The best books about Auschwitz Concentration Camp

Who picked these books? Meet our 49 experts.

49 authors created a book list connected to Auschwitz Concentration Camp, and here are their favorite Auschwitz Concentration Camp books.
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The Sisters of Auschwitz

By Roxane van Iperen,

Book cover of The Sisters of Auschwitz: The True Story of Two Jewish Sisters' Resistance in the Heart of Nazi Territory

Sophie Poldermans Author Of Seducing and Killing Nazis: Hannie, Truus and Freddie: Dutch Resistance Heroines of WWII

From the list on World War II heroines.

Who am I?

I'm a Dutch author and lawyer specialized in international criminal law. My expertise is the role of women leaders in times of conflict, crisis, and change – especially during war and in post-conflict societies. Women are traditionally portrayed as victims, while it is precisely women who show genuine leadership skills in times of conflict, crisis, and change. I've done research on women’s armed resistance in the Netherlands in WWII, and am an expert on the lives and resistance work of Hannie Shaft and the sisters Truus and Freddie Oversteegen. In addition, I've done research in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda and saw the same patterns in these conflicts and the impact on the generations after. 

Sophie's book list on World War II heroines

Discover why each book is one of Sophie's favorite books.

Why did Sophie love this book?

An incredibly powerful book that sheds light on Jewish Resistance in the Netherlands, by two women. Both topics are rare and especially the combination of them. The style of narrative non-fiction is brilliantly chosen. The book is historically informative and accurate, but told with the arts and craft of a novelist. A New York Times bestseller. This is exactly what my platform ‘Sophie’s Women of War’ sheds light on. 

By Roxane van Iperen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A New York Times bestseller

The unforgettable story of two unsung heroes of World War II: sisters Janny and Lien Brilleslijper who joined the Dutch Resistance, helped save dozen of lives, were captured by the Nazis, and ultimately survived the Holocaust.

Eight months after Germany’s invasion of Poland, the Nazis roll into The Netherlands, expanding their reign of brutality to the Dutch. But by the Winter of 1943, resistance is growing. Among those fighting their brutal Nazi occupiers are two Jewish sisters, Janny and Lien Brilleslijper from Amsterdam. Risking arrest and death, the sisters help save others, sheltering them in…


Jazz Survivor

By Ken Shuldman,

Book cover of Jazz Survivor: The Story of Louis Bannet, Horn Player of Auschwitz

Erik Brouwer Author Of The Fighter of Auschwitz: The incredible true story of Leen Sanders who boxed to help others survive

From the list on Auschwitz you’ve probably never heard of.

Who am I?

I've written books about Jewish subjects before. A few years ago I published a biography about a Jewish Dutch actress named Jetta Goudal who invented a new life story for herself and became a Hollywoodstar. Before that I wrote a book about my Jewish great-grandfather Emanuel Brouwer who traveled to London in 1908 to compete in the Olympics. He traveled to the UK by boat with his best friend Isidore Goudeket, who was murdered in a German deathcamp. My great-grandfather did not win a medal in Londen (63rd place!), but he had a lot of fun in London, with loads of beer, whisky, and cigars. In 1943 he was sent to a camp as well. 

Erik's book list on Auschwitz you’ve probably never heard of

Discover why each book is one of Erik's favorite books.

Why did Erik love this book?

Another book about a Jewish man who led a life that reads like fiction.

Louis Bannet grew up in Rotterdam with an alcoholic father and no money. He became a child prodigy at the violin, but decided in the Twenties and Thirties that he wanted to be the next Louis Armstrong. He became a star in Europe, but was deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1943. He was recognized by a SS-guard and he was forced to be the leader of the campband in Auschwitz-Birkenau.

The trumpet saved his life and ‘The Dutch Louis Armstrong’, as he was known by that time, traveled from subcamp to subcamp. He even played in the villa of Dr. Josef Mengele, the so-called Angel of Death.

By Ken Shuldman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Jazz Survivor tells the story of Louis Bannet, the Dutch Louis Armstrong. Louis Bannet was sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau during the was, but his skill as a musician saved his life: he became the 'star' of the Auschwitz Orchestra, as well as the personal bandleader for Dr Josef Mengele and the founder of the Gypsy Camp Orchestra.


Daniel's Story

By Carol Matas,

Book cover of Daniel's Story

Kathy Kacer Author Of Under the Iron Bridge

From the list on the Second World War and the Holocaust.

Who am I?

