100 books like The Fortress

By Alexander Watson,

Here are 100 books that The Fortress fans have personally recommended if you like The Fortress. 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 Dance of the Furies: Europe and the Outbreak of World War I

Adam Zamoyski Author Of Warsaw 1920: Lenin’s Failed Conquest of Europe

From my list on to truly understand the First World War.

Who am I?

Adam Zamoyski is a British historian of Polish origin. He is the author of over a dozen award winning books. His family originates in Poland. His parents left the country when it was invaded by Germany and Russia in 1939, and were stranded in exile when the Soviets took it over at the end of World War II. Drawn to it as much by the historical processes at work there as by family ties, Zamoyski began to visit Poland in the late 1960s. His interest in the subject is combined with a feel for its connections to the history and culture of other nations, and a deep understanding of the pan-European context.

Adam's book list on to truly understand the First World War

Adam Zamoyski Why did Adam love this book?

This book provides a radically alternative perspective on what this event meant for ordinary people. Using a wide range of letters, diaries, and memoirs, Neiberg reveals that most people had no idea what the war was about and saw no good reason for it, while the soldiers were often confused as to whom they were fighting and which part of the world they were in. It is a short book but an enlightening read.

By Michael Neiberg,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The common explanation for the outbreak of World War I depicts Europe as a minefield of nationalism, needing only the slightest pressure to set off an explosion of passion that would rip the continent apart. But in a crucial reexamination of the outbreak of violence, Michael Neiberg shows that ordinary Europeans, unlike their political and military leaders, neither wanted nor expected war during the fateful summer of 1914. By training his eye on the ways that people outside the halls of power reacted to the rapid onset and escalation of the fighting, Neiberg dispels the notion that Europeans were rabid…


Book cover of World War One: A Short History

Adam Zamoyski Author Of Warsaw 1920: Lenin’s Failed Conquest of Europe

From my list on to truly understand the First World War.

Who am I?

Adam Zamoyski is a British historian of Polish origin. He is the author of over a dozen award winning books. His family originates in Poland. His parents left the country when it was invaded by Germany and Russia in 1939, and were stranded in exile when the Soviets took it over at the end of World War II. Drawn to it as much by the historical processes at work there as by family ties, Zamoyski began to visit Poland in the late 1960s. His interest in the subject is combined with a feel for its connections to the history and culture of other nations, and a deep understanding of the pan-European context.

Adam's book list on to truly understand the First World War

Adam Zamoyski Why did Adam love this book?

This is undoubtedly the best overview of the war. It really is short and takes the reader on a brisk, witty, and thoroughly enjoyable canter through the events. Yet it is by no means superficial. Thoughtful and insightful, it is the work of a master.

By Norman Stone,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The First World War was the overwhelming disaster from which everything else in the twentieth century stemmed. Fourteen million combatants died, four empires were destroyed, and even the victors' empires were fatally damaged. World War I took humanity from the nineteenth century forcibly into the twentieth,and then, at Versailles, cast Europe on the path to World War II as well. In World War One , Norman Stone, one of the world's greatest historians, has achieved the almost impossible task of writing a terse and witty short history of the war. A captivating, brisk narrative, World War One is Stone's masterful…


Book cover of Towards the Flame: Empire, War and the End of Tsarist Russia

Adam Zamoyski Author Of Warsaw 1920: Lenin’s Failed Conquest of Europe

From my list on to truly understand the First World War.

Who am I?

Adam Zamoyski is a British historian of Polish origin. He is the author of over a dozen award winning books. His family originates in Poland. His parents left the country when it was invaded by Germany and Russia in 1939, and were stranded in exile when the Soviets took it over at the end of World War II. Drawn to it as much by the historical processes at work there as by family ties, Zamoyski began to visit Poland in the late 1960s. His interest in the subject is combined with a feel for its connections to the history and culture of other nations, and a deep understanding of the pan-European context.

Adam's book list on to truly understand the First World War

Adam Zamoyski Why did Adam love this book?

The outbreak of war was hastened, if not actually caused by, the fact that the whole of Central and Eastern Europe was governed by failed states. The Russian, German and Austrian empires had outlived their respective raisons d’être and, either unwilling or incapable of forging new ones through radical reform, hoped to justify their survival through the pursuit of success in the international arena, and ultimately through war. This is a brilliant account of the doomed attempts to reform the greatest yet most fragile of these states, and of the slow car-crash that ensued.

