88 books like The War Years 1939-1945, Volume II of the Diaries and Letters

By Harold Nicolson,

Here are 88 books that The War Years 1939-1945, Volume II of the Diaries and Letters fans have personally recommended if you like The War Years 1939-1945, Volume II of the Diaries and Letters. 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 The Fringes of Power: 10 Downing Street Diaries, 1939-1955

Andrew Nagorski Author Of 1941: The Year Germany Lost the War

From my list on the view from London in 1941.

Why am I passionate about this?

Award-winning journalist and historian Andrew Nagorski was born in Scotland to Polish parents, moved to the United States as an infant, and has rarely stopped moving since. During a long career at Newsweek, he served as the magazine's bureau chief in Hong Kong, Moscow, Rome, Bonn, Warsaw, and Berlin. In 1982, he gained international notoriety when the Kremlin, angered by his enterprising reporting, expelled him from the Soviet Union. Nagorski is the author of seven books, including The Nazi Hunters and Hitlerland.

Andrew's book list on the view from London in 1941

Andrew Nagorski Why did Andrew love this book?

John “Jock” Colville, a 24-year-old Foreign Office staffer, was assigned to work at 10 Downing Street, Britain’s equivalent of the White House, at the outbreak of World War II. When Winston Churchill replaced Neville Chamberlain as prime minister, Colville, who kept a detailed secret diary, chronicled the new leader’s every move as he rallied his countrymen to keep fighting Hitler’s Germany. His entries for this critical period offer a vivid behind-the-scenes portrait of Churchill, his inner circle—and his strenuous efforts to forge a close partnership with President Roosevelt, who had vowed to keep his country out of the war.

By John Colville,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The diaries of Winston Churchill's private secretary from 1941 to 1945 and from 1951 to 1955 provides a unique view of World War II, of Churchill's wartime activities and those of his personal staff


Book cover of The London Journal of General Raymond E. Lee 1940-1941

Andrew Nagorski Author Of 1941: The Year Germany Lost the War

From my list on the view from London in 1941.

Why am I passionate about this?

Award-winning journalist and historian Andrew Nagorski was born in Scotland to Polish parents, moved to the United States as an infant, and has rarely stopped moving since. During a long career at Newsweek, he served as the magazine's bureau chief in Hong Kong, Moscow, Rome, Bonn, Warsaw, and Berlin. In 1982, he gained international notoriety when the Kremlin, angered by his enterprising reporting, expelled him from the Soviet Union. Nagorski is the author of seven books, including The Nazi Hunters and Hitlerland.

Andrew's book list on the view from London in 1941

Andrew Nagorski Why did Andrew love this book?

Lee was the popular, well-connected military attaché in the U.S. Embassy in London. A staunch supporter of U.S. aid for Britain, he played an important role in preparing for America’s entry into the war. During the Blitz, he castigated American correspondents who described London as “devastated” by the German bombing campaign. “London is not devastated, and if you want one soldier’s opinion, it will not be devastated,” he told them. His diary reflects his determination to counter the defeatist predictions of Joseph Kennedy, who had served as U.S. ambassador in London until 1940.

Book cover of The Maisky Diaries: Red Ambassador to the Court of St James's, 1932-1943

Andrew Nagorski Author Of 1941: The Year Germany Lost the War

From my list on the view from London in 1941.

Why am I passionate about this?

Award-winning journalist and historian Andrew Nagorski was born in Scotland to Polish parents, moved to the United States as an infant, and has rarely stopped moving since. During a long career at Newsweek, he served as the magazine's bureau chief in Hong Kong, Moscow, Rome, Bonn, Warsaw, and Berlin. In 1982, he gained international notoriety when the Kremlin, angered by his enterprising reporting, expelled him from the Soviet Union. Nagorski is the author of seven books, including The Nazi Hunters and Hitlerland.

Andrew's book list on the view from London in 1941

Andrew Nagorski Why did Andrew love this book?

