100 books like Three Came Home

By Agnes Keith,

Here are 100 books that Three Came Home fans have personally recommended if you like Three Came Home. 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 A Town Like Alice

L.P. Fergusson Author Of The Summer Fields

From my list on handsome men in a parlous state.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in a medical family, my father and brother both surgeons and my mother a nurse. My parents met while serving in WW2 and that combination of compassion and horror in the field hospitals of Europe have stayed with me ever since. In fact, my first novel A Dangerous Act of Kindness, is set during WW2. I’m also a career hypochondriac. I avoid reading about illnesses or injuries I may suffer from myself, but I am fascinated by disease and pioneering surgery, thus The Summer Fields revolves around a disease that has now been eradicated (smallpox) and pre-anaesthetic surgery, something I hope I shall never have to face. 

L.P.'s book list on handsome men in a parlous state

L.P. Fergusson Why did L.P. love this book?

Some odd 1950s social attitudes caught me by surprise when I re-read this much-loved book from my past (what are those bruises all about?). Don’t let this put you off this wonderful story of courage and hardship as Jean Paget, an ordinary woman is swept up in the Japanese invasion of Malaya, faces terrible hardships in her group of female prisoners. Starving and sick, they are helped by an Australian, Sgt Joe Harman, also a prisoner, but his kindness results in the most terrible retribution. To say more would ruin the shock of this fabulous story, but I guarantee that Joe Harman will have your heart by the end of the book.

By Nevil Shute,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked A Town Like Alice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Probably more people have shed tears over the last page of A Town Like Alice than about any other novel in the English language... remarkable' Guardian

Jean Paget is just twenty years old and working in Malaya when the Japanese invasion begins.

When she is captured she joins a group of other European women and children whom the Japanese force to march for miles through the jungle - an experience that leads to the deaths of many.

Due to her courageous spirit and ability to speak Malay, Jean takes on the role of leader of the sorry gaggle of prisoners…

Book cover of Land Below the Wind

Neill McKee Author Of Finding Myself in Borneo: Sojourns in Sabah

From my list on exotic Asian travel and adventure.

Why am I passionate about this?

My first travel memoir, Finding Myself in Borneo, has won three awards. I hold a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in Communication from Florida State University. I worked internationally for 45 years, becoming an expert in the field of communication for social change. I directed and produced a number of award-winning documentary films/videos, popular multimedia initiatives, and have written numerous articles and books in my field. I worked and lived in Asia, Africa, and Russia for a total of 18 years and traveled to over 80 countries on short-term assignments. In 2015, I settled in New Mexico, using my varied experiences, memories, and imagination in creative writing.

Neill's book list on exotic Asian travel and adventure

Neill McKee Why did Neill love this book?

This book gives readers a clear picture of what it was like for an American woman, married to a British colonial, to live in North Borneo just before the Japanese Army invaded in 1942. It was truly an innocent place so far from the cares of the world. I read it in 1968, just before my first sojourn in Sabah, Malaysia. Much had changed by then, but it helped me understand the experiences of some of the older people I met. Today, Sabah remains a land “below the wind” (located south of the annual tropical cyclone belt.) But, as I mention in my book, it is no longer below the “political storms” as China battles the US and five other nations over the rights to the South China Sea.

By Agnes Keith,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This book was written during an era when Sabah was known as North Borneo, and when life was very much different from today s. Reprinted many times, this classic, of Agnes Keith s observations and reflections of the time, is a true-to-life record of society and culture then and of the captivating natural beauty of Sabah. Today, Sabah continues to be known as the land below the wind , a phrase used by seafarers in the past to describe all the lands south of the typhoon belt, but which Agnes effectively reserved for Sabah through her book. One of few…

Book cover of A Stroll Through Borneo

Judith M. Heimann Author Of The Most Offending Soul Alive: Tom Harrisson and His Remarkable Life

From my list on 20th Century Borneo.

Why am I passionate about this?

