The most recommended books about Belgium

Who picked these books? Meet our 42 experts.

42 authors created a book list connected to Belgium, and here are their favorite Belgium books.
Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

What type of Belgium book?


Snow and Steel

By Peter Caddick-Adams,

Book cover of Snow and Steel: The Battle of the Bulge, 1944-45

Jeremy Black Author Of A History of the Second World War in 100 Maps

From the list on WW2 in Europe.

Who am I?

Jeremy Black is a prolific lecturer and writer, the author of over 100 books. Many concern aspects of eighteenth-century British, European, and American political, diplomatic and military history but he has also published on the history of the press, cartography, warfare, culture, and on the nature and uses of history itself.

Jeremy's book list on WW2 in Europe

Why did Jeremy love this book?

Much of what I have said about James Holland can also be said of his friend Peter Caddick-Adams, whose first-rate works include Monte Cassino. Ten Armies in Hell (2012), Sand and Steel: A New History of D-Day (2019), and this, by far the best book on the last major German offensive. Adroit at capturing the German perspective, Caddick-Adams is also very good on the American response. A lengthy read, but worth it.

By Peter Caddick-Adams,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Snow and Steel is a huge reassessment of Hitler's last great throw of the dice: 'The Battle of the Bulge', the battle for the Ardennes 16 December 1944 to 25 January 1945. This was an utterly fascinating five weeks when for a time it looked like Hitler had outflanked the allied armies pushing toward the Rhine and might just throw them back to the Normandy beaches. It is also the context for the catastrophic events at Bastogne depicted so graphically in Band of Brothers.

For military history fans this is one of those touchstone battles of the second world war,…

In the Prison City

By J. H. Twells, Jr.,

Book cover of In the Prison City: Brussels, 1914-1918: A Personal Narrative

Kate Breslin Author Of High as the Heavens

From the list on World War One and the hidden world of espionage.

Who am I?

As an American novelist and Anglophile who enjoys writing about British history, I never planned to venture into world war fiction, but once a story led me there I was hooked. I love doing deep-dive research and learning about real men and women of the past who faced high stakes: life and death situations and having to make impossible decisions, both on the battlefield and in the hidden world of espionage. Their courage and resourcefulness inspire me, and I realize that even when we’re at our most vulnerable, we can still rise to become our best and bravest when it counts. 

Kate's book list on World War One and the hidden world of espionage

Why did Kate love this book?

Whenever I research for a novel, I love discovering those little-known nuggets of history. This 1918 action memoir is chocked full of them, revealing life in enemy-occupied Brussels during WWI. I was immediately drawn into this world and imagined the Belgian people’s shock and fear at the rumbling wheels of mitrailleuse guns and thundering horse’s hooves that announced the German army rolling into town. I sympathized with their hardships in being prisoners in their own city and I cheered them as they began to retaliate against their oppressors in subtle and sometimes humorous ways. Their fighting spirit became my inspiration for the story setting of my book.  

By J. H. Twells, Jr.,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Originally published in 1919.

Personal narrative.

World War I.

A World of Curiosities

By Louise Penny,

Book cover of A World of Curiosities

Mimi Herman Author Of The Kudzu Queen

From Mimi's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Renaissance person Insightful listener Inventive entrepreneur Thoughful communicator Problem solver

Mimi's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Mimi love this book?

Louise Penny is the croissant pastry chef of the mystery world. Every new Inspector Gamache book she writes doubles the layers of complexity and characterization.

By the time I got to A World of Curiosities, I was ready to dive into a rich, layered, and deliciously satisfying treat—and tempted to finish it in one sitting. You could read any of her mysteries on its own, but the more time I spend in the intriguing town of Three Pines, the more I want to live there.

Brilliant book. I love the way this author’s mind works.

By Louise Penny,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked A World of Curiosities as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Book 18 in the acclaimed and number one-bestselling Three Pines series featuring the beloved Chief Inspector Armand Gamache.

It's spring and Three Pines is re-emerging after the harsh winter. But not everything buried should come alive again. Not everything lying dormant should return.

But something has.

As the villagers prepare for a special celebration, Armand Gamache and Jean-Guy Beauvoir find themselves increasingly worried. A young man and woman have reappeared in the Surete du Quebec investigators' lives after many years. The two were young children when their troubled mother was murdered, leaving them damaged, shattered. Now they've arrived in the…

The Bookbinder

By Pip Williams,

Book cover of The Bookbinder

Rosemary Poole-Carter Author Of Only Charlotte

From Rosemary's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Novelist Reader Bluestocking Nature lover Arts enthusiast

Rosemary's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Rosemary love this book?

