100 books like The World at Night

By Alan Furst,

Here are 100 books that The World at Night fans have personally recommended if you like The World at Night. 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 KL: A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps

Deborah Hopkinson Author Of We Must Not Forget: Holocaust Stories of Survival and Resistance

From my list on World War II in Europe.

Why am I passionate about this?

The books I’ve recommended here range from scholarship, young adult historical fiction, literary fiction, and a good spy mystery—all set in World War II. I’ve read widely in the field since I’ve written several nonfiction books for young readers and teens about World War II. Along with We Must Not Forget, these include Courage & Defiance, about the Danish resistance, Dive!, about the submarine war in the Pacific, D-Day: The World War II Invasion that Changed History, and We Had to Be Brave: Escaping the Nazis on the Kindertransport. I’m currently working on a book about a 1945 POW rescue in the Philippines.

Deborah's book list on World War II in Europe

Deborah Hopkinson Why did Deborah love this book?

To ensure we’ll never repeat the Holocaust, we must understand it. One of the most difficult books you may ever read, KL is a comprehensive and impressive history of the Nazis’ camp system. The New York Times called this nearly 900-page work by Nikolaus Wachsmann, a history professor at London University, a work of “prodigious scholarship.”

Time and again, when researching my own book for young readers, I turned to Wachsmann for nuanced detail, impeccable research, and a better understanding of some of the “choiceless choices” faced by Jewish men, women, and children. Not for the faint of heart, but a fitting tribute to those who lost their lives.

By Nikolaus Wachsmann,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner of the Jewish Quarterly Wingate Literary Prize and the Wolfson History Prize

In March of 1933, a disused factory surrounded by barbed wire held 223 prisoners in the town of Dachau. By the end of 1945, the SS concentration camp system had become an overwhelming landscape of terror. Twenty-two large camps and over one thousand satellite camps throughout Germany and Europe were at the heart of the Nazi campaign of repression and intimidation. The importance of the camps in terms of Nazi history and our modern world cannot be questioned.

Dr Nikolaus Wachsmann is the first historian to write…


Book cover of Ashes in the Wind: The Destruction of Dutch Jewry

Deborah Hopkinson Author Of We Must Not Forget: Holocaust Stories of Survival and Resistance

From my list on World War II in Europe.

Why am I passionate about this?

The books I’ve recommended here range from scholarship, young adult historical fiction, literary fiction, and a good spy mystery—all set in World War II. I’ve read widely in the field since I’ve written several nonfiction books for young readers and teens about World War II. Along with We Must Not Forget, these include Courage & Defiance, about the Danish resistance, Dive!, about the submarine war in the Pacific, D-Day: The World War II Invasion that Changed History, and We Had to Be Brave: Escaping the Nazis on the Kindertransport. I’m currently working on a book about a 1945 POW rescue in the Philippines.

Deborah's book list on World War II in Europe

Deborah Hopkinson Why did Deborah love this book?

The late Jacob Presser (1899-1970) was a historian, scholar, and a Holocaust survivor himself. His wife was deported and died, and he survived by going into hiding He spent fifteen years researching the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands and the plight of the Dutch Jews.

He speaks movingly of finding small scraps of paper, messages thrown from trains leaving Westerbork (an internment camp and later a transit camp in the Netherlands), noting that “Before me, hardly anyone has read them and, after me, they are locked into the archives and it’s possible nobody else will see them.” They awoke in him, he said, an awareness that one of the tasks of the historian is to “give the dead a voice.”

By Jacob Presser,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Beginning in 1940, 110,000 Jews were deported from the Netherlands to concentration camps. Of those, fewer than 6,000 returned.

Ashes in the Wind is a story of murder on a scale never known before. It is a monumental history of the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, and a detailed and moving description of how the Nazi party first discriminated against Jews, before segregating them and finally deporting them to the gas chambers (a process fully outlined in the mass of administrative documents discovered by Dr Presser).

At a time when there are increasingly few survivors of the Holocaust, the eye-witness…


Book cover of Everyone Brave Is Forgiven

Deborah Hopkinson Author Of We Must Not Forget: Holocaust Stories of Survival and Resistance

From my list on World War II in Europe.

Why am I passionate about this?

The books I’ve recommended here range from scholarship, young adult historical fiction, literary fiction, and a good spy mystery—all set in World War II. I’ve read widely in the field since I’ve written several nonfiction books for young readers and teens about World War II. Along with We Must Not Forget, these include Courage & Defiance, about the Danish resistance, Dive!, about the submarine war in the Pacific, D-Day: The World War II Invasion that Changed History, and We Had to Be Brave: Escaping the Nazis on the Kindertransport. I’m currently working on a book about a 1945 POW rescue in the Philippines.