By Dominic Lieven,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

FINANCIAL TIMES BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2015

The Russian decision to mobilize in July 1914 may have been the single most catastrophic choice of the modern era. Some articulate, thoughtful figures around the Tsar understood Russia's fragility, and yet they were shouted down by those who were convinced that, despite Germany's patent military superiority, Russian greatness required decisive action. Russia's rulers thought they were acting to secure their future, but in fact - after millions of deaths and two revolutions - they were consigning their entire class to death or exile and their country to a uniquely terrible generations-long experiment…


Book cover of Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World

Charlotte Gray Author Of Passionate Mothers, Powerful Sons: The Lives of Jennie Jerome Churchill and Sara Delano Roosevelt

From my list on history books by women.

Who am I?

I recall my younger self looking at the reading lists on Oxford University history courses, and asking, “Where are all the women?” I have always wanted to know what it was like to be there, in any century up to the present. How did families form and pass on their values, what did people wear and eat, when (and if) children learned to read, and what were people’s daily routines? Political, military, and economic history is important, but I have flourished in the social history trenches. I discovered women writers and historians have more acute antennae for the details I wanted, even when writing about wars and dynasties.

Charlotte's book list on history books by women

Charlotte Gray Why did Charlotte love this book?

Until I read this book, I had thought of the 1919 Versailles Peace Conference in yawn-inducing terms of maps and endless documents. But MacMillan gave me a new angle of vision, with her brilliant descriptions of the statesmen’s personalities, the corridor conspiracies, the exotic characters on the conference’s fringes, and the high-handed manner in which a tiny clique of national leaders imposed unrealistic solutions.

I finally understood why World War I was not the “war to end all wars,” as the peacemakers hoped, but only a prelude to World War II and many of the conflicts still raging today.

By Margaret MacMillan,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Paris 1919 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

National Bestseller

New York Times Editors’ Choice

Winner of the PEN Hessell Tiltman Prize

Winner of the Duff Cooper Prize

Silver Medalist for the Arthur Ross Book Award
of the Council on Foreign Relations

Finalist for the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award

For six months in 1919, after the end of “the war to end all wars,” the Big Three—President Woodrow Wilson, British prime minister David Lloyd George, and French premier Georges Clemenceau—met in Paris to shape a lasting peace. In this landmark work of narrative history, Margaret MacMillan gives a dramatic and intimate view of those fateful days, which…


Book cover of Suicide of the Empires: The Battles on the Eastern Front, 1914-18

Adam Hochschild Author Of Rebel Cinderella: From Rags to Riches to Radical, the Epic Journey of Rose Pastor Stokes

From my list on the human impact of World War I.

Who am I?

Adam Hochschild is the author of ten books. The era of the First World War figures in his latest, Rebel Cinderella: From Rags to Riches to Radical, the Epic Journey of Rose Pastor Stokes, and is the major subject of his To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918. To End All Wars has been translated into seven languages, won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He is at work now on a book about the First World War era and its aftermath in the United States.

Adam's book list on the human impact of World War I

Adam Hochschild Why did Adam love this book?

This book brings to life a part of the war Western readers know far too little about: the vast battles that ranged back and forth across Eastern Europe and Russia. Two of the three armies involved, those of Tsarist Russia and Austria-Hungary, were spectacularly incompetent, and saw their soldiers needlessly slaughtered by the millions before these two empires dissolved under the war’s impact.

By Alan Clark,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

On the outbreak of war in 1914, the armies of the western front soon became bogged down in the mud at Flanders. But on the wide plains and forests of Eastern Europe the three great Empires - Russia, Germany and Austria-Hungary - grappled in a series of battles involving millions of men and hundreds of miles of front. Shortly after the outbreak of war the Russian "steamroller" had lurched into Prussia only to be hurled back amind the marshes of Tannenberg. For the next three years the fighting swung indeterminately back and forth. This work describes the campaigns which provoked…


Book cover of Raymond Poincaré

Gordon Martel Author Of The Origins of the First World War

From my list on why the First World War happened.

Who am I?

I am a historian of diplomacy, war, and empire. A founding editor of The International History Review, I have written books on ‘Imperial Diplomacy’, on the origins of the First World War, and on the July Crisis. I have edited: the 5-volume Encyclopedia of War and the 4-volume Encyclopedia of Diplomacy; the journals of A.L. Kennedy for the Royal Historical Society; numerous collections of essays, and the multi-volume Seminar Studies in History series. I am currently working on a two-volume study of Political Intelligence in Great Britain, 1900-1950, which is a group biography of the men who made up the Department of Political Intelligence in Britain, 1917-1919

Gordon's book list on why the First World War happened

Gordon Martel Why did Gordon love this book?