Ivan Maisky served as the Soviet Union’s ambassador in London from 1932 to 1943. In his extensive diaries, he chronicled his frequent interactions with Churchill and other British officials. He predicted that 1941 would be “the decisive year of the war,” which proved accurate. But, like his boss Joseph Stalin, he refused to believe at first that Hitler would turn against the Soviet Union, with whom Germany had signed a non-aggression pact. His diary shows how quickly the Kremlin acted as if it had always opposed Hitler’s plans—and made increasingly strident demands for Western aid. The makings of the future Cold War are already evident in this account.

By Ivan Maisky,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Highlights of the extraordinary wartime diaries of Ivan Maisky, Soviet ambassador to London

The terror and purges of Stalin's Russia in the 1930s discouraged Soviet officials from leaving documentary records let alone keeping personal diaries. A remarkable exception is the unique diary assiduously kept by Ivan Maisky, the Soviet ambassador to London between 1932 and 1943. This selection from Maisky's diary, never before published in English, grippingly documents Britain's drift to war during the 1930s, appeasement in the Munich era, negotiations leading to the signature of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact, Churchill's rise to power, the German invasion of Russia, and the…


Book cover of The Grand Alliance

Andrew Nagorski Author Of 1941: The Year Germany Lost the War

From my list on the view from London in 1941.

Why am I passionate about this?

Award-winning journalist and historian Andrew Nagorski was born in Scotland to Polish parents, moved to the United States as an infant, and has rarely stopped moving since. During a long career at Newsweek, he served as the magazine's bureau chief in Hong Kong, Moscow, Rome, Bonn, Warsaw, and Berlin. In 1982, he gained international notoriety when the Kremlin, angered by his enterprising reporting, expelled him from the Soviet Union. Nagorski is the author of seven books, including The Nazi Hunters and Hitlerland.

Andrew's book list on the view from London in 1941

Andrew Nagorski Why did Andrew love this book?

Leave it to Churchill to sum up the events of 1941 that determined the ultimate outcome of the war. In his words, the theme of this volume of his epic account of the war is “How the British fought on with Hardship their Garment until Soviet Russia and the United States were drawn into the Great Conflict.” Much of this consists of letters, reports, speeches, and other original documents from that period, woven together by its skillful narrator. Little wonder that Churchill was later awarded the Noble Prize in Literature "for his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values.”

By Winston S. Churchill,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winston Churchill's six-volume history of the cataclysm that swept the world remains the definitive history of the Second World War. Lucid, dramatic, remarkable both for its breadth and sweep and for its sense of personal involvement, it is universally acknowledged as a magnificent reconstruction and is an enduring, compelling work that led to his being awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. The Grand Alliance recounts the momentous events of 1941 surrounding America's entry into the War and Hitler's march on Russia - the continuing onslaught on British civilians during the Blitz, Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor and the alliance between…


Book cover of Harold Macmillan: Volume 2: 1957-1986

Richard Vinen Author Of National Service: A Generation in Uniform 1945-1963

From my list on political diaries (United Kingdom).

Why am I passionate about this?

Richard Vinen is a Professor of History at King's College, London, and the author of a number of major books on 20th century Europe. He won the Wolfson Prize for History for his last book, National Service. Vinen is a specialist in 20th-century European history, particularly of Britain and France.

Richard's book list on political diaries (United Kingdom)

Richard Vinen Why did Richard love this book?

It is rare for anyone with real power to write an interesting diary. They do not have the time or the self-awareness. Harold Macmillan is the exception because his diaries are fantastic and those that he writes as prime minister are much better than those that he writes earlier in his career. He is such a lonely man (England’s most famous cuckold) and one senses that his diary is his only real confidant. He is also so extraordinarily aware of historical change. He is himself a considerable historian and one who reads very widely even when prime minister. There is a moment in the early 1960s when he gets back to Downing Street after a weekend in the country and writes in his diary about having read Theodore Zeldin’s, The Political System of Napoleon III – not exactly bedtime reading for most people but a work that inspires Macmillan into…

By Sir Alistair Horne,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Uses diaries, interviews, and letters to trace the life of the British Prime Minister


Book cover of The Improbable Wendell Willkie: The Businessman Who Saved the Republican Party and His Country, and Conceived a New World Order

Peter Shinkle Author Of Uniting America: How FDR and Henry Stimson Brought Democrats and Republicans Together to Win World War II

From my list on American leaders who broke the rules during WWII.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been shocked in recent years by the bitter partisanship in America, and by how our politics have turned into a sort of sports grudge match – my team versus yours, no matter what – with very little interest in seeking the truth or working for the national good. So when I discovered a number of years ago that Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt built an alliance with Republicans that led the country to victory in World War II, I immediately set out to understand how such an extraordinary bipartisan alliance could take place – and whether America might do such a thing again. Uniting America provides an answer.