Deborah's book list on World War II in Europe

Deborah Hopkinson Why did Deborah love this book?

Chris Cleave’s fourth novel was inspired by memories of his grandparents and their letters during the war. The novel follows the lives and relationships of four young people in Britain during the early years of World War II. It also follows action on the island of Malta, a part of World War II history not as well known. It’s also a story of love, friendship, and surprising choices. A warning: Do not read ahead. The novel has an incredible last scene and you don’t want to ruin it!

By Chris Cleave,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Everyone Brave Is Forgiven as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Ian McEwan did this with Atonement, Sarah Waters did it with The Night Watch, and Chris Cleave does it too with Everyone Brave is Forgiven... A compelling and finely crafted novel.' FT

'An addictive, propulsive read' The Sunday Times

Summer Reading pick - Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train
Top Ten hottest summer reads - Sunday Telegraph
Instant New York Times Bestseller
Evening Standard bestseller
'A cracker' Stylist, 10 Exciting Books in 2016
'His best book to date' Esquire, 10 best novels of 2016
Guardian Literary Highlight of 2016
Independent Best Book to read in 2016
Irish…


Book cover of Code Name Verity

Katherine Marsh Author Of The Lost Year: A Survival Story of the Ukrainian Famine

From my list on historical fiction to read with middle schoolers.

Why am I passionate about this?

Not only have I written six critically acclaimed novels for middle-grade readers, including three historical fictions, I am the parent of a tween and teen who is always looking for great read-alouds and read-alongs for my own family. I am a firm believer that this is a valuable way to encourage literacy and love of story as I wrote in a recent, much-discussed essay in The Atlantic. Having lived abroad, including as an exchange student and camper in the Soviet Union and for three years in Belgium, I am also a huge believer in expanding our own as well as our kids’ knowledge of history beyond our own borders, cultures, identities, and perspectives. 

Katherine's book list on historical fiction to read with middle schoolers

Katherine Marsh Why did Katherine love this book?

Elizabeth Wein’s young adult novel about female friends and aviators during World War II has a jaw-dropping twist.

But it’s also a fabulous introduction to both the larger war-time history—including in England and France--and the history of women in aviation and military/ intelligence roles.

This story is a great choice for families with girls, who get to see themselves as heroines, fighters, and adventurers—roles traditionally reserved for male protagonists.

By Elizabeth Wein,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Code Name Verity 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?

'I have two weeks. You'll shoot me at the end no matter what I do.'

Shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal, Code Name Verity is a bestselling tale of friendship and courage set against the backdrop of World War Two.

Only in wartime could a stalwart lass from Manchester rub shoulders with a Scottish aristocrat, one a pilot, the other a special operations executive. When a vital mission goes wrong, and one of the friends has to bail out of a faulty plane over France, she is captured by the Gestapo and becomes a prisoner of war. The story begins in…


Book cover of Disappeared

Victoria Weisfeld Author Of Architect of Courage

From my list on ordinary people in extraordinary situations.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I say I enjoy stories of ordinary people in extraordinary situations, I’m talking about characters who don’t have law enforcement or Special Forces training, who aren’t martial arts experts, KGB agents, or CIA officers. I like those characters too, but they typically engage my head, not my heart. Thrown into dangerous situations, “ordinary” individuals can show tremendous courage and quick-wittedness. I can easily put myself in their shoes and empathize with their plight, which gives me a real stake in the story’s outcome. If a story is well-written, the creative ways characters respond and the strengths they discover within themselves make them true heroes to me.

Victoria's book list on ordinary people in extraordinary situations

Victoria Weisfeld Why did Victoria love this book?

Two American housewives—sisters—are on vacation in Morocco (a place I’ve really enjoyed visiting) and one of them disappears. Her sister is determined to find her, but neither has any preparation for the dangers they face. A foreign setting is mysterious, exotic, and always holds unknown possibilities. Finding themselves in a rural area, the women don’t know whom to trust, and they cannot rely on the usual social safeguards. The police and military are actually a threat. For me, a standalone thriller like this packs extra tension because you can’t be certain the characters will survive!

By Bonnar Spring,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

These two sisters are about to be permanently "disappeared"

Julie Welch's sister, Fay Lariviere, disappears from their hotel in Morocco. Although she leaves a note that she'll be back in two days, Fay doesn't return.