I'm the child of Holocaust survivors. I grew up with parents willing to talk about their survival experiences and do so in a way that wouldn't terrify me. I asked a million questions that my parents willingly answered. I grew up passionate about this history and determined to write their stories and the stories of other survivors. I'm aware that this generation of survivors is aging and passing away. Their "voices" will soon be gone. I feel a responsibility to capture these stories and write them for the next generations. I'm about to have my thirtieth book about the Holocaust published! And I've got more book ideas on the go.

Kathy's book list on the Second World War and the Holocaust

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Why did Kathy love this book?

This is an older book, but such an important one! It was first published in 1993 when the author was commissioned by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) to create a book and an exhibit for younger children who would be touring the museum. Carol Matas is really one of the first authors to write about this time in history and to do so in a way this is accessible for young readers. She has paved the way for authors like me to continue telling these important stories. By the way, if you visit the USHMM, you can still see the Daniel's Story exhibit on the main floor of the museum. 

By Carol Matas,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Daniel barely remembers leading a normal life before the Nazis came to power in 1933. He can still picture once being happy and safe, but memories of those days are fading as he and his family face the dangers threatening Jews in Hitler's Germany in the late 1930's. No longer able to practice their religion, vote, own property, or even work, Daniel's family is forced from their home in Frankfurt and sent on a long and dangerous journey, first to the Lodz ghetto in Poland, and then to Auschwitz -, the Nazi death camp. Though many around him lose hope…


Auschwitz and After

By Charlotte Delbo, Rosette C. Lamont (translator),

Book cover of Auschwitz and After

Teresa Iacobelli Author Of Death or Deliverance: Canadian Courts Martial in the Great War

From the list on non-fiction and written by women.

Who am I?

I am a writer, researcher, and sometimes curator and I have a passion for history and great storytelling. While my own research has focused on the First World War, I have worked on exhibits and reports on a wide array of topics. I continue to be inspired by new ways of understanding and depicting history, and especially by the work of fellow women writers and historians. This short list is a glimpse into some of my favourite works of non-fiction writing out there that has been produced by women and that have inspired me.

Teresa's book list on non-fiction and written by women

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Why did Teresa love this book?

I first read Auschwitz and After in a university course focused on the Holocaust. Toward the course’s end, in a section focusing on memoirs, this book followed Elie Wiesel’s Night and Primo Levi’s Survival in Auschwitz. While Weisel and Levi’s works are both undeniably masterpieces, Delbo’s work stood out to me because of its form and its feminist perspective. Delbo, a French partisan who was captured and deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau, lays bare in her work the ways in which gender affected the camp experience. It illuminated to me the different and similar ways in which men and women responded to the horrors of the extermination camps. Furthermore, Delbo’s work is not a linear narrative. Instead, it combines poetry and other non-traditional forms to create a memoir of an experience that Delbo readily admitted language was not equipped to capture. I recommend the work for the ways in which it…

By Charlotte Delbo, Rosette C. Lamont (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The memoir of Charlotte Delbo, a French writer sent to Auschwitz for her resistance activities against the Nazi occupation of France and the Vichy government

"Delbo's exquisite and unflinching account of life and death under Nazi atrocity grows fiercer and richer with time."-Sara R. Horowitz, York University

Charlotte Delbo's moving memoir of life and death in Auschwitz and the postwar trauma of survivors, Auschwitz and After, is now a classic of Holocaust literature. Offering the rare perspective of a non-Jew, Delbo records moments of horror and of desperate efforts at mutual support, of the everyday deprivation and abuse experienced by…


The Redhead of Auschwitz

By Nechama Birnbaum,

Book cover of The Redhead of Auschwitz: A True Story

Martin Bodek Author Of Zaidy's War: Four Armies, Three Continents, Two Brothers. One Man's Impossible Story of Endurance

From the list on Holocaust memoirs on the protagonist's development.

Who am I?

My passion for the topic was an inevitable calling. I knew that my grandfather’s story had to be told in some form, but during his lifetime, I was too young to know how to put it together. As a teenager, I knew his story was a book, but I was not yet a writer. Fate declared that I should get my feet wet in the writing field in myriad ways, as if I was polishing my craft so that when I could put the elements of my grandfather’s life together, I was ready for the task. The reason my list is entitled with its exact name is because it’s a form of penance.

Martin's book list on Holocaust memoirs on the protagonist's development

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Why did Martin love this book?

This gem is the New Kid on the Block (dating myself a bit). At barely a year old, it is quite a find, and the most popular work in Amsterdam Publisher’s house. There’s a reason for that. This work is not Holocaust-by-Numbers. Yes, it follows certain tropes, especially when time-lining the protagonist’s life, but what the memoirist captures with depth is the inner mental state of her grandmother, in her travail and experience. The author is young, but was mature enough, when capturing the story, to ask the necessary and deep questions. Where the manuscript departs from the norm is where the story takes on a Fairy Tale quality. Nature is pulled in frequently to serve as metaphor for emotion, especially in the passages of dream-state hopefulness. This is horrific and beautiful at the same time.

