100 books like The Sorrow of War

By Bảo Ninh,

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

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Death of a Hero

By Richard Aldington,

Book cover of Death of a Hero

Andrew Scott Author Of Fake History: Ten Great Lies and How They Shaped the World

From the list on to fight fake history.

Who am I?

I am not a historian but a journalist, and in writing the book I wanted to do what I have done in my political writing. Namely to cut through the lies, to bring accuracy to the distortions, and to point a finger at the politicians and pundits who would prefer that we wallowed in the phony nostalgia of our imagined past. Tackling fake history is like tackling fake news. You need not only to seek out the truth that lies underneath but also discover in whose interests myth-making works in the first place. That's why fighting fake history matters and that is why I wrote the book.

Andrew's book list on to fight fake history

Why did Andrew love this book?

Perhaps the finest and least well-known novel to come out of the First World War. Imagist poet Richard Aldington takes his own experiences of the home and Western Fronts and turns both barrels on the sanctimony of Edwardian society and its parade of sycophants, socialites, and fools. Unusually, it is a book by a poet that resists turning war into poetry. Unafraid to use realistically coarse military language, it divided the critics at the time and has divided readers ever since. It is a howl of rage that speaks across the century, a timeless reminder that there is no romance in the needless carnage of war.

By Richard Aldington,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Death of a Hero as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the great World War I antiwar novels - honest, chilling, and brilliantly satirical

Based on the author's experiences on the Western Front, Richard Aldington's first novel, Death of a Hero, finally joins the ranks of Penguin Classics. Our hero is George Winterbourne, who enlists in the British Expeditionary Army during the Great War and gets sent to France. After a rash of casualties leads to his promotion through the ranks, he grows increasingly cynical about the war and disillusioned by the hypocrisies of British society. Aldington's writing about Britain's ignorance of the tribulations of its soldiers is among…


By Antony Beevor,

Book cover of Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege

Cathal J. Nolan Author Of Mercy: Humanity in War

From the list on how wars are won and lost.

Who am I?

I'm an award-winning teacher and writer who introduces students and readers to war in a profession that today is at best indifferent to military history, and more often hostile. That gives me a wry sense of irony, as colleagues would rather teach about fashion than fascism and truffles over tragedy. Having written a multiple award-winning book that covered 2,000 years of war, frankly I was sickened by how the same mistakes were made over and again. It has made me devoted to exploring possibilities for humane behavior within the most inhumane and degraded moral environment humanity creates; where individuality is subsumed in collective violence and humanity is obscured as a faceless, merciless enemy.

Cathal's book list on how wars are won and lost

Why did Cathal love this book?

Beevor has a rare gift of presenting war at the level of both the ordinary soldier and the generals and distant leadership making decisions both good and bad. His sources range from letters home, to diaries, to dispatches on both the Soviet and German side. He writes without flinching about the horrors of war, or too overtly playing the cheerleader as so many military histories do, to their detriment. 

By Antony Beevor,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This authoritative and well written book recreates the battle for Stalingrad that became the focus of Hitler and Stalin's determination to win the gruesome and vicious war for the Eastern front. A detailed examination of the most pitiless, and perhaps the most important battle in WW2 history. Focusing on the experiences of soldiers on both sides, driven beyond the limits of physical and mental endurance this work stands as a testament to human endeavour and to the vital role of the Soviet wareffort. This will be the classic book on the subject,

We Were Soldiers Once... and Young

By General Harold Moore, Joseph Galloway,

Book cover of We Were Soldiers Once... and Young

Angel Giacomo Author Of The Jackson MacKenzie Chronicles: In the Eye of the Storm

From the list on war that go beyond the battles.

Who am I?

I am a retired police officer, except I don’t write about law enforcement. I write about the military. My degree is in Political Science and History. I am a meticulous researcher. My emphasis has been on the Vietnam War. My father served in both the U.S. Navy and the Army National Guard. One of my great uncles served in Africa during WWII. His brother during the Occupation of Germany. I have a step-uncle who spent time as a POW in Laos during the Vietnam War. My step-father served in the Army National Guard, and my step-brother in the U.S. Army, Korea and Ft. Hood.

Angel's book list on war that go beyond the battles

Why did Angel love this book?

