100 books like The Forgotten Soldier

By Guy Sajer,

Here are 100 books that The Forgotten Soldier fans have personally recommended if you like The Forgotten Soldier. 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 Papillon

Paul Wood Author Of How to Escape from Prison

From my list on escaping prison and helping you change your life.

Who am I?

I was imprisoned for murder as an 18-year-old. I was a high school dropout who was addicted to drugs and didn’t have any hope for the future. Each of the books recommended contributed to my own journey of transformation. I read them all while I was in prison. Some of them while I was in maximum security or solitary confinement. Each recommendation helped me escape that life and its horrors. 

Paul's book list on escaping prison and helping you change your life

Paul Wood Why did Paul love this book?

Papillon is about wrongful imprisonment and then escape from a hellhole of disease and brutality. I read it when I was in maximum security prison constantly fearing for my life and wishing things were better.

This story made me realize that I had a lot to be grateful for by comparison. It made me take stock of all the ways my own prison experience was a fortunate one. From this book I learnt to stop feeling sorry for myself by focusing on the ways that things could be worse.

By Henri Charriere,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An immediate sensation upon its publication in 1969, Papillon is a vivid memoir of brutal penal colonies, daring prison breaks and heroic adventure on shark-infested seas.

Condemned for a murder he did not commit, Henri Charriere, nicknamed Papillon, was sent to the penal colony of French Guiana. Forty-two days after his arrival he made his first break for freedom, travelling a thousand gruelling miles in an open boat. He was recaptured and put into solitary confinement but his spirit remained untamed: over thirteen years he made nine incredible escapes, including from the notorious penal colony on Devil's Island.

This edition…

Book cover of The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon

Stephen Haddelsey Author Of Shackleton's Dream: Fuchs, Hillary and the Crossing of Antarctica

From my list on forgotten expeditions and extraordinary journeys.

Who am I?

Although I’m fascinated by the history of exploration, I’m most attracted to the stories that have been lost, neglected, or forgotten. Why, for instance, is Sir Vivian Fuchs – arguably the most successful British Antarctic explorer of the twentieth century – not as well-known as Scott or Shackleton? Why do we know so little of Operation Tabarin – the only wartime Antarctic expedition to be launched by a combatant nation? These are the kind of questions that I want to answer, and these are the expeditions that I have wanted to examine. I’ve been fortunate to meet and interview some truly extraordinary men – and telling their stories has been a joy and a privilege.  

Stephen's book list on forgotten expeditions and extraordinary journeys

Stephen Haddelsey Why did Stephen love this book?

I first came across Colonel Percy Harrison Fawcett when researching Born Adventurer: The Life of Frank Bickerton. In 1911, Fawcett and Bickerton crossed the Atlantic together; Fawcett to continue his work with the Bolivian Boundary Survey and Bickerton to hunt for lost pirate treasure. I thought Fawcett might make an interesting subject for a biography: an Englishman who undertook multiple expeditions into South America and who would eventually disappear altogether in the Amazon in 1925. What David Grann has achieved in The Lost City of Z is very different from a standard biography: yes, he tells Fawcett’s life story, but he also shares the ins and outs of his own search for Fawcett, and eventually sets off in pursuit of the lost city that so obsessed him. The result is a complex, multi-layered, and utterly riveting adventure story. 

By David Grann,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


'A riveting, exciting and thoroughly compelling tale of adventure'JOHN GRISHAM

The story of Colonel Percy Harrison Fawcett, the inspiration behind Conan Doyle's The Lost World

Fawcett was among the last of a legendary breed of British explorers. For years he explored the Amazon and came to believe that its jungle concealed a large, complex civilization, like El Dorado. Obsessed with its discovery, he christened it the City of Z. In 1925, Fawcett headed into the wilderness with his son Jack, vowing to make history. They vanished without a…

Book cover of The Long Walk: The True Story Of A Trek To Freedom

R. M. Mace Author Of Wolves of Russia

From my list on accounts of the Stalinist Siberian Deportations.

Who am I?

