100 books like We Band of Angels

By Elizabeth M. Norman,

Here are 100 books that We Band of Angels fans have personally recommended if you like We Band of Angels. 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 Unbroken

Steve Pemberton Author Of The Lighthouse Effect: How Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact in the World

From my list on demonstrating the power of the human spirit.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m most drawn to stories of overcoming. My own childhood was about exactly that-overcoming a multi-generational inheritance of family separation and orphaned children. When I wrote my first book about that story, A Chance in the World, an unanticipated magic unfolded: I began to receive stories of strangers from all across the world who wrote to tell me their own story of overcoming. Each and every day I hear from someone and the steady stream of those stories of overcoming affirms something I have to come to learn: we all have a story and none of us look like that story.

Steve's book list on demonstrating the power of the human spirit

Steve Pemberton Why did Steve love this book?

If it’s possible to have lived multiple lives in a single lifetime, then Louis Zamperini did it.

I am a big fan of The Greatest Generation and Unbroken is the story of that generation, the deep beliefs they held, and the many sacrifices they made, not for themselves but for the generations that would follow them. You can’t miss the examples of selflessness, perseverance, and faith that jump out at you from the very first chapter.

By Laura Hillenbrand,

Why should I read it?

14 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,…


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 I Saw The Fall Of The Philippines

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?

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.

Book cover of Japan at War: An Oral History

Stewart Binns Author Of Barbarossa: And The Bloodiest War In History

From my list on 20th century conflict.

Why am I passionate about this?

Stewart Binns is a former academic, soldier, and documentary filmmaker, who became a writer quite late in life. He has since written a wide range of books in both fiction and non-fiction. His passions are history and sport. He has completed a medieval quartet called the Making of England Series, two books about the Great War and a novel set during Northern Ireland’s Troubles. His latest work of non-fiction, Barbarossa, tells the story of the Eastern Front (1945 to 1944) from the perspective of the peoples of Eastern Europe. He is now working on a history of modern Japan.

Stewart's book list on 20th century conflict

Stewart Binns Why did Stewart love this book?

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.

By Haruko Taya Cook, Theodore F. 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…


Book cover of Night Witches: The Amazing Story of Russia's Women Pilots in WWII

Eileen A. Bjorkman Author Of The Fly Girls Revolt: The Story of the Women Who Kicked Open the Door to Fly in Combat

From my list on hidden histories of women in the military.

Why am I passionate about this?

I work in aviation, so it was natural to write about it when I started as a freelance writer. But I quickly realized that writing about aviation people is much more interesting than writing about airplanes. Because of my military background I found myself writing veterans’ stories. I’ve uncovered many stories that have never been told or have been forgotten over the years. And because I was in the Air Force in the 1980s and 1990s, I knew the events in my new book had never been told. During my research, I found more books with hidden histories and rediscovered some I read decades ago. This list is my favorites.

Eileen's book list on hidden histories of women in the military

Eileen A. Bjorkman Why did Eileen love this book?

I originally read this book when it came out in 1990. It is about a group of young women in the Soviet Union who flew as combat pilots during World War II.

With U.S. women still prohibited from flying in combat in 1990, I was thrilled that women had already proven themselves in combat a half-century earlier. The “Night Witches” flew mostly at night, and their bombs relentlessly terrorized German ground forces invading the Russian homeland.

Many of the women were designated as aces for shooting down at least five enemy aircraft, and others were awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union.

Although the book has been criticized in recent years for not being entirely factual, it is still a great read about these courageous women.

By Bruce Myles,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In 1941 as the Nazi hordes swept eastward into the Soviet Union, the desperate call went out for women to join the Russian air force. Women responded and flew incessant bombing runs; the Germans, who came to dread them, called them 'night witches'.


Book cover of The Women with Silver Wings: The Inspiring True Story of the Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II

Eileen A. Bjorkman Author Of The Fly Girls Revolt: The Story of the Women Who Kicked Open the Door to Fly in Combat

From my list on hidden histories of women in the military.

Why am I passionate about this?

I work in aviation, so it was natural to write about it when I started as a freelance writer. But I quickly realized that writing about aviation people is much more interesting than writing about airplanes. Because of my military background I found myself writing veterans’ stories. I’ve uncovered many stories that have never been told or have been forgotten over the years. And because I was in the Air Force in the 1980s and 1990s, I knew the events in my new book had never been told. During my research, I found more books with hidden histories and rediscovered some I read decades ago. This list is my favorites.

Eileen's book list on hidden histories of women in the military

Eileen A. Bjorkman Why did Eileen love this book?

The Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) were more than 1,000 women who ferried aircraft around the U.S. and flew other support missions during World War II.

They were technically civilian government employees, but for all practical purposes were in the U.S. Army and later earned veteran’s status, which is why I include them here.

The military women of my generation in the 1970s and 1980s (especially aviators) stood on the shoulders of what the WASP accomplished. 

Quite a few books have been written about the WASP, but this is the best one in my opinion. It’s extremely well researched, highly readable, and does an excellent job of portraying the two main characters, the media-savvy Jacqueline Cochran and her less flashy counterpart Nancy Love.

By Katherine Sharp Landdeck,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Women with Silver Wings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“With the fate of the free world hanging in the balance, women pilots went aloft to serve their nation. . . . A soaring tale in which, at long last, these daring World War II pilots gain the credit they deserve.”—Liza Mundy, New York Times bestselling author of Code Girls

“A powerful story of reinvention, community and ingenuity born out of global upheaval.”—Newsday

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Cornelia Fort was already in the air. At twenty-two, Fort had escaped Nashville’s debutante scene for a fresh start as a flight instructor in Hawaii. She and her…


Book cover of Women in the Military: An Unfinished Revolution

Eileen A. Bjorkman Author Of The Fly Girls Revolt: The Story of the Women Who Kicked Open the Door to Fly in Combat

From my list on hidden histories of women in the military.