John Keiger followed his study of French foreign policy with a ground-breaking biography of the most important Frenchman of the day, Raymond Poincaré. Readers have a multitude of biographies to turn to in their quest for an explanation of the war’s origins: the rulers of Russia, Germany, and Austria-Hungary; the leading politicians, foreign ministers, strategists, and diplomats of most of the states involved. But no biographical study has surpassed Keiger’s.

Poincaré was a pivotal figure in the diplomacy and politics of Europe before the war, serving in numerous positions, including those of foreign minister, prime minister, and president. His devotion to the alliance with Russia and his distrust of Germany led his critics to denounce him for his role in the outbreak of war. Keiger’s magnificent biography provides us with an elegantly written, thoroughly researched, and nuanced account of Poincaré’s role and policies.

By John F.V. Keiger,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This study is a scholarly biography of one of France's foremost political leaders. In a career which ran from the 1880s to the 1930s, one of the most formative periods of modern French history, Poincare held the principal offices of state. He played crucial roles in France's entry into the Great War, the organisation of the war effort, the peace settlement, the reparations question, the occupation of the Ruhr and the reorganisation of French finances in the 1920s. His life and work is surrounded by controversy and myth, from 'Poincare-la-guerre' to 'Poincare-le-franc', which this book dissects. Using a host of…


Book cover of The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914

Michael Ruse Author Of Why We Hate: Understanding the Roots of Human Conflict

From my list on why such nice people as we are so nasty.

Who am I?

I was raised a Quaker in England in the years after the Second World War. Quakers don’t have creeds, but they have strong beliefs about such things as the immorality of war. In the 1950s there was also huge prejudice, particularly against homosexuality which was then illegal. Issues like these gnawed at me throughout my 55-year career as a philosophy professor. Now 82 and finally retired, I'm turning against the problems of war and prejudice, applying much that I've learnt in my career as a philosopher interested in evolutionary theory, most particularly Charles Darwin. For this reason, intentionally, Why We Hate: Understanding the Roots of Human Conflict is aimed at the general reader.  

Michael's book list on why such nice people as we are so nasty

Michael Ruse Why did Michael love this book?

If we are not killer apes, if war is not inevitable, how does it happen? Obviously because people were not up to the challenges of maintaining peace. Margaret MacMillan’s riveting account of the events leading up to the Great War, the First World War, shows in all-too-clear detail how not to go about avoiding war. The German Kaiser, Wilhelm, was petty and boastful and altogether too proud and confident of his totally inadequate abilities. The Tsar of Russia, Nicholas, was cut from the same cloth. But whereas Wilhelm made up his mind quickly and then was unmovable, Nicholas could never make up his mind. Between them, helped by other inadequates in places of high status and power, millions of young men lay dead on the fields of Flanders, in Northern France.

By Margaret MacMillan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

WINNER of the International Affairs Book of the Year at the Political Book Awards 2014Longlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize 2013
The First World War followed a period of sustained peace in Europe during which people talked with confidence of prosperity, progress and hope. But in 1914, Europe walked into a catastrophic conflict which killed millions of its men, bled its economies dry, shook empires and societies to pieces, and fatally undermined Europe's dominance of the world. It was a war which could have been avoided up to the last moment-so why did it happen?
Beginning in the early nineteenth…


Book cover of The History of the American Expedition Fighting the Bolsheviki Campaigning in North Russia 1918-1919

John Mosier Author Of The Myth of the Great War: A New Military History of World War I

From my list on the other fronts in WW1.

Who am I?

Currently a full professor at Loyola University, he entered college at 16, studying chemistry, economics, and literature. He did graduate work in German, Russian, and Philosophy, held a double fellowship in music and literature, and wrote his dissertation on the relationship between historiography and epic poetry. In 2001, his 10th book, The Myth of the Great War was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in history.

John's book list on the other fronts in WW1

John Mosier Why did John love this book?

The best account of the futile Allied attempts to keep Russia in the war.   Largely ignored, mainly because it was politically embarrassing and.  Still worse, through no fauly of the army, it was militarily unsucessful.  But the intervention left lasting scars, and consequences were fatal for the remainder of the century. 

