The best books on genocide

Who picked these books? Meet our 93 experts.

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

What type of genocide book?



By Mary Fulbrook,

Book cover of Reckonings: Legacies of Nazi Persecution and the Quest for Justice

Michael S. Bryant Author Of Confronting the "Good Death": Nazi Euthanasia on Trial, 1945-1953

From the list on pondering the worst of the Nazis’ crimes.

Who am I?

I’ve had a life-long interest in genocide dating back to my teenage years, when I read Simon Wiesenthal’s book The Murderers Among Us. Wiesenthal introduced me to the idea that governments sometimes murdered innocent people and could elude justice for their crimes. The question of human evil interacted with my theological interest in the problem of evil generally. Both genocide scholars and theologians were posing similar questions: how could people or God permit the occurrence of wanton evil when it was in their power to avoid it? And what should we do about genocide after it has happened? These questions launched my research into genocide and continue to fuel my study of this topic.

Michael's book list on pondering the worst of the Nazis’ crimes

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

Why did Michael love this book?

In 2019 I published a review of Mary Fulbrook’s Reckonings in the journal HistoryThe review may have been the most laudatory I’ve written. Fulbrook’s study of the Holocaust and its noxious aftereffects lingers with me today. I’ve come to think of Reckonings as the War and Peace of Holocaust histories. Like Tolstoy’s epic, it paints on a sprawling canvas, exhausting the writer’s palette to portray the Holocaust as a searing multi-generational phenomenon. Reckonings does not approach the Shoah as most writers of the Holocaust do, namely, as a monumental but time-limited event. Fulbrook conceives of the Holocaust as a cancer that blights the victims and their families into the second and third generations. The radioactive fallout of the Shoah continues to the present day, poisoning people’s lives so deeply that no human response is adequate to deal with it. She upholds the tragedy of the Holocaust by refusing…

By Mary Fulbrook,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A single word - Auschwitz - is often used to encapsulate the totality of persecution and suffering involved in what we call the Holocaust. Yet a focus on a single concentration camp - however horrific what happened there, however massively catastrophic its scale - leaves an incomplete story, a truncated history. It cannot fully communicate the myriad ways in which individuals became tangled up on the side of the perpetrators, and obscures the diversity of experiences
among a wide range of victims as they struggled and died, or managed, against all odds, to survive. In the process, we also miss…


By Barnaby Phillips,

Book cover of Loot: Britain and the Benin Bronzes

Marq de Villiers Author Of Timbuktu: The Sahara's Fabled City of Gold

From the list on African cultures.

Who am I?

I was born in Africa and have been infatuated with its history and cultures all my life. Of the 48 countries sharing the African mainland, I have spent time in all but four. True, a few only for a laughably brief stay (I wandered across the Cameroon-Equatorial Guinea border once by mistake, not knowing I had crossed; there was no sign of a border post or any guards. I stayed only for the rest of the day, never leaving the beach, before wading back to Cameroon.) But others I have lived in for years, and have travelled extensively to famous and obscure regions alike, especially in the Sahel

Marq's book list on African cultures

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

Why did Marq love this book?

This is far more than a colonial era whodunit, a recounting of yet another colonial atrocity – though it is that in spades.  Yes, in 1897 the British occupation army reacted to the killing of a a few colonial officials by razing an empire to the ground, careless of its causes and its effects. So much, so commonplace. But what an empire! The Benin artworks the army looted, subsequently dispersed to museums around the globe, were and still are a revelation to those whose notions of African art were to that point limited to masks and fetishes. A mere catalogue of the pieces would be enough to explain why Picasso, among other artists, was captivated by the art of Africa, but Philips has done more than that – he puts the looted artifacts into their context and into their culture. There is nothing didactic or preachy about this book, but…

By Barnaby Phillips,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Prospect Best Book of 2021

'A fascinating and timely book.' William Boyd

'Gripping...a must read.' FT

'Compelling...humane, reasonable, and ultimately optimistic.' Evening Standard

'[A] valuable guide to a complex narrative.' The Times

In 1897, Britain sent a punitive expedition to the Kingdom of Benin, in what is today Nigeria, in retaliation for the killing of seven British officials and traders. British soldiers and sailors captured Benin, exiled its king and annexed the territory. They also made off with some of Africa's greatest works of art.

The 'Benin Bronzes' are now amongst the most admired and valuable artworks in the…


By Jared Diamond,

Book cover of Upheaval

Sergei Guriev Author Of Spin Dictators: The Changing Face of Tyranny in the 21st Century

From the list on why countries succeed and why they fail.

Who am I?