Why am I passionate about this?

I work in aviation, so it was natural to write about it when I started as a freelance writer. But I quickly realized that writing about aviation people is much more interesting than writing about airplanes. Because of my military background I found myself writing veterans’ stories. I’ve uncovered many stories that have never been told or have been forgotten over the years. And because I was in the Air Force in the 1980s and 1990s, I knew the events in my new book had never been told. During my research, I found more books with hidden histories and rediscovered some I read decades ago. This list is my favorites.

Eileen's book list on hidden histories of women in the military

Eileen A. Bjorkman Why did Eileen love this book?

The definitive book about women in the U.S. military, beginning with the American Revolution and ending in the early 1990s.

Written by a retired 2-star general who lived much of the history and originally published in the 1980s (which is when I first read it), Holm updated the book in 1993 after the Persian Gulf War.

As an academic text, the pace can be a bit tedious at times, but readers will enjoy Holm’s wit and anecdotes that illustrate the history of the women who gradually overcame discrimination to become full members of the military team. My primary “go-to” source for information as I researched my most recent book!

By Jeanne Holm,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This revised edition of Maj. Gen. Jeanne Holm's classic work on the history and role of women in the U.S. armed forces brings the reader up to date by covering the role of American military women in all post-Vietnam military operations - including the recent Persian Gulf war. Just as important is her discussion of the changing role of women in the military during the 1980s and the current debate over combat exclusion law and policies.


Book cover of To Serve My Country, to Serve My Race: The Story of the Only African-American WACS Stationed Overseas During World War II

Eileen A. Bjorkman Author Of The Fly Girls Revolt: The Story of the Women Who Kicked Open the Door to Fly in Combat

From my list on hidden histories of women in the military.

Why am I passionate about this?

I work in aviation, so it was natural to write about it when I started as a freelance writer. But I quickly realized that writing about aviation people is much more interesting than writing about airplanes. Because of my military background I found myself writing veterans’ stories. I’ve uncovered many stories that have never been told or have been forgotten over the years. And because I was in the Air Force in the 1980s and 1990s, I knew the events in my new book had never been told. During my research, I found more books with hidden histories and rediscovered some I read decades ago. This list is my favorites.

Eileen's book list on hidden histories of women in the military

Eileen A. Bjorkman Why did Eileen love this book?

This book represents another facet of military women, those with a double whammy: Black women. This was especially a problem during WWII, when the army still practiced segregation and initially prohibited Black women from serving overseas, unlike their white counterparts.

After pressure from groups such as the NAACP and intervention by President Roosevelt, the army formed the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion as an all-Black Women’s Army Corps unit. About 850 women served in the 6888th, which was stationed in the UK and France from January 1945 until March 1946. The unit was responsible for routing mail to about 7 million U.S. personnel who served in the European Theater of Operations.

This “double whammy” is a topic that I hope is explored more in future books!

By Brenda L. Moore,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked To Serve My Country, to Serve My Race as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The story of the historic 6888th, the first United States Women's Army Corps unit of African American women to serve overseas
While African American men and white women were invited, if belatedly, to serve their country abroad, African American women were excluded for overseas duty throughout most of WWII. However, under political pressure from legislators like Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., the NAACP, the Black press, and even President Roosevelt, the US War Department was forced to deploy African American women to the European theater in 1945.
African American women answered the call to serve from all over the country, from…


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

Marc H. Stevens Author Of Escape, Evasion and Revenge

From my list on POW escape books of World War 2.

Why am I passionate about this?

My father, Squadron Leader Peter Stevens MC, died in 1979, when I was 22 years old, before I'd had the chance to speak with him man-to-man about his war. I later began researching his wartime exploits, which would consume a good part of 18 years of my life. I initially had no intention of writing a book; I just wanted to find the original document that recommended him for the Military Cross. I finally located it in Britain's National Archives in 2006. Along the way, I discovered that my father had actually been born a German Jew (he had told his immediate family in Canada that he was British and Anglican), and that some 15-20 family members had been murdered in the Holocaust. Further research showed that Dad had been the ONLY German-Jewish bomber pilot in the RAF, and that he had been the object of a country-wide manhunt by the British Police as a possible enemy spy. 

Marc's book list on POW escape books of World War 2

Marc H. Stevens Why did Marc love this book?

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.

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…


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

Georgina Banks Author Of Back to Bangka: Searching For The Truth About A Wartime Massacre

From my list on truth-seeking post WWII.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been interested in what makes people tick – in their unseen inner world. In my twenties, I literally embodied others in my work as an actor. In my thirties, I studied applied psychology and sat alongside others and talked. In my forties, I started my consulting business Changeable, working with group and organizational dynamics. Now in my fifties, I am accessing inner worlds through writing, placing myself imaginatively into other people and places. I have merely scratched the surface. These post-WWII books give a gripping, personal, and scorching window into truth-seeking. 

Georgina's book list on truth-seeking post WWII

Georgina Banks Why did Georgina love this book?

This is a story about brutality, justice, and mercy, set amongst the aftermath of Lomax’s experiences as a POW in WWII. With a steady gaze he faces the depths of human barbarity and reckons with his own emotional responses.

Lomax confronts his previous captor wanting retribution, but instead makes an astonishing decision that changes the course of hatred for both him and his perpetrator. I also grappled with the shadows of dark acts committed against my family - even all these years later. 

By Eric Lomax,

Why should I read it?

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

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…


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