By Nechama Birnbaum,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Rosie was always told her red hair was a curse, but she never believed it. She often dreamed what it would look like under a white veil with the man of her dreams by her side. However, her life takes a harrowing turn in 1944 when she is forced out of her home and sent to the most gruesome of places: Auschwitz.

Upon arrival, Rosie’s head is shaved and along with the loss of her beautiful hair, she loses the life she once cherished. Among the chaos and surrounded by hopelessness, Rosie realizes the only thing the Nazis cannot take…


Eyewitness Auschwitz

By Filip Müller,

Book cover of Eyewitness Auschwitz: Three Years in the Gas Chambers

Patrick Hicks Author Of The Commandant of Lubizec: A Novel of the Holocaust and Operation Reinhard

From the list on the concentration camps of the Holocaust.

Who am I?

I’ve dedicated most of my writing career to the Holocaust, and in order to create novels that are historically accurate, I’ve interviewed survivors, as well as done research at many of the camps. It is one thing to study Auschwitz, but it’s an entirely different thing to walk its soil. I give lectures on the Holocaust and do readings from my novels all across the country, and I view my work as a way to open discussion about what happened in Europe between 1933-1945. As I often say, just because we live in a post-Holocaust world, does not mean we have come to understand the Holocaust.

Patrick's book list on the concentration camps of the Holocaust

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Why did Patrick love this book?

This is a shattering account of a man who was forced to work in the gas chambers of Auschwitz for several years. Not only did he see the serial mass murder up close, but he also witnessed the failed rebellion at Crematorium IV on October 7, 1944. Müller’s writing is sparse and harrowing as he describes daily life in the Third Reich’s largest concentration camp. This is an essential document about the Holocaust and it helps the reader understand what it meant to be part of the Sonderkommando—those unfortunate prisoners who were forced to work in the gas chambers and crematoria. This is an unforgettable and vital book.

By Filip Müller,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Filip Muller came to Auschwitz with one of the earliest transports from Slovakia in April 1942 and began working in the gassing installations and crematoria in May. He was still alive when the gassings ceased in November 1944. He saw millions come and disappear; by sheer luck he survived. Muller is neither a historian nor a psychologist; he is a source-one of the few prisoners who saw the Jewish people die and lived to tell about it. Eyewitness Auschwitz is one of the key documents of the Holocaust.


People in Auschwitz

By Hermann Langbein,

Book cover of People in Auschwitz

Erik Brouwer Author Of The Fighter of Auschwitz: The incredible true story of Leen Sanders who boxed to help others survive

From the list on Auschwitz you’ve probably never heard of.

Who am I?

I've written books about Jewish subjects before. A few years ago I published a biography about a Jewish Dutch actress named Jetta Goudal who invented a new life story for herself and became a Hollywoodstar. Before that I wrote a book about my Jewish great-grandfather Emanuel Brouwer who traveled to London in 1908 to compete in the Olympics. He traveled to the UK by boat with his best friend Isidore Goudeket, who was murdered in a German deathcamp. My great-grandfather did not win a medal in Londen (63rd place!), but he had a lot of fun in London, with loads of beer, whisky, and cigars. In 1943 he was sent to a camp as well. 

Erik's book list on Auschwitz you’ve probably never heard of

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Why did Erik love this book?

Also a book written by an insider. Langbein was an Austrian communist who was arrested by the Nazis in Vienna and got deported.

He became a Funktionshäftling in the camp (a prisoner who had to help the Nazis with daily tasks) and wrote this formidable book about Auschwitz right after the war. Langbein describes in great detail and with style about the daily life, including sports and music, in Auschwitz I.

Non-judgemental and seemingly without anger. That’s why this book is so impressive. 

By Hermann Langbein,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

People In Auschwitz is published by Fitzhenry and Whiteside.


Staging the Third Reich

By Anson Rabinbach, Stefanos Geroulanos (editor), Dagmar Herzog (editor)

Book cover of Staging the Third Reich: Essays in Cultural and Intellectual History

Peter Uwe Hohendahl Author Of Perilous Futures: On Carl Schmitt's Late Writings

From the list on German thought.

Who am I?

