100 books like The Face of War

By Martha Gellhorn,

Here are 100 books that The Face of War fans have personally recommended if you like The Face of War. 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 The Heat of the Day

Paul Tomkins Author Of London Skies

From my list on heroism and flaws of the English during WWII.

Why am I passionate about this?

A lover of fiction since my teens, I only really took an interest in history in my 20s. I’m fascinated with WWII and the 1950s due to family histories and having visited key sites, like Bletchley Park and the Command Bunker in Uxbridge, near where I grew up. I’m not especially patriotic, but I am proud of what Britain had to do in 1940, as well as the toll the war took and the years of recovery. But it’s also the time, albeit decreasingly so, when people still alive today can look back at their youth, and we can all have a nostalgia for that time in our lives.

Paul's book list on heroism and flaws of the English during WWII

Paul Tomkins Why did Paul love this book?

It is a beautifully atmospheric, Blitz-era novel about passions and complex relationships in the noir blackout and who can be trusted in such times. 

Published just after the war, it captures the period in a way that those born decades later can only dream of doing. My mum was an un-evacuated child in London during the Blitz, and her school was bombed to the ground by the Luftwaffe—but luckily, on a Saturday.

England is flawed as a nation, then and now, but it’s important to remember the unique evil of the Nazis. Most individuals are flawed in much more minor ways. The novels I have chosen all contain imperfect people making mistakes. To me, that’s true life. It’s what I relate to.

By Elizabeth Bowen,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Heat of the Day as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It is wartime London, and the carelessness of people with no future flows through the evening air. Stella discovers that her lover Robert is suspected of selling information to the enemy. Harrison, the British intelligence agent on his trail, wants to bargain, the price for his silence being Stella herself. Caught between two men and unsure who she can trust, the flimsy structures of Stella's life begin to crumble.


Book cover of Looking for Trouble: The Classic Memoir of a Trailblazing War Correspondent

Judith Mackrell Author Of The Correspondents: Six Women Writers on the Front Lines of World War II

From my list on WW2 – but written by women.

Why am I passionate about this?

While I was child growing up in London, the war was a powerful presence in my life. It was there in the films we watched, in the comics my brothers read, and in my vague understanding of what it meant to be British. It was not a subject we ever studied at school and as an adult I’ve always felt frustrated by my inadequate knowledge of this world-changing conflict. When I first had the idea of writing about the six remarkable women who pioneered the way for female war journalists, it wasn’t just their personal stories that drew me in but the chance to learn more about WW2 itself.

Judith's book list on WW2 – but written by women

Judith Mackrell Why did Judith love this book?

I loved Virginia Cowles from the moment I read about her arrival in Madrid to cover the Spanish Civil War. In her high-heeled shoes and elegant wool dress Cowles looked as though she were dressed for a Manhattan tea party rather than the trenches of Spain. Yet she was a doggedly ambitious reporter whose glamour often bought her unique access to her subjects, not least the besotted Soviet General who kept her captive for three days, feeding her champagne while trying to convert her to Marxism. From Spain, Cowles went on to cover much of WW2, including the fall of Paris where she arrived just two days before the Nazis. Looking for Trouble is a rollicking thriller of a memoir, packed with political gossip and wildly entertaining anecdotes.

By Virginia Cowles,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Looking for Trouble as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This sensational 1941 memoir of life on wartime Europe's frontline by a trailblazing female reporter is an 'unforgettable' (The Times) rediscovered classic, introduced by Christina Lamb (who calls her 'the Forrest Gump of journalism').

Paris as it fell to the Nazis
London on the first day of the Blitz
Berlin the day Germany invaded Poland
Madrid in the Spanish Civil War
Prague during the Munich crisis
Lapland as the Russians attacked
Moscow betrayed by the Germans
Virginia Cowles has seen it all.

As a pioneering female correspondent, she reported from the frontline of 1930s Europe into the Second World War,…


Book cover of Lee Miller's War: Beyond D-Day

Judith Mackrell Author Of The Correspondents: Six Women Writers on the Front Lines of World War II

From my list on WW2 – but written by women.

Why am I passionate about this?

While I was child growing up in London, the war was a powerful presence in my life. It was there in the films we watched, in the comics my brothers read, and in my vague understanding of what it meant to be British. It was not a subject we ever studied at school and as an adult I’ve always felt frustrated by my inadequate knowledge of this world-changing conflict. When I first had the idea of writing about the six remarkable women who pioneered the way for female war journalists, it wasn’t just their personal stories that drew me in but the chance to learn more about WW2 itself.

