10 books like We Band of Angels

By Elizabeth M. Norman,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like We Band of Angels. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Unbroken

By Laura Hillenbrand,

Book cover of Unbroken

The bestselling novel turned motion picture about Louis Zamperini by Laura Hillenbrand. It’s truly a story about the strength of the human will to endure incredible hardship and cruelty. Louis is on a flight mission with several others, and his plane is struck down over the Pacific waters in a firefight. Him and several other survivors drift on a life raft for many days, until they are captured by the Japanese. They face many obstacles in their survival as they are repeatedly beaten and inhumanely starved. Once the war was over, Louis returns home to discover that the wounds of his captivity still remain with him. Laura writes about Louis’ road to finding peace with his dark past, and a newfound faith. Familiar with my own father’s struggles from war-torn Cambodia, it is this section that resonates closely and compassionately with me. Near the conclusion of the book, it ends…

Unbroken

By Laura Hillenbrand,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the author of the bestselling and much-loved Seabiscuit, an unforgettable story of one man's journey into extremity. On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane's bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War. The lieutenant's name was Louis Zamperini. In boyhood,…


Song of Survival

By Helen Colijn,

Book cover of Song of Survival: Women Interned

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.

Song of Survival

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…


I Saw The Fall Of The Philippines

By Carlos P. Romulo,

Book cover of I Saw The Fall Of The Philippines

The Philippine resistance of WWII was, in my opinion, the most admirable resistance organization of the war, whether European or Pacific. In fact, resistance among the Philippine people was so widespread, that the Japanese occupiers were almost correct in assuming any civilian they encountered was a resister on some level. Carlos Romulo, a Philippine aide de camp to General MacArthur and a hero to his countrymen, gives his personal account of the war in this excellent memoir.

I Saw The Fall Of The Philippines

By Carlos P. Romulo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Saw The Fall Of The Philippines as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Japan at War

By Theodore F. Cook, Haruko Taya Cook,

Book cover of Japan at War: An Oral History

Oral history sources have always been central to my work, both as an author and a documentary-maker. Cook’s account of the experiences of ordinary Japanese people during the Second World War is one of the best. It is both powerful and a lesson about the utter tragedy of war.

Japan at War

By Theodore F. Cook, Haruko Taya Cook,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A "deeply moving book" (Studs Terkel) and the first ever oral history to document the experience of ordinary Japanese people during World War II

"Hereafter no one will be able to think, write, or teach about the Pacific War without reference to [the Cooks'] work." -Marius B. Jansen, Emeritus Professor of Japanese History, Princeton University

This pathbreaking work of oral history by Haruko Taya Cook and Theodore F. Cook was the first book ever to capture the experience of ordinary Japanese people during the war and remains the classic work on the subject.

In a sweeping panorama, Japan at War…


Moonless Night

By B.A. 'Jimmy' James,

Book cover of Moonless Night: Wartime Diary of a Great Escaper

This is the autobiography of the man I consider the most determined escaper of WW2. Jimmy James was a serial escaper. One of the 76 men who broke out of Stalag Luft 3 in The Great Escape, he was recaptured and was sent to Sachsenhausen concentration camp.  Using a spoon, he dug a tunnel and escaped from there!  This is one of the bravest stories I've ever read of determination to succeed at any cost.

Moonless Night

By B.A. 'Jimmy' James,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the moment he was shot down to the final whistle, Jimmy James' one aim as a POW of the Germans was to escape.The Great Escaper describes his experiences and those of his fellow prisoners in the most gripping and thrilling manner. The author made more than 12 escape attempts including his participation in The Great Escape, where 50 of the 76 escapees were executed in cold blood on Hitler's orders.On re-capture, James was sent to the infamous Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp where, undeterred, he tunnelled out. That was not the end of his remarkable story.Moonless Night has strong claim to…


The Railway Man

By Eric Lomax,

Book cover of The Railway Man: A POW's Searing Account of War, Brutality and Forgiveness

This book inspired a movie by the same name. This is an autobiographical book by Eric Lomax, a British Army officer who was sent to a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp in 1942, where he was tormented and tortured nearly to the point of death. Decades after the war is over, he is made contact to the Japanese interrogator who harshly mistreated him. The both of them would eventually meet in Thailand near the area where he was a prisoner. Eric finds the man is deeply remorseful for the crimes he committed and asks for forgiveness. Railway Man has a touching ending where the survival was not during the war itself, but dealing with the trauma and psychologically damaged in the aftermath. And remarkably healing comes through the redemptive power of forgiveness.

The Railway Man

By Eric Lomax,

What is this book about?

NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STARRING COLIN FIRTH, NICOLE KIDMAN AND JEREMY IRVINE

During the second world war Eric Lomax was forced to work on the notorious Burma-Siam Railway and was tortured by the Japanese for making a crude radio.

