100 books like The Long Shadow

By David Reynolds,

Here are 100 books that The Long Shadow fans have personally recommended if you like The Long Shadow. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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 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.

Why am I passionate about this?

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 War of Attrition: Fighting the First World War

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?

This brilliant book pulls together many strands of the war, as presented through the lens of attrition. In his sweeping narrative, Philpott focuses on the land war – how it was fought and why, and how it evolved over 4 years – but War of Attrition also examines the politics and diplomacy of war, and the war at sea, in the air, and at home. Pound for pound, the best book yet written on the war-fighting years.

By William Philpott,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Wall Street Journal Best Non-Fiction Book of 2014!The Great War of 1914-1918 was the first mass conflict to fully mobilize the resources of industrial powers against one another, resulting in a brutal, bloody, protracted war of attrition between the world's great economies. Now, one hundred years after the first guns of August rang out on the Western front, historian William Philpott reexamines the causes and lingering effects of the first truly modern war. Drawing on the experience of front line soldiers, munitions workers, politicians, and diplomats, War of Attrition explains for the first time why and how this new…


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 Your Death Would Be Mine: Paul and Marie Pireaud in the Great War

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?

One of the very best books in English about France during this time, Hanna mines a treasure trove of letters between a married peasant couple from southwest France to tell an intimate history of the war, of its effects on families, women, villages, men, and the countryside. War stories take place on battlefields, of course, but also in homes and in hearts. Anyone wanting to understand the experience of the Great War at the front, on the home front, and everywhere in between, should start here.

By Martha Ann,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Your Death Would Be Mine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Paul and Marie Pireaud, a young peasant couple from southwest France, were newlyweds when World War I erupted. With Paul in the army from 1914 through 1919, they were forced to conduct their marriage mostly by correspondence. Drawing upon the hundreds of letters they wrote, Martha Hanna tells their moving story and reveals a powerful and personal perspective on war.

Civilians and combatants alike maintained bonds of emotional commitment and suffered the inevitable miseries of extended absence. While under direct fire at Verdun, Paul wrote with equal intensity and poetic clarity of the brutality of battle and the dietary needs…


Book cover of The Great War and Modern Memory

Elliot Y. Neaman Author Of A Dubious Past: Ernst Junger and the Politics of Literature after Nazism

From my list on war and collective memory.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Professor of modern European history at the University of San Francisco. I have written or co-edited three major books and many articles and reviews, as well as serving as a correspondent for a German newspaper. My areas of expertise are intellectual, political, military, and cultural history. I also work on the history of espionage and served as a consultant to the CIA on my last book about student radicals in Germany.

Elliot's book list on war and collective memory

Elliot Y. Neaman Why did Elliot love this book?

I am a huge fan of everything Paul Fussell (1924-2012) published. He was a colorful character in real life and earned his chops as a literary critic of modern war when he landed in France with the 103rd Infantry division in 1944, was wounded fighting in Alsace, and was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

I couldn't put down his book. I find most important the universal way he describes the gap between the way common soldiers experience battlefields, in contrast to how the war is portrayed to the general public by observers at home, propagandists, and the like who interpret the war from a safe distance. I was always impressed by the sharp manner of his writing. He traces the pulverization of pre-1914 Victorian values as they collided with the sheer force and brutality of modern steel and gas technology.

I loved surveying the direct and profane language…

By Paul Fussell,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Great War and Modern Memory as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award and named by the Modern Library one of the twentieth century's 100 Best Non-Fiction Books, Paul Fussell's The Great War and Modern Memory was universally acclaimed on publication in 1970. Today, Fussell's landmark study remains as original and gripping as ever: a literate, literary, and unapologetic account of the Great War, the war that changed a generation, ushered in the
modern era, and revolutionized how we see the world.

This brilliant work illuminates the trauma and tragedy of modern warfare in fresh, revelatory ways. Exploring the…


Book cover of Germans Into Nazis

Benjamin Carter Hett Author Of The Death of Democracy: Hitler's Rise to Power and the Downfall of the Weimar Republic

From my list on the legacy of the First World War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a law school graduate heading for my first job when, unable to think of anything better to do with my last afternoon in London, I wandered through the First World War galleries of the Imperial War Museum. I was hypnotized by a slide show of Great War propaganda posters, stunned by their clever viciousness in getting men to volunteer and wives and girlfriends to pressure them. Increasingly fascinated, I started reading about the war and its aftermath. After several years of this, I quit my job at a law firm and went back to school to become a professor. And here I am.

Benjamin's book list on the legacy of the First World War

Benjamin Carter Hett Why did Benjamin love this book?

