100 books like The Most Dangerous Enemy

By Stephen Bungay,

Here are 100 books that The Most Dangerous Enemy fans have personally recommended if you like The Most Dangerous Enemy. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Fighter Boys: The Battle of Britain, 1940

Helena P. Schrader Author Of Where Eagles Never Flew: A Battle of Britain Novel

From my list on the Battle of Britain.

Who am I?

I'm a retired diplomat and award-winning novelist with a PhD in history. I became fascinated by the Battle of Britain because of a visit to RAF Tangmere, a Battle of Britain airfield, when I was still a girl; that encounter captured my imagination for a lifetime. I read every book I could find, I spent hours in the Imperial War Museum gazing (and touching) the Spitfire. I purchased the memoirs of pilots, watched films, and interviews. I started writing a Battle of Britain novel while still at university, but it was 30 years before I released a book. Within weeks one of the few surviving aces, Wing Commander Bob Doe, wrote me that I had got it “smack on the way it was for us fighter pilots.” There can be no higher compliment to an author of historical fiction.  

Helena's book list on the Battle of Britain

Helena P. Schrader Why did Helena love this book?

With great skill and sensitivity, Bishop depicts the human drama of the Battle of Britain. Bishop allows the pilots to speak for themselves, collecting their thoughts from letters, diaries, speeches, and memoirs, and presenting these within a chronological framework reinforced with historical context provided by the author. The result is a wonderfully readable and moving book that embraces not just the Battle of Britain itself but also explains the society in which the heroes of the Battle were born, the institution (RAF) in which they served, and the world in which they died. It ends with a chapter telling what happened to the survivors after the war. Altogether a beautiful tribute to the “Few.”

By Patrick Bishop,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For 123 days in the summer of 1940, 3,000 youthful airmen in the Royal Air Force fought back against Hitler's advancing forces with a heroism that astonished the world. Drawing on interviews with scores of surviving pilots as well as diaries and letters never before seen, military historian and journalist Patrick Bishop re-creates with astonishing intimacy and clarity this excruciating, exhilarating war of nerves. In their own words, the pilots describe what it was like to bale out from a stricken plane, to go into battle in the face of overwhelming odds, to hear the screams of a comrade as…


Book cover of The Few: Summer 1940, The Battle of Britain

Helena P. Schrader Author Of Where Eagles Never Flew: A Battle of Britain Novel

From my list on the Battle of Britain.

Who am I?

I'm a retired diplomat and award-winning novelist with a PhD in history. I became fascinated by the Battle of Britain because of a visit to RAF Tangmere, a Battle of Britain airfield, when I was still a girl; that encounter captured my imagination for a lifetime. I read every book I could find, I spent hours in the Imperial War Museum gazing (and touching) the Spitfire. I purchased the memoirs of pilots, watched films, and interviews. I started writing a Battle of Britain novel while still at university, but it was 30 years before I released a book. Within weeks one of the few surviving aces, Wing Commander Bob Doe, wrote me that I had got it “smack on the way it was for us fighter pilots.” There can be no higher compliment to an author of historical fiction.  

Helena's book list on the Battle of Britain

Helena P. Schrader Why did Helena love this book?

Because pictures are worth a thousand words, I had to include this “coffee-table” book about the Battle of Britain among the “best five” books. This book is 200 pages of evocative images — of aircraft, of pilots, WAAF, controllers, and commanders, of landscapes, airfields, and equipment. The words of Bungay and especially Bishop are transformed into something more tangible and understandable by this lovely collection of contemporary photographs.

By Philip Kaplan, Richard Collier,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Fifty years ago, in the blue skies of a late English summer, history's first major air battle was fought. In a journey to the airfields and other key locations, this book looks back on the Battle of Britain.


Book cover of Nine Lives (Witness to War)

Helena P. Schrader Author Of Where Eagles Never Flew: A Battle of Britain Novel

From my list on the Battle of Britain.

Who am I?

I'm a retired diplomat and award-winning novelist with a PhD in history. I became fascinated by the Battle of Britain because of a visit to RAF Tangmere, a Battle of Britain airfield, when I was still a girl; that encounter captured my imagination for a lifetime. I read every book I could find, I spent hours in the Imperial War Museum gazing (and touching) the Spitfire. I purchased the memoirs of pilots, watched films, and interviews. I started writing a Battle of Britain novel while still at university, but it was 30 years before I released a book. Within weeks one of the few surviving aces, Wing Commander Bob Doe, wrote me that I had got it “smack on the way it was for us fighter pilots.” There can be no higher compliment to an author of historical fiction.  

