100 books like Wartime

By Juliet Gardiner,

Here are 100 books that Wartime fans have personally recommended if you like Wartime. 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 Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz

Linda Stewart Henley Author Of Kate's War

From my list on young women in WW II in the UK.

Why am I passionate about this?

Two of my three novels have young women protagonists. I find young adulthood a fascinating time in women’s lives and I enjoy creating a character and putting her in a historical setting. The Second World War offers fertile ground for storytelling, and I grew up south of London after the war. My father’s unpublished memoir, in which he describes an event that he experienced in the war, inspired me to write about it, but I told the story through the eyes of the protagonist, Kate. 

Linda's book list on young women in WW II in the UK

Linda Stewart Henley Why did Linda love this book?

This well-written book taught me a great deal about WW2. I especially appreciated learning more about Mary Churchill, Winston’s youngest daughter, who was seventeen at the start of the war. The author obtained access to her diaries, and he quotes from them often, so I got a feel for the life of a young woman in society during wartime. Mary had a conscience and good insights and became a main character in this historical book.

It’s not a novel, but at times it reads like one.  

By Erik Larson,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Splendid and the Vile as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The author of The Devil in the White City and Dead Wake delivers an intimate chronicle of Winston Churchill and London during the Blitz—an inspiring portrait of courage and leadership in a time of unprecedented crisis
 
“One of [Erik Larson’s] best books yet . . . perfectly timed for the moment.”—Time • “A bravura performance by one of America’s greatest storytellers.”—NPR 
 
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review • Time • Vogue • NPR • The Washington Post • Chicago Tribune • The Globe &…


Book cover of How We Lived Then: A History of Everyday Life During the Second World War

Jillianne Hamilton Author Of The Hobby Shop on Barnaby Street: A Heartwarming WW2 Historical Romance

From my list on daily life on the British homefront during WWII.

Why am I passionate about this?

I fell in love with English history around age 10 when I began reading historical fiction and non-fiction. I have maintained a history blog, The Lazy Historian, since 2015 and I published a casually written non-fiction book, The Lazy Historian’s Guide to the Wives of Henry VIII, in 2018. When I began writing my Homefront Hearts WWII romance trilogy, I threw myself into researching the well-documented daily lives of the English and the various challenges that came from “keeping calm and carrying on.”

Jillianne's book list on daily life on the British homefront during WWII

Jillianne Hamilton Why did Jillianne love this book?

This book contains a multitude of stories from people who lived in Britain during WWII and dealt with things like wartime preparations, rationing, “Dig for Victory,” travel, homefront war work, and lots of other daily life details—even something as mundane as the types of books people were reading during that time makes it into this thick and comprehensive social history book. Also includes quite a few very nice photos.

By Norman Longmate,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How We Lived Then as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Although nearly 90% of the population of Great Britain remained civilians throughout the war, or for a large part of it, their story has so far largely gone untold. In contrast with the thousands of books on military operations, barely any have concerned themselves with the individual's experience. The problems of the ordinary family are barely ever mentioned - food rationing, clothes rationing, the black-out and air raids get little space, and everyday shortages almost none at all.

This book is an attempt to redress the balance; to tell the civilian's story largely through their own recollections and in their…


Book cover of Millions Like Us: Women's Lives In War And Peace 1939-1949

Jillianne Hamilton Author Of The Hobby Shop on Barnaby Street: A Heartwarming WW2 Historical Romance

From my list on daily life on the British homefront during WWII.

Why am I passionate about this?

I fell in love with English history around age 10 when I began reading historical fiction and non-fiction. I have maintained a history blog, The Lazy Historian, since 2015 and I published a casually written non-fiction book, The Lazy Historian’s Guide to the Wives of Henry VIII, in 2018. When I began writing my Homefront Hearts WWII romance trilogy, I threw myself into researching the well-documented daily lives of the English and the various challenges that came from “keeping calm and carrying on.”

Jillianne's book list on daily life on the British homefront during WWII

Jillianne Hamilton Why did Jillianne love this book?

