100 books like The Ghost Road

By Pat Barker,

Here are 100 books that The Ghost Road fans have personally recommended if you like The Ghost Road. 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 Testament of Youth

Deborah Carr Author Of The Poppy Sisters

From my list on World War One that live rent free in my head.

Why am I passionate about this?

I discovered my passion for the First World War when researching my great-grandfather’s service history in the cavalry. I also write historical fiction with several of my books being set during the First World War and have spent thousands of hours over the past twenty years researching different aspects of this period, both from the point of view of the V.A.D.s, wounded soldiers, medical staff treating them, as well as grieving families. The stories I’ve come across never fail to haunt me and I can’t imagine I’ll ever tire of wanting to discover more about the people who survived these experiences, or stop needing to write books about them.

Deborah's book list on World War One that live rent free in my head

Deborah Carr Why did Deborah love this book?

I first read this book about twenty years ago and still find it heartbreaking to think it was written by someone who experienced first-hand the horror of the First World War and with it so much pain and grief brought about not only from her experiences as a V.A.D. but also from her own personal losses.

It is a book that helped me understand as much as anything possibly could living in the twenty-first century, how much of a struggle it must have been for ordinary people to keep going and survive that dark time in history.

By Vera Brittain,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Testament of Youth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An autobiographical account of a young nurse's involvement in World War I.

Book cover of Regeneration

Julie Anderson Author Of The Midnight Man

From my list on evocative stories set in a hospital.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write historical crime fiction, and my latest novel is set in a hospital, a real place, now closed. The South London Hospital for Women and Children (1912–1985) was set up by pioneering suffragists and women surgeons Maud Chadburn and Eleanor Davies-Colley (the first woman admitted to the Royal College of Surgeons) and I recreate the now almost-forgotten hospital in my book. Events take place in 1946 when wartime trauma still impacts upon a society exhausted by conflict, and my book choices also reflect this.

Julie's book list on evocative stories set in a hospital

Julie Anderson Why did Julie love this book?

I loved this book for its humanity and compassion, as well as its consideration of the impact of war on the individual combatants and those who choose to try and heal them.

Another wartime novel, this time World War One, it is set in Craiglockhart Hospital in Edinburgh, a real place, with many real, historical characters. Its central relationship is between the poet Siegried Sassoon and his psychiatrist, W. H. R Rivers, a British neurologist who experimented with treating post-traumatic stress disorder. Sassoon’s publicly stated reservations about war echo those of Rivers, who struggles with healing patients only to send them back to the front.

It raises questions about masculinity and manliness, honour and truth, and does so without seeming doctrinaire or didactic. It shows a society, as well as individuals, traumatized by war. I will read it and the subsequent novels in the trilogy again.

By Pat Barker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Calls to mind such early moderns as Hemingway and Fitzgerald...Some of the most powerful antiwar literature in modern English fiction."-The Boston Globe

The first book of the Regeneration Trilogy-a Booker Prize nominee and one of Entertainment Weekly's 100 All-Time Greatest Novels.

In 1917 Siegfried Sasson, noted poet and decorated war hero, publicly refused to continue serving as a British officer in World War I. His reason: the war was a senseless slaughter. He was officially classified "mentally unsound" and sent to Craiglockhart War Hospital. There a brilliant psychiatrist, Dr. William Rivers, set about restoring Sassoon's "sanity" and sending him back…

Book cover of The Eye in the Door

Mary Francois Rockcastle Author Of Rainy Lake

From my list on WW1 through multiple perspectives.

Why am I passionate about this?

Both of my grandfathers served in WWI. Growing up on their stories, I had a keen interest in WWI. A lover of history, I attended an exhibit at the Smithsonian called The Faces of War that focused on prosthetic masks made by artists during WWI for men whose faces had been mutilated by war. Having always wanted to write a historical novel, I merged my interest in WWI with a newfound passion for these faces of war and wrote Day Lights the Bone (not yet published). The novel is set in a military hospital in Wandsworth, England, during the final months of WWI. I am a professor at Hamline University in St. Paul, MN, where for many years I taught and served as Director of The Creative Writing Programs.

Mary's book list on WW1 through multiple perspectives

Mary Francois Rockcastle Why did Mary love this book?

