The best books on Germany

Who picked these books? Meet our 393 experts.

393 authors created a book list connected to Germany, and here are their favorite Germany books.
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What type of Germany book?


The Wave

By Todd Strasser,

Book cover of The Wave

Esther K. Bowen Author Of Mind Games

From the list on government oppression and courageous resistance.

Who am I?

As a child, I read stories of courageous women and men who risked their lives for their faith, for their freedom, or for the freedom of others. Many of these stories were dark and brutal. History taught me that governments are capable of atrocities that defy understanding. Fiction stories led me to envision dark futures. But I do not enjoy stories that discourage or depress. Instead, I believe stories should display hope, faithfulness, and sacrifice. I admire the heroes of our history and I seek fiction that speaks these same truths. We need stories that inspire us to stand up, to speak out against injustice, no matter the consequences.

Esther's book list on government oppression and courageous resistance

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

Why did Esther love this book?

What leads people to join a movement? What causes a group to sacrifice freedom for power, victory, and equality? How does oppression begin?

When Ben is unable to answer a student’s question, “Why did the German people not stop the Nazis?” he devises an experiment. Would American students surrender their individuality and follow his leadership blindly? What follows quickly spirals out of control. The students and their teacher are forced to confront how a movement transforms those who become caught in its current. And some students are forced to learn the cost of daring to speak against the majority.

By Todd Strasser,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When Ben shows his pupils a film about the Nazis' persecution of the Jews, they can't believe it could happen. So he introduces a new disciplinary system in an attempt to shown them how powerful group pressure can be. But things get out of hand.


By Nikolaus Wachsmann,

Book cover of KL: A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps

Deborah Hopkinson Author Of We Must Not Forget: Holocaust Stories of Survival and Resistance

From the list on World War II in Europe.

Who am I?

The books I’ve recommended here range from scholarship, young adult historical fiction, literary fiction, and a good spy mystery—all set in World War II. I’ve read widely in the field since I’ve written several nonfiction books for young readers and teens about World War II. Along with We Must Not Forget, these include Courage & Defiance, about the Danish resistance, Dive!, about the submarine war in the Pacific, D-Day: The World War II Invasion that Changed History, and We Had to Be Brave: Escaping the Nazis on the Kindertransport. I’m currently working on a book about a 1945 POW rescue in the Philippines.

Deborah's book list on World War II in Europe

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

Why did Deborah love this book?

To ensure we’ll never repeat the Holocaust, we must understand it. One of the most difficult books you may ever read, KL is a comprehensive and impressive history of the Nazis’ camp system. The New York Times called this nearly 900-page work by Nikolaus Wachsmann, a history professor at London University, a work of “prodigious scholarship.”

Time and again, when researching my own book for young readers, I turned to Wachsmann for nuanced detail, impeccable research, and a better understanding of some of the “choiceless choices” faced by Jewish men, women, and children. Not for the faint of heart, but a fitting tribute to those who lost their lives.

By Nikolaus Wachsmann,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner of the Jewish Quarterly Wingate Literary Prize and the Wolfson History Prize

In March of 1933, a disused factory surrounded by barbed wire held 223 prisoners in the town of Dachau. By the end of 1945, the SS concentration camp system had become an overwhelming landscape of terror. Twenty-two large camps and over one thousand satellite camps throughout Germany and Europe were at the heart of the Nazi campaign of repression and intimidation. The importance of the camps in terms of Nazi history and our modern world cannot be questioned.

Dr Nikolaus Wachsmann is the first historian to write…

A Stranger to Myself

By Willy Peter Reese, Stefan Schmitz (editor), Michael Hofmann (translator)

Book cover of A Stranger to Myself: The Inhumanity of War: Russia, 1941-1944

Edward B. Westermann Author Of Drunk on Genocide: Alcohol and Mass Murder in Nazi Germany

From the list on perpetrator motivation in the Holocaust.

Who am I?

