10 books like The Second World War

By Antony Beevor,

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

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A Woman of No Importance

By Sonia Purnell,

Book cover of A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II

Virginia Hall was an American spy in Nazi-occupied France during WWII. The genre is non-fiction, but the book flows like historical fiction. Hall is caught up in a male chauvinist world of spies. She is physically handicapped with a limp, but ingeniously turns the defect into an effective disguise. When her supposedly superior male spy handlers fail to provide effective guidance, Hall employs street smarts and courage to create her own spy network. They, of course, take credit for her success and only hamper her operations. This work hits nearly all of my favorite attributes of a story—a woman with superior abilities and courage is stymied and dishonored by prejudice. Irony and empathy for the character abounds. The reader is highly satisfied knowing these are the actual experiences of a real woman. 

A Woman of No Importance

By Sonia Purnell,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked A Woman of No Importance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Chosen as a BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR by NPR, the New York Public Library, Amazon, the Seattle Times, the Washington Independent Review of Books, PopSugar, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, BookBrowse, the Spectator, and the Times of London

Winner of the Plutarch Award for Best Biography

"Excellent...This book is as riveting as any thriller, and as hard to put down." -- The New York Times Book Review

"A compelling biography of a masterful spy, and a reminder of what can be done with a few brave people -- and a little resistance." - NPR

"A…


The Nightingale

By Kristin Hannah,

Book cover of The Nightingale

Kristin Hannah is a favorite author of mine. She takes world events and brings them down to the human side of the story. With massive elements swirling around the story, it is real humans that must try to cope with the horror of war.

The Nightingale is the tale of two French sisters set against the Second World War. One sister only wants to survive and keep her child safe and tried to cooperate with the Nazi invaders. The other sister joins the underground resistance, determined that fighting the enemy will shorten the war.

The Nightingale

By Kristin Hannah,

Why should I read it?

18 authors picked The Nightingale as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Soon to be a major motion picture, The Nightingale is a multi-million copy bestseller across the world. It is a heart-breakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the endurance of women.

This story is about what it was like to be a woman during World War II when women's stories were all too often forgotten or overlooked . . . Vianne and Isabelle Mauriac are two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals and passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path towards survival, love and freedom in war-torn France.

Kristin Hannah's…


The Historical Atlas of World War II

By Alexander Swanston, Malcolm Swanston,

Book cover of The Historical Atlas of World War II: 170 Maps that Chart the Most Cataclysmic Event in Human History

The maps in this volume are so instructive, and it offers comprehensive information on all fronts of the war. For one lacking in geographical and military strategy knowledge, I count this book as invaluable to my research.

The Historical Atlas of World War II

By Alexander Swanston, Malcolm Swanston,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Historical Atlas of World War II examines all the key events of the six-year conflict, with thoroughly researched text accompanied by 170 highly detailed maps. Incredible multimedia profiles of World War II's most significant battles make Historical Atlas of World War II the next best thing to a time machine.

With realistic maps, detailed accounts, and vibrant illustrations, the book transports the reader to famous World War II battles. Using state-of-the-art technology, special microchips translated the contours of two-dimensional maps of battlefields into realistic renderings of actual landscapes. Illustrators then overlaid these maps with all of the information at their…


No Time for Fear

By Diane Burke Fessler,

Book cover of No Time for Fear: Voices of American Military Nurses in World War II

It’s almost impossible to embrace what deployed nurses went through in World War II. This book reveals some of the trials they endured, depending on their theater. Some suffered imprisonment and torture, while nearly all of these women worked under duress and danger we can scarcely imagine.

No Time for Fear

By Diane Burke Fessler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked No Time for Fear as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

No Time for Fear summons the voices of more than 100 women who served as nurses overseas during World War II, letting them tell their story as no one else can. Fessler has meticulously compiled and transcribed more than 200 interviews with American military nurses of the Army, Army Air Force, and Navy who were present in all theatres of WWII.

Their stories bring to life horrific tales of illness and hardship, blinding blizzards, and near starvation - all faced with courage, tenacity, and even good humour. This unique oral-history collection makes available to readers an important counterpoint to the…


The War of the Worlds

By H.G. Wells,

Book cover of The War of the Worlds

This steam-age portrayal of an alien invasion grabbed my attention when I was in grade school. The author’s description of burning cities and forests painted a picture of ecological horror in my imagination. The impact of that has stayed with me, so much so that I have included the ecological consequences of war in much of what I have written.

The War of the Worlds

By H.G. Wells,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The War of the Worlds as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

But planet Earth was not only being watched - soon it would be invaded by monstrous creatures from Mars who strode about the land in great mechanical tripods, bringing death and destruction with them. What can possibly stop an invading army equipped with heat-rays and poisonous black gas, intent on wiping out the human race? This is one man's story of that incredible invasion, from the time the first Martians land near his home town, to the destruction of London. Is this the end of human life on Earth?