What are some countries rich and others are poor? I strongly believe that this is the most important question for modern economics. I've become an economist to understand this. I am happy that in recent decades economists – working closely together with other social scientists – have made so much progress in this field. And this is not abstract knowledge – it is being applied already to help developing countries catch up with the rich world. I have seen it myself when I took a leave from academia to work as a Chief Economist of a development bank (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development) – to learn more from and to contribute to this work.

Sergei's book list on why countries succeed and why they fail

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

Why did Sergei love this book?

This is a fascinating in-depth account of several case studies of countries that faced a crisis and had to reinvent themselves: Australia, Chile, Finland, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, and the US (I am not mentioning the exact time points to avoid spoilers).

The author puts together a general framework to evaluate the factors that contribute to successful or failing transformations.

For me, as a Russian, this is a very practical guidebook – how should we rebuild Russia after Putin, how should Russia re-emerge as a peaceful and free country; how can we make sure that Russia will never again be what it is now. The book provides many insights on this but, unfortunately, also suggests that success is not guaranteed.

By Jared Diamond,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A "riveting and illuminating" Bill Gates Summer Reading pick about how and why some nations recover from trauma and others don't (Yuval Noah Harari), by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the landmark bestseller Guns, Germs, and Steel.

In his international bestsellers Guns, Germs and Steel and Collapse, Jared Diamond transformed our understanding of what makes civilizations rise and fall. Now, in his third book in this monumental trilogy, he reveals how successful nations recover from crises while adopting selective changes -- a coping mechanism more commonly associated with individuals recovering from personal crises.

Diamond compares how six countries have survived…


By Domenico Losurdo, Gregory Elliott (translator),

Book cover of Liberalism: A Counter-History

Dillon S. Tatum Author Of Liberalism and Transformation: The Global Politics of Violence and Intervention

From the list on liberalism and politics.

Who am I?

Dillon Stone Tatum is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Francis Marion University. His research interests are on the history, development, and politics of liberal internationalism, international political theory, and critical security studies.

Dillon's book list on liberalism and politics

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

Why did Dillon love this book?

Italian philosopher and historian Domenico Losurdo’s book Liberalism: A Counter-History represents one of the most ambitious attempts to conceptually and historically tie the liberal tradition to the politics of slavery, empire, and genocide. What I find to be most evocative about Losurdo’s “counter-history” is both his sweeping narrative of the liberal tradition balanced against a close reading of key figures in that tradition. Losurdo provides an important critique of liberalism, and provides us with the analytic and methodological tools to interrogate its legacy, its past, its future.

By Domenico Losurdo, Gregory Elliott (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this definitive historical investigation, Italian author and philosopher Domenico Losurdo argues that from the outset liberalism, as a philosophical position and ideology, has been bound up with the most illiberal of policies: slavery, colonialism, genocide, racism and snobbery.

Violence in War and Peace

By Nancy Scheper-Hughes (editor), Philippe I. Bourgois (editor),

Book cover of Violence in War and Peace: An Anthology

T.M. Lemos Author Of Violence and Personhood in Ancient Israel and Comparative Contexts

From the list on the comparative history of violence.

Who am I?

I am a biblical scholar who has become a historian of violence because I could no longer ignore the realities of the present or my own past. I write of violence for my childhood self, who was bullied for a decade and used to run away from school.  I write of it for my grandfather, who was born of exploitation.  I write of it for my African-American wife and daughter, in the hopes that I might contribute to the elimination of hierarchies that threaten their dignity and sometimes their lives.  Doing this work is not just intellectual for me—it is a memorialization and a ritual of healing. 

T.M.'s book list on the comparative history of violence

Discover why each book is one of T.M.'s favorite books.

Why did T.M. love this book?

The editors of this volume are two of the most important and influential medical anthropologists in the world and major scholars of violence. In addition to collecting a set of useful texts on violence, the introduction to the volume is a piece of writing that I have returned to many times.

By Nancy Scheper-Hughes (editor), Philippe I. Bourgois (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From Hannah Arendt's 'banality of evil' to Joseph Conrad's 'fascination of the abomination', humankind has struggled to make sense of human-upon-human violence. Edited by two of anthropology's most passionate voices on this subject, "Violence in War and Peace: An Anthology" is the only book of its kind available: a single volume exploration of social, literary, and philosophical theories of violence. It brings together a sweeping collection of readings, drawn from a remarkable range of sources, that look at various conceptions and modes of violence.The book juxtaposes the routine violence of everyday life against the sudden outcropping of extraordinary violence such…

Book cover of Dancing in the Glory of Monsters: The Collapse of the Congo and the Great War of Africa

Daniel Combs Author Of Until the World Shatters: Truth, Lies, and the Looting of Myanmar

From the list on the human toll of civil war.

Who am I?

