tidbit their way. Once, the local KGB got the notion I was with the CIA or was somehow prone to persuasion. They were all over me for weeks, making me extremely uncomfortable. The station chief held my hand throughout. So, while I can’t claim a lot of personal knowledge, I’ve had a touch. Here’s my list of favorite spy stories.

Stephen's book list on spies and intrigue

Stephen Holgate Why did Stephen love this book?

I have to mention either John Le Carre or Ian Fleming. I’ll go for guilty pleasure over great mastery. I haven’t read this since I was a kid. But I loved it back then. The Bond of the books is more realistic and complex than the cartoon character of the movies but, don’t worry, this isn’t a tale of gritty realism. A lot of fun and a great way to dispose of a few hours of excess reality.

Book cover of By Force Alone

RJ Hore Author Of The Dark Lady

From my list on fantasy with a touch of darkness in its soul.

Why am I passionate about this?

An avid reader, and a spec-fiction/fantasy reviewer for CM Canada online, I’ve wanted to tell stories for as long as I can remember. I write “pantser-style” and let the characters run loose, looking at their motivation to steer the tale, often starting with little more than an idea and, if lucky, a character or two. My love of history led me to writing mediaeval or historical fantasy, as my first group of published novels attest, but to avoid stagnation added science fiction and a fantasy detective series of novellas. To date have fourteen novels and three anthologies of my novellas published and have appeared on panels at several cons.

RJ's book list on fantasy with a touch of darkness in its soul

RJ Hore Why did RJ love this book?

A brutal re-telling of the King Arthur legend, this novel reimagines the familiar story, retaining the feeling of weird magic, while pulling no punches about the characters. Arthur is a thug, Guinevere is no better, Merlin is a frustrated sprite beset by his female counterparts, and Britain is best described as a “clogged sewer that Rome abandoned just as soon as it could.”

The first of a five-book planned series to tell the story of the Matter of Britain, this is a ruthless and dark take that grabbed me from the beginning. I’ve always loved history, even a warped version like this. It left me eager for more and set me tracking down what else this author had written. I was not disappointed.

By Lavie Tidhar,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked By Force Alone as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

There is a legend...

Britannia, AD 535

The Romans have gone. While their libraries smoulder, roads decay and cities crumble, men with swords pick over civilisation's carcass, slaughtering and being slaughtered in turn.

This is the story of just such a man. Like the others, he had a sword. He slew until slain. Unlike the others, we remember him. We remember King Arthur.

This is the story of a land neither green nor pleasant. An eldritch isle of deep forest and dark fell haunted by swaithes, boggarts and tod-lowries, Robin-Goodfellows and Jenny Greenteeths, and predators of rarer appetite yet.

This…


Book cover of Missing Susan

Sharon Dunn Author Of Romance Rustlers & Thunderbird Thieves

From my list on that made me laugh out loud.

Why am I passionate about this?

While I love books that reflect strong family values, I don’t like sugary sweetness to the point of unrealism. I prefer to read about real people who can make fun of themselves and the world. That sarcastic and biting edge seems to tap into a deeper honesty about life while making me roll around on the floor and break all my furniture.  

Sharon's book list on that made me laugh out loud

Sharon Dunn Why did Sharon love this book?

Imagine being in a tour group with the most annoying person in the world, Susan. Every tour group has that one person who talks non-stop about things that don’t matter. The difference here is that the tour guide Rowan Rover is an inept hitman who can’t seem to bump Susan off. An added element of fun is that the group is touring England’s most famous murder sites. When I was learning to write mysteries, I had two prominent influences, Sue Grafton and Sharyn McCrumb. Both taught me how to construct a solid mystery. Sue Grafton opened my eyes to the power of connection created by writing in first person. And Sharyn McCrumb showed me the importance of using humor even when talking about dark subjects like murder. 

By Sharyn McCrumb,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Edgar Award winner Sharyn McCrumb brings you her sixth Elizabeh MacPherson mystery novel.
The unsinkable Elizabeth is on tour of England's most famous murder sites, when Rowan Rover, the group leader, is quietly asked to commit murder. He does, of course, but not without misgivings--not the least of which is having Elizabeth MacPherson, canny observer and all-around murder spoiler, on his tail...
"Sharyn McCrunb is definitely a rising star in the New Golden Age of mystery fiction. I look forward to reading her for a long time to come."
Elizabeth Peters


5 book lists we think you will like!

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