100 books like The Smoking Mountain

By Kay Boyle,

Here are 100 books that The Smoking Mountain fans have personally recommended if you like The Smoking Mountain. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Last of the Conquerors

Ellen Feldman Author Of The Living and the Lost

From my list on the allied occupation of Germany.

Why am I passionate about this?

Surprisingly little has been written about the postwar Occupation of Germany by the US, UK, France, and USSR. Yet it was a crucial and colorful, one might say lurid, interval in recent history. Berlin, which is the setting of my novel, The Living and the Lost, was a latter day Wild West where drunken soldiers brawled; the desperate preyed on the unsuspecting; spies plied their trade; werewolves, as unrepentant Nazis were called, schemed to rise again; black markets peddled everything from drugs to sex; and forbidden fraternization between American G.Is and Frauleins was rampant. I did a great deal of research on the period and place. Here are five books that bring the world stunningly to life.

Ellen's book list on the allied occupation of Germany

Ellen Feldman Why did Ellen love this book?

The Last of the Conquerors by William Gardner Smith, a Black G.I. who served in Germany after the war, is a beautifully written, with a Hemingwayesque flair, look at the Occupation from someone who was there. This clear indictment of the segregated U.S. Army pretending to spread democracy and equality in a defeated nation that treats Blacks perhaps not well, but better than America does, is honest, painful, and especially relevant to our moment. An interesting footnote to the book is the difficulty of obtaining a copy these days. The one I read came from the New York Public Library, but a quick check of used books online reveals an old paperback that was originally 75 cents now selling for $35 and a hardcover for $475.

By William Gardner Smith, James Avati (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Last of the Conquerors' handles the explosive theme of Negro GI's in Occupied Germany--their experiences with the men, women and girls of that defeated country. From inside Front Cover: "Now I know what it is to walk into any place, any place, without worrying about whether the serve colored. You ain't been here long enough to feel that like I do. You know what the hell I learned? That a nigger ain't no different from nobody else....They don't teach that stuff back in the land of the free." In Occupied Berlin, Negro soldiers were treated in a way that they…


Book cover of Out of the Shelter

Ellen Feldman Author Of The Living and the Lost

From my list on the allied occupation of Germany.

Why am I passionate about this?

Surprisingly little has been written about the postwar Occupation of Germany by the US, UK, France, and USSR. Yet it was a crucial and colorful, one might say lurid, interval in recent history. Berlin, which is the setting of my novel, The Living and the Lost, was a latter day Wild West where drunken soldiers brawled; the desperate preyed on the unsuspecting; spies plied their trade; werewolves, as unrepentant Nazis were called, schemed to rise again; black markets peddled everything from drugs to sex; and forbidden fraternization between American G.Is and Frauleins was rampant. I did a great deal of research on the period and place. Here are five books that bring the world stunningly to life.

Ellen's book list on the allied occupation of Germany

Ellen Feldman Why did Ellen love this book?

Out of Shelter, David Lodge's first novel, is a lighter take on the Occupation in its later years. This autobiographical coming-of-age story, which he had trouble getting published, is a tale of a young British boy’s summer-long visit to his sister who’s working for the Americans in Germany. His awakening from a cossetted English childhood of rigid rules and postwar scarcity to a wider world of less certain moralities and astonishing American abundance is at once touching, funny, and written with Lodge’s usual grace and wit.

By David Lodge,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Traveling from England, where rationing is in effect, Timothy Young visits Heidelberg where his sister Kath, who works for the American army, enjoys a life of plenty.


Book cover of Deutschland - April 1945

Ellen Feldman Author Of The Living and the Lost

From my list on the allied occupation of Germany.

Why am I passionate about this?

