100 books like To War with Whitaker

By Hermione Ranfurly,

Here are 100 books that To War with Whitaker fans have personally recommended if you like To War with Whitaker. 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 War in Val d'Orcia: An Italian War Diary, 1943-1944

Christine Foster Meloni Author Of Growing Up in Mussolini's Fascist Italy: The Story of Andrea Marcello Meloni

From my list on the dangers of living under Hitler and Mussolini.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became very interested in this topic when I moved to Italy and met and married Andrea Meloni. I had never been particularly interested in wars and battles but, when he began to tell me about his very personal experience growing up in Mussolini’s Fascist Italy, I was captivated and felt that his unique story was important. I, therefore, encouraged him to write his memoirs. My book is based on them, and so it is more his book than mine. However, I did extensive research to set his story in a coherent historical context. 

Christine's book list on the dangers of living under Hitler and Mussolini

Christine Foster Meloni Why did Christine love this book?

Origo was an English woman married to a wealthy Italian.

They were living on their estate in Italy (Tuscany) when Mussolini came to power and soon allied himself with Hitler. Her personal account of how they, both anti-Fascists, lived during this very difficult period brings history to life. They often put themselves in harm’s way by helping others hide from Fascist pursuers.

By Iris Origo,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked War in Val d'Orcia as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The bestselling diaries of WWII in Tuscany, with a new introduction by writer and social historian Virginia Nicholson, and stunning rediscovered photographsAt the height of the Second World War, Italy was being torn apart by German armies, civil war, and the eventual Allied invasion. In a corner of Tuscany, one woman - born in England, married to an Italian - kept a record of daily life in a country at war. Iris Origo's compellingly powerful diary, War in Val d'Orcia, is the spare and vivid account of what happened when a peaceful farming valley became a battleground.

At great personal…


Book cover of Looking for Trouble: The Classic Memoir of a Trailblazing War Correspondent

Judith Mackrell Author Of The Correspondents: Six Women Writers on the Front Lines of World War II

From my list on WW2 – but written by women.

Why am I passionate about this?

While I was child growing up in London, the war was a powerful presence in my life. It was there in the films we watched, in the comics my brothers read, and in my vague understanding of what it meant to be British. It was not a subject we ever studied at school and as an adult I’ve always felt frustrated by my inadequate knowledge of this world-changing conflict. When I first had the idea of writing about the six remarkable women who pioneered the way for female war journalists, it wasn’t just their personal stories that drew me in but the chance to learn more about WW2 itself.

Judith's book list on WW2 – but written by women

Judith Mackrell Why did Judith love this book?

I loved Virginia Cowles from the moment I read about her arrival in Madrid to cover the Spanish Civil War. In her high-heeled shoes and elegant wool dress Cowles looked as though she were dressed for a Manhattan tea party rather than the trenches of Spain. Yet she was a doggedly ambitious reporter whose glamour often bought her unique access to her subjects, not least the besotted Soviet General who kept her captive for three days, feeding her champagne while trying to convert her to Marxism. From Spain, Cowles went on to cover much of WW2, including the fall of Paris where she arrived just two days before the Nazis. Looking for Trouble is a rollicking thriller of a memoir, packed with political gossip and wildly entertaining anecdotes.

By Virginia Cowles,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Looking for Trouble as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This sensational 1941 memoir of life on wartime Europe's frontline by a trailblazing female reporter is an 'unforgettable' (The Times) rediscovered classic, introduced by Christina Lamb (who calls her 'the Forrest Gump of journalism').

Paris as it fell to the Nazis
London on the first day of the Blitz
Berlin the day Germany invaded Poland
Madrid in the Spanish Civil War
Prague during the Munich crisis
Lapland as the Russians attacked
Moscow betrayed by the Germans
Virginia Cowles has seen it all.

As a pioneering female correspondent, she reported from the frontline of 1930s Europe into the Second World War,…


Book cover of A Stricken Field

Christina Lynch Author Of The Italian Party

From my list on women in wartime.

Why am I passionate about this?

Doing the research for The Italian Party meant submerging myself in the Cold War Italy of the 1950s. But I found I couldn't understand that period without a better understanding of World War II and Italian Fascism. Cue an avalanche of books from which this list is culled, and the new novel I have just finished. I am drawn to first-hand accounts of women’s lives in wartime because I wonder how I would react and survive such challenges. Recent events in Europe have revived the nightmare of life under an occupying army. These stories are back at my bedside right now because I need their humor and wisdom.

