10 books like The Guns of Normandy

By George Blackburn,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Guns of Normandy. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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And No Birds Sang

By Farley Mowat,

Book cover of And No Birds Sang

Mowat’s title is taken from John Keats’ poem La Belle Dame Sans Merci: “O what can ail thee, Knight in arms, Alone and palely loitering? The sedge has withered from the Lake, And no birds sing!” 

Best known for his books People of the Deer and Never Cry Wolf, Farley Mowat here turns his naturalist’s eye to the experience of war. His brief memoir describes joining, training, and fighting as part of Canadian forces in WWII. He led a rifle platoon in the invasion of Sicily and up the spine of Italy against fierce German resistance. From humorous to horrible, from youthful fervor to enormous weariness, Mowat takes us with him. He was relieved of combat duty after crying over the unconscious body of a friend brought in with an enemy bullet in his head. I love this book for its vivid observations of men before, during, and after…

And No Birds Sang

By Farley Mowat,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked And No Birds Sang as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Turned away from the Royal Canadian Air Force for his apparent youth and frailty, Farley Mowat joined the infantry in 1940. The young second lieutenant soon earned the trust of the soldiers under his command, and was known to bend army rules to secure a stout drink, or find warm -- if nonregulation -- clothing. But when Mowat and his regiment engaged with elite German forces in the mountains of Sicily, the optimism of their early days as soldiers was replaced by despair. With a naturalist's eyes and ears, Mowat takes in the full dark depths of war; his moving…


A Thousand Shall Fall

By Murray Peden,

Book cover of A Thousand Shall Fall

As a pilot with Bomber Command, Murray Peden flew thirty combat missions and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. While many bomber veterans have written solid memoirs to their experiences, this book is also a fine examination of the Bomber Command Campaign. To my knowledge, no other memoir of Bomber Command garnered the praise of its British Commander, Royal Air Force Marshal, Sir Arthur (Bomber) Harris. “I consider it not only the best and most true to life ‘war’ book I’ve ever read about this war, but the best about all the wars of my lifetime,” Harris wrote. Not only does it relate the story of Bomber Command operations, but it authentically captures the flavour of life experienced by its aircrews both during missions and in the downtime between. Peden was a gifted writer with a mastery of language that combined with a keen ability as a witness to war…

A Thousand Shall Fall

By Murray Peden,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Thousand Shall Fall as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the finest war memoirs ever written.

During World War II, Canada trained tens of thousands of airmen under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. Those selected for Bomber Command operations went on to rain devastation upon the Third Reich in the great air battles over Europe, but their losses were high. German fighters and anti-aircraft guns took a terrifying toll. The chances of surviving a tour of duty as a bomber crew were almost nil.

Murray Peden's story of his training in Canada and England, and his crew's operations on Stirlings and Flying Fortresses with 214 Squadron, has…


Not All of Us Were Brave

By Stanley Scislowski,

Book cover of Not All of Us Were Brave

Stan Scislowski’s Not All of Us Were Brave is a deeply honest portrayal of war from the perspective of a private soldier. Serving with the Perth Regiment, Scislowski was in the thick of virtually every battle that I Canadian Corps fought from January 1944 to January 1945. His masterful recounting of combat and the grind of military life when not on the sharp end if unforgettable. There are moments of remarkable courage intermingled with numbing fear and despair wherein it is never certain how Scislowski or his comrades are going to respond to the latest danger and usually chaotic mission. Mere chance determines those who live and those who die. Scislowski survives, but not before descending into post-traumatic stress disorder that takes him from the field. As with battle, Scislowski is brutally honest about this experience as well. In my Canadian Battle Series books about the Italian Campaign, many passages…

Not All of Us Were Brave

By Stanley Scislowski,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Not All of Us Were Brave as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Wonderfully insightful guidance on the crucial issue of change in our lives, which explains both how to handle change and how to create it - from the bestselling author of The Purpose of Your Life and The Celestine Experiential Guide.

In her previous books, noted intuitive counsellor Dr Carol Adrienne helped readers use intuition and the power of synchronicity to identify their purpose in life. Now, in this time of social and economic turbulence, she helps them take the next step: staying true to one's purpose and moving forward rather than staying stuck.

In this timely and invaluable handbook, Adrienne…


Battle Diary

By Charles Cromwell Martin,

Book cover of Battle Diary: From D-Day and Normandy to the Zuider Zee and VE

On June 6, 1944, Charles (Charlie) Martin was twenty-four and one of the youngest Company Sergeant Majors in the Queen’s Own Rifles. He was also one of the first Canadian soldiers to pile out of a landing craft onto Juno Beach in the face of heavy German machine-gun fire. From that day on the beach to when he was finally wounded for the first time on April 16, 1945, Martin was always at the forefront of the battle. While an excellent account of his combat experience, Martin also deeply examines the role of a Company Sergeant Major in leading and running an infantry company during the war. And he provides detailed descriptions of how such a company conducted itself during specific types of combat from patrols, to set-piece assaults, to setting up defensive positions. For anyone wanting to understand the experience of soldiers in World War II, Battle Diary is…

Battle Diary

By Charles Cromwell Martin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A fast-paced account by a soldier who was twice decorated. Charlie Martin, company sergeant-major in the Queen's Own, was with his beloved A Company in all of the significant Normandy actions.