Helena's book list on the Battle of Britain

Helena P. Schrader Why did Helena love this book?

Nine Lives is an autobiography by one of the RAF aces of the Battle of Britain and, as such, is one of a handful of authentic accounts about the Battle told by a participant. (I actually recommend all these first-hand accounts, but since I’m limited to five titles altogether, I confine myself to two.) Deere’s account stands out for its brutal honesty and his willingness to analyze his behavior and reactions to events. It is not a literary masterpiece, but its sincerity is all the greater. Deere was a New Zealander and therefore this book highlights the often-forgotten contribution of Britain’s Commonwealth to the Battle of Britain.

By Alan C. Deere,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Nine Lives (Witness to War) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is the autobiography of Alan Deere, New Zealand’s most famous RAF pilot who saw action from the Munich Crisis to the invasion of France in 1944.

Al Deere experienced the drama of the early days of the Battle of Britain while serving with Spitfire squadrons based at Hornchurch and Manston, and his compelling story tells of the successes and frustrations of those critical weeks.

Deere’s nine lives are the accounts of his fantastic luck in escaping from seemingly impossible situations. During the Battle of Britain he parachuted from stricken aircraft on three occasions and once was blown up by…


Book cover of First Light: The True Story of the Boy Who Became a Man in the War-Torn Skies above Britain

Helena P. Schrader Author Of Where Eagles Never Flew: A Battle of Britain Novel

From my list on the Battle of Britain.

Who am I?

I'm a retired diplomat and award-winning novelist with a PhD in history. I became fascinated by the Battle of Britain because of a visit to RAF Tangmere, a Battle of Britain airfield, when I was still a girl; that encounter captured my imagination for a lifetime. I read every book I could find, I spent hours in the Imperial War Museum gazing (and touching) the Spitfire. I purchased the memoirs of pilots, watched films, and interviews. I started writing a Battle of Britain novel while still at university, but it was 30 years before I released a book. Within weeks one of the few surviving aces, Wing Commander Bob Doe, wrote me that I had got it “smack on the way it was for us fighter pilots.” There can be no higher compliment to an author of historical fiction.  

Helena's book list on the Battle of Britain

Helena P. Schrader Why did Helena love this book?

First Light is also a memoir by a Battle of Britain veteran, but Wellum was not an ace. Wellum was a very young and very junior pilot during the Battle, and this book, written with the wisdom of hindsight by a mature Wellum, is more reflective and analytical than Deere’s account. That is its value. Wellum is a masterful writer and possesses a marked ability to evoke a mood. It is precisely because Wellum writes with mature understanding that he captures so well the innocence and naivety of his past self. This book does not educate one about the Battle of Britain, but it pulls you into the cockpit and the heart of a young man caught up in it. A wonderful read.

By Geoffrey Wellum,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The first-hand account of a 17-year-old Englishman who became an ace fighter pilot with the RAF, the youngest at the time, and flew Spitfires during the Battle of Britain.


Book cover of Eagle Day: The Battle of Britain

Melvyn Fickling Author Of Bluebirds

From my list on about the Battle of Britain (from someone with a lifelong fascination for it).

Who am I?

It all started in the cinema of a seaside town in 1970 when, as a young boy, I sat open-mouthed in front of a sparkling Technicolour movie. Before my eyes, the very foundations of British life were defended from tyranny by dashing pilots riding in sleek, powerful fighter planes. The film, The Battle of Britain, instilled a life-long fascination with the events of 1940. Years later I discovered one of The Few had grown up in my hometown and was buried in our local graveyard. I started to research the life and times of this man and his story became the foundations of my first novel, Bluebirds.

Melvyn's book list on about the Battle of Britain (from someone with a lifelong fascination for it)

Melvyn Fickling Why did Melvyn love this book?

It might be a venerable classic, but it’s still in print for a very good reason. Collier focusses on the six weeks of 1940’s English summer when Great Britain was in extreme peril of defeat and subjugation. He relates the history of this pivotal moment using a rich tapestry of personal accounts and eye-witness testimonies of the real people who were involved in this epic struggle. We hear the voices of pilots fighting for their lives in the air, their crews grafting on the ground to keep the aircraft serviceable and the civilians who daily watched the frenetic dogfights that swirled through the sky above their towns and villages, duels to the death upon which the very fate of the nation depended.

By Richard Collier,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is the gripping story of the Battle of Britain; of some of the most fateful weeks in history.

Drawing on eyewitness accounts from both the RAF and the Luftwaffe, this is a compelling story of history in the making through an intensely fought battle, taking the reader into the heart of the action as told by those who fought and experienced it.