By Joel R. Moore, Harry H. Mead, Lewis E. Jahns

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The History of the American Expedition Fighting the Bolsheviki Campaigning in North Russia 1918-1919 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the aftermath of the First World War, the United States sent 13,000 troops into the Soviet Union in support of the Tsarist White Russian Army, in an attempt to crush the Bolshevik government that had assumed power in the Russian Revolution. Written by three American doughboys who fought in Russia, this is a firsthand account of the only time in history that American troops directly fought Red Army troops.


Book cover of The Russian Origins of the First World War

Terence Zuber Author Of The Real German War Plan, 1904-14

From my list on new revisionist military history.

Who am I?

I have always been interested in military history and wanted to become a professional soldier. I benefitted especially from three years as the American liaison officer on the staff of the German 12th Panzer Division. German Army organization, planning and decision-making, troop leadership, and training are outstanding and made a deep impression on me. I received a superb education as a historian at the University of Wuerzburg, Germany, which required history to be written from original source documents, not secondary sources uncritically accepted. My standards emphasize attention to detail in military planning and operations, and archival work in English, German, and French. As do the authors that I have selected.

Terence's book list on new revisionist military history

Terence Zuber Why did Terence love this book?

Conventional histories blame Germany for starting the First World War by “turning a Balkan Quarrel into a European war.” McMeekin shows both Germany and Austria-Hungary wanted a quick, isolated Austrian-Serbian war. It was Russia that wanted a general European war in order to seize Constantinople and the Bosporus Straits and give Russia access to the Mediterranean. Therefore, the Russians wanted France and Great Britain to tie down Germany, while Russia crushed the Austrians and seized the Balkans and the Bosphorous. And the Russians knew about the Serb plot to assassinate Archduke Franz Ferdinand in advance. McMeeken’s archival research in proving his case is impressive.

By Sean McMeekin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Russian Origins of the First World War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The catastrophe of the First World War, and the destruction, revolution, and enduring hostilities it wrought, make the issue of its origins a perennial puzzle. Since World War II, Germany has been viewed as the primary culprit. Now, in a major reinterpretation of the conflict, Sean McMeekin rejects the standard notions of the war's beginning as either a Germano-Austrian preemptive strike or a "tragedy of miscalculation." Instead, he proposes that the key to the outbreak of violence lies in St. Petersburg.

It was Russian statesmen who unleashed the war through conscious policy decisions based on imperial ambitions in the Near…


Book cover of Mobilizing the Russian Nation: Patriotism and Citizenship in the First World War

Joshua A. Sanborn Author Of Imperial Apocalypse: The Great War and the Destruction of the Russian Empire

From my list on Russia in World War I.

Who am I?

I’m a professor of history at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania, and I’ve been studying Russia ever since visiting the Soviet Union as a college student in 1990. I’ve been particularly interested in seeking connections between violence and other dimensions of historical experience. My first book (Drafting the Russian Nation) explored connections between political ideologies and violence, Imperial Apocalypse is in part a social history of violence, and my current project is examining the connection between literary cultures, professional communities, and the violence of the Cold War.

Joshua's book list on Russia in World War I

Joshua A. Sanborn Why did Joshua love this book?

One of the most pernicious myths surrounding the Russian population in the years of the war is that the subjects of the tsar were too provincial and ignorant to really have a sense of what was going on or why. This myth was perpetuated above all by political and military elites after the war as a way of explaining the reasons they had lost the war. Stockdale’s work makes this myth almost impossible to maintain. In chapters on the effectiveness of mass media, on the role of the church, on the heartfelt hatred of the enemy, and more, she shows how regular Russians were mobilized for the war. If some were unpatriotic, this was not the result of ignorance but of knowing too well how the regime was failing the people it was supposed to protect.

By Melissa Kirshcke Stockdale,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The First World War had a devastating impact on the Russian state, yet relatively little is known about the ways in which ordinary Russians experienced and viewed this conflict. Melissa Kirschke Stockdale presents the first comprehensive study of the Great War's influence on Russian notions of national identity and citizenship. Drawing on a vast array of sources, the book examines the patriotic and nationalist organizations which emerged during the war, the role of the Russian Orthodox Church, the press and the intelligentsia in mobilizing Russian society, the war's impact on the rights of citizens, and the new, democratized ideas of…


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