Collapse

By Jared Diamond,

Book cover of Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive

Diamond is not an economist, but he thinks like one. In this book, he looks at civilizations that failed, drawing illuminating and important insights about the ways in which population pressures on resources can result in the collapse and disappearance of civilizations. The tales he tells offer a chilling warning about the need to attend to humankind’s impact on the world around us.

Collapse

By Jared Diamond,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the author of Guns, Germs and Steel, Jared Diamond's Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive is a visionary study of the mysterious downfall of past civilizations.

Now in a revised edition with a new afterword, Jared Diamond's Collapse uncovers the secret behind why some societies flourish, while others founder - and what this means for our future.

What happened to the people who made the forlorn long-abandoned statues of Easter Island?
What happened to the architects of the crumbling Maya pyramids?
Will we go the same way, our skyscrapers one day standing derelict and overgrown like the…


The Road

By Cormac McCarthy,

Book cover of The Road

I can’t say enough about this apocalyptic horror novel. The prose is beautiful, the realism adds to the tragedy, and the terror created is truly gut-wrenching. Everything that occurs in this story is realistic and powerful. This novel is so well done that the main characters don’t even need names for the reader to feel their pain. By reading this book, I learned exactly what high-level horror could truly be. If done right, horror can transcend into timeless art.

The Road

By Cormac McCarthy,

Why should I read it?

23 authors picked The Road as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE • A searing, post-apocalyptic novel about a father and son's fight to survive, this "tale of survival and the miracle of goodness only adds to McCarthy's stature as a living master. It's gripping, frightening and, ultimately, beautiful" (San Francisco Chronicle).

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don't know what, if…


The Uninhabitable Earth

By David Wallace-Wells,

Book cover of The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming

A well-written erudite work that explores all aspects of civilization relative to the degree and rate of global warming. It illustrates a broad and compelling narrative of all the plant aspects, from Hunger to Policy. It uses language that is incredibly descriptive, and very relatable to bring the impact of climate change home to readers who may be unfamiliar with all of the complexities of climate change.

The Uninhabitable Earth

By David Wallace-Wells,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Uninhabitable Earth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

**SUNDAY TIMES AND THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER**

'An epoch-defining book' Matt Haig
'If you read just one work of non-fiction this year, it should probably be this' David Sexton, Evening Standard

Selected as a Book of the Year 2019 by the Sunday Times, Spectator and New Statesman
A Waterstones Paperback of the Year and shortlisted for the Foyles Book of the Year 2019
Longlisted for the PEN / E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award

It is worse, much worse, than you think.

The slowness of climate change is a fairy tale, perhaps as pernicious as the one that says…


The Second World War

By Martin Gilbert,

Book cover of The Second World War: A Complete History

This 900-page history is a vivid account of WWII across all fronts. Though the research is meticulous and covers the length of the war, the explanations are clear and fascinating and the chronology makes it feel like a guided tour through time. Along the way, Gilbert interposes a human face and a very personal account, revealing upheaval and atrocities, but ensuring that there is a permanent record of those civilians, particularly Jews, who died without just cause. And the examples and conditions endured are at times difficult to read and heartbreaking. The book covers all aspects, from battle lines to partisan attacks, to numbers killed, to firsthand accounts, to Hitler’s inners circle, and more. This is an outstanding read and this book is just one of Gilbert’s many significant contributions as a historian.

The Second World War

By Martin Gilbert,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Originally published by Weidenfeld in 1989 and now available in paperback, a history of the Second World War, which looks at its political, diplomatic, military and civilian aspects.


1939

By Michael Jabara Carley,

Book cover of 1939: The Alliance That Never Was and the Coming of World War II

Irresistibly clear and readable, this book explains the biggest mistake that France and Britain made before war broke out. Gripped by “ideological anti-Communism,” they simply could not bring themselves to forge an alliance with the Soviet Union against Hitler’s Germany. As a result, Hitler beat them to the punch. After he struck his own deal with Stalin and thus neutralized any Soviet threat to his belligerence, Germany and the Soviets carved up Poland between them. And even though Britain and France had pledged to defend Poland, the only thing they did for that poor, brave nation after Hitler invaded it was to declare war on Germany—and then do nothing for the next seven months of what came to be known as the “joke war.”

1939

By Michael Jabara Carley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked 1939 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At a crucial point in the twentieth century, as Nazi Germany prepared for war, negotiations between Britain, France, and the Soviet Union became the last chance to halt Hitler's aggression. Incredibly, the French and British governments dallied, talks failed, and in August 1939 the Soviet Union signed a nonaggression pact with Germany. Michael Carley's gripping account of these negotiations is not a pretty story. It is about the failures of appeasement and collective security in Europe. It is about moral depravity and blindness, about villains and cowards, and about heroes who stood against the intellectual and popular tides of their…


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