As an author, humanitarian, and diplomat, I’ve seen firsthand how the everyday brutality of civil wars and ethnic conflicts is often overlooked in favor of statistics: 100,000 displaced; 500 arrested; 7 villages torched. In places like Myanmar, Ethiopia, Congo, Nigeria, and Bangladesh, I have tried to use human-centered reporting to bring a magnifying glass to the effect of these tragedies on everyday people. By focusing on the stories that most of the world would rather turn away from, I think we have a better chance to understand, and ultimately prevent, these violent political and social upheavals. 

Daniel's book list on the human toll of civil war

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

Why did Daniel love this book?

The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s civil wars have claimed 5.5 million lives since the mid-1990s, but most people have never heard the stories of those who died. Stearns is an academic who spent years in the DRC researching how and why communities that once lived side by side could descend into brutal violence. This book is essential reading for anyone who wants to better understand how intercommunal conflict can turn neighbors into enemies, ethnicity into a weapon, and school children into genocidal street gangs. I spent two years living in DRC reporting on human rights abuses, and found Stearns’s treatment of his subjects and their personal histories arresting, respectful, and deeply humane. 

By Jason Stearns,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Best Book of the Year- The Economist & the Wall Street Journal At the heart of Africa is the Congo, a country the size of Western Europe, bordering nine other nations, that since 1996 has been wracked by a brutal war in which millions have died. In Dancing in the Glory of Monsters, renowned political activist and researcher Jason K. Stearns has written a compelling and deeply-reported narrative of how Congo became a failed state that collapsed into a war of retaliatory massacres. Stearns brilliantly describes the key perpetrators, many of whom he met personally, and highlights the nature…


By David Van Reybrouck,

Book cover of Congo: The Epic History of a People

Michela Wrong Author Of Do Not Disturb: The Story of a Political Murder and an African Regime Gone Bad

From the list on Central Africa (from a journalist based there).

Who am I?

After working as a foreign correspondent in Italy and France I was sent by Reuters news agency to Cote d’Ivoire and what was then Zaire, the latter posting coinciding with the shocking start of the genocide in neighboring Rwanda. It was the kind of assignment you don’t forget, and when I moved to the Financial Times I continued following the larger-than-life dramas unfolding in Africa’s Great Lakes region. I’ve now written five books, the first – In the Footsteps of Mr Kurtz - about Mobutu Sese Seko's imprint on the Democratic Republic of Congo and the latest – Do Not Disturb - looking at personalities and events I first started writing about a quarter of a century ago. You keep going back.

Michela's book list on Central Africa (from a journalist based there)

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

Why did Michela love this book?

As the author of a book on the Democratic Republic of Congo myself, I should have felt fiercely competitive with Van Reybrouk, a Belgian playwright, poet, and author. In fact, I loved this book. He tells this enormous country’s complex history, from King Leopold’s 19th-century giant land grab through to Patrice Lumumba's premiership, Marechal Mobutu Sese Sekos’ overthrow, Laurent Kabila’s Rwandan-backed takeover and beyond, almost exclusively through the testimony of living Congolese citizens, making it not only extraordinarily fresh, but utterly authentic as a record of the past. It’s a long book – 150 years of history, addressed at a leisurely pace, takes up a lot of paper - but every chapter is a jewel.

By David Van Reybrouck,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


'Not only deserves the description "epic", in its true sense, but the term "masterpiece" as well' Independent

This gripping epic tells the story of one of the world's most critical failed nation-states: the Democratic Republic of Congo. Interweaving his own family's history with the voices of a diverse range of individuals - charismatic dictators, feuding warlords, child soldiers, and many in the African diaspora of Europe and China - Van Reybrouck offers a deeply humane approach to political history, focusing squarely on the Congolese perspective and returning a nation's history to its people.

The German War

By Nicholas Stargardt,

Book cover of The German War: A Nation Under Arms, 1939-1945

Mark Scott Smith Author Of Night Fire Morning Snow: The Road to Chosin

From the list on understanding America and her enemies in wartime.

Who am I?

After retiring from academic medicine, I moved to the ocean and learned of WWII Japanese submarine and balloon bomb attacks on Oregon. With extensive research, consultation, and trips to Europe, Latin America, and Asia, I have now published three historical fiction novels on Amazon: Enemy in the Mirror: Love and Fury in the Pacific War, The Osprey and the Sea Wolf: The Battle of the Atlantic 1942, and Night Fire Morning Snow: The Road to Chosin. My website is intended to promote understanding of America and her enemies in wartime.

Mark's book list on understanding America and her enemies in wartime

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

Why did Mark love this book?