This book is a complex but excellent read. It is laced with moments of sheer bravery and interludes of absolute terror. Lt. Colonel Hal Moore commanded the 1st Battalion, 7th Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Division—part of the “The Garryowen” Brigade. This book covers the Battle of the Ia Drang Valley during the early years of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, in November 1965. The first major engagement between the forces of North Vietnam and the United States. I want to highlight one thing in the book, “The country that sent us off to war was not there to welcome us home. It no longer existed.” While good in its own right, the movie does not do the book justice. Read this book.

By General Harold Moore, Joseph Galloway,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked We Were Soldiers Once... and Young as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'If you want to know what is was like to go to Vietnam as a young American... and find yourself caught in ferocious, remorseless combat with an enemy as courageous and idealistic as you were, then you must read this book. Moore and Galloway have captured the terror and exhilaration, the comradeship and self-sacrifice, the brutality and compassion that are the dark heart of war' THE TIMES


In November 1965, 450 men of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry, under the command of Lt.Col. Hal Moore, were dropped by helicopter into a small…

Dog Soldiers

By Robert Stone,

Book cover of Dog Soldiers

Richard Ravin Author Of Nothing to Declare

From the list on set in the 1960s and 70s.

Who am I?

I came of age during the tumult of the 1960s and 1970s. I stood more on the sidelines than at the burning center, so I’ve always wondered what it was like for those who did. That’s why I wrote my first novel, to go beyond the borders of my own experience. The 60s/70s era of political and sexual upheaval has reduced itself over time to a series of cliches. What I love about the books on my list is how willing they are to break through to real feelings and events and sensations. Hope you like them, too.

Richard's book list on set in the 1960s and 70s

Why did Richard love this book?

Dog Soldiers made me want to become a writer. It showed me how to marry plot and character and still write about things that matter. A novel of ideas masquerading as a crime story, it tells of a massive drug deal gone bad, with the Vietnam War and its bitter illusions in the background. If you love complicated characters, this is your kind of book. Stone draws them with good and evil mixed. Your feelings for them shift by the page. The book contains startling images and vivid dialogue, as the characters weigh their decisions against a moral code they no longer trust. If you’re curious about what the 1970s really felt like—or lived through it yourself—Dog Soldiers will take you in and leave you shaking.

By Robert Stone,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Dog Soldiers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Saigon during the last stages of the Vietnam War, a small-time journalist named John Converse thinks he'll find action - and profit - by getting involved in a big-time drug deal. But back in the States, things go horribly wrong. His courier disappears, probably with his wife, and a corrupt Fed wants Converse to find him the drugs, or else.

Dog Soldiers is a frightening, powerful, intense novel that perfectly captures the underground mood of the United States in the 1970s, when amateur drug dealers and hippies encountered the violent world of cops on the make and professional killers.…

Book cover of The Things They Carried

Donald B. Stewart Author Of Past Medical History: Recollections of a Medical Miscreant

From the list on surviving a life-changing challenge.

Who am I?

When life’s experiences fall dismally short of expectations, many of us find ourselves lost at a crossroads. When my path to becoming a doctor began to exact an unacceptable toll, I had to find a way out; discharging myself from the hospital was the solution, and by far the best clinical decision of my brief medical career.  As a result, I’m still fascinated by choices others make when faced with what seem like impossible obstacles, and where those decisions lead. Following the medical dream from age five, it wasn’t easy to change my life’s course, but that crucial choice allowed me to grow in ways I couldn’t imagine.  

Donald's book list on surviving a life-changing challenge

Why did Donald love this book?

Choices, choices, choices. The Things They Carried chronicles in piecemeal, fictionalized format the journey of an army veteran, from an injured spirit focusing on the shortest space between actions necessary for survival, to the expansive vision of a celebrated author.

For me, a creative making his first, furtive attempts at writing, O'Brien’s book gave me permission to experiment with short stories, and to strive for the truth, no matter the amount of fiction required to communicate a reality.

By Tim O'Brien,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The million-copy bestseller, which is a ground-breaking meditation on war, memory, imagination, and the redemptive power of storytelling.

'The Things They Carried' is, on its surface, a sequence of award-winning stories about the madness of the Vietnam War; at the same time it has the cumulative power and unity of a novel, with recurring characters and interwoven strands of plot and theme.