Spending my childhood in Nazi Germany, the nature and the horrific consequences of Nazi ideology have occupied me as a student of German history and later as a teacher of intellectual and literary history. In 1933 Car Schmitt opted to support the Nazis. While he was banned from the public sohere in post-war Germany, his ideas remained influential on the far right and the far left, fortunately without significantly impacting the democratic reconstruction of West Germany. It was the growing international visibility of Schmitt’s writings that became my personal concern after 2000. In particular, Schmitt’s increasing influence in the United States energized me to reread and respond to his writings.

Peter's book list on German thought

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Why did Peter love this book?

Are you tired of Hollywood clichés about Nazi culture? The Princeton historian Anson Rabinbach is your man. His brilliant essays on aspects of Nazi culture as diverse as the popular novel under Nazism, the Nazi-organized leisure industry, and the fate of the humanities at German universities between 1933 and 1945, provide the sharp, well-informed analysis you never got at school. Get started with the interview the author gave to two younger colleagues (pp. 450-480); here things become personal. Of course, Rabinbach is a pro, he knows the critical literature on the topic and cites it to differentiate his argument. But more importantly, his insights and arguments force you to rethink your response to German fascism, and to question the facile opposition of democracy and Nazism portrayed in American pop culture.  

By Anson Rabinbach, Stefanos Geroulanos (editor), Dagmar Herzog (editor)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A widely celebrated intellectual historian of twentieth-century Europe, Anson Rabinbach is one of the most important scholars of National Socialism working over the last forty years. This volume collects, for the first time, his pathbreaking work on Nazi culture, antifascism, and the after-effects of Nazism on postwar German and European culture. Historically detailed and theoretically sophisticated, his essays span the aesthetics of production, messianic and popular claims, the ethos that Nazism demanded of its adherents, the brilliant and sometimes successful efforts of antifascist intellectuals to counter Hitler's rise, the most significant concepts to emerge out of the 1930s and 1940s…


A Train in Winter

By Caroline Moorehead,

Book cover of A Train in Winter: An Extraordinary Story of Women, Friendship, and Resistance in Occupied France

Susan Tate Ankeny Author Of The Girl and the Bombardier: A True Story of Resistance and Rescue in Nazi-Occupied France

From the list on women during WW2.

Who am I?

Susan Tate Ankeny left a career in teaching to write the story of her father’s escape from Nazi-occupied France. In 2011, after being led on his path through France by the same Resistance fighters who guided him in 1944, she felt inspired to tell the story of these brave French patriots, especially the 17-year-old- girl who risked her own life to save her father’s. Susan is a member of the 8th Air Force Historical Society, the Air Force Escape and Evasion Society, and the Association des Sauveteurs d’Aviateurs Alliés. 

Susan's book list on women during WW2

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Why did Susan love this book?

This fascinating book follows 230 women, some more in-depth than others, who were imprisoned outside Paris for crimes of resistance activities. I began reading it as research and became captivated by the stories, especially the devotion the women developed for one another. I felt a deep connection to each of the prisoners as I climbed into their shoes, cheering for them to survive while fearing they would not. (The Appendix lists the 49 who survived if you want to know in advance. I didn’t.) It’s difficult to grasp what they endured over an unimaginable period of time. Just the sheer depth of their hunger is something I’ve never come close to experiencing. Moorehead keeps the tone intimate and compassionate. Yes, their suffering could be hard to read, but at the same time, I found inspiration as if they spoke to me from the past of the power of mutual dependency-…

By Caroline Moorehead,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A moving and extraordinary book about courage and survival, friendship and endurance - a portrait of ordinary women who faced the horror of the holocaust together.

On an icy morning in Paris in January 1943, a group of 230 French women resisters were rounded up from the Gestapo detention camps and sent on a train to Auschwitz - the only train, in the four years of German occupation, to take women of the resistance to a death camp. Of the group, only 49 survivors would return to France.

Here is the story of these women - told for the first…


Book cover of This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen

Jack Gantos Author Of Hole in My Life

From the list on what drives us to survive and keeps souls alive.

Who am I?

I read a lot of first-person books because I write a lot of 1st person books. I was a creative writing teacher for twenty years and I wanted my students to ‘own’ their material—to write about what they saw and felt and empathized with and loved and feared. These book recommendations below are only a handful of immensely brilliant books that have strong character/narrator voices that put you inside the skin of the narrator. These are the books that are recklessly beautiful and ruthlessly genuine-- and by example teach you how to write honestly and how to capture your own readers.

Jack's book list on what drives us to survive and keeps souls alive

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Why did Jack love this book?

The most engaging, genuine, soul-crushing, holocaust/concentration camp book I’ve ever read and I’ve read them all. And read his bio, too. Crisp, clear writing allows all the horror of the concentration camp to roll over your soul. You have nowhere to hide when you read this book—the honesty is pure and brutal. Yet, the soulful fallout never really leaves you fully crushed—otherwise, you would never feel the agony of humanity over and over again.

