100 books like The Takeaway Men

By Meryl Ain,

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

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Book cover of Lilac Girls

Jo Horne Author Of Monica's War

From my list on unsung heroes of WWII.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have had a lifelong passion for history—the choices and challenges faced by others in trying times. I find myself looking for connections and a visit to the Holocaust Museum in DC led me to just such a connection with the story of the White Rose Resistance group, sending me down a rabbit hole of research that has blossomed into years of looking for little known stories of WWII heroes and heroines. From there telling their stories through my stories has become my passion.

Jo's book list on unsung heroes of WWII

Jo Horne Why did Jo love this book?

An American working in Paris, a German doctor, and a Polish teenager working for the Resistance are thrown together in this WWII story based on real events culminating in the notorious Ravensbruck Camp for women, famous for its medical experimentation during the war. It’s a story of survival and courage and unlikely friendships.

By Martha Hall Kelly,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • One million copies sold! Inspired by the life of a real World War II heroine, this remarkable debut novel reveals the power of unsung women to change history in their quest for love, freedom, and second chances.

“Extremely moving and memorable . . . This impressive debut should appeal strongly to historical fiction readers and to book clubs that adored Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale and Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See.”—Library Journal (starred review)

New York socialite Caroline Ferriday has her hands full with her post at the French consulate and a new…


Book cover of Escaping the Whale: The Holocaust is over. But is it ever over for the next generation?

Michael Hickins Author Of The Silk Factory: Finding Threads of My Family's True Holocaust Story

From my list on the Holocaust and generational trauma.

Why am I passionate about this?

I thought I knew everything I needed to know about the Holocaust, which is that my father lost some members of his family. An email from a nephew I didn’t know existed sent me on a trail of documents that led me to a much deeper understanding of not just the Holocaust as a historical event, but more broadly about the impact that it had on the families of survivors, of people who were spared internment for one reason or another, but were wracked by guilt, besieged by family members who were not so lucky, and who passed down their feelings of guilt, anger, and pessimism to future generations.

Michael's book list on the Holocaust and generational trauma

Michael Hickins Why did Michael love this book?

In this amazingly inventive novel, Rotkowitz creates a world in which a young woman with everything to live for is haunted by imaginary demons – demons that stand for the horrible experiences her family endured during the time of the Holocaust, and which she must exorcise if she is ever to find true happiness in the true world of the living.

By Ruth Rotkowitz,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

To everyone who knows her, 28-year-old Marcia Gold leads the perfect life. A high school guidance counselor in 1980 Brooklyn, New York who specializes in helping pregnant teens, Marcia thrives in her work. She also has a handsome, successful boyfriend who has won the approval of her Jewish, Holocaust-survivor family – no easy feat.However, beneath the shiny surface lurks another reality. Plagued by frightening and debilitating panic attacks brought on by her family’s wartime legacy and exacerbated by the Iranian hostage crisis in the news, Marcia becomes convinced that “demons” are occupying her closet and her mind. Determined to keep…


Book cover of Mistress of the Ritz

Nancy Cole Silverman Author Of The Navigator's Daughter

From my list on women of WW2 and their untold stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love to travel, and I’m always interested in the history of where I visit, and what unusual and little known stories I might pick up. I spent twenty-five years working in news and talk radio and I suppose that’s why my fingers itch to get to a keyboard when I hear of an event or someone interesting that I’d like to meet on the pages of one of my books. These days it’s where I spend most of my time, crafting mysteries both national and international and always with sense of suspense, and for good measure, a little whimsey.   

Nancy's book list on women of WW2 and their untold stories

Nancy Cole Silverman Why did Nancy love this book?

You never know who can be until you have to be that person to survive.

Women should never underestimate themselves. That was my takeaway from Mistress of the Ritz by Melanie Benjamin, a true life story about an American woman who worked for the French Resistance during World War II. 

I couldn’t help but be inspired by Blanche Auzello, a young American actress in Paris, who, as the Nazis are taking over the city, chooses to remain in Paris with her husband.