Compiled from personal diaries and letters, wartime arts and entertainment, court records, military correspondence, secret police reports and Nazi propaganda ministry assessments, an Oxford professor of modern European history has written this engrossing account of the German military and civilian experience during World War II. Initial enthusiasm for the war effort during the early years of WWII, gradually gives way under the intense bombing of German cities, awareness of the regime’s genocidal activities and military losses on both fronts. In the final year of the war ordinary Germans, realizing the war could not be won, were simply determined to hold on until a just peace can be attained.

By Nicholas Stargardt,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

As early as 1941, Allied victory in World War II seemed all but assured. How and why, then, did the Germans prolong the barbaric conflict for three and a half more years?In The German War , acclaimed historian Nicholas Stargardt draws on an extraordinary range of primary source materials,personal diaries, court records, and military correspondence,to answer this question. He offers an unprecedented portrait of wartime Germany, bringing the hopes and expectations of the German people,from infantrymen and tank commanders on the Eastern front to civilians on the home front,to vivid life. While most historians identify the German defeat at Stalingrad…

The Sun Climbs Slow

By Erna Paris,

Book cover of The Sun Climbs Slow: Justice in the Age of Imperial America

Judith Armatta Author Of Twilight of Impunity: The War Crimes Trial of Slobodan Milosevic

From the list on war crimes trials and international justice.

Who am I?

I am a tired activist and recovering attorney. My professional focus on violence and humanity’s response to it began when, as a seven-year-old, the nuns at my Catholic school showed us newsreels of the liberation of Nazi concentration camps. This led me to adopt as my life’s guiding principle Julian Beck’s admonition “to redeem our share of the universal cruelty.” After 20 years in the U.S. Violence Against Women Movement, I absconded to the former Yugoslavia and found myself in the middle of a war during which I ran a war crimes documentation project (memoir in progress). I later reported on the international war crimes trial of Slobodan Milosevic.

Judith's book list on war crimes trials and international justice

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

Why did Judith love this book?

I’m drawn to inconvenient truths and Canadian Erna Paris reveals them in exceptionally readable prose. Paris discusses why it took more than fifty years to establish a permanent International Criminal Court to try war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. She examines the reasons for U.S. opposition to the permanent International Criminal Court established in 2002, identifies U.S. officials who worked to undermine efforts to develop the ICC, exposes the real reasons they did so, and debunks the official position of protecting US soldiers.

By Erna Paris,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A powerful investigation of the story and individuals behind America’s refusal to acknowledge international law and an inquiry into the urgent role of international criminal justice from the award-winning, bestselling author of Long Shadows.

In this groundbreaking investigation, Erna Paris explores the history of global justice, the politics behind America’s opposition to the creation of a permanent international criminal court, and the implications for the world at large.

At the end of the twentieth century, two extraordinary events took place. The first was the end of the Cold War, which left the world with a single empire that dominated global…

Poland's Holocaust

By Tadeusz Piotrowski,

Book cover of Poland's Holocaust: Ethnic Strife, Collaboration with Occupying Forces and Genocide in the Second Republic, 1918-1947

Antonio J. Muñoz Author Of Nazi Occupation Policies in the East, 1939-1944

From the list on the Holocaust and the Nazi Occupation of Eastern Europe.

Who am I?

I’m a Cuban refugee. I came with my family in the early 1960s a few years after the Cuban revolution. I served 4 years in the U.S. Marines. I went to school and in 1982 married. Both of my daughters became college professors. The younger works for the CUNY system, while the oldest teaches at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. I have always had a passion for modern European history. It grew from an interest in military history when I was a Marine.

Antonio's book list on the Holocaust and the Nazi Occupation of Eastern Europe

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

Why did Antonio love this book?

There are far fewer studies in English on the Nazi occupation of Poland and the suffering and depredations that Poles faced during those more than five years of occupation.

This academic study does not merely cover the Holocaust in Poland but how the occupation affected millions of non-Jewish Poles as well. It also covers the intricate relationship that existed between Poles and Ukrainians, Lithuanians and Belorussians, and how those ethnic differences turned into conflicts that affected the war and the occupation. It is a one-volume work that covers it all.

By Tadeusz Piotrowski,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

With the end of World War I, a new Republic of Poland emerged on the maps of Europe, made up of some of the territory from the first Polish Republic, including Wolyn and Wilno, and significant parts of Belarus, Upper Silesia, Eastern Galicia, and East Prussia. The resulting conglomeration of ethnic groups left many substantial minorities wanting independence. The approach of World War II provided the minorities' leaders a new opportunity in their nationalist movements, and many sided with one or the other of Poland's two enemies - the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany - in hopes of achieving their…

The War on the Uyghurs

By Sean R. Roberts,

Book cover of The War on the Uyghurs: China's Internal Campaign Against a Muslim Minority

Nick Holdstock Author Of China's Forgotten People: Xinjiang, Terror and the Chinese State

From the list on the concentration camps in Xinjiang.

Who am I?