By Tadeusz Borowski,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Tadeusz Borowski's concentration camp stories were based on his own experiences surviving Auschwitz and Dachau. In spare, brutal prose he describes a world where where the will to survive overrides compassion and prisoners eat, work and sleep a few yards from where others are murdered; where the difference between human beings is reduced to a second bowl of soup, an extra blanket or the luxury of a pair of shoes with thick soles; and where the line between normality and abnormality vanishes. Published in Poland after the Second World War, these stories constitute a masterwork of world literature.


If This Is a Man and The Truce

By Primo Levi, Stuart Woolf (translator),

Book cover of If This Is a Man and The Truce

Carly Schabowski Author Of All the Courage We Have Found

From the list on WWII that shed light on Polish history.

Who am I?

My passion for writing historical fiction set mainly in Poland, or including Polish protagonists is born from my own familial history. My grandfather was forced into the Wehrmacht as a young man, who managed to escape to the UK and join the Polish Army in exile, eventually going back to fight against the Germans. His story set me on a course to become a historical fiction author; reimagining the past and bringing little-known stories to a wider audience. I find that the best way to gain a basic understanding of Polish life during WWII is to read widely – try historical accounts, memoirs, second-hand accounts, and of course, historical fiction. 

Carly's book list on WWII that shed light on Polish history

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Why did Carly love this book?

This I think is one of the most important first-hand accounts of prisoner life at Auschwitz. It is a quiet, yet determined narrative that makes you feel as though you were there with Levi; experiencing the horrors, finding friends with other inmates, and understanding the true horror that awaited so many in Poland during WWII. If you want to really understand what it was like for camp inmates, this is the book to read.

By Primo Levi, Stuart Woolf (translator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked If This Is a Man and The Truce as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With the moral stamina and intellectual pose of a twentieth-century Titan, this slightly built, duitful, unassuming chemist set out systematically to remember the German hell on earth, steadfastly to think it through, and then to render it comprehensible in lucid, unpretentious prose. He was profoundly in touch with the minutest workings of the most endearing human events and with the most contempible. What has survived in Levi's writing isn't just his memory of the unbearable, but also, in THE PERIODIC TABLE and THE WRENCH, his delight in what made the world exquisite to him. He was himself a "magically endearing…


Book cover of Children and Play in the Holocaust: Games among the Shadows

Helen Roche Author Of The Third Reich's Elite Schools: A History of the Napolas

From the list on childhood in Nazi Germany.

Who am I?

Why did I end up spending almost a third of my life researching Nazi boarding schools, and childhood under the Third Reich more generally? I sometimes wonder if it was because I myself was sent to boarding school at the age of nine – somehow, I can sympathise with what these children had to endure, as well as knowing full well from a historian’s perspective which hardships were truly unique to a National Socialist elite education, and which were simply the kind of heart-ache that’s common to any institution which takes children away from their parents at a young age… 

Helen's book list on childhood in Nazi Germany

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Why did Helen love this book?

This is a book that grabbed my attention straight away because it shows just how powerful the human spirit can be. Eisen explores the ways in which children caught in the horror of the Holocaust attempted to make sense of their surroundings. They might be playing in bomb craters; they might even be playing alongside the death-camps of Auschwitz, but these children’s spirit of play survived even in the shadow of annihilation. 

By George Eisen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An interdisciplinary study of the Holocaust combining history, psychology and anthropology, which analyzes the use of play in Jewish communities to bring an element of sanity into the lives of young people in the midst of the catastrophe.


The Storm of War

By Andrew Roberts,

Book cover of The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War

Peter Grose Author Of A Good Place to Hide: How One French Community Saved Thousands of Lives in World War II

From the list on World War 2 from several different perspectives.

Who am I?

I’ve now written three histories of World War 2. A Very Rude Awakening tells the story of the Japanese midget submarine raid into Sydney Harbour on the night of 31 May 1942. An Awkward Truth deals with the Japanese air raid on the town of Darwin in northern Australia on 19 February 1942. (The raid was carried out by the same force that hit Pearl Harbor ten weeks earlier.) These two books have both been filmed. My third book A Good Place To Hide is my pick for this page. Read more about it elsewhere. Last but not least, if you want a signed copy of my books then do my friend Gary Jackson and me a favour by going here and clicking on the link ‘Buy Books and DVDs’.

Peter's book list on World War 2 from several different perspectives

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Why did Peter love this book?