Despite the difficulties of the Nazi occupation, and the growing distance in her relationship with her husband, Blance takes on new challenges and roles she never expected to play that will forever change her life and the lives of those close to her.  

Mistress of the Ritz is the type of historical mystery that, despite knowing the outcome of the war, will keep readers turning pages and wondering...could…

By Melanie Benjamin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A captivating novel based on the story of the extraordinary real-life American woman who secretly worked for the French Resistance during World War II—while playing hostess to the invading Germans at the iconic Hôtel Ritz in Paris—from the New York Times bestselling author of The Aviator's Wife and The Swans of Fifth Avenue.

“A compelling portrait of a marriage and a nation at war from within.”—Kate Quinn, author of The Alice Network

Nothing bad can happen at the Ritz; inside its gilded walls every woman looks beautiful, every man appears witty. Favored guests like Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Coco…


Book cover of Lila

Ruth Rotkowitz Author Of Escaping the Whale: The Holocaust is over. But is it ever over for the next generation?

From my list on novels set during the post Holocaust period.

Why am I passionate about this?

As the daughter of two Holocaust survivors, I have experienced, observed, and researched inherited trauma. I have also noticed the dearth of works of fiction that focus on the second generation. I believe it is time for the voices of the second generation to be heard, and for the issues facing us to be explored.

Ruth's book list on novels set during the post Holocaust period

Ruth Rotkowitz Why did Ruth love this book?

Lila tells the story of two WW11 survivor families whose daughters are born on the same day in a Displaced Persons Camp, who immigrate to the United States around the same time, and take apartments in the same building in the South Bronx, New York. The immigrant neighborhood, full of busybody characters, is beautifully rendered. Everyone expects the two girls to be as close as sisters, their lives and fates happily intertwined. However, their growing-up years veer into dangerous territory. While one family manages to establish a home of love and caring, the other morphs into a den of dysfunction and perversion. Upending everyone’s expectations, the two girls embark on a path of jealousy and hatred. As secrets are revealed, their paths diverge, ending in tragedy. The novel is a shattering portrait of how trauma of the Holocaust and inherited trauma passed on to the next generation can destroy lives.

By Rose Ross,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Sarah and Lila both born in 1946, 11 months after the war, on the same day, minutes apart, in a displaced persons camp in Germany, were seen by their parents, Holocaust survivors, as a miracle, and their lives destined to have a bond that would never be broken. They were ... wrong.Both families relocate to the United States, and settle in the South Bronx, in the same neighborhood and building, to start their new lives. By the end of the summer of 1960, everyone finds themselves in the turmoil of love, friendship, and competition. Secrets are disclosed; accusations are made…


Book cover of My Mother's Son

Ruth Rotkowitz Author Of Escaping the Whale: The Holocaust is over. But is it ever over for the next generation?

From my list on novels set during the post Holocaust period.

Why am I passionate about this?

As the daughter of two Holocaust survivors, I have experienced, observed, and researched inherited trauma. I have also noticed the dearth of works of fiction that focus on the second generation. I believe it is time for the voices of the second generation to be heard, and for the issues facing us to be explored.

Ruth's book list on novels set during the post Holocaust period

Ruth Rotkowitz Why did Ruth love this book?

This award-winning novel combines a boy’s coming-of-age story with a well-wrought picture of American life and culture in Boston after the Holocaust. Told by a radio host remembering his growing up years in Boston in the 1950s, this book incorporates major events of the times – such as the Korean War, the polio scourge, events in baseball and politics – with the personal experience of growing up in a Jewish family in the post-Holocaust years. In the flashbacks, the voice of the child is perfectly rendered, and his adult views of his youth and of aging are delivered with wry wisdom. As the protagonist’s memorable relatives come to life, secrets are revealed, and the narrator assesses his life as it unfolded in the aftermath of the Holocaust.