Many British women spent the wartime years taking on jobs they would never have had the chance to do before and it provided them with a new confidence and independence that made going back to domestic life a challenge when the war ended. Millions Like Us takes an exhaustive look at wartime work for women, how women dealt with rationing, the struggle of maintaining a marriage while separated, the heartache of having to evacuate children or losing a partner, romance between British women and American troops as well as the awkwardness of marriage when husbands returned from abroad, often times for years. Another hefty tome, this book also includes 24 pages of photos.

By Virginia Nicholson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In 1942 Cora Johnston is grieving over the death of her young husband, torpedoed in the Atlantic; Aileen Morris is intercepting Luftwaffe communications during the siege of Malta - and Clara Milburn, whose son was captured after Dunkirk, is waiting, and waiting ...

We tend to see the Second World War as a man's war, featuring Spitfire crews and brave deeds on the Normandy beaches. But in conditions of "Total War" millions of women - in the Services and on the Home Front - demonstrated that they were cleverer, more broad-minded and altogether more complex than anyone had ever guessed.…


Book cover of Fashion on the Ration: Style in the Second World War

Jillianne Hamilton Author Of The Hobby Shop on Barnaby Street: A Heartwarming WW2 Historical Romance

From my list on daily life on the British homefront during WWII.

Why am I passionate about this?

I fell in love with English history around age 10 when I began reading historical fiction and non-fiction. I have maintained a history blog, The Lazy Historian, since 2015 and I published a casually written non-fiction book, The Lazy Historian’s Guide to the Wives of Henry VIII, in 2018. When I began writing my Homefront Hearts WWII romance trilogy, I threw myself into researching the well-documented daily lives of the English and the various challenges that came from “keeping calm and carrying on.”

Jillianne's book list on daily life on the British homefront during WWII

Jillianne Hamilton Why did Jillianne love this book?

In 1941, Britain was shocked to find out that the extra margarine coupons in their food ration books were actually to be used for clothing starting immediately since clothing was now also to be rationed. Clothes rationing, wartime makeup, wedding wear, uniforms (for men and women), restrictions placed on clothing design, fashion houses and magazines, “make-do and mend,” and more are all covered in this dense little book.

By Julie Summers,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fashion on the Ration as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In September 1939, just three weeks after the outbreak of war, Gladys Mason wrote briefly in her diary about events in Europe: 'Hitler watched German siege of Warsaw. City in flames.' And, she continued, 'Had my wedding dress fitted. Lovely.'

For Gladys Mason, and for thousands of women throughout the long years of the war, fashion was not simply a distraction, but a necessity - and one they weren't going to give up easily. In the face of bombings, conscription, rationing and ludicrous bureaucracy, they maintained a sense of elegance and style with determination and often astonishing ingenuity. From the…


Book cover of Men at Arms

Mark Ellis Author Of The Embassy Murders

From my list on British home front in World War II.

Why am I passionate about this?

During WW II, my father served in the Navy, and my mother worked as a secretary. My father contracted a lung disease while on service in Africa and died in 1960 when I was seven. My mother happily lived to a ripe old age and enjoyed discussing her wartime experiences. Her stories included ones of going up to London for jolly weekends at a time when the city was being bombed. When I asked her why she took such risks, she said the Germans were not going to stop her having a life. It is in this context that I became fascinated with WW II.

Mark's book list on British home front in World War II

Mark Ellis Why did Mark love this book?

This is the first in Evelyn Waugh’s famous Sword of Honour trilogy of novels, which is loosely based on his wartime experiences as a middle-aged recruit to the British Army.

The first in the series, set at the beginning of the war, follows the adventures of the author’s protagonist, Guy Crouchback, as he attempts to join up and then becomes an officer. Full of memorable characters and written with Waugh’s typical acerbic wit and elan, this is a classic and one of my favorite books of the period.

By Evelyn Waugh,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"An eminently readable comedy of modern war" (New York Times), Men at Arms is the first novel in Evelyn Waugh's brilliant Sword of Honor trilogy.

Guy Crouchback, determined to get into the war, takes a commission in the Royal Corps of Halberdiers. His spirits high, he sees all the trimmings but none of the action. And his first campaign, an abortive affair on the West African coastline, ends with an escapade that seriously blots his Halberdier copybook.