There’s an expression among investigative journalists: follow the money. That’s exactly what the historian Andrew Roberts has done in this highly original and brilliant history of World War 2, full of economic insights. How about this, for instance? “Hitler’s anti-Semitism  .. did nothing to aid Germany’s chances of winning the war, and possibly a great deal to retard them. The Holocaust was a mistake, tying up railway stocks … but above all denuding Germany of millions of potentially productive workers and potential soldiers.” In other words, if railway trucks heading east through Germany had been full of soldiers heading for the eastern front instead of hapless Jews heading for Auschwitz and death, then Hitler’s invasion of Russia might have stood a better chance of success. So if following the money strikes you as an essential way of getting to the truth, even when the subject is the economics of war,…

By Andrew Roberts,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

On 2 August 1944, in the wake of the complete destruction of the German Army Group Centre in Belorussia, Winston Churchill mocked Adolf Hitler in the House of Commons by the rank he had reached in the First World War. 'Russian success has been somewhat aided by the strategy of Herr Hitler, of Corporal Hitler,' Churchill jibed. 'Even military idiots find it difficult not to see some faults in his actions.'

Andrew Roberts's previous book Masters and Commanders studied the creation of Allied grand strategy; The Storm of War now analyses how Axis strategy evolved. Examining the Second World War…


Book cover of The Things We Cannot Say

A.L. Sowards Author Of A Waltz with Traitors

From the list on immersing you in the struggle for freedom.

Who am I?

I have always loved history—in both fiction and nonfiction forms. The events from history that tend to stick with me the most are stories of individuals or groups who face enormous odds in their quest to live a life of freedom. History is full of oppression, tyranny, and tragedy, but it’s also full of individuals and groups that have stood against evil, even when it’s dangerous or difficult or unlikely to succeed. Immersing myself in those stories is one of the ways I honor those who have struggled and sacrificed.

A.L.'s book list on immersing you in the struggle for freedom

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Why did A.L. love this book?

In this dual timeline book, readers follow the story of Alina during WWII and her granddaughter Alice during contemporary times.

I loved that both Alina and Alice grew as the story progressed. Alina and Tomasz sacrificed to help others and do the right thing, even when the cost was high. The book included beautiful, complicated relationships, lots of emotion, an element of mystery, and an authentic historical backdrop.

I enjoyed both the WWII and the contemporary timelines.

By Kelly Rimmer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Things We Cannot Say as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

If you were moved by The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris or The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe, this book is for you. A searing page-turner of hope, family secrets and a love to defy all odds from bestselling Kelly Rimmer, inspired by the author's family history.

'Fans of The Nightingale and Lilac Girls will adore The Things We Cannot Say' Pam Jenoff

'Simply amazing book, so moving I couldn't put it down. A book that will remain in my heart for many years to come *****' A reader

'Captivating. I am in awe of this story *****'…


The Volunteer

By Jack Fairweather,

Book cover of The Volunteer: One Man, an Underground Army, and the Secret Mission to Destroy Auschwitz

Suzanna Eibuszyc Author Of Memory is Our Home

From the list on the trials and tribulations of the generation that came before us.

Who am I?

Professor Elie Wiesel was instrumental in my translating and researching my mother’s journals. My awakening to the dark period in the chapter of the Jewish history happened between 1971-1974 at CCNY, when our paths crossed while I was taking his classes at the department of Jewish studies. It was in his classes that the things that bewildered me as a child growing up in communist Poland in the shadows of the Holocaust aftermath started to make sense. I asked my mother to commit to paper the painful memories, she buried deep inside her. She and the next generations have an obligation to bear witness, to be this history's keepers.

Suzanna's book list on the trials and tribulations of the generation that came before us

Discover why each book is one of Suzanna's favorite books.

Why did Suzanna love this book?

Remembering the heroes, Witold Pilecki got himself arrested. After two and half years as a prisoner in Auschwitz, he escaped. He witnessed the brutality, the mass gassing of Europe’s Jews, thousands each day. He was among the first to set off the alarms that Auschwitz was the epicenter of the Nazis' plan to exterminate Europe’s Jews.        

By Jack Fairweather,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

COSTA BOOK AWARD WINNER: BOOK OF THE YEAR • #1 SUNDAY TIMES (UK) BESTSELLER

“Superbly written and breathtakingly researched, The Volunteer smuggles us into Auschwitz and shows us—as if watching a movie—the story of a Polish agent who infiltrated the infamous camp, organized a rebellion, and then snuck back out. ... Fairweather has dug up a story of incalculable value and delivered it to us in the most compelling prose I have read in a long time.” —Sebastian Junger, author of The Perfect Storm and Tribe

The incredible true story of a Polish resistance fighter’s infiltration of Auschwitz to sabotage…


Book cover of The Girls from the Beach

Nina Kaye Author Of Take a Moment

From the list on strong female leads who’d make great dinner guests.