Christina's book list on women in wartime

Christina Lynch Why did Christina love this book?

Most of us know Martha Gellhorn as a war correspondent and Mrs. Ernest Hemingway, but she was a brilliant novelist as well. A Stricken Field is the story of an American woman in Prague in 1938 as the Nazis move in and hunt down opponents of the regime. If you are looking for models of resistance to brutality (I am), this is your book.

By Martha Gellhorn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Martha Gellhorn was one of the first - and most widely read - female war correspondents of the twentieth century. She is best known for her fearless reporting in Europe before and during World War II and for her brief marriage to Ernest Hemingway, but she was also an acclaimed novelist. In 1938, before the Munich pact, Gellhorn visited Prague and witnessed its transformation from a proud democracy preparing to battle Hitler to a country occupied by the German army. Born out of this experience, "A Stricken Field" follows a journalist who returns to Prague after its annexation and finds…


Book cover of A House in the Mountains: The Women Who Liberated Italy from Fascism

Christina Lynch Author Of The Italian Party

From my list on women in wartime.

Why am I passionate about this?

Doing the research for The Italian Party meant submerging myself in the Cold War Italy of the 1950s. But I found I couldn't understand that period without a better understanding of World War II and Italian Fascism. Cue an avalanche of books from which this list is culled, and the new novel I have just finished. I am drawn to first-hand accounts of women’s lives in wartime because I wonder how I would react and survive such challenges. Recent events in Europe have revived the nightmare of life under an occupying army. These stories are back at my bedside right now because I need their humor and wisdom.

Christina's book list on women in wartime

Christina Lynch Why did Christina love this book?

I could have broken the rules and just listed five books by Caroline Moorehead here. I love her writing; her highly-researched biographies are a joy to read and utterly immersive. I chose A House in the Mountains because it shows me what it’s like to survive the hardscrabble blow-by-blow of daily life under an occupying army, and how you can defeat it. The five women whose lives in the Italian Resistance during WWII she chronicles here are models of courage and creative resistance to tyranny.

By Caroline Moorehead,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Moorehead paints a wonderfully vivid and moving portrait of the women of the Italian Resistance...an excellent book... She depicts a tragic fate that is timeless, of dreams forged in adversity, shattered by collisions with practical politics' MAX HASTINGS, SUNDAY TIMES

A Spectator Book of the Year

The extraordinary story of the courageous women who spearheaded the Italian Resistance during the Second World War

In the late summer of 1943, when Italy changed sides in the War and the Germans - now their enemies - occupied the north of the country, an Italian Resistance was born. Ada, Frida, Silvia and Bianca…


Book cover of The Key to Rebecca

Jim Carr Author Of Forget-Me-Nots

From my list on World War II you can't put down.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up during the war years and remembered the backouts, ration cards, and the newscasts from the front and worrying about my cousins who were in the middle of it. My cousin Gerald always made sure I had a model airplane kit every Christmas, even though he was fighting in Europe. As a journalist, I was lucky to work with a few war correspondents that covered Dieppe and D-Day and heard what they went through. One of those people was Bill Anderson who died two years ago. I recorded a video interview of him when he was still 97 about his experiences in Canada and Europe

Jim's book list on World War II you can't put down

Jim Carr Why did Jim love this book?

The war in Africa, where Rommel’s tanks seem unstoppable, sets the stage for this novel of intrigue and spies, with Egypt and The Suez Canal the prize. Follett is a master of suspense and he makes great use of it here as two secret agents lock horns. The German agent with a wonderfully appropriate name, The Spinx, enlists the wiles of a belly dancer and the British agent, seeks the help of a beautiful young Jewish woman, who plays a key role in unmasking the German agent and the final defeat of Rommel. I always love reading Follett. You’re never sure what.

By Ken Follett,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ken Follett's The Key to Rebecca took readers and critics by storm when first published forty years ago. Today, it remains one of the best espionage novels ever written.

A brilliant and ruthless Nazi master agent is on the loose in Cairo. His mission is to send Rommel's advancing army the secrets that will unlock the city's doors. In all of Cairo, only two people can stop him. One is a down-on-his-luck English officer no one will listen to. The other is a vulnerable young Jewish girl. . . .


Book cover of Cairo in the War, 1939-45

Eamonn Gearon Author Of The Sahara: A Cultural History

From my list on Egypt and the Sahara before and during WWII.

Why am I passionate about this?