I read modern history as an undergraduate and then trained as a primary school teacher. Unsurprisingly, our classroom topics were often historical. My interest in the experiences of people, especially children, in Europe during WWII stems from the fact that my own father grew up in Germany and had numerous tales to tell. My first book was a recount of his wartime childhood. My father gave a copy of his book to his friend and neighbor who happened to be a Polish wartime veteran with his own remarkable stories to tell and this led to three years’ intensive historical research for his book.

R. M.'s book list on accounts of the Stalinist Siberian Deportations

R. M. Mace Why did R. M. love this book?

Although there has been a great deal of debate about the authenticity of this account, I still enjoyed reading it and comparing it with the accounts told me by my own protagonist.

It is a heroic tale of survival that conveys much of the horror and desperation experienced by so many in wartime Europe, and the displacement and loss suffered by so many, but also the hope and determination to escape and defy all the odds. The parallels with the story my own protagonist told are uncanny.

By Slavomir Rawicz,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"I hope The Long Walk will remain as a memorial to all those who live and die for freedom, and for all those who for many reasons could not speak for themselves."--Slavomir Rawicz

In 1941, the author and six other fellow prisoners escaped a Soviet labor camp in Yakutsk--a camp where enduring hunger, cold, untended wounds, untreated illnesses, and avoiding daily executions were everyday feats. Their march--over thousands of miles by foot--out of Siberia, through China, the Gobi Desert, Tibet, and over the Himalayas to British India is a remarkable statement about man's desire to be free.

While the original…

Book cover of Master of Spies: The Memoirs of General Frantisek Moravec

George Bearfield Author Of Foursquare: The Last Parachutist

From my list on real, epic journeys of survival.

Who am I?

After my Grandfather died in 2000 I set myself the challenge of building as complete a picture as I could of his incredible life story. He had travelled by foot across occupied Europe and the Middle East in 1940, before fighting on the front line in France, and ultimately behind enemy lines in Czechoslovakia. I envied his life experience and the high stakes he was required to live his life by, whilst also being grateful for the peace that he and others like him had delivered to my generation. Whether reading or writing I’m captivated by true stories of courage and fortitude aiming to immerse myself in them. 

George's book list on real, epic journeys of survival

George Bearfield Why did George love this book?

Frantisek Moravec was the Head of Czechoslovak Military Intelligence before and during the Second World War, when he was also my grandfather’s boss. When I found out that Morovec had written a memoir, after escaping from Czechoslovakia in 1948, I scoured the internet to find it. I really didn’t expect the book to be the masterpiece that it is. Moravec recounts with fine detail, how he and his team continually used their wits and guile to stay ahead of both the Nazis and the Communists and maintain Czechoslovakia’s existence, right up until the Iron Curtain eventually descended. In particular he recounts how he oversaw Operation Anthropoid, the assassination of the infamous Nazi leader Reinhard Heydrich, who had been the architect of the Final Solution. This is a book that really demands fresh attention.  

Book cover of The Red Army and the Second World War

Jeremy Black Author Of A History of the Second World War in 100 Maps

From my list on WW2 in Europe.

Who am I?

Jeremy Black is a prolific lecturer and writer, the author of over 100 books. Many concern aspects of eighteenth-century British, European, and American political, diplomatic and military history but he has also published on the history of the press, cartography, warfare, culture, and on the nature and uses of history itself.

Jeremy's book list on WW2 in Europe

Jeremy Black Why did Jeremy love this book?

The Eastern Front has not always attracted the most readable scholarship, while two of the major works by British writers are by those who cannot read Russian. Hill is a welcome relief. His scholarship is impeccable and his book is readable. An important contribution.

By Alexander Hill,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Red Army and the Second World War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In a definitive new account of the Soviet Union at war, Alexander Hill charts the development, successes and failures of the Red Army from the industrialisation of the Soviet Union in the late 1920s through to the end of the Great Patriotic War in May 1945. Setting military strategy and operations within a broader context that includes national mobilisation on a staggering scale, the book presents a comprehensive account of the origins and course of the war from the perspective of this key Allied power. Drawing on the latest archival research and a wealth of eyewitness testimony, Hill portrays the…

Book cover of Ardennes 1944: The Battle of the Bulge

John C. McManus Author Of Alamo in the Ardennes: The Untold Story of the American Soldiers Who Made the Defense of Bastogne Possible

From my list on understanding the Battle of the Bulge.