Since I first began to study the events of the Holocaust in 1991, I became deeply engaged and committed to trying to understand why individuals engaged in the abuse and murder of their neighbors, fellow countrymen, and those deemed racially or politically inferior. In exploring this question, I drew in part on my own military experience to think about how a warped organizational culture and corrupted leadership emerged in Nazi Germany in which state-sponsored propaganda and ideological socialization combined to pervert existing moral and ethical norms and led many within the SS, police, and the German military to engage in genocide.

Edward's book list on perpetrator motivation in the Holocaust

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Why did Edward love this book?

Before being drafted into the German Army in 1941, Willy Peter Reese was a bank clerk who spent his time engaged in reading German literature and attempting to become a writer in his own right.

The memoir is a compilation of his journal entries as he reflected on his transition from civilian to soldier. Originally published in German, Reese’s journal demonstrates the way in which a relatively naïve and carefree intellectual became involved in the Nazi war of annihilation in the Soviet Union.

The transformation from a bookish, sensitive, and brooding teenager into a soldier who lost empathy for the people suffering under German occupation demonstrates how some German youth became actors and accomplices in the Nazi regime’s crimes.

By Willy Peter Reese, Stefan Schmitz (editor), Michael Hofmann (translator)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"A Stranger to Myself: The Inhumanity of War: Russia, 1941-44" is the haunting memoir of a young German soldier on the Russian front during World War II. Willy Peter Reese was only twenty years old when he found himself marching through Russia with orders to take no prisoners. Three years later he was dead. Bearing witness to-and participating in-the atrocities of war, Reese recorded his reflections in his diary, leaving behind an intelligent, touching, and illuminating perspective on life on the eastern front. He documented the carnage perpetrated by both sides; the destruction that was exacerbated by the young soldiers'…

Hitler's War and the Germans

By Marlis G Steinert,

Book cover of Hitler's War and the Germans

Neil Gregor Author Of How to Read Hitler

From the list on biographical studies of Hitler.

Who am I?

I am Professor of Modern European History at the University of Southampton, UK, and publish widely on diverse aspects of Nazi Germany. The first history book that I ever read was Alan Bullock’s Hitler. A Study in Tyranny - the first scholarly biography of Hitler to appear. I still recall the fascination of reading this as a teenager: it sparked a curiosity that formed the basis of a scholarly career that has spanned nearly three decades. The desire to make sense of the phenomenon of Nazism was never purely academic, however – my own family origins in Germany, and the stories elderly relatives told of their wartime experiences, gave the history texture, immediacy, and urgency.

Neil's book list on biographical studies of Hitler

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Why did Neil love this book?

This is not a full biography – the biography Steinert wrote later in her career is not available in English – but many of the ideas in Steinert’s biography can also be found in this earlier work, which has faded into posterity slightly but can be read with great profit. Here, Steinert is concerned to give texture to a hitherto often two-dimensional image of German society and its attitudes to Hitler’s War. The result is an interesting, differentiated account of public opinion in Nazi Germany. In many respects, it was pioneering and opened up questions surrounding the relationship between state and society that other historians went on to explore further in the 1980s. Steinert’s Francophone background, and perhaps the fact that she was a female writer working in a profession that was then very male-dominated, probably account for the fact that her work is less well-known in the English-speaking world…

By Marlis G Steinert,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hitler's War and the Germans as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Text: English, German (translation)

Saints and Villains

By Denise Giardina,

Book cover of Saints and Villains

Evie Yoder Miller Author Of Shadows

From the list on the intertwinings of war, conscience, and religion.

Who am I?

The main reason I care about the relationship of war, conscience, and religion is because I believe strongly in the separation of church and state. A country’s methods of pursuing its best interests, include the use of power and warfare. Religions, however, make central: love your neighbor as much as you love yourself. People need to develop a conscience about what principle matters most. In the Civil War, the old tenet, an “eye for an eye,” was used to justify killing others for reasons of advantage or revenge. But I want to be involved instead in creating peace and justice for all.

Evie's book list on the intertwinings of war, conscience, and religion

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Why did Evie love this book?