Virtually my entire professional life has involved the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). As an author, teacher, public speaker, and historian, I’ve worked with everyone from school children to retirees, via university students and hundreds of American and British diplomats. One era I'm still in thrall to is the first half of the Twentieth century in Egypt, from Cairo to the Sahara. In part because of European involvement in the country at this time, this was a very important period for the country, the wider Middle East, and the post-war trajectory of the region. Taken together, the five books I recommend offer different but complementary sides of a fascinating, multi-faced place and time.  

Eamonn's book list on Egypt and the Sahara before and during WWII

Eamonn Gearon Why did Eamonn love this book?

Cairo in the War, 1939–1945 is a brilliant, fast-moving, narrative-driven piece of historical writing focussed on the British ruling elite in Egypt, before they won the war and subsequently lost this once vital North African imperial land-holding. The cast of characters reads like a Who’s Who of mid-century literary heavyweights, political operators, and military strategists, including everyone from Lawrence Durrell (whose Alexandria Quartet is also set in this period), Evelyn Waugh, Fitzroy Maclean, Olivia Manning, the brilliant Alexandrian Greek poet C.P. Cavafy, and Paddy Leigh Fermor. While much of the rest of the world burned, the British elite in Cairo partied, and in the process managed to annoy many American, Australian, and New Zealand allies and Egyptian foes alike, while sowing the seeds of an anti-monarchical feeling that eventually saw King Farouk toppled in 1952.

By Artemis Cooper,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cairo in the War, 1939-45 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For troops in the desert, Cairo meant fleshpots or brass hats. For well-connected officers, it meant polo at the Gezira Club and drinks at Shepheard's. For the irregular warriors, Cairo was a city to throw legendary parties before the next mission behind enemy lines. For countless refugees, it was a stopping place in the long struggle home.

The political scene was dominated by the British Ambassador Sir Miles Lampson. In February 1942 he surrounded the Abdin Palace with tanks and attempted to depose King Farouk. Five months later it looked as if the British would be thrown out of Egypt…


Book cover of Khan Al-Khalili

Eamonn Gearon Author Of The Sahara: A Cultural History

From my list on Egypt and the Sahara before and during WWII.

Why am I passionate about this?

Virtually my entire professional life has involved the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). As an author, teacher, public speaker, and historian, I’ve worked with everyone from school children to retirees, via university students and hundreds of American and British diplomats. One era I'm still in thrall to is the first half of the Twentieth century in Egypt, from Cairo to the Sahara. In part because of European involvement in the country at this time, this was a very important period for the country, the wider Middle East, and the post-war trajectory of the region. Taken together, the five books I recommend offer different but complementary sides of a fascinating, multi-faced place and time.  

Eamonn's book list on Egypt and the Sahara before and during WWII

Eamonn Gearon Why did Eamonn love this book?

Khan al-Khalili is a famous bazaar in the historic heart of Cairo, and the setting of this powerful and thought-provoking novel by Naguib Mahfouz. One of the most important Egyptian and Arab authors of the Twentieth century, in 1988, Mahfouz became the first Arabic-language writer to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. Mahfouz spent much of his life in and around Khan al-Khalili, which gives this novel an intimacy and sense of place akin to Dicken's writing about Victorian London. It is 1942, and Egypt is tense as the war moves closer and closer to the capital, and Cairenes from different generations thrust together in the crowded neighborhood variously argue for and against tradition, modernity, religious faith, and secularism. This is a great read, and even better if you’re able to read it while sitting in a café in Khan al-Khalili. 

By Naguib Mahfouz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Khan Al-Khalili as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Khan al-Khalili, by Egyptian Nobel Laureate Naguib Mahfouz, portrays the clash of old and new in an historic Cairo neighborhood as German bombs fall on the city.
   The time is 1942, World War II is at its height, and the Africa Campaign is raging along the northern coast of Egypt. Against this backdrop, Mahfouz’s novel tells the story of the Akifs, a middle-class family that has taken refuge in Cairo’s colorful and bustling Khan al-Khalili neighborhood. Believing that the German forces will never bomb such a famously religious part of the city, they leave their more elegant neighborhood and seek…


Book cover of Palace Walk

Peter Blauner Author Of Picture in the Sand

From my list on making history feel like it just happened.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a novelist, born and raised in New York City. To train myself to write realistic fiction, I started working in journalism first. I worked for New York magazine for a decade, writing about crime, politics, and other forms of anti-social behavior. Later, I wrote for television shows like Law & Order and Blue Bloods. But writing novels is what it's all about for me. I have nine of them so far. The audience is obviously quite small compared to the number of people who watch TV shows. But that doesn't matter. Nothing else allows you to communicate so directly from the studio in your mind to the theater in someone's else mind.

