100 books like Watching The World

By Raymond Clapper,

Here are 100 books that Watching The World fans have personally recommended if you like Watching The World. 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 The American Home Front: 1941-1942

William Klingaman Author Of The Darkest Year: The American Home Front 1941-1942

From my list on life on the American homefront during WW2.

Why am I passionate about this?

William Klingaman is the author of ten books, most recently The Darkest Year: The American Home Front, 1941-1942, and The Year Without Summer: 1816 and the Volcano That Darkened the World and Changed History. He holds a Ph.D. In American History from the University of Virginia, and has taught at the University of Virginia and the University of Maryland.

William's book list on life on the American homefront during WW2

William Klingaman Why did William love this book?

At the end of February 1942, British-born journalist Alistair Cooke set off upon a road trip across wartime America, to “see what the war had done to people.” His observations provide a series of fascinating snapshots of the home front in the early months of the war. Shortages of civilian goods showed up everywhere, from the West Virginia soda fountain with the forlorn sign over an orange-squeezer that read, “Regret. Out of Coca-Cola,” to Houston, where rubber and gas rationing led to overcrowding on city buses that threw whites and Blacks into unwonted jostling proximity.

On the West Coast, Cooke found that San Diego — flush with sailors on leave and recently-arrived workers in aircraft plants — was “the greatest boom-town since the Klondike”: “In the evening, roaming the bars and saloons, you see, alongside much healthy ribaldry among sailors and Marines fresh from the Pacific, plenty of saddening adult…

By Alistair Cooke,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In nearly three thousand BBC broadcasts over fifty-eight years, Alistair Cooke reported on America, illuminating our country for a global audience. He was one of the most widely read and widely heard chroniclers of America—the Twentieth Century’s de Tocqueville. Cooke died in 2004, but shortly before he passed away a long-forgotten manuscript resurfaced in a closet in his New York apartment. It was a travelogue of America during the early days of World War II that had sat there for sixty years. Published to stellar reviews in 2006, though “somewhat past deadline,” Cooke’s The American Home Front is a “valentine…


Book cover of One Man's Meat

William Klingaman Author Of The Darkest Year: The American Home Front 1941-1942

From my list on life on the American homefront during WW2.

Why am I passionate about this?

William Klingaman is the author of ten books, most recently The Darkest Year: The American Home Front, 1941-1942, and The Year Without Summer: 1816 and the Volcano That Darkened the World and Changed History. He holds a Ph.D. In American History from the University of Virginia, and has taught at the University of Virginia and the University of Maryland.

William's book list on life on the American homefront during WW2

William Klingaman Why did William love this book?

No one wrote better than E. B. White, and no one captured the essence of daily life on the home front better than White in this collection of essays. “This is my country and my night,” he wrote from his farm in Maine, “this is the blacked-out ending to the day, the way they end a skit in a revue.” Yet White acknowledged that it was nearly impossible for him or anyone else to truly convey all the ways that the war was changing ordinary Americans. “You write something that sounds informative, throwing the words around in the usual manner, then the thing explodes in your hands, and you look down at your hands,” he explained. “As though you had crushed a light bulb and were bleeding slightly.”

By E.B. White,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked One Man's Meat as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Too personal for an almanac, too sophisticated for a domestic history, and too funny and self-doubting for a literary journal, One Man's Meat can best be described as a primer of a countryman's lessons a timeless recounting of experience that will never go out of style.


Book cover of State of the Nation

William Klingaman Author Of The Darkest Year: The American Home Front 1941-1942

From my list on life on the American homefront during WW2.

Why am I passionate about this?

William Klingaman is the author of ten books, most recently The Darkest Year: The American Home Front, 1941-1942, and The Year Without Summer: 1816 and the Volcano That Darkened the World and Changed History. He holds a Ph.D. In American History from the University of Virginia, and has taught at the University of Virginia and the University of Maryland.