Julie's anger shifts to worry—and to fear when she discovers a stalker. Then, an attack meant for Julie kills another woman. Searching Fay's luggage and quizzing the hotel staff, Julie discovers Fay's destination—a remote village in the Saharan desert. Convinced her sister is in danger and propelled by her own jeopardy, Julie rushes to warn Fay.

By the time she reaches the village, Julie finds…


Book cover of Cover Story

Victoria Weisfeld Author Of Architect of Courage

From my list on ordinary people in extraordinary situations.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I say I enjoy stories of ordinary people in extraordinary situations, I’m talking about characters who don’t have law enforcement or Special Forces training, who aren’t martial arts experts, KGB agents, or CIA officers. I like those characters too, but they typically engage my head, not my heart. Thrown into dangerous situations, “ordinary” individuals can show tremendous courage and quick-wittedness. I can easily put myself in their shoes and empathize with their plight, which gives me a real stake in the story’s outcome. If a story is well-written, the creative ways characters respond and the strengths they discover within themselves make them true heroes to me.

Victoria's book list on ordinary people in extraordinary situations

Victoria Weisfeld Why did Victoria love this book?

This jigsaw puzzle of a psychological thriller involves a world-class con artist. So, so cleverly done. I didn’t put all the pieces together until the very end, which took my breath away, literally! Most of the story is told via the diary of a naïve college dropout, who wants desperately to work for a fashion magazine. She wangles an internship with an important publication and reveals to the diary her growing admiration for one of the mag’s high-living senior editors. Memoranda and phone messages of other people reveal the authorities are suspicious of the editor, as the intern works merrily on. I wanted her to wake up! I unsuccessfully tried to telepathically communicate the danger signs to her, but no.

By Susan Rigetti,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Netflix's Inventing Anna and Hulu's The Dropout meets Catch Me If You Can in this captivating novel about an ambitious young woman who gets trapped in a charismatic con artist's scam.

A Most Anticipated Book by Entertainment Weekly, Marie Claire, Parade, New York Post, Shondaland, E!, Fortune, PopSugar, and more!

"It's exciting, it's surprising, it's satisfying, it's darkly funny, and it will keep you guessing."-Linda Holmes for Today.com

After a rough year at NYU, aspiring writer Lora Ricci is thrilled to land a summer internship at ELLE magazine where she meets Cat Wolff, contributing editor and enigmatic daughter of a…


Book cover of Razorblade Tears

Carl Vonderau Author Of Saving Myles

From my list on thrillers that are as much about family as danger.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a former international banker and now a prize-winning author. My books take place in the financial world. However, my writing principle is that behind every crime is a family. In my thrillers, the crime amplifies the family dysfunction. My characters can only survive by growing and coming together. If you like character development, as well as the twists and turns of a good plot, you will like the novels that I recommend. 

Carl's book list on thrillers that are as much about family as danger

Carl Vonderau Why did Carl love this book?

I like this very violent book because it shows how the love of two fathers for their murdered sons overcomes their own racial and sexual prejudices.

One father is a white redneck and the other is a Black ex-con. Their sons married each other and have been estranged from their fathers because of their homosexuality. When they are murdered, these two men must link up and exact both justice and revenge. What a great premise!

Cosby nicely shows how the two men grow to understand and accept each other because of this higher calling. It ends in blood.

By S.A. Cosby,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

*INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER* One of Barack Obama's Recommended Reads for Summer • New York Times Notable Book • NPR’s Best Books of 2021 • Washington Post’s Best Thriller and Mystery Books of the Year • TIME Magazine’s 100 Must-Read Books of 2021 • New York Public Library’s Best Books of the Year • Goodreads Choice Award Nominee • Book of the Month’s Book of the Year Finalist
“Provocative, violent — beautiful and moving, too.” —Washington Post
“Superb...Cuts right to the heart of the most important questions of our times.” —Michael Connelly
“A tour de force – poignant, action-packed,…


Book cover of Fierce Kingdom

Amy Beashel Author Of Spilt Milk

From my list on modern motherhood.

Why am I passionate about this?

I had a very distinct vision of what kind of mother I would be: patient, kind, and creative. And I can be all of these things, but so too can I be frustrated, furious, and exhausted beyond belief. This contradictory experience of motherhood was what I wanted to explore in Spilt Milk and is the motherhood exposed in these five books which, while very different in form, share a willingness to acknowledge the darker and less curated aspects of a relationship that can be as stifling as it is wonderful.  

Amy's book list on modern motherhood

Amy Beashel Why did Amy love this book?