The book not only captures the often savage reality of the air battles over the Channel and southern England, but it also traces the true course of the Battle of Britain as it unfolded between August 6th…


Book cover of The Battle of Britain: Five Months That Changed History; May-October 1940

Melvyn Fickling Author Of Bluebirds

From my list on about the Battle of Britain (from someone with a lifelong fascination for it).

Who am I?

It all started in the cinema of a seaside town in 1970 when, as a young boy, I sat open-mouthed in front of a sparkling Technicolour movie. Before my eyes, the very foundations of British life were defended from tyranny by dashing pilots riding in sleek, powerful fighter planes. The film, The Battle of Britain, instilled a life-long fascination with the events of 1940. Years later I discovered one of The Few had grown up in my hometown and was buried in our local graveyard. I started to research the life and times of this man and his story became the foundations of my first novel, Bluebirds.

Melvyn's book list on about the Battle of Britain (from someone with a lifelong fascination for it)

Melvyn Fickling Why did Melvyn love this book?

Historian James Holland is also a novelist, and it is that parallel writing talent that makes his history books as compelling to read as a thriller novel. In this history of the Battle of Britain he casts his net back to events in France, marking the beginning of the battle proper as early May 1940, two months before the officially recorded date. This presents the battle as a continuation of the wider events that caused it to be necessary. He widens his narrative beyond the desperate struggles of the fighter pilots to include the experiences of bomber command, the navy, the back-room boffins, and the politicians. The result is a highly readable and deeply satisfying account of one of history’s most important pivotal events.

By James Holland,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A groundbreaking new account of the Battle of Britain from acclaimed Cambridge historian James Holland

The Battle of Britain paints a stirring picture of an extraordinary summer when the fate of the world hung by a thread. Historian James Holland has now written the definitive account of those months based on extensive new research from around the world including thousands of new interviews with people on both sides of the battle. If Britain's defenses collapsed, Hitler would have dominated all of Europe. With France facing defeat and British forces pressed back to the Channel, there were few who believed Britain…


Book cover of A Moment in Time

Catherine Law Author Of Map of Stars: A heartbreaking Second World War love story

From my list on people doing extraordinary things during wars.

Who am I?

I am a journalist and writer fascinated by the fact that every family has a story to tell, and secrets to keep, passed down the years. As a child, I was intrigued by the adventures of my great-aunts and great-uncles during World War Two; ordinary people thrown into conflict—that older, no-nonsense generation no longer with us. My first novel, A Season of Leaves, is based on my great-auntie’s incredible experiences during and after the war. I listened to her account, researched meticulously, and wove fact into fiction. All my novels have a touch of romance, family conflict, and the real trauma of war visited upon people’s doorsteps.

Catherine's book list on people doing extraordinary things during wars

Catherine Law Why did Catherine love this book?

The Kent countryside has a strong enough presence in this book to become a character in its own right, when the exquisite beauty of an English summer contrasts with the lethal Battle of Britain dog fights leaving vapour trails in the sky overhead. As a local young woman befriends a group of brave, doomed fighter pilots, the story captures the desperation and the absurdities of conflict, and the tender nature of transient and yet hopeful love. The author was commissioned by the RAF to write about the war, and I can tell from his pinpoint, unflinching detail of that unsettling time, that he was a first-hand eyewitness. 

By H.E. Bates,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Moment in Time as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of RAF On the Offensive: The Rebirth of Tactical Air Power 1940-1941

Vic Flintham Author Of Close Call: RAF Close Air Support in the Mediterranean Volume II Sicily to Victory in Italy 1943-1945

From my list on modern military aviation.

Who am I?

Born in London at the height of the Blitz I am a retired NHS Director with a lifelong interest in military aviation. My first journal article, on the Suez Campaign, was published in 1965 since when I have written some 90 articles and eight books and have contributed chapters to several more. Most of my books are triggered by a challenge and I always try to cover ground hitherto ignored so that my books become a unique reference. Works in progress include a history of the RAF involvement in Greece from 1940 to 1950 and the work of the RAF between the wars. I live in Sherborne, Dorset, England.

Vic's book list on modern military aviation

Vic Flintham Why did Vic love this book?

Greg Baughen had written over a million words on the evolving role and functions of the Royal Air Force from its foundation in 1918 to the post-second world war period, then decided to find a publisher!

The work is thus published in a number of volumes this being the fourth. Never frightened to challenge conventional wisdom the author deals with the RAF and British Government’s preoccupation with strategic bombing at the cost of developing effective tactical air power. As he notes German occupation of much of Europe was accomplished on the ground with effective air support.