Who am I?

John C. McManus, Ph.D., is Curators’ Distinguished Professor of U.S. Military History at Missouri University of Science and Technology, and a recipient of the prestigious Gilder Lehrman Prize for Military History. He is the author of 14 books, including Alamo in the Ardennes: The Untold Story of the American Soldiers who Made the Defense of Bastogne Possible.

John's book list on understanding the Battle of the Bulge

John C. McManus Why did John love this book?

What happens when an author with a remarkable knack for insightful research and a gift for brilliant narrative prose takes on the task of telling a story of such epochal importance? A wonderful book that conveys the desperation of the moment and weaves this together with latter-year perspective. Among Beevor’s many insights, my favorite is his assertion that “the German leadership’s greatest mistake in the Ardennes offensive was to have misjudged the soldiers of an army they had affected to despise.” So very true! The Germans badly underestimated the U.S. Army and they paid the price for their dismissive chauvinism.

By Antony Beevor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ardennes 1944 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The prizewinning historian and bestselling author of D-Day, Stalingrad, and The Battle of Arnhem reconstructs the Battle of the Bulge in this riveting new account

On December 16, 1944, Hitler launched his 'last gamble' in the snow-covered forests and gorges of the Ardennes in Belgium, believing he could split the Allies by driving all the way to Antwerp and forcing the Canadians and the British out of the war. Although his generals were doubtful of success, younger officers and NCOs were desperate to believe that their homes and families could be saved from the vengeful Red Army approaching from the…

Book cover of Ivan's War: Life and Death in the Red Army, 1939-1945

Harold J. Goldberg Author Of D-Day in the Pacific: The Battle of Saipan

From my list on on World War II according to my students.

Who am I?

In 1974 I started my full-time teaching career at a small liberal arts college and realized how much I love teaching and discussing historical events with students. With Russian and Soviet history as my areas of specialization, expanding my course offerings to include World War II was a natural addition. My World War II class became extremely popular and led to demands that I take students to Europe to visit many of the places we discussed in class. Every summer for about ten years I led study-abroad trips to England, France, and Germany. Watching student reactions to Omaha Beach and the American Cemetery made every trip worthwhile.

Harold's book list on on World War II according to my students

Harold J. Goldberg Why did Harold love this book?

Merridale uses archival material and interviews with Soviet war veterans to personalize the war on the Eastern Front. This work moves beyond the number of combatants and tanks to focus on real life at the frontlines. She talks about issues that help the reader “feel” the war: what did soldiers eat given the well-known shortages and privations throughout the USSR; how did soldiers get warm clothes and boots; how did they obtain ammunition and artillery shells and new guns despite the long supply lines; was stealing accepted in the army; what behaviors were tolerated and which ones were punished; how did hierarchy allow officers to get first choice of captured enemy equipment. She reveals how officers might not report all the dead in their unit so they would not lose the lost soldier’s food ration. While Alexander Werth’s Russia at War provides a sweeping view of Soviet organization, suffering, and…

By Catherine Merridale,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A powerful, groundbreaking narrative of the ordinary Russian soldier's experience of the worst war in history, based on newly revealed sources.

Of the thirty million who fought in the eastern front of World War II, eight million died, driven forward in suicidal charges, shattered by German shells and tanks. They were the men and women of the Red Army, a ragtag mass of soldiers who confronted Europe's most lethal fighting force and by 1945 had defeated it. Sixty years have passed since their epic triumph, but the heart and mind of Ivan -- as the ordinary Russian soldier was called…

Book cover of When Titans Clashed: How the Red Army Stopped Hitler

Andrew Monaghan Author Of Russian Grand Strategy in the Era of Global Power Competition

From my list on Russia and why the Kremlin does what it's doing.

Who am I?