I was living in Xinjiang on 9/11 and got to witness the swiftness with which the state imposed strict regulations that harmed the Uyghur community. For me, this was an indelible lesson in the abuses of power and authority on people who just wanted to work, raise families, and enjoy their lives. Since then I’ve tried to raise awareness, first in my memoir, The Tree That Bleeds, then in my journalism. I hope my work helps people think about how to respond as both politically engaged citizens and consumers to one of the worst human rights violations of the 21st century.

Nick's book list on the concentration camps in Xinjiang

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

Why did Nick love this book?

Roberts is one of the foremost authorities on the ‘terrorism’ issue in Xinjiang. The strong argument of this book is that the Chinese government has opportunistically used the US-led War on Terror as an excuse to repress all forms of dissent in the region by grossly exaggerating the threats they faced, which eventually became a self-fulfilling prophecy. In his view, the concentration camps, destruction of mosques, attacks on Uyghur intellectuals, and attempts to marginalise the Uyghur language amount to a ‘cultural genocide’. The book provides a concise and forceful recapitulation of Chinese policy in the region over the last two decades.

By Sean R. Roberts,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

How China is using the US-led war on terror to erase the cultural identity of its Muslim minority in the Xinjiang region

Within weeks of the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington, the Chinese government warned that it faced a serious terrorist threat from its Uyghur ethnic minority, who are largely Muslim. In this explosive book, Sean Roberts reveals how China has been using the US-led global war on terror as international cover for its increasingly brutal suppression of the Uyghurs, and how the war's targeting of an undefined enemy has emboldened states around the globe to persecute…

Book cover of The Persecution of the Jews in Photographs: The Netherlands 1940-1945

C.F. Yetmen Author Of The Roses Underneath

From the list on photo books that tell stories of World War II.

Who am I?

In my “day job” I write about architecture, which means I often write about things I see in photos. When I began writing fiction, I continued using photos as inspiration and research. My novels are inspired by my family’s circumstances at the end of World War II and my fascination with the work of the Monuments Men. Photos show me details like a little girl playing with her doll under a sign that declares her building to be at risk of collapse, or a woman using the ruins of a building to hang out the wash. I love finding ways to use these elements in my writing.

C.F.'s book list on photo books that tell stories of World War II

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

Why did C.F. love this book?

This book is the catalog of a 2019 exhibition of the same name. It’s a collection of 440 images that cover all facets of Jewish life in the Netherlands during the German occupation. What’s most interesting and compelling are the rare, so-called bystander photos that show what life under Nazi rule looked like for ordinary people going about their lives, both those who were persecuted and those who committed genocide, as well as those who witnessed it. While we can look into the faces of people knowing the horrors that were to come, seeing these images—weddings, dinners, strolls in the parkas a preface to the more familiar images of round-ups, transports, and concentration camps provides deeper insight into history. I revisit the photos in this book often.

By Rene Kok, Erik Somers,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Persecution of the Jews in Photographs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Persecution of the Jews in Photographs, the Netherlands 1940-1945 is the first book of its kind on the subject. Both the professional photographers commissioned by the occupying forces and amateurs took moving photographs.

On 10 May 1940, the day of the German invasion, there were 140,000 Jewish inhabitants living in the Netherlands. The full extent of their terrible fate only became known after the war: at least 102,000 were murdered, died of mistreatment or were worked to death in the Nazi camps. This tragedy has had a profound effect on Dutch society.

Photographic archives and private collections were consulted…

Das Reich

By Max Hastings,

Book cover of Das Reich: The March of the 2nd SS Panzer Division Through France, June 1944

Jonathan Spyer Author Of The Transforming Fire: The Rise of the Israel-Islamist Conflict

From the list on the human impact of war.

Who am I?

I'm a writer and journalist. I grew up in London’s Jewish community, and lived in Israel and Jerusalem for most of my life. I'm fascinated by the Mid-East region, its history, religions, music, cultures, and colors, and by Jewish history. As a result of my experiences as a soldier in the Second Lebanon War of 2006, and the Second Intifada of 2000-4, my focus on conflict became central to my work. After the 2006 war, I became a conflict reporter, and I've covered war and insurgency in Syria, Turkey, Iraq, Ukraine, Lebanon, and Israel/West Bank/Gaza for a variety of publications. I also like to focus on the ways war and conflict impact human lives.   

Jonathan's book list on the human impact of war

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

Why did Jonathan love this book?

Max Hastings here describes the fight between the 10th SS Panzer Division and the French resistance forces, assisted by the British Special Operations Executive, in France in the period following D-Day, 1944. Hastings is in my view a peerless writer on conflict and military history, with a deep understanding of the costs of conflict on individuals, and considerable empathy for those caught up in it. I like that this empathy does not result in excessive romanticization of those engaged here in the irregular warfare against the Nazi German forces. Despite the unambiguous and obvious rights and wrongs of the conflict here described, the author never loses sight of the complexity of human motivations among the combatants, and indeed of the tactical errors and sometimes costly foolishness on the allied side as well as the German.  