But while Vietnam is central to 'The Things They Carried', it is not simply a book about war. It is also a book about the human heart - about the terrible weight of those things we carry through…


By Wallace Terry,

Book cover of Bloods: Black Veterans of the Vietnam War: An Oral History

Andrew Wiest Author Of The Boys of '67: Charlie Company's War in Vietnam

From the list on the Vietnam War from different POVs.

Who am I?

I was always fascinated by the Vietnam War since my older sister’s friends went off to fight in it. After getting my PhD and writing about World War I and World War II, I returned to Vietnam by getting involved with veterans groups and taking veterans and students to Vietnam. Since then I have written widely on the topic, teach about the Vietnam War, and have been involved in several major Vietnam War documentaries for outlets including the History Channel and National Geographic Channel. From those early days I have read everything I can get my hands on about the war, about my generation’s war.

Andrew's book list on the Vietnam War from different POVs

Why did Andrew love this book?

This was the first collection of oral histories that I ever read from the Vietnam War. Reading history done this way, with the men speaking for themselves, opened a new world for me. It allowed me to understand that it is only by talking to and with our veterans that the true depth of the combat experience can be delved. Terror, camaraderie, death, honor, humor, compassion, and boredom – the full human story of Vietnam and war is on display in Bloods. And it was this book that taught me to be an oral historian. 

On top of that, Bloods also, of course, makes clear the uniqueness of the Black experience in Vietnam – fighting a war for America while the country wrestled with its eternal question of race. This book is good and important for so many reasons. 

By Wallace Terry,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK • The national bestseller that tells the truth about the Vietnam War from the black soldiers’ perspective.

An oral history unlike any other, Bloods features twenty black men who tell the story of how members of their race were sent off to Vietnam in disproportionate numbers, and of the special test of patriotism they faced. Told in voices no reader will soon forget, Bloods is a must-read for anyone who wants to put the Vietnam experience in historical, cultural, and political perspective.

Praise for Bloods

“Superb . . . a portrait not just of…

The Sympathizer

By Viet Thanh Nguyen,

Book cover of The Sympathizer

Stephen Holgate Author Of Madagascar

From the list on strangers in a strange land.

Who am I?

Strangers in a strange land – an evocative phrase that originated in “Exodus” (the one by Moses, not Leon Uris) and has echoed within my own life. As a diplomat, I lived nearly fourteen years overseas and know the particular dislocation of trying to make a new life in a country not my own. This experience forms the center of my four published novels. It’s also the theme of The Hero’s Journey a story at the heart of every culture; the hero sets off toward unknown lands and comes back transformed, as did I. Here’s my list of the five greatest novels about strangers in a strange land.

Stephen's book list on strangers in a strange land

Why did Stephen love this book?

It’s not simply because I’m of a generation still haunted by the war in Vietnam that I was pulled into this story of an immigrant – half-French, half-Vietnamese, and altogether screwed up – torn between his new and old identities.

Full of intrigue and suspense, the book is a great character study of a man who cannot figure out where his loyalties lie or who it is he is betraying. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize.

By Viet Thanh Nguyen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


It is April 1975, and Saigon is in chaos. At his villa, a general of the South Vietnamese army is drinking whiskey and, with the help of his trusted captain, drawing up a list of those who will be given passage aboard the last flights out of the country. The general and his compatriots start a new life in Los Angeles, unaware that one among their number, the captain, is secretly observing and reporting on the group to a higher-up in the Viet Cong. The Sympathizer is the story of this captain:…

The Mountains Sing

By Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai,

Book cover of The Mountains Sing

Betty Bolte Author Of Becoming Lady Washington

From the list on historical fiction about emotionally strong women.

Who am I?

I “discovered” historical fiction when a teen and have devoured it ever since. When my parents took me to the Cowpens National Battlefield in South Carolina in 9th grade, I realized just how much I enjoyed learning about history in real life. I found that reading historical fiction breathed life into what can be a very dull read, so I wanted to bring history to life with my own words. Visiting historical properties has become a big passion of mine! Every trip I take includes a visit to some historical site or another. I’ve been writing historical fiction/romance/fantasy since the late 1990s.

Betty's book list on historical fiction about emotionally strong women

Why did Betty love this book?