The historical figure, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, is a striking exemplar of courage in response to the atrocities of World War II. Denise Giardina’s historical fiction book, Saints and Villains, portrays the interplay of Bonhoeffer’s moral values as a Nazi resister and as a German theologian. Factually, Bonhoeffer could have fled from the horrors of war, but he chose not to do so and ended up involved in a failed plot to assassinate Hitler. I don’t think of Bonhoeffer’s characterization as a model of virtue, but I rooted for his ordinariness, his questions, and doubts that made him morally complex. My own writing benefited from reading this book that focused on fictionalizing a complicated historical figure.

By Denise Giardina,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

What is the price of acting morally in a time of great evil, when sin and necessity seem twinned? Saints and Villains is a strikingly resonant novel that dramatizes this painful dilemma through the fictional re-creation of the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. This emblematic figure risked his life--and finally lost it--through his participation in the failed plot to assassinate Hitler and topple the Nazi regime. In a gripping and sweeping narrative that moves from Berlin to London to New York City, encompassing shattering historical events, clandestine meetings, perilous missions abroad, and eventual imprisonments and death, Denise Giardina brings to life…

The Girl Empress

By Amy Mantravadi,

Book cover of The Girl Empress: The Chronicle of Maud

Lee Swanson Author Of Her Dangerous Journey Home

From the list on medieval fiction with fierce female protagonists.

Who am I?

My first recollection of a fascination with medieval history occurred while watching Errol Flynn in The Adventures of Robin Hood. I soon exhausted our school library’s limited selection of tales of kings and castles. Much later, a history degree and decades spent in Germany and England allowed me to delve deeply into historical research, gaining a specialized knowledge into the areas in which I was most interested. I am particularly fascinated with the lives of women, most of whom medieval chroniclers relegate to a brief mention as wives and mothers. There are clearly stories here yet to be told and I am always excited to learn of new scholarship.

Lee's book list on medieval fiction with fierce female protagonists

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Why did Lee love this book?

Civil war has threatened ruling monarchs several times in English history.

The first instance is the bloody 12th-century conflict between King Stephen and the rival claimant, his cousin Matilda. Yet, the woman known as Empress Maud had already experienced an incredible life before returning to England in 1139 to challenge Stephen’s rule.

The early years of this truly remarkable woman's life are masterfully recounted in Amy Mantravadi’s The Girl Empress. Despite being a first-person narrative, the author has deftly interwoven a myriad of twelfth-century minutiae that should satisfy both readers enamored with historical detail as well as those craving a rollicking adventure story.

I especially liked how the author incorporated other historical figures into the story; each of these encounters was like finding a little jewel.

By Amy Mantravadi,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The history books remember her as Empress Mathilda, but her path to sovereignty began when she was just a girl named Maud. Engaged, estranged, and crowned by the age of twelve, this is her story . . . As the firstborn legitimate child of King Henry I of England, Princess Maud is faced with the fiercest crisis of her eight-year-old life when she learns that she will be sent to Germany to marry the Holy Roman Emperor. To make matters worse, her husband-to-be is in the midst of a disagreement with the Pope, and the threat of civil war continuously…

My Name Is Eva

By Suzanne Goldring,

Book cover of My Name Is Eva

Gill Thompson Author Of The Child on Platform One

From the list on World War Two featuring strong women.

Who am I?

As a teacher, I spent forty years at the chalkface before finally achieving my ambition to be a published writer. My first novel was about a child migrant to Australia; my second about a little girl on the kinder transport. I wanted to write about strong women in world war two. All three of the mothers in my stories are separated from their children and have to make some tough decisions. I hope my readers will remember them for their courage and tenacity and that they’ll enjoy reading about them as much as I’ve enjoyed creating them. 

Gill's book list on World War Two featuring strong women

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

Why did Gill love this book?

I’m always intrigued by the stories older people have to tell about their war time experiences. I’m so glad I spoke to my own father about the war before he died, and I try to recognise this in my own novels. Suzanne shows us so well how a seemingly frail and elderly woman can hide a multitude of secrets, and Eva’s story is fascinating and beautifully told. 

By Suzanne Goldring,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked My Name Is Eva as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Expect a tale of love, courage and being brave in the most dangerous of times' Woman's Way
You can pay a terrible price for keeping a promise...