Peter's book list on American leaders who broke the rules during WWII

Peter Shinkle Why did Peter love this book?

In the 1930s, Wendell Willkie was a Democrat who sided with big business and criticized Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt. Then, in a whirlwind, Willkie switched parties and won the Republication presidential nomination in June 1940.

After FDR won the election of 1940, Willkie shattered party expectations again when he called upon Congress to pass FDR’s controversial Lend Lease program to send military aid to European nations facing the assault of Hitler’s Nazi armies. 

Willkie also took a strong stance in support of civil rights. Time and again, he proved he was a leader with a nimble mind unfettered by party politics. He broke the rules by defying those who would predict his politics according to his party affiliation. 

The compelling story of Wendell Willkie and his call for human rights in America and around the world comes to life in David Levering Lewis’s beautifully written biography, The Improbable Wendell Willkie…

By David Levering Lewis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the wake of one of the most tumultuous Republican conventions ever, the party of Lincoln nominated in 1940 a prominent businessman and former Democrat who could have saved America's sclerotic political system. Although Wendell Lewis Willkie would lose to FDR, acclaimed biographer David Levering Lewis demonstrates that the corporate chairman-turned-presidential candidate must be regarded as one of the most exciting, intellectually able, and authentically transformational figures to stride the twentieth-century American political landscape.

Born in Elwood, Indiana, in 1892, Willkie was certainly one of the most unexpected, if not unlikely, candidates for the presidency, only somewhat less unlikely than…


Book cover of Amazing Grace Adams

Gillian Harvey Author Of One French Summer

From my list on kickass midlife women.

Why am I passionate about this?

What is it about women in their forties, fifties and beyond? What’s that you say? They feel invisible? A bit boring? Something about menopause? No, actually, I was going to say they’re absolutely bloody brilliant. That’s why (especially after entering my own fifth decade) I wondered where all the kickass midlife women were on TV and in literature. One editor admitted to me once that it was ‘safer’ to write about younger women, that people weren’t so drawn to the midlife heroine. But the more I thought about it, the more I realised how many great stories just weren’t being told.

Gillian's book list on kickass midlife women

Gillian Harvey Why did Gillian love this book?

This poignant, tragi-comedy of a novel is both relatable and uplifting.

And though the protagonist is going through a bit of a crisis, it’s ultimately a story of a woman finding herself and coming into her own.

Grace’s relationship with her teenage daughter is so well described – as mum of a teen girl I recognised the sadness she felt when she realised her daughter needed her less than she’d used to.

By Fran Littlewood,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

*Ferocious, funny and tender, and available to pre-order now!*

'I just adored this ... an unforgettable read' Liane Moriarty

'Compelling, funny and poignant. I devoured it' Paula Hawkins

***

'Sometimes I have so much rage it scares me . . .'

Grace Adams is one bad day away from saving her life . . .

One hot summer day, stuck in traffic on her way to pick up the cake for her daughter's sixteenth birthday party, Grace Adams snaps.

She doesn't scream or break something or cry. She simply abandons in traffic and walks away.

But not from her life…


Book cover of The Brief

Elizabeth Bailey Author Of The Gilded Shroud

From my list on mysteries to escape the now and voyage the past.

Why am I passionate about this?

Even as a child, I wanted to escape from current times and visit bygone or future eras. History and literature were favourites and I gleaned most of what I know of the past by reading. Then I found Georgette Heyer, prompting a lifetime love affair with all things Georgian and Regency. Agatha Christie got me into mystery. I loved both the puzzle of whodunit and being whirled away into Poirot, Marple, or Cadfael territory. A good mystery and a deep dive into history as well? Heaven! Best of all is the author who draws me so completely into their imaginary world that the real one fades away.