William's book list on life on the American homefront during WW2

William Klingaman Why did William love this book?

Reading Dos Passos’ account of his own travels across wartime America is a valuable corrective to the long-standing myth of a united home front, with civilians cheerfully sacrificing for the boys overseas. Instead, Dos Passos found rising rates of worker absenteeism in defense plants, management executives turning blind eyes to defects in airplanes in the name of profits, and lonely wives of defense workers living in makeshift housing going “trailerwacky” for lack of companionship. And when coal miners walked out on strike in 1943, imperiling war production, one miner explained to Dos Passos that “it’s the tough guys make themselves respected in this man’s country, the tough guys an’ the big winds.”

By John Dos Passos,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of Public Journal: Marginal Notes on Wartime America

William Klingaman Author Of The Darkest Year: The American Home Front 1941-1942

From my list on life on the American homefront during WW2.

Why am I passionate about this?

William Klingaman is the author of ten books, most recently The Darkest Year: The American Home Front, 1941-1942, and The Year Without Summer: 1816 and the Volcano That Darkened the World and Changed History. He holds a Ph.D. In American History from the University of Virginia, and has taught at the University of Virginia and the University of Maryland.

William's book list on life on the American homefront during WW2

William Klingaman Why did William love this book?

A former philosophy professor who joined the staff of the illustrious New York newspaper PM following Pearl Harbor, Lerner provides a scholarly perspective on home front developments. “America at war,” he decided, “is an America torn from many of its moorings, in which everything is having to move at a quicker pace.” Among Lerner’s subjects are juvenile delinquency, especially the rise of teenage amateur prostitutes; women in wartime (“the men make war happen, but it happens to women”); and the increase in racial intolerance — not only against Japanese-Americans, but Mexicans and Jews as well.

By Max Lerner,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of Destructive Creation: American Business and the Winning of World War II

Alexander J. Field Author Of The Economic Consequences of U.S. Mobilization for the Second World War

From my list on U.S. mobilization for World War II.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a scholar, I take pleasure in developing novel interpretations and arguments and persuading colleagues and readers of their merits. Over the past two decades, I’ve advanced a new macroeconomic narrative for the United States. In earlier publications, I argued that the Depression years were the most technologically progressive of the twentieth century. Behind the backdrop of double-digit unemployment, potential output grew rapidly, an increase that helped enable the country to produce prodigious amounts of WWII armaments. It also, I maintain, established most of the supply side foundations for the golden age (1948-73). The conventional wisdom tends instead to credit U.S. postwar economic dominance to experience manufacturing military durables. 

Alexander's book list on U.S. mobilization for World War II

Alexander J. Field Why did Alexander love this book?

The book gives great insight into the role of organized efforts at persuasion in establishing and reinforcing much of what we think we know about mobilization for the war.

Business wanted credit for the success of war production, even though most of it was achieved in government owned, government operated (GOGO) or government owned, contractor operated (GOCO) plants. The public sector played a much larger role in planning, directing, and controlling the mobilization effort than business wished the American public to acknowledge.

By Mark R. Wilson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

During World War II, the United States helped vanquish the Axis powers by converting its enormous economic capacities into military might. Producing nearly two-thirds of all the munitions used by Allied forces, American industry became what President Franklin D. Roosevelt called "the arsenal of democracy." Crucial in this effort were business leaders. Some of these captains of industry went to Washington to coordinate the mobilization, while others led their companies to churn out weapons. In this way, the private sector won the war-or so the story goes.
Based on new research in business and military archives, Destructive Creation shows that…


Book cover of Roosevelt's Secret War: FDR and World War II Espionage

Patrick W. O'Bryon Author Of Corridor of Darkness

From my list on espionage and resistance in Hitler's Third Reich.

Why am I passionate about this?