Men at Arms is the first novel in Waugh's brilliant Sword of Honor trilogy recording the tumultuous wartime adventures of Guy Crouchback ("the…


Book cover of At Home and Under Fire: Air Raids and Culture in Britain from the Great War to the Blitz

Lucy Noakes Author Of Dying for the Nation: Death, Grief and Bereavement in Second World War Britain

From my list on civilians in war.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated by the Second World War since I was a child. I grew up with tales of London and Coventry in wartime, stories of family separation, rationing, and air raids. The stories that really gripped me included the streams of refugees passing my grandmother’s house in the suburbs of Coventry after that city was bombed, and the night my aunts and (infant) father spent waiting to be rescued from a bombed house in south London. As a historian I wanted to know more about stories like this, and about the ways that wars shape lives, and my books have returned again and again to the civilian experience of war.

Lucy's book list on civilians in war

Lucy Noakes Why did Lucy love this book?

This book made me think differently about air war, arguably the defining element of 20th and 21st-century conflicts. Grayzel traces its evolution and experience for Britain from the first bombing raids of the First World War to the start of the blitz in the Second. Unlike most other studies, which focus on military strategy and state policy, she interweaves the stories and experiences of the civilians who were to be the targets of this new technology. The book reminds us (if we needed reminding) of the shock of air raids, and the way that these impacted every aspect of life.

By Susan R. Grayzel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked At Home and Under Fire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Although the Blitz has come to symbolize the experience of civilians under attack, Germany first launched air raids on Britain at the end of 1914 and continued them during the First World War. With the advent of air warfare, civilians far removed from traditional battle zones became a direct target of war rather than a group shielded from its impact. This is a study of how British civilians experienced and came to terms with aerial warfare during the First and Second World Wars. Memories of the World War I bombings shaped British responses to the various real and imagined war…


Book cover of The Secret History of the Blitz

Melvyn Fickling Author Of Blackbirds

From my list on the London Blitz and the bomber war.

Why am I passionate about this?

I lived in London for eighteen years and acquired an abiding affection for my nation’s capital. I wanted to write a sequel to Bluebirds and jumped at the chance of giving Bryan Hale an adventure where he could walk the streets that I knew and loved. The scars caused on the fair face of London by sticks of Nazi bombs landing in ragged lines across the streets and terraces may still be discerned from the incongruity of the buildings that have since risen to fill the gaps. London heals and thrives. Ultimately, I believe every English writer harbours an ambition to write a London novel. I did, and I did.

Melvyn's book list on the London Blitz and the bomber war

Melvyn Fickling Why did Melvyn love this book?

Today, it is almost impossible to imagine aircraft roaming freely over British cities, disgorging bombs onto the streets below. So, it’s vital for us to have access to the personal, unvarnished stories and contemporary accounts from those that actually lived through this particular horror. In The Secret History of the Blitz Levine pulls no punches as he documents the behaviour of ordinary people faced with extreme experiences. Some reacted with fortitude, uniting in neighbourhood solidarity and extending charity to strangers. Others exploited the chaos, breaking legal and moral codes for their own personal enrichment. To this day, the British psyche collectively benefits from the social concept of a Blitz Spirit. But we should remember it was always a two-sided coin.

By Joshua Levine,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Blitz of 1940-41 is one of the most iconic periods in modern British history - and one of the most misunderstood. The 'Blitz spirit' is celebrated by some, whereas others dismiss it as a myth. Joshua Levine's thrilling biography rejects the tired arguments and reveals the human truth: the Blitz was a time of extremes of experience and behaviour. People werepulling together and helping strangers, but they were also breaking rules and exploiting each other. Life during wartime, the author reveals, was complex and messy and real.

From the first page readers will discover a different story to the…


Book cover of The Postmistress

Sally Cabot Gunning Author Of Painting the Light

From my list on for her side of history.

Why am I passionate about this?

 I’ve always loved history, and especially those small stories, so often about women, that never made the history books. No big surprise then that as an author I eventually gravitated to historical fiction, and that all of my novels have featured strong, independent women. Women were wonderful sources for the kinds of stories I wished to tell – they kept journals and diaries; they wrote voluminous letters; they were excellent chroniclers of their time; they were clever and witty and brave, and they bared their souls. To be able to bring some of these women to life has been a most rewarding experience for me. I hope reading my books proves as rewarding for you.