The Longest Day

By Cornelius Ryan,

Book cover of The Longest Day: The Classic Epic of D-Day

First published in 1959, some 15 years after the Allied invasion of Normandy on D-Day, Cornelius Ryan’s book stands as a classic narrative of that amphibious assault. Writing in the vivid prose of an experienced journalist, Ryan also conducted research like a seasoned historian. He interviewed combatants of every nation and rank and sent questionnaires to many others. I feel like I am in the thick of the fight alongside Allied soldiers in the landing craft approaching the beach and with Germans hunkered down in the fortifications trying to stop their amphibious assault. Throughout his narrative, Ryan blends analyses of the good and bad decisions made by both sides.   

The Longest Day

By Cornelius Ryan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Cornelius Ryan tells the story of the hours that preceded and followed H-Hour of D-Day ? June 6, 1944, when as dawn approached, as paratroopers fought in the hedgerows of Normandy, the greatest armada the world had ever known assembled off the beach -- almost 5000 ships carrying more than 200,000 soldiers. a military This is the story of people: the men of the Allied forces, the enemy and the civilians caught up in the confusion of battle. 700 D-Day survivors were interviewed for the book.


D-Day

By Stephen E. Ambrose,

Book cover of D-Day: June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II

Published in time for the 50th anniversary of D-Day (Operation Overlord) in 1994, Ambrose’s 656-page tome covers the broad scope of the massive, history-changing operation, with special attention paid to the parachute and glider operations. The author details the overall planning of the air-and-sea operation—and analyzes why the most carefully planned invasion in history nearly went terribly wrong. This is the ultimate history of the battle that changed the outcome of World War II.

D-Day

By Stephen E. Ambrose,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Chronicles the events, politics, and personalities of this pivotal day in World War II, shedding light on the strategies of commanders on both sides and the ramifications of the battle.


Pegasus Bridge

By Stephen E. Ambrose,

Book cover of Pegasus Bridge: June 6, 1944

One of my all-time favorite books; it inspired me to become a military historian. Through extensive interviews with the actual participants, Ambrose detailed how gilder-borne British commandos pulled off a nearly textbook example of how to take an enemy-held bridge. Whenever I lead tours to Normandy, I always make sure we stop at Pegasus Bridge and recount the valor of the British troops who performed what many said was impossible.

Pegasus Bridge

By Stephen E. Ambrose,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The author traces each step of the D-Day preparations and gives a minute by minute account of the conflict.


Enemy North, South, East, West

By Robert Weiss,

Book cover of Enemy North, South, East, West

Imagine being 20 years old, and a freshly minted lieutenant with just two weeks in the line. You are a forward observer for a 105mm artillery battalion. Your first duty position is atop a 314-meter-high hill at Mortain France. It is early August 1944 and Adolf Hitler sends four panzer divisions to Mortain to stop the Allied breakout from Normandy. First they must take that hill.

Weiss’s stunning book details how he and 700 other men held Hill 314 for five long days. Chronicled more recently by an Aurora Award-winning documentary on PBS it is one of those World War II personal memoirs one never forgets.

Enemy North, South, East, West

By Robert Weiss,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Enemy North, South, East, West as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When the Germans launched their biggest counter-attack in France during WWII, the elite troops of the 2nd SS Panzer Division surrounded a battalion of less than 700 US infantry on top of a key hill near Mortain in Normandy. The American "Lost Battalion", equipped with very little food, medical supplies, ammunition, or anti-tank weapons, held out for sixty days. At the end of the battle, 277 of the riflemen were dead, wounded, or missing. Author Robert Weiss experienced those harrowing days of the war, directing much of the fire as a field artillery forward observer on the hill. As the…


American Nightingale

By Bob Welch,

Book cover of American Nightingale: The Story of Frances Slanger, Forgotten Heroine of Normandy

I confess to a passion for WW2 fiction and non-fiction, so this book was a no-brainer for me. Frances Slanger, a Polish Jew who immigrated and grew up in Boston, was the first nurse to due during the D-day invasion at Normandy. She left a legacy in writing that helps the author piece together her story and offer insight into what military nurses faced.

American Nightingale

By Bob Welch,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The heart-wrenching and inspirational WWII story of the first American nurse to die at the Normandy landings, the true account of a woman whose courage and compassion led to what a national radio show host in 1945 called "one of the most moving stories to come out of the war—a story of an army nurse that surpassed anything Hollywood has ever dreamed of."

She was a Jewish girl growing up in World War I-torn Poland. At age seven, she and her family immigrated to America with dreams of a brighter future. But Frances Slanger could not lay her past to…


LST 388

By Robert William Von Der Osten, Barbara Von Der Osten,

Book cover of LST 388: A World War II Journal

This is a wonderful WWII memoir on so many levels. Robert von der Osten kept a journal during his time of service. He and his journal not only survived the war, but his ship did as well. The son of a WWI veteran became a radioman on the new LST-388 (Landing Ship Tank) which hauled equipment and men to North Africa, the UK, and made landings on Sicily, Salerno, and many trips to the beaches of Normandy. The US shipped over 1000 locomotives and about 20,000 rail cars to the UK. Railroad tracks were welded to the deck and ramp of LST-388. It made 29 round trips between England and France carrying rail cars.

This is not only the story of a young sailor and his corner of the massive war, but the story of a ship, taking it to its eventual fate after the war. Robert von der Osten…

LST 388

By Robert William Von Der Osten, Barbara Von Der Osten,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked LST 388 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Through his journal entries, von der Osten takes us with him to war, from his training days in the newly created amphibious force, to practice beachings on the Chesapeake Bay; from the ports of North Africa and the United Kingdom, to the hostile shores of Sicily, Salerno, and Normandy. All the while serving as a radioman aboard this new kind of ship, the landing ship, tank.

Yet LST 388 is not just a sailor’s story but the story of a great landing ship, a ship that would sail with the largest armada in history during the invasion of Sicily. A…


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