Elizabeth's book list on mysteries to escape the now and voyage the past

Elizabeth Bailey Why did Elizabeth love this book?

This one had me on the edge of my seat. More telling for me to be thrown back in time to the 1960s. I didn’t live this life, but the background was familiar. I remember the Kray brothers and I did once briefly have a job in the sleazy sort of club where the boss had his goons hold a guy so he could punch him in the gut. Scary. Simon Michael’s story is all too believable and it is a testament to his ability to pull me into that world that it threw up long-gone memories. The story is told in first person which works to keep you guessing along with the protagonist barrister sleuth. For me it was a thrill ride into the past.

By Simon Michael,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The legal thriller series you need to read! Perfect for fans of John Grisham, Robert Bailey, Michael Connelly and Robert Dugoni.

Guilty until proven innocent…

London, 1960

Barrister Charles Holborne is not popular. A Jewish East Ender with a rough past, he is ostracised by his anti-Semitic and class-conscious colleagues who don’t want him in their prestigious Establishment profession.

And the bitterness Charles feels at work is spilling over into his personal life, putting his marriage under strain.

When a high-profile murder case lands on his desk, Charles is hopeful his fortunes will turn around. But after a shocking crime…


Book cover of Small Worlds

Jendella Benson Author Of Hope and Glory

From my list on introducing you to Black London.

Why am I passionate about this?

Much of the Britain that's exported to the world is fed by the monochromatic myth of nobility and royalty, but the heart of Britain is multifaceted and multicultural. I didn’t grow up in London, but grew up visiting family here and ‘The Big Smoke’ had an allure for me. The people were all different colours and ethnicities and it truly felt like the most exciting place in the world. I moved here the week I turned 18, and I haven’t left. It's a harsh, expensive city, and it's much too busy to provide anyone with any lasting sanity, but here I found a version of Black Britain that I was missing in my hometown.

Jendella's book list on introducing you to Black London

Jendella Benson Why did Jendella love this book?

This is a gorgeous book to be savoured slowly.

It is suffused with music throughout (and the nerd within me loves the reoccurring literary motifs and phrases that definitely lend a musical quality to the book) and took me back to lazy summer days as a teenager when I first moved to London and the city felt wide open with excitement and possibility.

This is another love story, but one about community, family and the first loves that we learn from our parents.

By Caleb Azumah Nelson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An exhilarating and expansive new novel about fathers and sons, faith and friendship from National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree and Costa First Novel Award winning author Caleb Azumah Nelson

One of the most acclaimed and internationally bestselling “unforgettable” (New York Times) debuts of the 2021, Caleb Azumah Nelson’s London-set love story Open Water took the US by storm and introduced the world to a salient and insightful new voice in fiction. Now, with his second novel Small Worlds, the prodigious Azumah Nelson brings another set of enduring characters to brilliant life in his signature rhythmic, melodic prose.

Set…


Book cover of Fighting Mr. Knight: A Billionaire Office Romance

Morgan Lennox Author Of Stack the Deck: A Billionaire Romance

From my list on steamy billionaires in London.

Why am I passionate about this?

There are so many billionaire romances out there based in America, but as a Brit, there’s nothing quite like reading a contemporary romance based in London. The capital city of Great Britain, there are a great number of reasons why books here are simply to die for. The history, the culture, the mixture of communities, and the potential for passion – in my opinion, there’s no better place to escape to in a book. Even better if there are delicious characters to lose yourself with…

Morgan's book list on steamy billionaires in London

Morgan Lennox Why did Morgan love this book?

I had a ‘property tycoons’ itch that I needed to scratch, and this book by Rosa Lucas was exactly what I needed.

I adored this enemies to lovers high stakes romance, and the witty heroine was someone I was rooting for from the very instant I met her. With a dash of CEO/employee and a whole host of fire, this book needs to be on your ereader.

By Rosa Lucas,

Why should I read it?

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


5 book lists we think you will like!

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