By David Hirshberg,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked My Mother's Son as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Hirshberg's debut novel packs both emotional punch and a vivid portrait of Jewish American life in post-WWII Boston. . . . Readers will find connections here to Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay and to Saul Bellow's classic The Adventures of Augie March." —Booklist (ALA), starred review

"This amazing mosaic of fact and fiction will hold readers in its grip from the first to last page." —Library Journal, starred review

Winner, Independent Press Award 2019 Literary Fiction

Gold Medal Winner, Best Regional Fiction, 2018 Independent Press Awards

Winner, Best Regional Fiction, 2018 National Indie Excellence Awards

Winner,…


Book cover of The Whale Surfaces: Prequel to Escaping The Whale

Rose Ross Author Of Lila

From my list on post-Holocaust coming of age fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

As the only child of Holocaust survivors, I wanted to know everything, and my parents would tell me nothing. "It is to spare you" would be my mother's words of comfort to me. Sadly they were not. Growing up is at best complex; growing up as children of Holocaust survivors is even more so. Some second-generation children could escape the shadow of their parents' suffering; for others, their parents' experiences led them, as I did, into early maturity.

Rose's book list on post-Holocaust coming of age fiction

Rose Ross Why did Rose love this book?

After reading Escaping The Whale, I was eager to meet Marcia Gold as a young girl. Here again, Ruth Rotkowitz does not disappoint. The desires and dreams of Holocaust survivors for their children to have an innocent and happy childhood are not always possible. Marcia, a young girl in the 1960's experiences the impact of her parent's history and the complications they bring to the anxiety of adolescence and the emotional problems that will be part of her life in the future.

By Ruth Rotkowitz,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

What is childhood? Bubbles and snowmen? Picnics and ice cream? Sunshine and laughter? We have been fed a romantic fantasy of the innocence and bliss of childhood. In The Whale Surfaces, author Ruth Rotkowitz holds a microscope to those idealized years in the life of the protagonist she created in her debut novel, Escaping the Whale. This microscope, at times, becomes a sledgehammer.

Marcia Gold is the daughter of Holocaust survivors whose lives have been defined by their painful experiences in Europe. A sensitive child, Marcia has absorbed this history as her own, and the Holocaust looms over her childhood…


Book cover of Hitler, the Allies, and the Jews

Richard Overy Author Of Blood and Ruins: The Great Imperial War 1931-1945

From my list on key moments in World War II and the soldiers who fought in them.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professional historian who has been writing books for more than forty years. Most of the books have been about war and dictatorship in the first half of the twentieth century. My last book, The Bombing War: Europe 1939-1945, developed my long interest in air war history, which goes back to my first major book written in 1980 on air warfare in World War II.

Richard's book list on key moments in World War II and the soldiers who fought in them

Richard Overy Why did Richard love this book?

There is a common assumption among a younger generation brought up on the horrors of the Holocaust or Shoah that the Allies waged war to save the Jews. As Aronson shows in this candid and carefully researched volume, nothing could be further from the truth. The war waged by Hitler against the Jews was well-known, but the Allies did very little to try to end or modify the outcome. For anyone interested in the war, understanding the fate of the Jews in both German and Allied terms is bound up with wider issues of strategy and politics. Aronson tells a slice of the wartime narrative that many might want to forget. It is also a reminder that the war and the Holocaust were bound together, not separate histories. This perspective has not won general acceptance, but it should. 

By Shlomo Aronson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This book offers an analysis of the Holocaust as a multiple trap, its origins, and its final stages, in which rescue seemed to be possible. With the Holocaust developing like a sort of a doomsday machine set in motion from all sides, the Jews found themselves between the hammer and various anvils, each of which worked according to the logic created by the Nazis that dictated the behavior of other parties and the relations between them before and during the Holocaust. The interplay between the various parties contributed to the victims' doom first by preventing help and later preventing rescue.…


Book cover of Ordinary Men

Suzanna Eibuszyc Author Of Memory is Our Home

From my list on the trials and tribulations of the generation that came before us.

Why am I passionate about this?

Professor Elie Wiesel was instrumental in my translating and researching my mother’s journals. My awakening to the dark period in the chapter of the Jewish history happened between 1971-1974 at CCNY, when our paths crossed while I was taking his classes at the department of Jewish studies. It was in his classes that the things that bewildered me as a child growing up in communist Poland in the shadows of the Holocaust aftermath started to make sense. I asked my mother to commit to paper the painful memories, she buried deep inside her. She and the next generations have an obligation to bear witness, to be this history's keepers.