The Eye in the Door continues Barker’s exploration of the morality of war through its impacts on human beings.  While she continues the journeys of Dr. W. H. R. Rivers and Siegried Sassoon, she explores in great detail the experience of Lieutenant Billy Prior, a complex character who works as a domestic intelligence agent.  Prior is torn between his own antiwar feelings and his working class and bisexual identities as he spies on pacifists, homosexuals, and government critics.

By Pat Barker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The second installment in the Regeneration Trilogy

It is the spring of 1918, and Britain is faced with the possibility of defeat by Germany. A beleaguered government and a vengeful public target two groups as scapegoats: pacifists and homosexuals. Many are jailed, others lead dangerous double lives, the "the eye in the door" becomes a symbol of the paranoia that threatens to destroy the very fabric of British society.

Central to this novel are such compelling, richly imagined characters as the brilliant and compassionate Dr. William Rivers; his most famous patient, the poet Siegfried Sassoon; and Lieutenant Billy Prior, who…

Book cover of The Daughters of Mars

Joanna Higgins Author Of In the Fall They Leave

From my list on WWI Angels of Mercy.

Why am I passionate about this?

Although I’m neither a healthcare professional nor a historian, my passions are reading great fiction and continually striving to write it. Degrees in literature led to college teaching and then full-time writing. And that, to the publication of six works of fiction, including four historical novels. So, add to the mix, then, the years spent studying and teaching literature as well as those spent writing and rewriting—and, too, being an inveterate reader—and you have, in brief, the sum of my expertise. Each of the works listed below, I feel, has super qualities. I certainly enjoyed reading such masterful work and hope you will as well.   

Joanna's book list on WWI Angels of Mercy

Joanna Higgins Why did Joanna love this book?

As a writer, I found so much to admire in The Daughters of Mars by Thomas Keneally. Simply put, it’s epic. I was blown away by Kenneally’s Tolstoian precision of narrative and by the drama of two sisters who leave their confined lives in Australia and serve as nurses in WWI, first on a hospital ship in the Mediterranean and then on the Western Front. Keneally recreates a full sense of the times, showing how individuals can become enmeshed and shaped by huge historical events. The sisters confront not only the terrible effects of war but also a secret that haunts them. This is a stunning, multi-layered novel by a master, The Daughters of Mars has earned numerous accolades—and no wonder. It’s beautifully written and deeply affecting.  

By Thomas Keneally,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In 1915, two spirited Australian sisters join the war effort as nurses, escaping the confines of their father's dairy farm and carrying a guilty secret with them. Used to tending the sick as they are, nothing could have prepared them for what they confront, first in the Dardanelles, then on the Western Front. Yet they find courage in the face of extreme danger and become the friends they never were before. And eventually they meet the kind of men worth giving up their precious independence for - if only they all survive.

At once epic in scope and extraordinarily intimate,…

Book cover of Fear: A Novel of World War I

Richard S. Fogarty Author Of Race and War in France: Colonial Subjects in the French Army, 1914-1918

From my list on France and the first World War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a historian of modern Europe and France and have focused my research and writing on the First World War for almost 30 years now. The war remains the “original catastrophe” of the catastrophic 20th century and continues to shape our world in decisive ways here in the 21st century.  I don’t think there are many topics that are of clearer and more urgent interest, and what fascinates me most is how every day, individual people experienced these colossal events, events that seemed only very personal and intimate to most of them at the time.  It is with this in mind that I’ve chosen the books on my list.

Richard's book list on France and the first World War

Richard S. Fogarty Why did Richard love this book?

Not as well known as Henri Barbusse’s great novel Under Fire (Le feu), Chevalier’s book should be on everyone’s shelf of works on the Great War. This aptly titled novel is very obviously based on Chevalier’s own experiences serving as a soldier at the front. The writing is haunting and evocative of the extreme trauma of combat, the miseries of life in the trenches, and the emotional responses of young soldiers to the broader society that sent them to war. 

By Gabriel Chevallier, Malcolm Imrie (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

First published in 1930, Fear graphically describes the terrible experiences of soldiers during World War I. It tells the story of Jean Dartemont, a young man called up in 1915. He is not a rebel, but neither is he awed by hierarchical authority. After an exceedingly short training period, he refuses to follow his platoon and is sent to Artois and the trenches. With absolute realism, Gabriel Chevallier depicts what he experienced every day, for months: violence, blood, death, bodies ...