The Bookbinder by Pip Williams is a book lover’s dream-come-true novel. Having visited Oxford, I was already in love with the setting. Then, like my other favorites, the book begins with the intimate, distinctive voice of a character, taking a reader into her confidence.

In 1914, Peggy lives with her twin sister on a long boat on the Thames and binds books at the Oxford University Press. With captivating sensory details, she reveals the whole process of a physical book’s creation, simultaneously revealing her intellectual passion for every word she can steal time to read.

Peggy’s desire to learn in the sisterhood of ambitious women and her perseverance through the challenges of World War I, the influenza pandemic, and societal upheavals become her triumph. And her devotion to knowledge is a revelation.

By Pip Williams,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A young British woman working in a book bindery gets a chance to pursue knowledge and love when World War I upends her life in this new novel from the New York Times bestselling author of the Reese’s Book Club pick The Dictionary of Lost Words.

“Williams spins an immersive and compelling tale, sweeping us back to the Oxford she painted so expertly in The Dictionary of Lost Words.”—Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife

It is 1914, and as the war draws the young men of Britain away to fight, women must keep the nation running. Two of those…

Book cover of It Would Be So Nice If You Weren't Here: My Journey Through Show Business

John Gaspard Author Of The Ambitious Card

From the list on for writers who want to write scripts.

Who am I?

I started making movies at age 13; to make a movie, you need a script, so I became a screenwriter by default. A dozen low-budget movies (and a couple of TV scripts) later, I started writing fiction: Two mystery series, (The Eli Marks mysteries and The Como Lake Players mysteries), four stand-alone novels, plus a couple of filmmaking “How To” books followed. Over the years, I’ve always searched out the best ideas on how to write, and how to write well. If I were to teach a course on writing, the five books I’ve listed would comprise the reading list.

John's book list on for writers who want to write scripts

Why did John love this book?

Rejection is a big part of the writer’s life (less so now that self-publishing has taken off, but it still rears its ugly head more times than you might expect).

Actors know all about rejection and the late Charles Grodin had more than his share. While this is technically a memoir, it’s also a handbook on how to deal with and process all the forms of rejection you might encounter on your journey. As an additional incentive to read it, please know that Charles Grodin is a terrific writer and a funny, funny man. You’ll learn while you laugh.

By Charles Grodin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked It Would Be So Nice If You Weren't Here as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Here is an actor's autobiography that transcends genre. Grodin writes about his share of catastrophic setbacks with candor and liberating humor. He dispenses invaluable advice about the art of surviving in the celluloid jungle. Photos.

Pandora in the Congo

By Albert Sánchez Piñol, Mara Faye Lethem (translator),

Book cover of Pandora in the Congo

Chris Turnbull Author Of The Planting of the Penny Hedge

From the list on fiction with an historical twist.

Who am I?

I am a Yorkshire writer with a passion for historical fiction. My love of history came as a surprise to me in my late teens, as I had originally thought history was not my thing. However, I soon discovered the incredible stories throughout history, and how many authors carve fictional stories around these time periods or historical events. I love researching for my own historical writing, whether it be to find out what kind of jobs people did, or what they ate for breakfast. I love reading and writing historical fiction in multiple eras, such as WW2, Victorian times, and further back to the Romans and ancient Egyptians. 

Chris' book list on fiction with an historical twist

Why did Chris love this book?

Pandora in the Congo was recommended to me by a friend, and although initially unsure due to its quirkiness (especially the further through you read), I ended up loving it. Set in 1914, this story is again set in a prison cell, with the main character re-telling the horrors he endured in the Congo on a mining expedition, which he alone became the sole survivor of. 

By Albert Sánchez Piñol, Mara Faye Lethem (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

It is 1914. In the heart of the Belgian Congo, Garvey, a bedraggled British manservant, emerges from the jungle. He is the lone survivor of a mining expedition in which both his masters have died, and all of the party's African porters have fled. With him, he carries two huge diamonds.

From his prison cell in London, Garvey recounts his horrific and thrilling ordeal. Young Tommy Thomson is assigned to transcribe Garvey's story and only he can untangle the extraordinary mysteries of the Garvey case.

Book cover of The Adventures of Tintin: Volume 1

Marisha Wojciechowska Author Of My Globetrotter Book: Paris

From the list on for globetrotter kids.

Who am I?