I’ve always been fascinated by different cultures. I started to learn Russian in 1998, and intrigued by the language, I began to study Russia more—delving into history and politics and then doing a PhD in Russian foreign policy. Ever since, trying to learn about and understand Russia has been my professional focus. Alongside books in Russian, these books are all to hand on my reference shelf, well-thumbed and marked up, as I try to write my own work. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have! 

Andrew's book list on Russia and why the Kremlin does what it's doing

Andrew Monaghan Why did Andrew love this book?

The Great Patriotic War is central to Russian politics and thinking about international affairs today. It is important as a symbolic and political reference, but senior military figures often point to the war’s relevance to how Russia should think about war today. There are so many good books to read on this, but I think David Glantz is the doyen of Western historians of the Russian military, and this book is the ideal overview guide to understanding the trajectory and key features of the war: a concise but highly informative examination of one of the most catastrophic wars. Essential reading, I think, and shows why history is important to understanding where we are today.

By David M. Glantz, Jonathan M. House,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

On first publication, this uncommonly concise and readable account of Soviet Russia's clash with Nazi Germany utterly changed our understanding of World War II on Germany's Eastern Front, immediately earning its place among top-shelf histories of the world war. Revised and updated to reflect recent Russian and Western scholarship on the subject, much of it the authors' own work, this new edition maintains the 1995 original's distinction as a crucial volume in the history of World War II and of the Soviet Union and the most informed and compelling perspective on one of the greatest military confrontations of all time.…

Book cover of The Life and Extraordinary Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin

David Bellos Author Of Is That a Fish in Your Ear? Translation and the Meaning of Everything

From my list on funniest stories ever translated into English.

Who am I?

It’s often said that humor can’t be translated. I’m a translator of more than thirty books, and I know that’s wrong! However, publishers rarely consider funny books for translation. I’ve made this list to point out to you all that some truly great books that are really funny have broken through the wall protecting English-language readers from the wit and humor of the rest of the world. I’m also a literature professor, and I’m keen to get people to understand that literature does not have to be boring. If Charles Dickens, Evelyn Waugh, Kurt Vonnegut, or David Sedaris make you laugh, then so will Voltaire, Pekic, Hašek, Voinovich, and Gary!

David's book list on funniest stories ever translated into English

David Bellos Why did David love this book?

This is the first and probable the only truly comic novel to come out of the old USSR. Set in the army during World War II, it riffs unsparingly on the absurdities of Soviet life and takes digs at human follies of every kind. The most memorable chapter, which brings tears to my eyes just when I think about it, contains a recipe for homebrew vodka made from the commonest of human products. Don’t miss this one! You’ll not look at your garden the same way ever again. 

By Vladimir Voinovich, Richard Lourie (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Life and Extraordinary Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ivan Chonkin is a simple, bumbling peasant who has been drafted into the Red Army. Shortly before the outbreak of World War II, he is sent to an obscure village with one week's ration of canned meat and orders to guard a downed plane. Apparently forgotten by his unit, Chonkin resumes his life as a peasant and passes the war peacefully tending the village postmistress's garden. Just after the German invasion, the secret police discover this mysterious soldier lurking behind the front line. Their pursuit of Chonkin and his determined resistance lead to wild skirmishes and slapstick encounters. Vladimir Voinovich's…

Book cover of All Hell Let Loose: The World at War 1939-1945

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.

Who am I?

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?

Max Hastings is the author of more than thirty books, many of them about the Second World War. All Hell Let Loose describes the Second World War in considerable detail but focuses on the human experience of what it was like to be a participant in this critical period of history. For its breadth, its power of expression, and penetrating analysis, this book is unsurpassed. There are many excellent single-volume studies of the Second World War, but I rate this as one of the very best.

By Max Hastings,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked All Hell Let Loose as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A magisterial history of the greatest and most terrible event in history, from one of the finest historians of the Second World War. A book which shows the impact of war upon hundreds of millions of people around the world- soldiers, sailors and airmen; housewives, farm workers and children.

Reflecting Max Hastings's thirty-five years of research on World War II, All Hell Let Loose describes the course of events, but focuses chiefly upon human experience, which varied immensely from campaign to campaign, continent to continent.

The author emphasises the Russian front, where more than 90% of all German soldiers who…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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