Judith M. Heimann grew up in New York City, where her father and both his brothers were newspapermen. She lived in Borneo in the mid-1960s with her American diplomat husband John Heimann, and their school-age children. In Borneo, she made lifelong friends of Tom Harrisson, his then-wife Barbara, and indigenous people she later wrote about. After a career in Europe, Asia, and Africa, as a US diplomat alongside her husband, in retirement she became a nonfiction writer and went back to Borneo several times to research her books, help on tv documentaries, and celebrate anniversaries of important wartime dates there; she still remembers the names of the people, the songs, the carvings and paintings, and especially the way the local people met her and her family more than halfway. 

Judith's book list on 20th Century Borneo

Judith M. Heimann Why did Judith love this book?

This book, by a well-born English friend of mine, was written when he was young and fancy free; he was then (in 1978) accurately described on the book jacket as a cheerful young man “who greets each new acquaintance and experience with enormous enthusiasm” as he makes his way alone, without fuss (while making local indigenous friends along the way) for five months through what was then one of the last remaining wild spots in the world. 

By James Barclay,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Stroll Through Borneo as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Stroll Through Borneo [hardcover] Barclay, James [Mar 01, 1980]

Book cover of Song of Survival: Women Interned

Kathryn J. Atwood Author Of Women Heroes of World War II—the Pacific Theater: 15 Stories of Resistance, Rescue, Sabotage, and Survival

From my list on Pacific Theater of World War II.

Why am I passionate about this?

Kathryn J. Atwood’s young adult collective biographies on women and war have garnered multiple book awards. She has been seen on America: Facts vs. Fiction; heard on BBC America; published in The Historian and War, Literature & the Arts; and featured as a guest speaker at the Harold Washington Library in Chicago, the First Division Museum at Cantigny Park, and the Atlanta History Center.

Kathryn's book list on Pacific Theater of World War II

Kathryn J. Atwood Why did Kathryn love this book?

A little-known aspect of the Pacific War was the imprisonment of Allied civilians. While these Japanese-run prison camps were not deliberate death machines, as were the Nazi-run concentration camps, large numbers of women and children died of starvation and disease there, or at least had their health permanently ruined. Many stories would come out of these camps, both horrific and inspiring. Perhaps the most brilliantly creative story of the latter category was the vocal orchestra, a group of imprisoned women who sought to recreate symphonic music with their voices. Colijn’s memoir was made into the film, Paradise Road.

By Helen Colijn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Thrown into the whirlwind of dark forces unleashed with the onset of World War II, a young woman, Helen Colijn, her sisters, and father flee the oncoming Japanese army. Helen Colijn's account of her wartime experiences is a window into a largely overlooked dimension of World War II -- the imprisonment of women and children in Southeast Asia by the Japanese and how these prisoners of war responded to their dire circumstances. The conditions were terrible. Food was scarce; medicine unavailable. Held in captivity for three and a half years, more that a third of the women in Helen's camp…

Book cover of The Jewel in the Crown

Annie Murray Author Of Letter from a Tea Garden

From my list on India under the Raj that are not about princesses.

Why am I passionate about this?

Abi Oliver is a pen name as my real name is Annie Murray—I write under both names. My first book, A New Map of Love, set in the 1960s, featured an older woman who had been born in India. She developed into such a character—a bit of an old trout to be truthful—that I wanted to tell her story. It also tapped into my family’s many connections with India and the fact that I have travelled a lot there. I finally got to travel, with my oldest daughter, and stay in one of the tea gardens in Assam—a wonderful experience.

Annie's book list on India under the Raj that are not about princesses

Annie Murray Why did Annie love this book?

This first volume—with the other threeis, I think, the best book ever written about the British in India and their leaving of it. The whole story is rooted in a rape that happens to a young Englishwoman, whose lover is accused of the crime. I first read this when it came out in 1980, before the amazingly good TV series. There are so many unforgettable characters in itthe women, trying to survive with husbands and fathers away in the army, the missionaries and nuns, as well as the men. Scott does not in any way idealize the Britishrather the oppositeand it is a feast of detail of the time and moving human stories. I have re-read it and will no doubt do so again. 

By Paul Scott,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Jewel in the Crown as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This first volume opens in 1942 as the British fear both Japanese invasion and Indian demands for self-rule. Daphne Manners, daughter of the province governor, is running at night through the Mayapore gardens, away from her Indian lover, who will soon be arrested for her alleged rape.