Who am I?

I spent my twenties mostly devouring women’s fiction and romance novels with female leads, but I also stepped outside my preferred genre. Being a strong lead doesn’t necessarily mean saving the world or doing something heroic (though obviously that helps!), it’s about strength of character, being real, and being able to fight on when things get difficult. I always dreamt of being an author, but only started writing properly when I developed a debilitating long-term health condition. I used writing to support my rehabilitation and this led to me finally achieving that dream – so in a way, I see myself as a strong female lead in my own story. 

Nina's book list on strong female leads who’d make great dinner guests

Discover why each book is one of Nina's favorite books.

Why did Nina love this book?

Andie Newton writes historical fiction with strong female leads, set during World War II. In The Girls from the Beach, Kit, an American nurse, is sent behind enemy lines to infiltrate the Reich and steal something critical to the outcome of the war. It’s a gripping, edge-of-your-seat story that’s guaranteed to have you bawling by the end.  

Obviously, I’d need a time machine to have dinner with Kit as a young woman, but she could still be around today, recounting heroic tales from that awful time. Kit is super brave and she’s persevered through unimaginable circumstances. Even if she didn’t want to share her stories, I’d invite her as a thank you for the sacrifices she and all service people made so we have the freedom we have today. 

By Andie Newton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

USA TODAY BESTSELLER

'We'd heard stories about the nurses in tent seven. A secret mission, stolen money, and spies...'

In 1944, four American nurses disappeared for five days. No one knew what happened to them. Until now.

When Kit and Red set foot on French soil during the Normandy landings, they know they have to rely on each other. As they head for the battlefield, their aim is simple: save lives. But when they're called away on a top-secret mission to patch up a few men behind enemy lines, everything changes.

Alongside fellow nurses, Roxy and Gail, they're told to…


The Periodic Table

By Primo Levi, Raymond Rosenthal (translator),

Book cover of The Periodic Table

Hettie Judah Author Of Lapidarium: The Secret Lives of Stones

From the list on making you fall in love with stones.

Who am I?

In my day job I write about art for British newspapers and magazines. I’m lucky enough to spend a lot of time talking to artists. As a group they’re always one step ahead in identifying important issues and ideas. So Lapidarium has been fuelled by years of conversations with artists exploring geology as a way to think about things like migration, ecology, diaspora, empire, and the human body. The book is also embedded in personal experience. stone artefacts from cities I’ve lived in, from Washington D.C. to Istanbul. I’m never happier than when walking with my dog, so many of the stories in Lapidarium are also rooted in the British landscape.

Hettie's book list on making you fall in love with stones

Discover why each book is one of Hettie's favorite books.

Why did Hettie love this book?

Rooted in autobiography, Levi’s exquisite collection of interlinked stories teases out the relationship between the human and mineral worlds.

Our idioms habitually position stone as the antithesis to life – we might describe a corpse as ‘stone dead’ or a machinelike bureaucrat as ‘stone hearted’.

Levi instead looks to a symbiotic relationship, in which the raw crags of the Alps teach fortitude, access to rare minerals provide a military advantage, and the ability to read the secrets written in stone offers a route to riches.

In The Periodic Table, exploitation of the elements always comes at a cost – for everything the Earth yields, it takes something in return. 

By Primo Levi, Raymond Rosenthal (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An extraordinary kind of autobiography in which each of the 21 chapters takes its title and its starting-point from one of the elements in the periodic table. Mingling fact and fiction, science and personal record, history and anecdote, Levi uses his training as an industrial chemist and the terrible years he spent as a prisoner in Auschwitz to illuminate the human condition. Yet this exquisitely lucid text is also humourous and even witty in a way possible only to one who has looked into the abyss.


Book cover of I Was Doctor Mengele's Assistant

Carly Schabowski Author Of All the Courage We Have Found

From the list on WWII that shed light on Polish history.

Who am I?

My passion for writing historical fiction set mainly in Poland, or including Polish protagonists is born from my own familial history. My grandfather was forced into the Wehrmacht as a young man, who managed to escape to the UK and join the Polish Army in exile, eventually going back to fight against the Germans. His story set me on a course to become a historical fiction author; reimagining the past and bringing little-known stories to a wider audience. I find that the best way to gain a basic understanding of Polish life during WWII is to read widely – try historical accounts, memoirs, second-hand accounts, and of course, historical fiction. 

Carly's book list on WWII that shed light on Polish history

Discover why each book is one of Carly's favorite books.