Suzanna's book list on the trials and tribulations of the generation that came before us

Suzanna Eibuszyc Why did Suzanna love this book?

The famous Hannah Arendt coined “the banality of evil." Not monsters, but ordinary people were able to follow Hitler’s murderess ideology. Ordinary Men clearly shows how men and women from all walks of life were capable of becoming cold-blooded killers. Ordinary Men were the Nazi mobile gas units and death squads responsible for the murder of 1.5 million Jews in Eastern Poland & Ukraine.   

By Christopher R. Browning,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The shocking account of how a unit of average middle-aged Germans became the cold-blooded murderers of tens of thousands of Jews.


Book cover of The Curator's Daughter

Sarah Sundin Author Of Until Leaves Fall in Paris

From my list on World War II novels to inspire you.

Why am I passionate about this?

Sarah Sundin’s love for the stories of World War II comes from family members who served during the war on the US Home Front and abroad. Her passion for research and travel has fueled her award-winning novels. The horrors of the war brought out the worst in humanity. Yet they also brought out the best in humanity, and those stories—of people who chose kindness and courage and right in trying times—are the stories that inspire us to choose kindness and courage and right in our own trying times.

Sarah's book list on World War II novels to inspire you

Sarah Sundin Why did Sarah love this book?

This dual timeline novel is expertly researched and woven into a tapestry. In 1940, a German archaeologist is forced to marry an SS officer—and to catalog art stolen from the Jews. In modern times, a young woman with a traumatic past in the neo-Nazi movement works with the Holocaust Museum to fight hate crimes. Their entwining stories show the courage needed to stand up against racism—and the necessity of doing so, no matter the cost.

By Melanie Dobson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A young girl, kidnapped on the eve of World War II, changes the lives of a German archaeologist forced into the Nazi Party and―decades later―a researcher trying to overcome her own trauma.

1940. Hanna Tillich cherishes her work as an archaeologist for the Third Reich, searching for the Holy Grail and other artifacts to bolster evidence of a master Aryan race. But when she is reassigned to work as a museum curator in Nuremberg, then forced to marry an SS officer and adopt a young girl, Hanna begins to see behind the Nazi facade. A prayer labyrinth becomes a storehouse…


Book cover of I Have Lived a Thousand Years: Growing Up in the Holocaust

Allan Zullo Author Of Survivors: True Stories of Children in the Holocaust

From my list on about children in the Holocaust.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have penned more than 120 nonfiction books on a broad range of subjects for general audiences and middle-school readers, including five books about the true-life experiences of young people during the Holocaust.  The most heartbreaking, yet inspiring, moments in my decades-long writing career have been my interviews with Holocaust survivors, who, as children, relied on their courage, their faith, their smarts—and sometimes their luck—to endure years of unbelievable terror.

Allan's book list on about children in the Holocaust

Allan Zullo Why did Allan love this book?

This is an extremely well-written first-person account of how anti-Semitism followed and haunted Livia (born Elli Friedmann in Czechoslovakia) before, during, and after she, her brother, and mother were shipped off to Auschwitz.  The atrocities and harassment they endured in the death camp didn’t stop after they were liberated in 1945 because so many anti-Semites made life unbearable, yet eventually Livia and her family triumphed.

By Livia Bitton-Jackson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Have Lived a Thousand Years as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

What is death all about? What is life all about?

So wonders thirteen-year-old Elli Friedmann as she fights for her life in a Nazi concentration camp. A remarkable memoir, I Have Lived a Thousand Years is a story of cruelty and suffering, but at the same time a story of hope, faith, perseverance, and love.

It wasn’t long ago that Elli led a normal life that included family, friends, school, and thoughts about boys. A life in which Elli could lie and daydream for hours that she was a beautiful and elegant celebrated poet.

But these adolescent daydreams quickly darken…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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