By Max Hastings,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Within days of the D-Day landings, the 'Das Reich' 2nd SS Panzer Division pushed north through France to reinforce Hitler's front-line defences in Europe. This is an account of these veterans who had participated in some of the bloodiest fighting of the Russian front, and how they were hounded on their march by the Resistance and the Allied Special

Our People

By Efraim Zuroff, Rūta Vanagaite,

Book cover of Our People: Discovering Lithuania's Hidden Holocaust

Ettie Zilber Author Of A Holocaust Memoir of Love & Resilience: Mama's Survival from Lithuania to America

From the list on the Holocaust in Eastern Europe.

Who am I?

Born in a displaced persons camp in Germany after World War 2, Ettie immigrated with her parents to the USA. She grew up and was educated in New York City and Pennsylvania and immigrated to Israel after completing graduate school. After retiring from a career in international schools in 6 countries, she currently resides in Arizona with her husband. She is a Board member for the Phoenix Holocaust Association and devotes much time to giving presentations to youth and adults worldwide. 

Ettie's book list on the Holocaust in Eastern Europe

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

Why did Ettie love this book?

The partnership of these two authors, one, a Lithuanian national and prominent figure and the other, a Jewish/Israeli Nazi hunter, even surprised them both. While they come from the polar opposite ends of the cultural spectrum, their ultimate research collaboration offers the reader a view into the reason why 96% of Lithuanian Jews were murdered during – and after – the Holocaust – many, before the Nazis fully occupied the country. Travelling together throughout Lithuania, they interviewed non-Jewish eyewitnesses, who told them (on the record) what they saw and what they remembered of those horrible days when the Jews were murdered …by bullets… and who collaborated, assisted, and who pulled the trigger. 

I am passionate about the book because both my parents were survivors of the Lithuanian version of the Holocaust. There were very few survivors from Lithuania, and the Vanagaite-Zuroff book helps me understand why. I started learning about…

By Efraim Zuroff, Rūta Vanagaite,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This remarkable book traces the quest for the truth about the Holocaust in Lithuania by two ostensible enemies: Ruta a descendant of the perpetrators, Efraim a descendant of the victims. Ruta Vanagaite, a best-selling Lithuanian writer, was motivated by her recent discoveries that some of her relatives had played a role in the mass murder of Jews and that Lithuanian officials had tried to hide the complicity of local collaborators. Efraim Zuroff, a noted Israeli Nazi-hunter, had both professional and personal motivations. He had worked for years to bring Lithuanian war criminals to justice and to compel local authorities to…

Carrying Cambodia

By Hans Kemp, Conor Wall,

Book cover of Carrying Cambodia

Tom Vater Author Of The Cambodian Book of the Dead

From the list on Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge.

Who am I?

I'm a writer and journalist with an eye on South and Southeast Asia. I first visited Cambodia in 1995, an ill-fated trip into Koh Kong, then a war-torn backwater town. I returned in 2001 to research a TV documentary about the likely effects of tourism on the Angkor monuments, Cambodia’s tourist magnet. I’ve visited many times since, traveled on trucks, motorbikes, beaten-up Toyotas, and by bicycle, and have written extensively about the southeast Asian kingdom’s post-war recovery, popular culture, tragic politics, and seedy underbelly. Cambodia is a small country, but its turbulent past and uncertain future, along with its wonderful people, touched me like few other places.

Tom's book list on Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge

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

Why did Tom love this book?

Books on Cambodia predominantly cover the communist revolution and genocide. Carrying Cambodia is a different proposition, a photo book that depicts the resourcefulness of ordinary Cambodians in the post-war era. The two authors/photographers spent considerable time on the back of motorbikes cruising the highways and by-ways of Cambodia to capture the incredible efforts its people have to make to get from A to B. Images of trucks, bikes, tuk-tuks, and cyclos unbelievably overloaded with people and produce give a candid impression of the daily struggle of citizens living in unjust, broken societies, but also celebrates a resurging Khmer spirit in the face of incredible challenges.

By Hans Kemp, Conor Wall,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Unbelievable feats of transportation are an everyday occurrence on the streets of Cambodia. Tuk-tuks, cyclos, cars, trucks, motorbikes and bicycles transport loads that defy your wildest imagination. Tuk-tuks crammed to the roof with fruit and veg, beaten-up old taxis transporting pigs bigger than people, beds bigger than pigs and water tanks bigger than beds! Six people on one small motorbike, and 67 people standing on the back of a flatbed lorry.