One day, he is wounded, evacuated and hospitalised. The nurses consider it their duty to stimulate the soldiers' fighting…

Book cover of Enduring the Great War: Combat, Morale and Collapse in the German and British Armies

Tim Cook Author Of The Secret History of Soldiers: How Canadians Survived the Great War

From my list on the Great War and why it haunts us.

Why am I passionate about this?

Tim Cook is the Great War historian at the Canadian War Museum. Since 2002, he has curated the permanent First World War gallery of the CWM, which has been visited by an estimated 8 million people, and he has created many temporary, traveling, and digital exhibitions. He is also the author or editor of 13 books of Canadian military history. For his contributions to the study of Canadian history, he is a member of the Royal Society of Canada and the Order of Canada. He has selected five books that cover the scope of the war, from its origins to the legacy.

Tim's book list on the Great War and why it haunts us

Tim Cook Why did Tim love this book?

Amid the industrial war of fire and fury, a key question remains on how the soldiers survived. Watson’s book explores the experience for British and German soldiers, drawing upon their letters and diaries. Enduring the Great War offers new ways to understand the war of the trenches, how morale was sustained, and it provides an inner portrait into the men who took in the grinding warfare.

By Alexander Watson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This book is an innovative comparative history of how German and British soldiers endured the horror of the First World War. Unlike existing literature, which emphasises the strength of societies or military institutions, this study argues that at the heart of armies' robustness lay natural human resilience. Drawing widely on contemporary letters and diaries of British and German soldiers, psychiatric reports and official documentation, and interpreting these sources with modern psychological research, this unique account provides fresh insights into the soldiers' fears, motivations and coping mechanisms. It explains why the British outlasted their opponents by examining and comparing the motives…

Book cover of The Road Back

Richard Zimler Author Of The Incandescent Threads

From my list on survivors of a horrific trauma.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m originally from New York but have lived in Portugal for the last 33 years. I write my novels in English and my children’s books in Portuguese. As anyone who reads my latest novel will discover, I have been greatly influenced the mythology and mystical traditions of various religions, especially Judaism (kabbalah). Happily, I discovered early on that I adore writing about people who have been systematically persecuted and silenced. It gives me a great sense of accomplishment to explore taboo subjects and topics that others would prefer to forget or conceal. When I’m not working on a book, I like to garden and travel. 

Richard's book list on survivors of a horrific trauma

Richard Zimler Why did Richard love this book?

World War I caused 20 million deaths and left 21 million wounded.

Soldiers who survived the gas attacks and trench warfare often returned to societies eager to forget the atrocities of the conflict and move on. Remarque’s insightfully written novel details the struggles of three German soldiers who return home only to discover that they may have no place in a nation that has learned almost nothing from what they regard as a senseless and immoral war.

In May of 1933, this novel and the rest of Remarque's writing were declared “unpatriotic” by the Nazi dictatorship and all his novels were banned.

By Erich Maria Remarque,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

After surviving several horrifying years in the inferno of the Western Front, a young German soldier and his cohorts return home at the end of WW1. Their road back to life in civilian world is made arduous by their bitterness about what they find in post-war society. A captivating story, one of Remarque's best.

Book cover of Broken Nation: Australians in the Great War

Ross McMullin Author Of Life So Full of Promise: further biographies of Australia's lost generation

From my list on WWI Australia in the battlefields and home front.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an experienced historian, biographer, and storyteller. I’ve written widely about Australian politics, social history, sport, and World War I. My biography of Australia’s most famous fighting general, Pompey Elliott, won multiple national awards, and I assembled his extraordinary letters and diaries in a separate book, Pompey Elliott at War: In His Own Words. Another biography, Will Dyson: Australia’s Radical Genius, about a remarkably versatile artist–writer who was Australia’s first official war artist, was shortlisted for the National Biography Award. My multi-biography Farewell, Dear People: Biographies of Australia’s Lost Generation won the Prime Minister’s Prize for Australian History, and I’ve written a sequel, Life So Full of Promise.

Ross' book list on WWI Australia in the battlefields and home front

Ross McMullin Why did Ross love this book?