Book cover of Rewriting Adam

N. MacCameron Author Of Leoshine, Princess Oracle

From my list on combining science fiction with fantasy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love knowing about things. Science is both a knowledge base and a way to discover new knowledge. I’ve been looking through microscopes and telescopes (that my dad built) from my earliest toddling. Though I have never been to university I have picked the brains of my scientific siblings (one of whom is a biology professor) and I read widely. Gathering crumbs from many sources gives a wider knowledge base than one university child afford. Scientists begin with speculation. I love inventing systems and worlds where we break one or a few of our known laws of nature or physics. Marrying science with fantasy births marvelous offspring!

N.'s book list on combining science fiction with fantasy

N. MacCameron Why did N. love this book?

Lost, confused, and feeling the victim, Ethan visits Thailand. He falls down a sinkhole into an alternate reality. Even more lost among really weird people, feeling even more confused and victimized, he learns the true meaning of life. But can he get back to live his real life?

Who hasn’t tumbled into Ethan’s emotions? We go along thinking we’re doing good and suddenly the worst happens. We didn’t deserve any of it yet we’re stuck alone and destitute in it.

Ethan meets an archaeologist who introduces him to indigenous people and their ghost stories. I love cultural studies, sociology,  archaeology, anthropology, and linguistics, all sciences represented in this story. Reality gets smudged and blurred, but love, loyalty, and forgiveness remain true and unshaken in this beautiful story of redemption.

By Connie Mae Inglis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this debut novel from Connie Mae Inglis, readers travel with Ethan Adam on his quest to find answers to questions he has barely articulated.

All his life, Ethan's felt betrayed by the ones he's loved.

Feeling homeless, and without hope, Ethan travels from the Canadian prairies to Southeast Asia, searching for he knows not what.

When his path crosses with an archaeologist heading to an unexplored area of northern Myanmar, Ethan goes on a journey into an Edenesque world of welcoming telepathic humans, strange voices, and a cunning enemy. For what purpose? He doesn't know.

Can he figure it…

Book cover of The Beach

Dugald Bruce-Lockhart Author Of The Lizard

From my list on thrillers with beautiful settings and mind-blowing twists.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having been born in Fiji and lived in Cyprus, Austria, and Nigeria, I have always had a strong sense of wanderlust and a keen eye for my surroundings – both natural and man-made. I’ve always been open to "what might happen next," which makes sense as to why I became a professional storyteller – an actor, writer, and director. I am thrilled by not knowing what lies ahead, and I’ve always felt there is possible adventure at every turn in life, which is why I am so fond of the evocative and thrilling books I have listed.

Dugald's book list on thrillers with beautiful settings and mind-blowing twists

Dugald Bruce-Lockhart Why did Dugald love this book?

I read this sultry and disturbing Thailand adventure story in one sitting. It transported me away from my out-of-work actor troubles that rainy day in London and took me to a beautiful and terrifying dreamscape, diving ever deeper into the backpacker protagonist’s murky quest. I can still picture the cut-glass water, the huts… the shark. I still feel the heat, the sting of mosquitoes, and the tang of blood.

I found it extraordinarily gripping, moody, and menacing. The speed at which the unexpected twists unfolded was mind-blowing.

By Alex Garland,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

On Richard's first night in Bangkok, a fellow traveller slits his wrists, leaving Richard a map to "the Beach", where white sands circle a lagoon hidden from the sea, coral gardens and freshwater falls are surrounded by jungle. Richard was looking for adventure, and now he has found it.

Book cover of Rivers of Iron: Railroads and Chinese Power in Southeast Asia

Brantly Womack Author Of China and Vietnam: The Politics of Asymmetry

From my list on China perspectives.

Why am I passionate about this?

Where you sit determines what you see. China is complex, and so it pays to move around and view it from as many perspectives as possible. My view of China is formed by visits to all of its 31 provinces and to most of its neighbors.  A professor of foreign affairs at the University of Virginia, I have taught and written about Chinese politics for the past forty years, and I have worked with Chinese universities and scholars. This list suggests some excellent books presenting different vantage points on China’s past and present.

Brantly's book list on China perspectives

Brantly Womack Why did Brantly love this book?