Surprisingly little has been written about the postwar Occupation of Germany by the US, UK, France, and USSR. Yet it was a crucial and colorful, one might say lurid, interval in recent history. Berlin, which is the setting of my novel, The Living and the Lost, was a latter day Wild West where drunken soldiers brawled; the desperate preyed on the unsuspecting; spies plied their trade; werewolves, as unrepentant Nazis were called, schemed to rise again; black markets peddled everything from drugs to sex; and forbidden fraternization between American G.Is and Frauleins was rampant. I did a great deal of research on the period and place. Here are five books that bring the world stunningly to life.

Ellen's book list on the allied occupation of Germany

Ellen Feldman Why did Ellen love this book?

Deutschland by Margaret Bourke-White paints a raw and wrenching portrait of Germany in the immediate aftermath of the war. The photographs of the suffering and destruction are shocking. The first-hand observations are immediate, occasionally wry, and cover everything from the black market; the relative appeal of American, British, and French soldiers to German girls; and social dancing classes.

Book cover of Jews, Germans, and Allies: Close Encounters in Occupied Germany

Ori Yehudai Author Of Leaving Zion: Jewish Emigration from Palestine and Israel after World War II

From my list on modern Jewish migration and displacement.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian at The Ohio State University. When I started my academic studies in Israel, I was initially interested in European history and only later began focusing on Jewish and Israeli history. I’m not exactly sure what attracted me to this career, but it’s probably the desire to better understand my own society and identity. I enjoy studying migration because it has played such an important role in Israeli and Jewish history, and even in my own life as an “academic wanderer.” Migration also provides a fascinating perspective on the links between large-scale historical events and the lives of individuals, and on the relationships between physical place, movement, and identity. 

Ori's book list on modern Jewish migration and displacement

Ori Yehudai Why did Ori love this book?

During the years immediately following World War II, around a quarter of a million Jewish Holocaust survivors gathered in displaced persons camps and other places in Allied-occupied Germany. Atina Grossmann examines the complicated and unexpected interactions between those Jewish refugees and their German neighbors and American occupation soldiers, exploring political and ideological questions as well as details of everyday life, with a particular focus on the role of gender and sexuality. Paying attention to multiple voices and perspectives, Grossmann brings to life the hardships, dilemmas, ironies, and hopes of postwar displacement and reconstruction. 

By Atina Grossmann,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the immediate aftermath of World War II, more than a quarter million Jewish survivors of the Holocaust lived among their defeated persecutors in the chaotic society of Allied-occupied Germany. Jews, Germans, and Allies draws upon the wealth of diary and memoir literature by the people who lived through postwar reconstruction to trace the conflicting ways Jews and Germans defined their own victimization and survival, comprehended the trauma of war and genocide, and struggled to rebuild their lives. In gripping and unforgettable detail, Atina Grossmann describes Berlin in the days following Germany's surrender--the mass rape of German women by the…


Book cover of The Tin Drum

Maithreyi Karnoor Author Of Sylvia

From my list on striking while the ‘irony’ is hot.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write fiction and poetry in English and translate literary works from Kannada, a South Indian language. I was shortlisted for the Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Prize, and twice in a row for the Montreal International Poetry Prize. I had the Charles Wallace India Trust Fellowship in writing and translation at LAF and UWTSD in 2022. As a reader, I admire original and clever use of language, writing that portrays with humour the profundity in the absurdity of life, that which makes the quotidian quotable – writing that strikes while the ‘irony’ is hot. These are qualities that I think are intuitive in my own writing. I've enjoyed the following books for these reasons. 

Maithreyi's book list on striking while the ‘irony’ is hot

Maithreyi Karnoor Why did Maithreyi love this book?

A fantastic work of a surefooted wordsmith takes an equally talented translator to carry it across the linguistic barrier in a way that makes it a literary treat in its own right.

I’m envious of Breon Mitchell’s limpid linguistic manoeuvering that has rendered the German modern classic very enjoyable in English. The narration set in Nazi times as told by a dwarf – who is rather unlikeable by all counts – is an ingenious technique of stripping bad politics to its bare bones and laying out the nonsense that remains.