Peter's book list on making history feel like it just happened

Peter Blauner Why did Peter love this book?

When I first decided to write a historical novel that takes place in Egypt, I stopped by my local falafel joint in Brooklyn and asked the owner for pointers. He said, “Read Mahfouz, that’s all you need.” These are three interconnected stories that span the period from World War I to World War II. Without getting too deeply into the plot, I’d say they do what all the best historical novels do; they give you a sense of life’s movement, with the specifics that allow you to enter another time and place.

I met Mahfouz on my first trip to Egypt in 2005, shortly before he died, and asked him something about the country’s late leader Gamal Abdel Nasser. Mahfouz said he didn’t know the immediate answer himself, but “when I see Nasser, I’ll ask him.”

By Naguib Mahfouz,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE ACCLAIMED INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER BY THE NOBEL PRIZE WINNING AUTHOR.

'A masterpiece' - The Times
'The Arab Tolstoy' - Simon Sebag Montefiore
'Shamelessly entertaining' - Guardian
'Luminous' - New York Times

A sweeping and evocative portrait of both a family and a country struggling to move toward independence in a society that has resisted change for centuries. Set against the backdrop of Britain's occupation of Egypt immediately after World War I, Palace Walk introduces us to the Al Jawad family.

Ahmad, a middle-class shopkeeper runs his household strictly according to the Qur'an while at night he explores the pleasures of…


Book cover of The Spoilt City

Eliza Graham Author Of The Lines We Leave Behind

From my list on to immerse you in a wartime setting.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up exploring the semi-decayed air-raid shelters near my grandmother’s home in London—to her horror: she said they were full of rats and drunks. The Second World War and its effect on people, especially women, off the frontline has long fascinated me. To pursue my obsession with writing stories on this subject, I have made trips to genocide memorials in former Yugoslavia, bunkers in Brittany, and remote towns in Poland. My novels concern themselves with how the violence, and sometimes heroism, of the past trickles down a family’s bloodline, affecting later generations of women.

Eliza's book list on to immerse you in a wartime setting

Eliza Graham Why did Eliza love this book?

I could have chosen any of the three in Manning’s Balkan Trilogy, about a young couple who rush to get married on the eve of war and find themselves living first in Romania, then Athens (the setting for this book), and finally Cairo. I love the portrait of Athens in the period before the German invasion: the beauty of Greece in springtime, the shortages of food, the strange collection of people making up the expatriate community, and how the marriage of two young, probably mismatched people, is tried by the constant presences of war and death. The characters who drift along with the Pringles are beautifully drawn studies in their own right.  

By Olivia Manning,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

It is 1940, and Guy and Harriet Pringle and their friends in the English colony in Bucharest find their position growing ever more precarious. The 'phoney war' is over and invasion by the Germans is an ever-present threat. Harriet finds her new husband's idealism clashing with her own more down-to-earth attitudes, his generosity to all comers frustrating her attempts to survive in a city of shortages. Their easy life among Bucharest's cafe society is gradually eroded as rumours become reality, and the Germans march in. The Spoilt City is a dramatic and colourful portrait of a city in turmoil -…


Book cover of Desert War: The North African Campaign 1940-1943

John Sadler Author Of Blitzing Rommel

From my list on the War in the Desert 1940 – 1943.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a successful published author of military history nonfiction and fiction with 44 titles in print and have been a lifelong obsessive on the subject of WWII which was my parents’ war. I started on a diet of black & white war movies, then epics such as Tobruk, Raid on Rommel et al. I have been lecturing on the subject at the former Centre for Lifelong Learning at Newcastle University (Now the ‘Explore’ Programme) for 25 years. I am also an experienced and much travelled WWII Battlefield tour guide, with experience of guiding all the major Western Front campaigns. I’m a lifelong historical interpreter and re-enactor.

John's book list on the War in the Desert 1940 – 1943

John Sadler Why did John love this book?

One of the earlier classic accounts of the whole of the Desert War from the pen of a celebrated war correspondent of the era who was actually there. This is a good and accessible history of the War which features all the main advances and retreats of both sides and includes interesting commentary on the desert generals, ours and theirs.

By Alan Moorehead,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A celebrated war correspondent offers his eyewitness account of the desert campaign in North Africa during World War II, describing the epic conflict between Allied and Axis powers from 1940 to 1943, in a volume that incorporates the complete texts of The Mediterranean Front, A Year of Battle, and The End of Africa. Reprint.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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