Left emotionally scarred and unable to form normal relationships Lomax suffered for years until, with the help of his wife Patti and the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture, he came to terms with what had happened and, fifty years after the terrible events, was able to meet one of his tormentors.

The Railway Man is an…


Survival in Auschwitz

By Primo Levi,

Book cover of Survival in Auschwitz

Before the onset of WWII, Levi was one kind of a professional. At the end of it, he was quite another. This life switch fascinates me in general as a possibility in anyone’s life, but Levi’s switch is drastic. He transforms, and his narrative explains how and why.

It is not coincidence, therefore, that the narrative of Zaidy’s War closely mimics Levi’s style of writing: perceptive, Omni-thinking, calm, and nearly dispassionate.

I love this Holocaust memoir above all for its chameleonic quality, its deep insights, and eye-opening humanistic epiphanies and revelations.

Survival in Auschwitz

By Primo Levi,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Survival in Auschwitz as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The true and harrowing account of Primo Levi’s experience at the German concentration camp of Auschwitz and his miraculous survival; hailed by The Times Literary Supplement as a “true work of art, this edition includes an exclusive conversation between the author and Philip Roth.

In 1943, Primo Levi, a twenty-five-year-old chemist and “Italian citizen of Jewish race,” was arrested by Italian fascists and deported from his native Turin to Auschwitz. Survival in Auschwitz is Levi’s classic account of his ten months in the German death camp, a harrowing story of systematic cruelty and miraculous endurance. Remarkable for its simplicity, restraint,…


Baa, Baa Black Sheep

By Gregory “Pappy” Boyington,

Book cover of Baa, Baa Black Sheep

The copy I read came from my dad’s collection. It was signed by the author. I don’t know how Dad knew Pappy Boyington, but years ago when Dad and I were walking through a throng of people at Oshkosh, Pappy broke away from a conversation with two very attractive women to wave and call Dad by name. A teenager at the time, I stood in utter shock and amazement while my dad talked planes with a legend. Though the book covers Pappy’s exploits before, during, and after World War II, a large segment is devoted to his time in a Japanese prison camp. One of his fellow detainees was Louis Zamperini, famous Olympic miler. 

Baa, Baa Black Sheep

By Gregory “Pappy” Boyington,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Here, in his own words, is the true story of America's wildest flying hero, of his extraordinary heroism, and of his greatest battle of all—the fight to survive.

The World War II air war in the Pacific needed tough men like Colonel Pappy Boyington and his Black Sheep Squadron. The legendary Marine Corps officer and his bunch of misfits, outcasts, and daredevils gave new definition to “hell-raising”—on the ground and in the skies. 

Pappy himself was a living legend—he personally shot down twenty-eight Japanese planes, and won the Congressional Medal of Honor and the Navy Cross. He broke every rule…


King Rat

By James Clavell,

Book cover of King Rat

James Clavell’s first book, King Rat, is the story of allied servicemen trapped by the Japanese in Singapore at the beginning of World War II and held captive for the duration in the infamous Changi prison. The captured consisted of some 10,000 men made up of a British regiment, a few Australian companies, and one small American platoon. After three years of brutal, virtually starvation conditions even the British Commanding General was reduced to a uniform of nothing more than rags. Only one prisoner, an American Corporal, had lost no weight, wore a freshly pressed uniform and spit-shined shoes every day. With physical courage and an understanding of human weaknesses and breaking points he dominated all the other prisoners and many of the guards as well. When the camp was liberated he was the only man among the survivors who left without one friend. Why? The key to both his…

King Rat

By James Clavell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Set in Changi, the most notorious prisoner of war camp in Asia, King Rat is an heroic story of survival told by a master story-teller who lived through those years as a young soldier. Only one man in fifteen had the strength, the luck, and the cleverness simply to survive Changi. And then there was King.


A Fighter Pilot in Buchenwald

By Joseph F. Moser, Gerald R. Baron,

Book cover of A Fighter Pilot in Buchenwald: The Joe Moser Story

During August 1944, Joe Mower’s P-38 was shot down, and Nazi forces sent him to Buchenwald—the infamous work camp where tens of thousands died of cruelty, medical experiments, and starvation. It’s a story of survival in the worst of situations.

A Fighter Pilot in Buchenwald

By Joseph F. Moser, Gerald R. Baron,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Fighter Pilot in Buchenwald as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On August 13, 1944, during his 44th combat mission, Joe Moser's P-38 Lightning was shot down. Captured by Nazi forces, he and his fellow group of Allied fliers were scheduled for execution as “terrorfliegers” and shipped in overcrowded cattle cars to Buchenwald—the infamous work camp where tens of thousands died of cruelty, medical experiments, and starvation. Once a simple farm boy focused on sports and his dream to fly the fastest, meanest fighter plane, Moser now faced some of the worst of Hitler’s ghastly system. From the harrowing and sometimes hilarious experiences of flight training to the dehumanization at the…


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