It is political without being political. There are signs galore in the book for metaphor hunters, but I simply revelled in the language of this remarkable debut work.           

By Günter Grass, Breon Mitchell (translator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Tin Drum as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

WITH A NEW FOREWORD BY THE AUTHOR On his third birthday Oskar decides to stop growing. Haunted by the deaths of his parents and wielding his tin drum Oskar recounts the events of his extraordinary life; from the long nightmare of the Nazi era to his anarchic adventures is post-war Germany.


Book cover of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany

David Hanna Author Of Broken Icarus: The 1933 Chicago World's Fair, the Golden Age of Aviation, and the Rise of Fascism

From my list on the perils of fascism.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've found the creep of authoritarianism to be very disquieting. One would have to be willfully blind to not see its manifestations both here and abroad. I wanted to better understand how this phenomenon cast its shadow over the world and I found the '33 Chicago World's Fair an ideal lens to view this through. I've been fascinated by world's fairs since I was a child and the '33 Fair was the first to consciously feature the future. I'm also strangely drawn to this period – if I believed in reincarnation it might provide answers, but I don't. The Zeitgeist just before the full, brutal ugliness of fascism broke over the world, fascinates me.

David's book list on the perils of fascism

David Hanna Why did David love this book?

The first half of the book is like watching a slow-motion car wreck. There were so many missed opportunities to stop Hitler before he did his worst, I wanted to shout ‘Stop this guy before it’s too late!’ Alas… Shirer was our man in Vienna and Berlin from the late 1920s-early 1940s, which adds an intimacy to his words that I find lacking in other similar accounts.

By William L. Shirer,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It was Hitler's boast that the Third Reich would last a thousand years. Instead it lasted only twelve. But into its short life was packed the most cataclysmic series of events that Western civilisation has ever known.

William Shirer is one of the very few historians to have gained full access to the secret German archives which the Allies captured intact. He was also present at the Nuremberg trials.

First published sixty years ago, Shirer's account of the years 1933-45, when the Nazis, under the rule of their despotic leader Adolf Hitler, ruled Germany is held up as a classic…


Book cover of The Green and the Brown: A History of Conservation in Nazi Germany

Judith Sumner Author Of Plants Go to War: A Botanical History of World War II

From my list on natural environmental science Nazi Germany.

Why am I passionate about this?

The ethnobotanist Richard Evans Schultes noted that botanists should write history because so much history involves plants. Coincidentally, I am a botanist with a deep interest in history. I began as a child botanizing abandoned farmers’ fields, and now I am always on the lookout for topics at the intersection of plants and human affairs. The books on my list are among many I read while researching for my book. In exploring the role of plants in warfare, I have synthesized vast information about human and military needs, from rationed foods to camouflage and battlefront medicine. Germany provided many unexpected findings.  

Judith's book list on natural environmental science Nazi Germany

Judith Sumner Why did Judith love this book?

Conservation was an offshoot of the Blut und Boden (blood and soil) ideology of the Third Reich, in which Aryan families were linked to the land through a hereditary right and the promotion of rural values.

Native plants and countryside habitats were considered superior and worthy of preservation, and conservation evolved from its 19th-century origins to nationalist thinking in the 1930s. I was particularly intrigued by the Dauerwald (continuous forest), a set of forestry practices in which clear-cutting was replaced by selective cutting, keeping habitats and plant populations intact.

The growing demand for wood in the wartime economy required conservation, which was viewed with suspicion after the war because of its connections to Third Reich doctrine.