My Globetrotter Book’s creative adventure originated from a deep desire to show the world to my son... I am from Quebec, Canada, but I have lived and traveled across the globe with my family for 20+ years and – so far – have lived in Montreal, Paris, New York, Tokyo, and Bangkok! I work as an international consultant on water security issues with the United Nations and other international organisations. My son has grown up, so now, I continue to inspire other kids to explore the myriad beauties and cultures of the world and, as of 2022, to "journey within" with the creation of My Bodytrotter Book.

Marisha's book list on for globetrotter kids

Why did Marisha love this book?

Young Belgian reporter Tintin and his little white dog, Snowy, travel the world with their strange and funny group of friends. They solve mysteries, catch thieves or help a friend in need. Action-packed graphic books that take you around the world! I loved reading these books as a pre-teen, and then later my pre-teen son did too.

By Hergé,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Three classic graphic novels in one deluxe hardcover edition: Tintin in America, Cigars of the Pharaoh, and The Blue Lotus.

The Schlieffen Plan

By Gerhard Ritter,

Book cover of The Schlieffen Plan: Critique of a Myth

Eric Dorn Brose Author Of The Kaiser's Army: The Politics of Military Technology in Germany During the Machine Age, 1870-1918

From the list on the German army in World War One.

Who am I?

I retired from Drexel University in 2015 after thirty-six years as a professor of German and European History of the 19th and 20th Centuries. My sub-specialty in the History of Technology carried over into publications that over the years focused increasingly on the Prussian/German Army (The Politics of Technological Change in Prussia [1993] and The Kaiser’s Army [2001]) and naval conflict (Clash of the Capital Ships [2021]).  

Eric's book list on the German army in World War One

Why did Eric love this book?

Facing a two-front war against France, Britain, and Russia in 1914, Germany opted to strike west first against the French and English; win a quick victory by avoiding French fortresses with an outflanking push through Belgium; and then turn east against the Russians. This operational plan was the brainchild of former Chief of the General Staff Alfred von Schlieffen. In the 1920s, many German generals argued that the inept execution of Schlieffen’s plan explained their loss of the war. Ritter’s work is the classic critique of this argumentation, showing that in reality the flaws of the plan and Schlieffen’s narrow-minded militaristic mindset, not the lesser capabilities of his successors, led to a war of attrition Germany could not win.  

By Gerhard Ritter,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Using a copy of the Schlieffen Plan unearthed in 1953, Ritter examines the man and his plan for the German campaign to France through Belgium in 1914.


By John Toland,

Book cover of Battle: The Story of the Bulge

Leo Barron Author Of Patton at the Battle of the Bulge: How the General's Tanks Turned the Tide at Bastogne

From the list on the Battle of the Bulge and the soldiers who fought there.

Who am I?

I’ve written two books on the topic of the Battle of the Bulge and countless articles. These are my favorite books on the subject and three of the five books are cited in my own monographs. (Schrijvers wrote his book after I published mine and Kershaw’s work was only tangential to my subject matter).

Leo's book list on the Battle of the Bulge and the soldiers who fought there

Why did Leo love this book?

Compared to Macdonald’s tome, Toland’s book is a far more succinct account of the Battle of the Bulge (If you could call 444 pages succinct!). Toland doesn’t spend a lot of time on exposition. He dives right into the battle after the first twenty pages, which is refreshing because too many authors and historians spend too much time, writing about the build-up before the battle. Before you know it, you’re already halfway through the book and it’s only December 16. Toland avoids that pitfall. His prose is simple and straightforward. If you can’t read a 900-page book about the Bulge, then read Toland’s account.

By John Toland,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The perspective of 15 years, painstaking research, thousands of interviews, extensive analysis and evaluation, and the creative talent of John Toland [paint] the epic struggle on an immense canvas

A Rifleman Went to War

By Herbert Wes McBride,

Book cover of A Rifleman Went to War

Bruce Canfield Author Of U. S. Infantry Weapons of the First World War

From the list on America's crusade in the Great War.

Who am I?

I have written 13 books and over 200 national magazine articles on U.S. Military weapons and am Field Editor for the NRA’s American Rifleman magazine. The story of the World War II weapons and campaigns have been widely covered but the First World War is sometimes all but forgotten. Those who are not familiar with America’s rather brief, but important, role in the conflict often do not realize how the First World War helped make the United States one of the world’s “superpowers.”

Bruce's book list on America's crusade in the Great War

Why did Bruce love this book?

An excellent narrative of the experiences of a Canadian infantry officer who served in France and Belgium from Sept. 1915 to April 1917. There is a lot of emphasis on the sniping weapons utilized by the Allied forces during the early part of the war.

By Herbert Wes McBride,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Rifleman Went to War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a new release of the original 1935 edition.