Photographers Hans Kemp and Conor Wall spent hundreds of long, painful hours on the back of motorbikes documenting this unique street culture, resulting in this amazing book loaded with…

The Second World War

By Antony Beevor,

Book cover of The Second World War

Adam Nevill Author Of Lost Girl

From the list on Armageddon.

Who am I?

I'm continually asked why I write horror. But I wonder why every writer isn't writing horror. Not a day passes without me being aghast at the world and my own species, the present, past and future. Though nor do I stop searching for a sense of awe and wonder in the world either. My Dad read ghost stories to me as a kid and my inner tallow candle was lit. The flame still burns. Horror has always been the fiction I have felt compelled to write in order to process the world, experience, observation, my imaginative life. I've been blessed with a good readership and have entered my third decade as a writer of horrors. In that time two of my novels have been adapted into films and the British Fantasy Society has kindly recognised my work with five awards, one for Best Collection and four for Best Novel. I'm in this for the long haul and aim to be creating horror on both page and screen for some time to come.

Adam's book list on Armageddon

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

Why did Adam love this book?

It's too easy to dismiss the Second World War. To relegate that epochal conflict into realms of ancient history, action films, kitset models, unread Father's day gifts, and black & white footage. But we all live through the consequences of this epic global struggle. This was the last time western civilisation brought itself close to destruction and it was a close call. 60 million lives were lost and no one died easily. The war was also raging just shy of 80 years ago. In the scheme of human history, that's recent.

Beevor's history of the global conflict - and it was global - is a page-turning affair. Vivid, engaging, heartbreaking, shocking. Really fine storytelling and a first class history, encompassing the great conflicts of east and west (China's experience of the war is much overlooked in the west but not in these pages). I found myself engrossed by this monumental…

By Antony Beevor,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A magisterial, single-volume history of the greatest conflict the world has ever known by our foremost military historian.

The Second World War began in August 1939 on the edge of Manchuria and ended there exactly six years later with the Soviet invasion of northern China. The war in Europe appeared completely divorced from the war in the Pacific and China, and yet events on opposite sides of the world had profound effects. Using the most up-to-date scholarship and research, Beevor assembles the whole picture in a gripping narrative that extends from the North Atlantic to the South Pacific and from…

Book cover of Over a Thousand Hills I Walk With You

Berlie W. Doherty Author Of The Girl Who Saw Lions

From the list on children’s books about refugees and asylum seekers.

Who am I?

My maternal great-grandparents were Irish immigrants. My paternal grandfather left Liverpool in the late 19th century to go to Australia. I’d love to know their children’s stories! Some of the families I visited as a social worker (mid-1960s) were immigrants, struggling to make sense of a new language and a new culture. I met a child who had come here alone as an illegal immigrant and had been a house slave until the social services settled her with a foster family. I met author Hanna Jansen and her many adopted children from war-torn countries. Fiction gives us many powerful stories about children forced to flee from their homes because of war, tyranny, hunger, poverty, natural disasters.

Berlie's book list on children’s books about refugees and asylum seekers

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

Why did Berlie love this book?

This is a beautifully written account of how 8-year-old Jeanne d'Arc Umubyeyi (Dédé) escaped the 1994 massacre of the Tutsi ethnic group at the hands of the Huti tribe. Jeanne was the only member of her family to survive. The horror of what she went through is vividly recounted in Jeanne’s words and those of her adoptive mother Hanna Jansen, who adopted her and brought her to Germany. 

It is a very powerful, true, story. I had heard of the Rwandan massacre, but knew little about it till I read this novel. 

I love the book and have re-read it several times. Young adults will identify strongly with both Jeanne and Hanna.

By Hanna Jansen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Over a Thousand Hills I Walk With You as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Before that fateful April day, Jeanne lived the life of a typical Rwandan girl. She bickered with her little sister, went to school, teased her brother. Then, in one horrifying night, everything changed. Political troubles unleashed a torrent of violence upon the Tutsi ethnic group. Jeanne's family, all Tutsis, fled their home and tried desperately to reach safety.

They did not succeed. As the only survivor of her family's massacre, Jeanne witnessed unspeakable acts. This haunting story was told to Jeanne's adoptive mother, and here she makes unforgettably real the events of the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Survivor Café

By Elizabeth Rosner,

Book cover of Survivor Café: The Legacy of Trauma and the Labyrinth of Memory

Marta Fuchs Author Of Legacy of Rescue: A Daughter's Tribute

From the list on with impact on the daughter of Holocaust Survivors.

Who am I?

I am a member of a generation that wasn’t supposed to be born. My parents were Hungarian Holocaust survivors and I was born amidst the fragments of European Jewry that remained. As a psychotherapist, I have specialized in helping people navigate the multigenerational reverberations of the Holocaust. Having a witness to your own experience, in therapy and through books, provides comfort, understanding, and hope.