Fritzsche shows here how, from 1914 to 1933, middle class Germans were welded into the political block that supported Hitler. Another spellbindingly original book – among other things, Fritzsche shows very persuasively that the Great Depression had little to do with the rise of Hitler – the Nazis’ recipe of egalitarian but nationalist politics was already doing its work before 1929.

By Peter Fritzsche,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Why did ordinary Germans vote for Hitler? In this dramatically plotted book, organized around crucial turning points in 1914, 1918, and 1933, Peter Fritzsche explains why the Nazis were so popular and what was behind the political choice made by the German people.

Rejecting the view that Germans voted for the Nazis simply because they hated the Jews, or had been humiliated in World War I, or had been ruined by the Great Depression, Fritzsche makes the controversial argument that Nazism was part of a larger process of democratization and political invigoration that began with the outbreak of World War…


Book cover of Hitler's First War: Adolf Hitler, the Men of the List Regiment, and the First World War

Benjamin Carter Hett Author Of The Death of Democracy: Hitler's Rise to Power and the Downfall of the Weimar Republic

From my list on the legacy of the First World War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a law school graduate heading for my first job when, unable to think of anything better to do with my last afternoon in London, I wandered through the First World War galleries of the Imperial War Museum. I was hypnotized by a slide show of Great War propaganda posters, stunned by their clever viciousness in getting men to volunteer and wives and girlfriends to pressure them. Increasingly fascinated, I started reading about the war and its aftermath. After several years of this, I quit my job at a law firm and went back to school to become a professor. And here I am.

Benjamin's book list on the legacy of the First World War

Benjamin Carter Hett Why did Benjamin love this book?

Weber is another outstanding and original historian. Here he takes apart all the myths that have accumulated around Hitler’s military service in the First World War, showing that Hitler was a mediocre soldier with a relatively safe job who got medals because the officers knew who he was. Weber also shows how crucial a (legendary) version of Hitler’s war service was to his rise to power.

By Thomas Weber,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hitler's First War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Hitler claimed that his years as a soldier in the First World War were the most formative years of his life. However, for the six decades since his death in the ruins of Berlin, Hitler's time as a soldier on the Western Front has, remarkably, remained a blank spot. Until now, all that we knew about Hitler's life in these years and the regiment in which he served came from his own account in Mein Kampf and the equally mythical accounts of his comrades.

Hitler's First War for the first time looks at what really happened to Private Hitler and…


Book cover of The Very Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan

Paul StJohn Mackintosh Author Of Blowback

From my list on modern Lovecraftian horror.

Why am I passionate about this?

I believe that H.P. Lovecraft, only now appreciated at his full stature, has spawned a whole generation of equally brilliant writers who make modern weird horror the most vibrant, confrontational, and relevant of all current genres. He looms over today’s literature and pop culture like Cthulhu looms over the sea, and his heirs include some of the best writers of their generation. As a much-travelled Scottish writer, I’ve needed tools to tackle the chaotic, disorienting contemporary experience, as well as the darkest, most imaginative strains of my own Celtic legacy. Lovecraftian horrorthrough HPL’s explicit mythos or simply his implicit sensibility—served up the palette I needed to do that. 

Paul's book list on modern Lovecraftian horror

Paul StJohn Mackintosh Why did Paul love this book?

Caitlín R. Kiernan is one of the most prolific, versatile, inventive dark fantasy and horror writers living. Her unique transgressive perspective has won her multiple awards, and her repertoire of styles is as vast as her prose is dazzling. From cosmic horror thrillers to twisted romance, she deepens and enriches every genre she engages with. This collection is an excellent sample across her wide range—and a lure to hook you and draw you deeper into her work.

By Caitlin R. Kiernan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Very Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Pure genius."—New York Times

“Lyrically compelling tales that are nearly impossible to stop reading...fans of weird writers like Carmen Maria Machado, Jeff VanderMeer, and China Mieville will be glad to find this volume and thereby discover a writer who inspired them all.”
—Booklist

Caitlín R. Kiernan is one of dark fantasy and horror’s most acclaimed and influential short fiction writers. Her powerful, unexpected stories shatter morality, gender, and sexuality: a reporter is goaded by her toxic girlfriend into visiting sadistic art exhibits; a countess in a decaying movie theater is sated by her servants; a collector offers his greatest achievement…


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…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in modernity, war, and World War 1?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about modernity, war, and World War 1.

Modernity Explore 49 books about modernity
War Explore 1,841 books about war
World War 1 Explore 876 books about World War 1