While a graduate student and then an army interpreter in Germany, I listened to reminiscences from both Third Reich military veterans and former French resistance fighters. Their tales picked up where my father's stories of pre-war European life always ended, and my fascination with this history knew no bounds. On occasion I would conceal my American identity and mentally play the spy as I traversed Europe solo. A dozen years later upon the death of my father, I learned from my mother his great secret: he had concealed his wartime life as an American spy inside the Reich. His private journals telling of bravery and intrigue inspire each of my novels.

Patrick's book list on espionage and resistance in Hitler's Third Reich

Patrick W. O'Bryon Why did Patrick love this book?

If you love reading the history of World War II espionage, Persico brings to life behind-the-scenes maneuvers that took America from an unwieldy group of intelligence-gathering organizations to the formidable Office of Strategic Services under Wild Bill Donovan. While examining all theaters of World War II rather than just the Third Reich, the author provides excellent insights into the specific challenges encountered in Hitler's realm. I particularly enjoyed learning how Roosevelt balanced the information coming from many sources and integrated that knowledge into an intelligent plan of action.

By Joseph E. Persico,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Despite all that has already been written on Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Joseph Persico has uncovered a hitherto overlooked dimension of FDR's wartime leadership: his involvement in intelligence and espionage operations.

Roosevelt's Secret War is crowded with remarkable revelations:
-FDR wanted to bomb Tokyo before Pearl Harbor
-A defector from Hitler's inner circle reported directly to the Oval Office
-Roosevelt knew before any other world leader of Hitler's plan to invade Russia
-Roosevelt and Churchill concealed a disaster costing hundreds of British soldiers' lives in order to protect Ultra, the British codebreaking secret
-An unwitting Japanese diplomat provided the President with…


Book cover of Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood with Britain in Its Darkest, Finest Hour

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, Republicans across America heaped criticism on President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal programs, which they claimed would wither free enterprise and damage the economy. They labeled him a “socialist”—or worse.

Among the Republicans who broke with this broad Republican assault on FDR was John G. Winant, the Republican governor of New Hampshire. Winant gave up state politics to establish FDR’s Social Security program, and after the start of World War II Winant became FDR’s ambassador to London.

Winant’s courage, first in breaking with his party to join FDR, and then helping Winston Churchill and the British people fend off the Nazi assault, is part of Lynne Olson’s authoritative Citizens of London, the Americans Who Stood with Britain in its Darkest, Finest Hour.

By Lynne Olson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Engaging and original, rich in anecdote and analysis, this is a terrific work of history.”—Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of American Lion

The acclaimed author of Troublesome Young Men reveals the behind-the-scenes story of how the United States forged its wartime alliance with Britain, told from the perspective of three key American players in London: Edward R. Murrow, the handsome, chain-smoking head of CBS News in Europe; Averell Harriman, the hard-driving millionaire who ran FDR’s Lend-Lease program in London; and John Gilbert Winant, the shy, idealistic U.S. ambassador to Britain. Each man formed close ties with Winston Churchill—so much so…


Book cover of A Matter of Honor: Pearl Harbor: Betrayal, Blame and a Family’s Quest For Justice

Lew Paper Author Of In the Cauldron: Terror, Tension, and the American Ambassador's Struggle to Avoid Pearl Harbor

From my list on why America was unprepared for Pearl Harbor attack.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a lawyer (Harvard Law School) who loves to write. My books reflect my eclectic interests. I've written nonfiction books about John Kennedy’s presidency, Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis, CBS Founder William S. Paley, Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers, and Pearl Harbor. Each of my nonfiction books tries to focus on something with respect to a particular person or event that had not been addressed in detail in any other book. I've also written a thriller (Deadly Risks) which revolves around JFK’s assassination and can be likened to John Grisham’s book, The Pelican Brief.

Lew's book list on why America was unprepared for Pearl Harbor attack

Lew Paper Why did Lew love this book?