It’s not common for books about WWI to contain detailed analysis of both the battlefields and the home front (although this dual coverage is a feature of my lost generation multi-biographies).

To compile a comprehensive history of Australia during the war that combines what happened at home with what occurred at the various fronts is indeed a daunting task, yet Joan Beaumont accomplished it with conspicuous success in this acclaimed and award-winning book. 

By Joan Beaumont,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner of the 2014 Prime Minister's Literary Award for Australian History.The Great War is, for many Australians, the event that defined our nation. The larrikin diggers, trench warfare, and the landing at Gallipoli have become the stuff of the Anzac 'legend'. But it was also a war fought by the families at home. Their resilience in the face of hardship, their stoic acceptance of enormous casualty lists and their belief that their cause was just, made the war effort possible.Broken Nation is the first book to bring together all the dimensions of World War I. Combining deep scholarship with powerful…

Book cover of Fallen Soldiers: Reshaping the Memory of the World Wars

Shannon Bontrager Author Of Death at the Edges of Empire: Fallen Soldiers, Cultural Memory, and the Making of an American Nation, 1863-1921

From my list on the memory of the war dead.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor who holds a Ph.D. in American history. I researched several archives in the United States and Paris, France to write this book and I am very proud of it. I was inspired to write this story mainly from listening to the friends of my parents, when I was younger, who went to war in Vietnam and came back broken yet committed to making the world a better place. The kindness they showed me belied the stories they shared of their harrowing experiences and I wanted to understand how this divergence happened in men that rarely spoke of their past.      

Shannon's book list on the memory of the war dead

Shannon Bontrager Why did Shannon love this book?

This may be the book that started it all. Mosse has many books that try to explain the rise of the Nazis in Germany who Mosse and his parents fled in the 1930s. Here Mosse describes how Nazis used the war dead from the First World War in an explicit attempt to harness the nationalism of Germans to support Nazi politics. Winter disagrees with Mosse and developed arguments that are probably more accepted by historians today but, for me, that doesn’t take away from the power of Mosse’s argument. Even though I don’t always agree with Mosse’s analysis, I can’t help but be engrossed by his writing, his passion, and his ability to describe how the war dead could be used as political weapons. 

By George L. Mosse,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Millions were killed and maimed in the senseless brutality of the First World War, but once the armistice was signed the realities were cleansed of their horror by the nature of the burial and commemoration of the dead. In the interwar period, war monuments and cemeteries provided the public with places of worship and martyrs for the civic religion of nationalism. The cult of the fallen soldier blossomed in Germany and other European countries, and people seemed to
build war into their lives as a necessary and glorious event - a proof of manhood and loyalty to the flag. Ultimately…

Book cover of The Defeat of Imperial Germany, 1917-1918

Eric Dorn Brose Author Of The Kaiser's Army: The Politics of Military Technology in Germany During the Machine Age, 1870-1918

From my list on the German army in World War One.

Why am I passionate about this?

I retired from Drexel University in 2015 after thirty-six years as a professor of German and European History of the 19th and 20th Centuries. My sub-specialty in the History of Technology carried over into publications that over the years focused increasingly on the Prussian/German Army (The Politics of Technological Change in Prussia [1993] and The Kaiser’s Army [2001]) and naval conflict (Clash of the Capital Ships [2021]).  

Eric's book list on the German army in World War One

Eric Dorn Brose Why did Eric love this book?

Paschall brings to this book his insightful experience of army organizations and war as an infantry officer and veteran of the Vietnam conflagration. Readers can follow in detail the allied offensives of 1917, Germany’s last gasp effort to win on the Western Front in 1918 after Russia’s collapse in the east, and the retreat and breakdown of the once impressive German army in the waning months of the war.  

By Rod Paschall,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Defeat of Imperial Germany, 1917-1918 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

January 1917. On the Western Front the armies of Imperial Germany, Great Britain, and France were locked in grim stalemate. Repeated attempts by both sides to achieve breakthrough in the face of machine-gun fire, barbed wire, long-range artillery, and poison gas had brought only enormous casualties. The Defeat of Imperial Germany focuses on the innovative plans created by generals on both sides in their struggles to dislodge the entrenched enemy and to restore maneuver and victory on the Western Front. In a series of vivid analyses of successive offensives, Paschall examines the problems of command and what happened when the…

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