Sally's book list on for her side of history

Sally Cabot Gunning Why did Sally love this book?

There are a lot of World War II books out there, and in truth, I was growing tired of them until I read Sarah Blake’s. Partially located on my home turf of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, the brush against our local history pre-World War II fascinated me. But Blake doesn’t stay local; she leaves the postmistress to do—or not doher job and flies off to London with a female war correspondent. How their stories cleverly intertwine is part of my fascination with this tale. Blake has a habit of dropping unforgettable characters on my doorstep, where they tease and tantalize long after I’ve turned the last page. 

By Sarah Blake,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Experience World War 2 through the eyes of two very different women in this captivating New York Times bestseller by the author of The Guest Book.

"A beautifully written, thought-provoking novel."-Kathryn Stockett, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Help

In 1940, Iris James is the postmistress in coastal Franklin, Massachusetts. Iris knows more about the townspeople than she will ever say, and believes her job is to deliver secrets. Yet one day she does the unthinkable: slips a letter into her pocket, reads it, and doesn't deliver it.

Meanwhile, Frankie Bard broadcasts from overseas with Edward R. Murrow.…


Book cover of Playing It Safe: An Electra McDonnell Novel

Bob Burnett Author Of Death is Potential: A Kate Swift Mystery

From my list on mysteries featuring steamy romance.

Why am I passionate about this?

At one time, it was commonplace for male mystery writers to devote a substantial amount of plot to romance; for example, Wilkie Collins, The Woman in White or Dashiell Hammett, The Maltese Falcon. In recent years, this tradition has eroded to the point where romantic mysteries are primarily written by women. I think romance spices up mysteries. In Death is Potential, Kate Swift is more invested in solving the murder mystery because she is protecting her lover.

Bob's book list on mysteries featuring steamy romance

Bob Burnett Why did Bob love this book?

I like this series set in wartime London. Electra “Ellie” McDonnell, a safecracker, is in business with her Uncle Mick, they rob homes of the rich.

After they are arrested, the handsome Major Ramsay has a deal for Ellie: if she will help him, he’ll let her, and her uncle walk free. A straightforward deal, except for the romantic complication.

By Ashley Weaver,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

As the Blitz continues to ravage London, Ellie McDonnell is approached by British Intelligence officer Major Ramsey with a new assignment. She is to travel under an assumed identity to the port city of Sunderland and there await further instructions. Ellie, ever-ready to aid her country, heads north, her safecracking tools in tow. But before she can rendezvous with the major, she witnesses an unnatural death. A man falls dead in the street in front of her, with a mysterious missive clutched in his hand. Ellie's instincts tell her that the man's death is connected in some way to her…


Book cover of The Book Cat

Holly Webb Author Of The Story Puppy

From my list on animal stories to tug your heartstrings.

Why am I passionate about this?

My first animal story, Lost in the Snow, was based on stories that my mum and I invented together when I was very small, about our stray cat Rosie. She walked into my dad’s office and sat down in his chair when he was out at lunch! I loved imagining her adventures as a stray kitten, and those stories could be scary, sad, emotional as anything – because we knew she came home to live safe and happy with us. I’ve been creating stories about animals ever since. 

Holly's book list on animal stories to tug your heartstrings

Holly Webb Why did Holly love this book?

This gorgeously illustrated book is the story of Morgan, who becomes the Book Cat at the real publisher Faber. I adored TS Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats as a child, and Morgan was a real cat who was one of the inspirations for the poems. These are his adventures during the London Blitz – in some ways a familiar story, but so moving from a cat’s point of view! 

By Polly Faber, Clara Vulliamy (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is a classic wartime tale of a (real!) cat who made his home at the Faber offices and decided he'd never leave.

'This time we need to get you - get all of the kittens, safe out of London,' said Morgan decisively . . . 'To have a chance for a better life, well, let's just say, I've got an idea.'

Morgan is a young orphan who lives off scavenging - until he finds a cosy home at a famous London publishing house. Over time he learns a trade - and soon becomes the very best book cat in…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the London Blitz, the United Kingdom, and presidential biography?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the London Blitz, the United Kingdom, and presidential biography.

The London Blitz Explore 33 books about the London Blitz
The United Kingdom Explore 564 books about the United Kingdom
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