Marta's book list on with impact on the daughter of Holocaust Survivors

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

Why did Marta love this book?

Back in the late ‘80s, I was at a small gathering of daughters of Holocaust survivors and next to me sat Elizabeth Rosner. As we each said something about our family’s history, Liz read a poem about her survivor father that vibrated with such resonance with me, and I knew I was in the presence of a gifted writer. Rosner went on to publish poetry and novels, and in this work of non-fiction that is lyrically and evocatively written, she confronts personal history and its aftermath while also exploring similar legacies of descendants of other atrocities that have left their multigenerational impact. Her “Alphabet of Inadequate Language” is alone worth the price of admission.

By Elizabeth Rosner,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Survivor Café as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As featured on NPR and in The New York Times, Survivor Cafe is a bold work of nonfiction that examines the ways that survivors, witnesses, and post-war generations talk about and shape traumatic experiences.

As firsthand survivors of many of the twentieth century's most monumental events―the Holocaust, Hiroshima, the Killing Fields―begin to pass away, Survivor Café addresses urgent questions: How do we carry those stories forward? How do we collectively ensure that the horrors of the past are not forgotten?

Elizabeth Rosner organizes her book around three trips with her father to Buchenwald concentration camp―in 1983, in 1995, and in…

The Unwanted

By Michael Dobbs,

Book cover of The Unwanted: America, Auschwitz, and a Village Caught in Between

Rebecca Erbelding Author Of Rescue Board: The Untold Story of America's Efforts to Save the Jews of Europe

From the list on the Holocaust and the United States.

Who am I?

I’m a historian who specializes in the American response to the Holocaust. Growing up, I remember being confused—it seemed like the United States knew nothing about the Nazi persecution and murder of Europe’s Jews—or it knew everything!—but either way, the US didn’t do anything to help. And that didn’t make sense with what I knew about the United States, a country that never speaks with one voice on any issue. And as I dug in, I learned that this is a fascinating, infuriating, nuanced history full of very familiar-sounding struggles over whether and how the country will live up to the ideals we claim for ourselves. 

Rebecca's book list on the Holocaust and the United States

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

Why did Rebecca love this book?

The Unwanted is perhaps the best all-around book explaining the crisis faced by Jewish refugees trying to escape to the United States. Dobbs merges the intimate histories of members of the Jewish community in the small German town of Kippenheim, the work of the US State Department officials in Germany and France, American refugee aid workers, and President Roosevelt. By utilizing both personal and official sources, Dobbs allows all the people he writes about to speak for themselves. It’s beautifully written and heartbreaking, and whatever you think about this history when you start the book, those thoughts will be more nuanced and complicated when you’re finished.

By Michael Dobbs,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Published in association with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, a riveting story of Jewish families seeking to escape Nazi Germany.

In 1938, on the eve of World War II, the American journalist Dorothy Thompson wrote that "a piece of paper with a stamp on it" was "the difference between life and death." The Unwanted is the intimate account of a small village on the edge of the Black Forest whose Jewish families desperately pursued American visas to flee the Nazis. Battling formidable bureaucratic obstacles, some make it to the United States while others are unable to obtain the necessary…

The Assignment

By Liza Wiemer,

Book cover of The Assignment

Paul Volponi Author Of The Great G.O.A.T. Debate: The Best of the Best in Everything from Sports to Science

From the list on for fearless readers.

Who am I?

I spent 16 years teaching in NYC public schools, six of them on Rikers Island the world's biggest jail where I helped incarcerated teens improve their reading and writing skills. That experience helped to launch me on my own writing career. The job of the author? To hold up a mirror to society and reflect upon the page what the reader may not have experienced yet or missed seeing in the world outside the borders of a book.

Paul's book list on for fearless readers

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

Why did Paul love this book?

Wiemer is the type of storyteller who makes you think at every turn of the page. The Assignment looks at the world of discrimination and antisemitism as it is handed out in a classroom assignment by a teacher we're left wondering about from the beginning. What makes you brave under the pressure of your peers, and what makes you crumble? Wiemer will give you insight into that through this stirring tome.

By Liza Wiemer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Inspired by a real-life incident, this riveting novel explores the dangerous impact discrimination and antisemitism have on one community when a school assignment goes terribly wrong.

Would you defend the indefensible?

That's what seniors Logan March and Cade Crawford are asked to do when a favorite teacher instructs a group of students to argue for the Final Solution--the Nazi plan for the genocide of the Jewish people.

Logan and Cade decide they must take a stand, and soon their actions draw the attention of the student body, the administration, and the community at large. But not everyone feels as Logan…