Two prominent aspects of China’s recent economic development are its mushrooming network of high-speed rail and its efforts to encourage infrastructure in its neighbors and beyond through the Belt and Road Initiative. The careful research of this book brings the two together. In exploring the different attitudes toward China among its southern neighbors the authors give a concrete account of how involvement is shaped by the prospects, concerns, and politics of each country. Meanwhile, it is clear that China is achieving a new centrality and connectivity in mainland Asia. What remains to be seen is whether a connected Asia is also a unified one.

By David M. Lampton, Selina Ho, Cheng-Chwee Kuik

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

What China's infamous railway initiative can teach us about global dominance.

In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping unveiled what would come to be known as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)-a global development strategy involving infrastructure projects and associated financing throughout the world, including Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and the Americas. While the Chinese government has framed the plan as one promoting transnational connectivity, critics and security experts see it as part of a larger strategy to achieve global dominance. Rivers of Iron examines one aspect of President Xi Jinping's "New Era": China's effort to create an intercountry…

Book cover of Islam Translated: Literature, Conversion, and the Arabic Cosmopolis of South and Southeast Asia

Iris Idelson-Shein Author Of Between the Bridge and the Barricade: Jewish Translation in Early Modern Europe

From my list on translation and culture.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been studying Jewish translation for over a decade now. I’m fascinated with the way translation enables dialogue between different languages and cultures without eliminating the differences that make such dialogue worthwhile. Most of my work has been dedicated to translation between Christians and Jews, but I’m also interested in the ways in which translation functioned (and continues to function) within Jewish culture as a means of conversation between different communities, classes, genders, and generations. 

Iris' book list on translation and culture

Iris Idelson-Shein Why did Iris love this book?

I stumbled upon Ronit Ricci’s captivating book while finalizing my own research on early modern Jewish translation in Europe. The experience of reading this book was a little like (what I can only imagine) discovering an unknown relative on 23andme must feel like.

Ricci explores the literary networks that developed during the spread of Islam through early modern South and Southeast Asia. She shows how translators from Arabic into Javanese, Malay, and Tamil developed a remarkably creative approach to translation and how they domesticated (“localized” is her preferred term) their sources, reshaping unfamiliar concepts to resonate with their target readers.

Engaging with Ricci’s book was an uncanny experience; here, in a distant translator culture, I found fascinating parallels to the issues and concerns I encountered in my own research, often approached in surprisingly similar ways. Who would have thought that Old Yiddish and Old Javanese shared such common ground?

By Ronit Ricci,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The spread of Islam eastward into South and Southeast Asia was one of the most significant cultural shifts in world history. As it expanded into these regions, Islam was received by cultures vastly different from those in the Middle East, incorporating them into a diverse global community that stretched from India to the Philippines.

In Islam Translated, Ronit Ricci uses the Book of One Thousand Questions-from its Arabic original to its adaptations into the Javanese, Malay, and Tamil languages between the sixteenth and twentieth centuries-as a means to consider connections that linked Muslims across divides of distance and culture. Examining…

Book cover of Dog Soldiers

Max Ludington Author Of Thorn Tree

From my list on 1960s counterculture.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated with the sixties and its counterculture ever since I was about eleven or twelve, and I found out that the summer I was born, 1967, was called the Summer of Love. Because of this fascination, I started reading writers like Jack Kerouac and Hunter S. Thompson at an early age. Then, I became a lover of the Grateful Dead and went on tour with them as a fan for a couple of years in my late teens. It was the best way remaining in this country, in the 1980s, to be a hippie in some real way. I still love the music and literature of that time.

Max's book list on 1960s counterculture

Max Ludington Why did Max love this book?

This book lays bare the furious tensions in American society during the Vietnam era. I have read it three times, and each time, it reveals new treasures and nuances.

It’s a dark story about a war correspondent who decides to get rich by smuggling heroin home from Vietnam. So, while it opens in Saigon, most of the book is set in a California riven by culture clashes and soured idealism. Stone is one of America’s best late-twentieth-century novelists.

By Robert Stone,

Why should I read it?

5 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.…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Southeast Asia, prisoners, and Borneo?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Southeast Asia, prisoners, and Borneo.

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