Why did Carly love this book?

So you will need a strong constitution to read this book. I first read it after leaving a museum visit to Auschwitz on a train heading for Slovakia. It was the most harrowing of reads, but I think, one of the most important of my life. Although we ‘think’ we know about Auschwitz and Polish history, this gives you a personal, often harrowing first-hand account of the camp. Make sure you have a box of tissues ready.

By Miklós Nyiszli,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Was Doctor Mengele's Assistant as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When the Nazis invaded Hungary in 1944, they sent virtually the entire Jewish population to Auschwitz. A Hungarian Jew and a medical doctor, Dr. Miklos Nyiszli was spared from death for a grimmer fate: to perform "scientific research" on his fellow inmates under the supervision of the infamous "Angel of Death": Dr. Josef Mengele. Nyiszli was named Mengele's personal research pathologist. Miraculously, he survived to give this terrifying and sobering account of the terror of Auschwitz.


The Journal of Hélène Berr

By Helene Berr, David Bellos (translator),

Book cover of The Journal of Hélène Berr

Ruth Druart Author Of While Paris Slept

From the list on living with the enemy.

Who am I?

I became intrigued by the German occupation of Paris when I moved here in 1993. I began to imagine how the French citizens would have lived alongside the enemy; housing them, serving them, working for them, feeding them, and even entertaining them, while hiding what was really in their hearts. This duplicity fascinated me, and I read all the books I could on the subject. Living in Paris, I also had the opportunity to talk to French people who had lived through the occupation. Putting all the pieces together, I did my best to recreate the atmosphere in my two novels.

Ruth's book list on living with the enemy

Discover why each book is one of Ruth's favorite books.

Why did Ruth love this book?

This is the diary of a 21-year-old Jewish woman living in Paris during the German Occupation. A student at the Sorbonne, we follow her as she writes a first-hand account of the ever-increasing hardships and terrors her and her family face. She writes candidly about her experiences, her thoughts and beliefs as she and her family go about their daily routines, while living in constant fear of being arrested. It is a touching, personal testimony about Paris during World War II. She was arrested on the one night her family decided to sleep in their own home. Tragically, she died only days before her camp was liberated by the British. Some poignant details in her diary stayed with me long after I finished reading, and I used some of them in my novel.

By Helene Berr, David Bellos (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Not since The Diary of Anne Frank has there been such a book as this: The joyful but ultimately heartbreaking journal of a young Jewish woman in occupied Paris, now being published for the first time, 63 years after her death in a Nazi concentration camp.

On April 7, 1942, Hélène Berr, a 21-year-old Jewish student of English literature at the Sorbonne, took up her pen and started to keep a journal, writing with verve and style about her everyday life in Paris — about her studies, her friends, her growing affection for the “boy with the grey eyes,” about…


Book cover of The Photographer of the Lost

Deborah Carr Author Of The Poppy Sisters

From the list on World War One that live rent free in my head.

Who am I?

I discovered my passion for the First World War when researching my great-grandfather’s service history in the cavalry. I also write historical fiction with several of my books being set during the First World War and have spent thousands of hours over the past twenty years researching different aspects of this period, both from the point of view of the V.A.D.s, wounded soldiers, medical staff treating them, as well as grieving families. The stories I’ve come across never fail to haunt me and I can’t imagine I’ll ever tire of wanting to discover more about the people who survived these experiences, or stop needing to write books about them.

Deborah's book list on World War One that live rent free in my head

Discover why each book is one of Deborah's favorite books.

Why did Deborah love this book?

This is the first novel I read about grieving families who commissioned photographers to search for the place where their loved one died, in order that a photo could be taken for them to have as a keepsake.

I love learning something new when I read a book and I discovered so much about the after-effects of losing someone without having knowledge of their last moments and a place to pay one’s respects. 

This is about Edie, a widow wanting answers about her husband who she believes might still be alive, despite being classed as ‘missing, presumed dead’ in 1917. She commissions her late husband’s brother to search for him and photograph his final resting place, if indeed there is one.

A wonderful, haunting story of enduring love and loss.

By Caroline Scott,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

**Don't miss Caroline Scott's brand-new novel When I Come Home Again, a beautiful and compelling story based on true events - out now!!**

A BBC RADIO 2 BOOK CLUB PICK

'This excellent debut is a melancholic reminder of the rippling after-effects of war' The Times
'A touching novel of love and loss' Sunday Times

For fans of The Tattooist of Auschwitz and Where The Crawdads Sing comes a moving story, inspired by real events, about how hope and love will prevail against all odds.

1921
In the aftermath of war, everyone is searching for answers.

Edie's husband Francis never came…