Judith's book list on WW2 – but written by women

Judith Mackrell Why did Judith love this book?

Lee Miller was the most unlikely of war correspondents. As a fashion model for Condé Nast, a surrealist collaborator of Man Ray, and a celebrity New York photographer, world events never impacted much on her work. But when she moved to London to become a photojournalist for Vogue, she found her own special subject in the war. Among the highlights of this handsome collection is Miller’s vivid report of the battle for St Malo where, as the darling of the US 83rd Division, she and her camera were given unfettered access. No less compelling are her accounts of liberated Paris, her haunting photographs and descriptions of concentrations camps; and one of the most iconic images in this book is the photograph taken of Lee sitting naked in Hitler’s own bathtub as she scrubs off the filth and stink of Dachau. 

By Antony Penrose (editor),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Lee Miller's War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Lee Miller's work for Vogue from 1941-1945 sets her apart as a photographer and writer of extraordinary ability. The quality of her photography from the period has long been recognized as outstanding, and its full range is shown here, accompanied by her brilliant despatches. Starting with her first report from a field hospital soon after D-Day, the despatches and nearly 160 photographs show war-ravaged cities, buildings and landscapes, but above all they portray the war-resilient people - soldiers, leaders, medics, evacuees, prisoners of war, the wounded, the villains and the heroes. There is the raw edge of combat portrayed at…


Book cover of No Woman's World: From D-Day to Berlin, A Female Correspondent Covers World War Two

Judith Mackrell Author Of The Correspondents: Six Women Writers on the Front Lines of World War II

From my list on WW2 – but written by women.

Why am I passionate about this?

While I was child growing up in London, the war was a powerful presence in my life. It was there in the films we watched, in the comics my brothers read, and in my vague understanding of what it meant to be British. It was not a subject we ever studied at school and as an adult I’ve always felt frustrated by my inadequate knowledge of this world-changing conflict. When I first had the idea of writing about the six remarkable women who pioneered the way for female war journalists, it wasn’t just their personal stories that drew me in but the chance to learn more about WW2 itself.

Judith's book list on WW2 – but written by women

Judith Mackrell Why did Judith love this book?

When Iris Carpenter was reporting on the war she, like all journalists, was subject to the rules of the military censors. But once the conflict was over she was free to publish the truth of all that she’d seen, and her 1946 memoir is an extraordinarily candid, occasionally harrowing read. As her title suggests, Carpenter’s principal objective was to expose the prejudice and stupidity against which she and her female colleagues had to battle, simply to get to the front—her account was one of the primary sources for my book. But she was also a fearless eyewitness and her memoir provides rare insights into the conditions of war, both its camaraderie and its horror.

By Iris Carpenter,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked No Woman's World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning

Mordecai George Sheftall Author Of Blossoms In The Wind: Human Legacies of the Kamikaze

From my list on how culture makes us do self-destructive things.

Why am I passionate about this?

On the morning of September 11, 2001, I woke up expecting to spend that day – and the rest of my academic career – leisurely studying the interplay of culture and individual temperament in second language acquisition. As the rest of that terrible day unfolded, however, my research up to that point suddenly seemed very small and almost decadently privileged. Recruiting the rudimentary cultural anthropology toolbox I had already amassed, I took a deep breath and plunged into the rabbit hole of studying the role of culture in human conflict. Twenty-two years later, using my Japan base and relevant language skills, my research has focused on the Japanese experience in World War II.

Mordecai's book list on how culture makes us do self-destructive things

Mordecai George Sheftall Why did Mordecai love this book?

Go to any park or public square in any city in the world and you are likely to see statues of people so venerated because they fought/died in some war. Why do we mythologize war, our species’ most destructive collective behavior?

In this 2002 book, written in the second years of the Global War on Terror, American journalist Chris Hedges gives a chilling explanation that, for me, dovetailed perfectly with my readings of Becker and TMT: “Most of us willingly accept war as long as we can fold it into a belief system that paints the ensuing suffering as necessary for a higher good, for human beings seek not only happiness but also meaning. And tragically war is sometimes the most powerful way in society to achieve meaning.”

By Chris Hedges,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As a veteran war correspondent, Chris Hedges has survived ambushes in Central America, imprisonment in Sudan, and a beating by Saudi military police. He has seen children murdered for sport in Gaza and petty thugs elevated into war heroes in the Balkans. Hedges, who is also a former divinity student, has seen war at its worst and knows too well that to those who pass through it, war can be exhilarating and even addictive: It gives us purpose, meaning, a reason for living."Drawing on his own experience and on the literature of combat from Homer to Michael Herr, Hedges shows…


Book cover of The Lotus Eaters

Gin Phillips Author Of Family Law

From my list on women who love their job and don't feel guilty.