By Greg Baughen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Long before the start of the Second World War it had been believed that strategic bombing would be the deciding factor in any future conflict. Then Hitler launched the Blitzkrieg upon France and the Low Countries in 1940, and the much-vaunted French Army and the British Expeditionary Force were swept away in just six weeks.

This new form of warfare shook the Air Ministry, but the expected invasion never came and the Battle of Britain was fought in the air. It seemed that air forces operating independently could determine the course of the war. An Army scarcely seemed necessary for…


Book cover of Spitfire

Melvyn Fickling Author Of Bluebirds

From my list on about the Battle of Britain (from someone with a lifelong fascination for it).

Who am I?

It all started in the cinema of a seaside town in 1970 when, as a young boy, I sat open-mouthed in front of a sparkling Technicolour movie. Before my eyes, the very foundations of British life were defended from tyranny by dashing pilots riding in sleek, powerful fighter planes. The film, The Battle of Britain, instilled a life-long fascination with the events of 1940. Years later I discovered one of The Few had grown up in my hometown and was buried in our local graveyard. I started to research the life and times of this man and his story became the foundations of my first novel, Bluebirds.

Melvyn's book list on about the Battle of Britain (from someone with a lifelong fascination for it)

Melvyn Fickling Why did Melvyn love this book?

The book is well named. The Spitfire invokes a visceral response in most people, amplified in those that feel even the slightest cultural connection to the events that unfolded in the Kentish skies in 1940. Nichol centres his book on this emotional premise, conveying the feelings of the pilots who flew the Spitfire, including the ladies of the Air Transport Auxiliary, and the crews that maintained them. We learn about the development of this most beautiful of all warbirds and follow it into all the world’s theatres of war, a story expressed through the first-hand accounts of many veterans who flew and fought behind the roar of the Merlin. This is as close as most of us will come to being inside the cockpit of a Spitfire.

By John Nichol,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE SUNDAY TIMES NON FICTION BESTSELLER
WHSmith NON-FICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR 2018

'The best book you will ever read about Britain's greatest warplane' Patrick Bishop, bestselling author of Fighter Boys
'A rich and heartfelt tribute to this most iconic British machine' Rowland White, bestselling author of Vulcan 607
'As the RAF marks its centenary, Nichol has created a thrilling and often moving tribute to some of its greatest heroes' Mail on Sunday magazine

The iconic Spitfire found fame during the darkest early days of World War II. But what happened to the redoubtable fighter and its crews beyond the…


Book cover of Tally-Ho! A Yankee in a Spitfire

Melvyn Fickling Author Of Bluebirds

From my list on about the Battle of Britain (from someone with a lifelong fascination for it).

Who am I?

It all started in the cinema of a seaside town in 1970 when, as a young boy, I sat open-mouthed in front of a sparkling Technicolour movie. Before my eyes, the very foundations of British life were defended from tyranny by dashing pilots riding in sleek, powerful fighter planes. The film, The Battle of Britain, instilled a life-long fascination with the events of 1940. Years later I discovered one of The Few had grown up in my hometown and was buried in our local graveyard. I started to research the life and times of this man and his story became the foundations of my first novel, Bluebirds.

Melvyn's book list on about the Battle of Britain (from someone with a lifelong fascination for it)

Melvyn Fickling Why did Melvyn love this book?

Art Donahue is the inspiration for my character, Gerry Donaldson, in my book, and Tally-Ho! is the book he wrote about his life while the Battle of Britain was still raging around him. Art was one of many Americans who volunteered at the risk of losing US citizenship, but as a fully qualified flying instructor he jumped the queue and very quickly found himself in a Spitfire cockpit flying into hostile skies with 64 Squadron. Donahue went on to fight in other theatres and write further on his experiences. Sadly, he did not survive the war, but this unique and vibrant document serves as a memorial and a celebration of a true American pioneer.

By Arthur Donahue,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tally-Ho! A Yankee in a Spitfire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Arthur "Art" Donahue was an American who volunteered to join the Royal Air Force in the early days of the Second World War. Flying a Spitfire in the Battle of Britain, he became the first American fighter pilot to fly in action in the Second World War, as well as the first American pilot to be shot down in combat during that war.

Tally Ho! Yankee in a Spitfire is Art Donahue's vivid memoir of his time as a Spitfire pilot during the Battle of Britain and the blitz. It reveals a man who was both brave and reflective. The…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the Battle of Britain, the Luftwaffe, and the British Royal Air Force?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the Battle of Britain, the Luftwaffe, and the British Royal Air Force.

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