Evelyn Taylor-Clarke sits in her chair at Forest Lawns Care Home in the heart of the English countryside, surrounded by residents with minds not as sharp as hers. It would be easy to dismiss Evelyn as a muddled old woman, but her lipstick is applied perfectly, and her buttons done up correctly. Because Evelyn is a woman with secrets and Evelyn remembers everything. She can never forget the promise she made to the…

Stolen Treasure

By Konstantin Akinsha,

Book cover of Stolen Treasure: the Hunt for the World’s Lost Masterpieces

Kaaron Warren Author Of The Grief Hole

From the list on stolen art.

Who am I?

Shirley Jackson award-winner Kaaron Warren published her first short story in 1993 and has had fiction in print every year since. She was recently given the Peter McNamara Lifetime Achievement Award and was Guest of Honour at World Fantasy 2018, Stokercon 2019 and Geysercon 2019.  She has also been Guest of Honour at Conflux in Canberra and Genrecon in Brisbane.

She has published five multi-award winning novels (Slights, Walking the Tree, Mistification, The Grief Hole and Tide of Stone) and seven short story collections, including the multi-award winning Through Splintered Walls. Her most recent short story collection is A Primer to Kaaron Warren from Dark Moon Books. Her most recent novella, Into Bones Like Oil (Meerkat Press), was shortlisted for a Shirley Jackson Award and the Bram Stoker Award, winning the Aurealis Award. Her stories have appeared in both Ellen Datlow’s and Paula Guran’s Year’s Best anthologies.

Kaaron's book list on stolen art

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Why did Kaaron love this book?

I really love this book and could write an entire short story collection inspired by it. It’s the first time I heard about the Amber Room, one of those things that once you know about it, you are obsessed. The authors lead us into caves, through basements, across borders, as they track down the pathways of stolen treasures. The book tells us about the provenance of missing artworks, and what it means to have that space on the wall. 

All of these books have an element of ‘the missing wall’ about them and perhaps that’s one of the things that fascinates me the most about the subject. Sometimes what isn’t there is more meaningful than what is. 

By Konstantin Akinsha,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Just as Nazi Germany appropriated works of art - paintings, sculptures and antiques - from all over Europe in 1939 and 1940, so the Soviet army set up "trophy brigades" to transport the same works of art, and many more, to Moscow and Leningrad in 1945. This book by two Russian art historians sets out to reveal how they did this and what happened to these works of art. With the end of the Soviet Union, many of these stolen works are now likely to go on display in Russia or be returned to their rightful owners in Europe. This…

The Book Thief

By Markus Zusak,

Book cover of The Book Thief

Annie Lyons Author Of The Air Raid Book Club

From the list on WW1 and 2 fiction featuring brilliant female characters.

Who am I?

I’ve always loved history. When I wrote The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett in 2019, I particularly enjoyed writing Eudora’s flashback scenes set during the Second World War and decided, in my wisdom, to write a novel entirely set during that time. After a lot of research (disappearing down the occasional rabbit hole), I began to write The Air Raid Book Club, creating a cast of female characters who show quiet courage and incredible resilience as they support their community by forming a book club during the course of the war. It was a joy to write and I hope readers derive similar joy from reading it and the books I’ve recommended!

Annie's book list on WW1 and 2 fiction featuring brilliant female characters

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

Why did Annie love this book?

Sometimes as a writer you read books that make you think, ‘I wish I’d thought of that’ and so it is with The Book Thief.

For me, the idea of casting death as a character is brilliant but to portray him as the narrator, and one with a sense of humour too is genius. Through his eyes we are able to see not just the horror but the humanity of the people living in Nazi Germany and particularly the main character, Liesel. She is a smart young girl reeling from personal tragedy and fascinated by words.

She steals books that are threatened with destruction to read with Max, the Jewish man hidden by her foster parents. Powerful and original, it tells you everything you need to know about love, death, and humanity.

By Markus Zusak,

Why should I read it?