Why am I passionate about this?

As someone who loves my work, I’ve noticed that in fiction when a woman is successful at her career, often that career mainly functions as a source of guilt or stress. Fictional working women spend a lot of time second guessing their choices, and, hey, it is hard to balance work and family. Women are torn in multiple directions. But I also believe it’s okay to love your job. It’s okay to find joy in it and to not beat yourself up. I find deep satisfaction in writing, and I enjoy reading about characters who know the rush of doing a job well.  

Gin's book list on women who love their job and don't feel guilty

Gin Phillips Why did Gin love this book?

I’ve never read anything quite like this novel centering on a female photographer, Helen Adams, covering the Vietnam War. Years after reading it, I can still picture scenes and, I swear, feel the heaviness of the air and hear the fruit falling from the trees. Soli has talked about how she got tired of reading wonderful novels where the men went off and had wartime adventures and the women just dropped off the page. So she wrote her own wartime saga.

Helen Adams never drops off the page—she leaps off them. The writing is as lush as the landscape, and you’ll fall entirely into the world of the book. There’s war and treachery and duty and passion, and nothing is ever simple.

By Tatjana Soli,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A New York Times Best Seller! A New York Times Notable Book!

A unique and sweeping debut novel of an American female combat photographer in the Vietnam War, as she captures the wrenching chaos and finds herself torn between the love of two men.

On a stifling day in 1975, the North Vietnamese army is poised to roll into Saigon. As the fall of the city begins, two lovers make their way through the streets to escape to a new life. Helen Adams, an American photojournalist, must take leave of a war she is addicted to and a devastated country…


Book cover of The Military and the Press: An Uneasy Truce

Richard Fine Author Of The Price of Truth: The Journalist Who Defied Military Censors to Report the Fall of Nazi Germany

From my list on American war reporting.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been curious about how reporters covered D-Day, and their interactions with the army, for more than thirty years, and my research into media-military relations, begun in earnest fifteen years ago has led to more than a dozen archives in several countries. Most accounts suggest that the press and the military fully cooperated during World War II, but documentary evidence reveals a far more nuanced story, with far more conflict between officials and the press than is supposed. After publishing work about the campaign in French North Africa, and a book about Ed Kennedy’s scoop of the German surrender, I’m now back where I started, working on a book about press coverage of D-Day.

Richard's book list on American war reporting

Richard Fine Why did Richard love this book?

This book was a lifesaver for me as I began to explore media-military relations about a decade ago.

Briefly but authoritatively Sweeney charts the relationship between the American military and the media from the Revolutionary War to the early twenty-first century. Sweeney, a former journalist himself, also writes well and this is a joy to read.

The subtitle suggests Sweeney’s take on the subject, and Sweeney’s work generally has been invaluable to me and this book would be the place to start for anyone interested in the subject.  

By Michael S. Sweeney,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Because news is a weapon of war - affecting public opinion, troop morale, even strategy - for more than a century America's wartime officials have sought to control or influence the press, most recently by ""embedding"" reporters within military units in Iraq. This second front, where press freedom and military imperatives often do battle, is the territory explored in ""The Military and the Press"", a history of how press-military relations have evolved during the twentieth and twenty-first century in response to the demands of politics, economics, technology, and legal and social forces. Author Michael S. Sweeney takes a chronological approach,…


Book cover of The Huntress

Bruce Stachenfeld Author Of Faythe of North Hinkapee: The Saga of a Young Woman’s Quest for Justice and Love in Colonial America

From my list on irrepressible, exciting and heroic female lead characters that you will never forget.

Why am I passionate about this?

I made up Faythe of North Hinkapee by being a jerk! I was ranting about how bad a "best seller" book I had read was. My wife looked at me and said, "So, could you write a bestseller?" I was challenged, and then, somehow, this book just tumbled out. It was about a girl in Colonial Timesher family burned as witchesvowing vengeance and how she gets it. My wife looked at me and said: “My God, that could be a bestseller!’ My kids also loved the story. For about twenty years, I planned to write it, and after a ton of work, I finally finished.

Bruce's book list on irrepressible, exciting and heroic female lead characters that you will never forget

Bruce Stachenfeld Why did Bruce love this book?

Any time Kate Quinn writes a book, I grab it immediately. Her characters are always amazing women doing amazing things. This one is, I think, her best.