This story is set in Việt Nam and paints a clear picture of the people who lived there in the 1930-1980 timeframe of the story. The family faced hardships and tragedies, including being separated for several months when they were forced to flee for their lives. One thing I really appreciated was seeing the impact and impressions of the Việt Nam war on the people of that country. My brother fought over there—he was a Ranger in the Army—during that conflict and came home very different. In fact, he’s estranged himself from the family for the past 30+ years. Reading about the conflict from the other side gives me a clearer idea of what he might have seen or done that he never would tell me about.

By Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Mountains Sing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Years later in Ha Noi, her young granddaughter, Huong, comes of age as her parents and uncles head off down the Ho Chi Minh Trail to fight in a conflict that tore not just her beloved country, but her family apart.

Vivid, gripping, and steeped in the language and traditions of Viet Nam, The Mountains Sing brings to life the human costs of this conflict from the point of view of the Vietnamese people themselves, while showing us the true power of kindness and hope.

The Mountains Sing is celebrated Vietnamese poet Nguyen Phan Que Mai's first novel in English.

The Quiet American

By Graham Greene,

Book cover of The Quiet American

David Hagerty Author Of They Tell Me You Are Wicked

From the list on political crime fiction.

Who am I?

I grew up in Chicago in the waning days of Mayor Richard J. Daley’s machine, which politicized everything from schools to loading zones. Everyone—whether they were civil servants or small business owners—had to pledge loyalty to Da Boss, Hizzoner, or suffer the consequences. As a result, I’ve always gravitated to crime stories with a political element, one showing the effects of big conflicts on regular people. And I’ve written about the same. 

David's book list on political crime fiction

Why did David love this book?

Before the U.S. entered the war in Vietnam, Graham Greene forecast its disastrous consequences. His love triangle, set amid the escalating conflict, perfectly captures the naiveté of American interventionism overseas. I love the subtext of the tale, which is narrated by an embittered British journalist. Although it’s never spoken, we intuit that he is addicted to opium and living the life of a dissolute expatriate. Fowler watches in horror as a U.S. diplomat tries to steal both the woman and the country he has adopted. He claims impartiality and indifference until he cannot any longer.

By Graham Greene,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked The Quiet American as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Graham Greene's classic exploration of love, innocence, and morality in Vietnam

"I never knew a man who had better motives for all the trouble he caused," Graham Greene's narrator Fowler remarks of Alden Pyle, the eponymous "Quiet American" of what is perhaps the most controversial novel of his career. Pyle is the brash young idealist sent out by Washington on a mysterious mission to Saigon, where the French Army struggles against the Vietminh guerrillas.

As young Pyle's well-intentioned policies blunder into bloodshed, Fowler, a seasoned and cynical British reporter, finds it impossible to stand safely aside as an observer. But…

The Cleanest Race

By B.R. Myers,

Book cover of The Cleanest Race: How North Koreans See Themselves and Why It Matters

Zachary Shore Author Of A Sense of the Enemy: The High Stakes History of Reading Your Rival's Mind

From the list on knowing your enemy.

Who am I?

I am a historian of international conflict who focuses on understanding the enemy. For most of my career, I have studied why we so often misread others, and how those misperceptions lead to war. The current crisis in Ukraine is just one more example of how the parties involved misunderstood each other. I believe that if we could improve this one ability, we would substantially lessen the likelihood, frequency, and severity of war.

Zachary's book list on knowing your enemy

Why did Zachary love this book?

Myers, a professor and North Korea watcher, draws on a careful reading of the “Hermit Kingdom’s” cultural products (its political speeches, novels, pamphlets, and more) to tease out a worldview that is too often opaque to outsiders. While escapee literature focuses on how average Koreans suffer under that brutal regime, this book affords us insight into how the regime sees itself – in ways that will surprise you.

By B.R. Myers,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Cleanest Race as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Understanding North Korea through its propagandaA newly revised and updated edition that includes a consideration of Kim Jung Il's successor, Kim Jong-On What do the North Koreans really believe? How do they see themselves and the world around them? Here B.R. Myers, a North Korea analyst and a contributing editor of The Atlantic, presents the first full-length study of the North Korean worldview. Drawing on extensive research into the regime’s domestic propaganda, including films, romance novels and other artifacts of the personality cult, Myers analyzes each of the country’s official myths in turn€”from the notion of Koreans’ unique moral purity,…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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