A shooter in a zoo might not sound like the premise for an exploration of motherhood, but this brilliantly paced thriller is just that. On a day trip to the zoo with her four-year-old son, Joan must flee from a gunman, a task made all the more complicated by having to simultaneously negotiate the quotidian questions and tasks of parenting.

A hungry child, or one who needs the toilet, can be challenging at the best of times, let alone while hiding in an empty animal enclosure trying to avoid imminent death! Ultimately, the primary role of any parent is to keep their child alive. Fierce Kingdom puts this ordinary occupation in extraordinary circumstances, and the result is utterly compelling. 

By Gin Phillips,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One of the New York Times Book Review's Best Crime Novels of 2017

"Warning: you'll finish this in one sitting." -TheSkimm

"Expertly made thriller . . . clever and irresistible." -The New York Times

An electrifying novel about the primal and unyielding bond between a mother and her son, and the lengths she'll go to protect him.

The zoo is nearly empty as Joan and her four-year-old son soak up the last few moments of playtime. They are happy, and the day has been close to perfect. But what Joan sees as she hustles her son toward the exit gate…


Book cover of Jackdaws

Ulff Lehmann Author Of Shattered Dreams

From my list on to help deconstruct tropes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love history and stories. Over the years I realized stories are part history and part character. I still don’t know in which ratio, but a story without characters or history is boring. A world, any world, needs history as much as characters because the story develops from their interaction. As a writer I always ask why. It’s the quintessential question. Any character is there for a reason that must be linked to history in some form. It’s cheap to say, “they’re there because it suits the plot.” And all of these books give us both history and character(s). And then some.

Ulff's book list on to help deconstruct tropes

Ulff Lehmann Why did Ulff love this book?

In history class, we only learned about the abstracts of World War II, and then only from the criminal’s side, with very few lessons being dedicated to the other victims. Not only does this book allow you into the French Resistance against Nazi occupation, its main character is a woman! It’s obviously fiction, and the ending is still the fall of Nazi Germany, but you sweat along with the characters. It’s wonderful to see a completely ruthless female warrior take the fight to a vile enemy. Especially for me as a German, it was a great read.

By Ken Follett,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In his own bestselling tradition of Eye of the Needle and The Key to Rebecca, Ken Follett delivers a breathtaking novel of suspense set in the most dangerous days of World War II.

D-Day is approaching. They don't know where or when, but the Germans know it'll be soon, and for Felicity "Flick" Clariet, the stakes have never been higher. A senior agent in the ranks of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) responsible for sabotage, Flick has survived to become one of Britain's most effective operatives in Northern France. She knows that the Germans' ability to thwart the Allied attack…


Book cover of Charlotte Gray

Sarah Steele Author Of The Schoolteacher of Saint-Michel

From my list on formidable females in Nazi-occupied France.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having spent much time in France, I’ve been party to some incredible stories of the war years. The beautiful home owned by friends was once gifted by General De Gaulle to the village baker for his work hiding Resistance messages in loaves of bread; 90-year-old Jeanne remembers her father hiding Jewish families and helping them cross into free France; woodlands are punctuated by wooden crosses marking execution sites. For a writer, this is irresistible material, and it has been an honour to write The Schoolteacher of Saint-Michel and The Lost Song of Paris in tribute to the many acts of bravery and resistance over four long years of German occupation.

Sarah's book list on formidable females in Nazi-occupied France

Sarah Steele Why did Sarah love this book?

There are few who have written about occupied France as transportingly and with the same level of carefully dripped research as has Sebastian Faulks. Charlotte Gray is arguably the textbook from which all other authors might learn. It is impossible to sit inside a French farmhouse kitchen alongside one of his characters and not believe you are there, nor to be drawn into the world of Charlotte as she completes her SOE training and is dropped in France to fight for her country and to discover the fate of her lover, missing RAF pilot Peter Gregory. Spies, collaborators, constant jeopardy and a cracking love story too—unmissable.

By Sebastian Faulks,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A remarkable story of a Scottish woman in Occupied France pursuing a perilous mission of her own

FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER BIRDSONG

In 1942, Charlotte Gray, a young Scottish woman, heads for Occupied France on a dual mission - officially, to run an apparently simple errand for a British special operations group and unofficially, to search for her lover, an English airman missing in action. She travels to the village of Lavaurette, dyeing her hair and changing her name to conceal her identity. As the people in the small town prepare to meet their terrible destiny, Charlotte…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the German occupation of Europe, making movies, and France?

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