The character of Nina is possibly the most interesting single character I have ever read about. I can’t describe Nina as words just fail me. I will never forget her. Nor will I forget the evil huntress either. 

This is World War II historical fiction at its absolute best, as Ms. Quinn does super solid research.

By Kate Quinn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the author of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling novel, THE ALICE NETWORK, comes another fascinating historical novel about a battle-haunted English journalist and a Russian female bomber pilot who join forces to track the Huntress, a Nazi war criminal gone to ground in America.

In the aftermath of war, the hunter becomes the hunted...

Bold and fearless, Nina Markova always dreamed of flying. When the Nazis attack the Soviet Union, she risks everything to join the legendary Night Witches, an all-female night bomber regiment wreaking havoc on the invading Germans. When she is stranded behind enemy…


Book cover of The Journal of Albion Moonlight

Richard S. Ehrlich Author Of Rituals. Killers. Wars. & Sex. --  Tibet, India, Nepal, Laos, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka & New York

From my list on learning to write like a war correspondent.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Bangkok-based journalist from San Francisco, California, reporting news from Asia since 1978 and winner of Columbia University's Foreign Correspondent's Award. My work, including this book, has taken me to Tibet, India, Nepal, Laos, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, New York, and elsewhere. Fragments of people and their distant voices are the behavior and quotes that inspire. Slices, starting at random moments and ending in bleak locations, fascinate and hypnotize. And transcribing handwritten notes, impressions, and exclusive interviews, create my RocknRolla lyrics.

Richard's book list on learning to write like a war correspondent

Richard S. Ehrlich Why did Richard love this book?

The fiercely independent spirit of surrealists and other people trying to survive during World War 2 permeates this opulent novel with ghostly quotes and rebellious beliefs.

Laced with angels, forests, dreams, and women, this diary becomes increasingly fraught with questions of obedience, patriotism, dictatorship, and freedom.

Will your own perceptions be radicalized or soothed by this war story?

By Kenneth Patchen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Inspired by one of the finest lyrics in the English language, the anonymous, pre-Shakespearean "Tom o'Bedlam" ("By a knight of ghosts and shadows / I summoned am to tourney / Ten leagues beyond the wide world's end / Methinks it is no journey..."), Kenneth Patchen sets off on an allegorical journey to the furthest limits of love and murder, madness and sex. While on this disordered pilgrimage to H. Roivas (Heavenly Savior), various characters offer deranged responses, conveying an otherworldly, imaginative madness. A chronicle of violent fury and compassion, written when Surrealism was still vigorous and doing battle with psychotic…


Book cover of In Extremis: The Life and Death of the War Correspondent Marie Colvin

Janet Somerville Author Of Yours, for Probably Always: Martha Gellhorn's Letters of Love and War 1930-1949

From my list on women war correspondents.

Why am I passionate about this?

Janet Somerville taught literature for 25 years in Toronto. She served on the PEN Canada Board and chaired many benefits that featured writers including Diana Athill, Margaret Atwood, Roddy Doyle, Stephen King, Alice Munro, Azar Nafisi, and Ian Rankin. She contributes frequently to the Toronto Star Book Pages, and has been handwriting a #LetterADay for 8 years. Since 2015 she has been immersed in Martha Gellhorn’s life and words, with ongoing access to Gellhorn’s restricted papers in Boston. Yours, for Probably Always: Martha Gellhorn’s Letters of Love & War 1930-1949 is her first book, now also available from Penguin Random House Audio, read by the Tony Award-winning Ellen Barkin. 

Janet's book list on women war correspondents

Janet Somerville Why did Janet love this book?

Foreign correspondent Hilsum uses unpublished diaries and interviews with Colvin’s friends, family, and colleagues to create an incomparable portrait of this indefatigable, daring, modern woman who was killed in 2012 while reporting in Syria. Like Gellhorn, Colvin reviled “objectivity shit,” and wrote about the horrors she witnessed in Kosovo, “when you’re physically uncovering graves…I don’t think there are two sides to a story. To me there is a right and a wrong, a morality.”  

By Lindsey Hilsum,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice. Finalist for the Costa Biography Award and long-listed for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence. Named a Best Book of 2018 by Esquire and Foreign Policy. An Amazon Best Book of November, the Guardian Bookshop Book of November, and one of the Evening Standard's Books to Read in November

"Now, thanks to Hilsum’s deeply reported and passionately written book, [Marie Colvin] has the full accounting that she deserves." --Joshua Hammer, The New York Times

The inspiring and devastating biography of Marie Colvin, the foremost war reporter of her generation, who was killed…


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