Admiral Husband Kimmel, the Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Fleet, was stationed in Honolulu in 1941 (and planning to play golf with Army Lieutenant General Walter Short, commander of US military installations, in the early morning of Sunday, December 7, 1941). In response to the outcry in the United States after the Pearl Harbor attack, Kimmel was relieved of his command and publicly accused of dereliction of duty because American forces were so ill-prepared for the Japanese attack. In this well-researched book, Summers and Swan conclude that military commanders in Washington and elsewhere failed to share intelligence information with Kimmel (and Short) and that Kimmel’s dismissal was nothing more than an attempt to find a scapegoat.

By Anthony Summers, Robbyn Swan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

On the seventy-fifth anniversary, the authors of Pulitzer Prize finalist The Eleventh Day unravel the mysteries of Pearl Harbor to expose the scapegoating of the admiral who was in command the day 2,000 Americans died, report on the continuing struggle to restore his lost honor-and clear President Franklin D. Roosevelt of the charge that he knew the attack was coming. The Japanese onslaught on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 devastated Americans and precipitated entry into World War II. In the aftermath, Admiral Husband Kimmel, Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Fleet, was relieved of command, accused of negligence and dereliction of…


Book cover of Fields of Battle: Pearl Harbor, the Rose Bowl, and the Boys Who Went to War

Jim Noles Author Of Undefeated: From Basketball to Battle: West Point's Perfect Season 1944

From my list on sports during World War II that inspire me.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an “Army brat” who attended five different middle and high schools, graduated from West Point (where I majored in international history), and later attended law school. The law is my profession, but writing is my avocation, and I’ve been fortunate to have several military histories published. I reside in Birmingham, Alabama, with my wife, our youngest son, and two untrained, incorrigible dogs. As far as my latest book is concerned, they like to say at West Point that “the history that we teach was made by people we taught.” In my case, I guess it was “the history I wrote about was made by people wearing the same uniform that I wore.”

Jim's book list on sports during World War II that inspire me

Jim Noles Why did Jim love this book?

1942’s Rose Bowl game was moved, in the wake of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, from Pasadena, California, to safer environs on the East Coast in Durham, North Carolina. In North Carolina, Oregon State beat host Duke 20-16, but even greaterand far more deadlycontests were ahead for the team’s players. Brian Curtis takes his readers from the Rose Bowl to the battles ultimately fought in Italy, Normandy, the Ardennes, and the Pacific.

By Brian Curtis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Shortly after this unforgettable game, many of the players and coaches entered the military and went on to serve around the world on famous battlegrounds, from Iwo Jima and Okinawa to Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge, where fate and destiny would bring them back together on faraway battlefields, fighting on the same team.


Book cover of Wild Bill Donovan: The Spymaster Who Created the OSS and Modern American Espionage

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?

Bill Donovan, recognized as a hero for rescuing his fellow soldiers at the front in World War I, was a rising star in the Republican Party, becoming assistant attorney general under Republican President Calvin Coolidge.

But in mid-1941, when many Republicans were condemning President Franklin D. Roosevelt as a warmonger, Donovan broke with them and supported FDR, urging him to create an intelligence agency to prepare the United States for a war against fascism.

In his insightful Wild Bill Donovan, Douglas Waller recounts Donovan’s bold decision to ally himself with FDR, rejecting partisan politics and instead prioritizing the defense of American democracy. FDR eventually named Donovan director of the Office of Strategic Services, the wartime spy agency that was a forerunner of today’s Central Intelligence Agency.

By Douglas Waller,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Entertaining history…Donovan was a combination of bold innovator and imprudent rule bender, which made him not only a remarkable wartime leader but also an extraordinary figure in American history” (The New York Times Book Review).

He was one of America’s most exciting and secretive generals—the man Franklin Roosevelt made his top spy in World War II. A mythic figure whose legacy is still intensely debated, “Wild Bill” Donovan was director of the Office of Strategic Services (the country’s first national intelligence agency) and the father of today’s CIA. Donovan introduced the nation to the dark arts of covert warfare on…


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