By Frank Uekoetter,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This study provides the first comprehensive discussion of conservation in Nazi Germany. Looking at Germany in an international context, it analyses the roots of conservation in the late nineteenth century, the gradual adaptation of racist and nationalist thinking among conservationists in the 1920s and their indifference to the Weimar Republic. It describes how the German conservation movement came to cooperate with the Nazi regime and discusses the ideological and institutional lines between the conservation movement and the Nazis. Uekoetter further examines how the conservation movement struggled to do away with a troublesome past after World War II, making the environmentalists…


Book cover of RSHA Reich Security Main Office: Organisation, Activities, Personnel

Robert Temple Author Of Drunk on Power Vol 1: A Senior Defector's Inside Account of the Nazi Secret Police State

From my list on the inner workings of Nazi Germany.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I find a big story that has not come out, which has massive relevance for history and for the entire world, I go all out to bring it to light, as I have done with this book. Most of the books I have written have been devoted to telling big, unknown stories that concern the world. (Examples: alien intelligence, the origins of ancient civilisations, the Chinese contribution to the history of inventions, the existence of optical technology in antiquity, who were the people who tried and executed King Charles I and why did they do it.) I simply had to expose this information to the public.

Robert's book list on the inner workings of Nazi Germany

Robert Temple Why did Robert love this book?

This is a gigantic book of 665 pages, and a reading task not for the faint-hearted. It has no index, but then, preparing one might have taken months and easily have added another 100 pages to the book.

It is a reference book which can aid anyone seriously interested in the SS security services, the SD. Much of it is based on the basic SS files seized after the War, and it summarises and reproduces those with meticulous and overwhelming thoroughness. But it must be pointed out that the higher-level secret files of the SS and SD have never been found.

The Heinrich Pfeifer book supplies a great deal of information which was unavailable to Tyas. The personnel files of the department heads of the SD have not been found, and the most detailed account of that level of the operations of the SD is to be found in Pfeifer’s…

By Stephen Tyas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked RSHA Reich Security Main Office as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

During the Nazi regime in Germany, all police forces were centralised under the command of Reichsfuhrer-SS Heinrich Himmler. The political police (Gestapo), the criminal police (Kripo), and the security service (SD) were all brought together under the RSHA umbrella in 1939, commanded by SS-General Reinhard Heydrich. Using RSHA in Berlin as the centre, the web of Heydrich's control extended into every corner of Nazi-occupied Europe. British and American intelligence agencies tried to get to grips with RSHA departments at the end of the war, knowing who was who and what they did, relying on what captured RSHA personnel told them…


Book cover of Travelers in the Third Reich

Nick Brodie Author Of 1787: The Lost Chapters of Australia's Beginnings

From my list on changing how you see history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a professional history nerd who is perennially interested in both sides of the history coin: What happened? How do we know? I’ve got a PhD in sixteenth-century European history, have written articles that cover things from antiquity to Vikings in America, and have written several history books about Australia and its region. I like history that is robust, so I’m always looking for books that make clever use of sources. And I love stories that disrupt preconceptions, so I enjoy researching and writing and reading histories that make you think.

Nick's book list on changing how you see history

Nick Brodie Why did Nick love this book?

Brilliantly executed, this stunning book provides a composite firsthand view of history’s darkest turn. Using a suite of interesting travellers in Hitler’s Germany this book perfectly captures the looming ominousness and increasing brutality of this infamous time and place. It also reveals a very human capacity to be misled, prejudiced, or uninterested. This is a book that will open your eyes to the past and make you think hard about the present.

By Julia Boyd,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Travelers in the Third Reich as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This fascinating and shocking history of the rise of the Nazis draws together a multitude of expatriate voices - even Charles Lindbergh and Samuel Beckett - into a powerful narrative charting this extraordinary phenomenon.

 

Travelers in the Third Reich is an extraordinary history of the rise of the Nazis based on fascinating first-hand accounts, drawing together a multitude of voices and stories, including politicians, musicians, diplomats, schoolchildren, communists, scholars, athletes, poets, fascists, artists, tourists, and even celebrities like Charles Lindbergh and Samuel Beckett. Their experiences create a remarkable three-dimensional picture of Germany under Hitler—one so palpable that the reader will…


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Interested in Germany, the allied powers of World War II, and Nazi Germany?

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