26 authors picked The Book Thief as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Life affirming, triumphant and tragic . . . masterfully told. . . but also a wonderful page-turner' Guardian
'Brilliant and hugely ambitious' New York Times
'Extraordinary' Telegraph


1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier.
Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall.


Emmy Noether

By Helaine Becker, Kari Rust (illustrator),

Book cover of Emmy Noether: The Most Important Mathematician You've Never Heard of

Mara Rockliff Author Of Try It! How Frieda Caplan Changed the Way We Eat

From the list on biographies of Jewish women.

Who am I?

I am a children’s author best known for digging up fascinating, often funny stories about famous people—and forgotten people who deserve to be famous again. After a trip to Israel with the PJ Library program, which sends free books each month to hundreds of thousands of Jewish children and their families, I was spurred to find out more about the many brilliant, bold, creative, persistent, and too often unsung Jewish women who have made a difference in our world.

Mara's book list on biographies of Jewish women

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Why did Mara love this book?

This might be the most important picture book biography I’d never heard of. Why do all of us know Albert Einstein but not Emmy Noether, who sewed up a hole in his theory of relativity and went on to a discovery that transformed physics? Three guesses why. Like every account of the many brilliant women of STEM who were barred from classrooms, denied degrees, refused fair pay, and robbed of credit for accomplishments, Emmy’s story is often enraging. Add a narrow escape from the Nazis followed by a tragically early death, and you might not expect a fun read. But Becker and Rust manage to inject plenty of kid-friendly humor, and the scientific explanations were so clear and colorful that even I could (almost) understand. 

By Helaine Becker, Kari Rust (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this engaging and inspiring biography, a groundbreaking but relatively unknown woman finally gets her due as one of the most influential mathematicians of the twentieth century.

Emmy Noether is not pretty, quiet, good at housework or eager to marry --- all the things a German girl is expected to be in her time. What she is, though, is a genius at math. When she grows up, she finds a way to first study math at a university (by sitting in, not actually enrolling) and then to teach it (by doing so for free). She also manages to do her…

Book cover of A Brief Stop on the Road from Auschwitz: A Memoir

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?

I have read many moving memoirs by survivors and members of the second generation like myself. This one by the Swedish journalist son of a Polish survivor is like no other. I could hardly breathe while reading it, or after I finished it. Gripping, poetic, and calmly devastating, the author recreates his father’s Holocaust journey through family documents and historical research, trying to imagine what exactly his father experienced. And then the devastating aftermath, as his father attempts to rebuild his shattered life. “Luck, chance, and freak are the stones with which every road from Auschwitz are paved,” the author tells us.

By Göran Rosenberg,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Brief Stop on the Road from Auschwitz as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On the 2nd of August 1947 a young man gets off a train in a small Swedish town. He has survived the Lodz ghetto, Auschwitz, and the harrowing slave camps and transports during the final months of Nazi Germany. Now he has to learn to live with his memories.

In this intelligent and deeply moving book, Goeran Rosenberg returns to his own childhood in order to tell his father's story. It is also the story of the chasm that soon opens between the world of the child, suffused with the optimism, progress and collective oblivion of post-war Sweden, and the…

Delusions of Intelligence

By R.A. Ratcliff,

Book cover of Delusions of Intelligence: Enigma, Ultra, and the End of Secure Ciphers

Mark Baldwin

From the list on the Enigma Machine and Bletchley Park.

Who am I?

Dr. Mark Baldwin – aka Dr. Enigma – is a world expert and speaker on the Enigma machine and has delivered over 700 presentations and demonstrations (using his own, genuine wartime Enigma machine) to some 70,000 people around the world. He has spoken to a wide range of audiences, from cybersecurity experts and software developers at leading Silicon Valley tech companies such as Facebook, Dropbox, and PayPal, to academic audiences at universities, executives at business conferences, and the general public in a couple of hundred one-man theatre shows.

Mark's book list on the Enigma Machine and Bletchley Park

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Why did Mark love this book?

At my presentations, I am so often asked ‘Didn’t the Germans know the Allies had broken Enigma?’ and ‘Did Germany have something like Bletchley Park?’ This book answers questions like these, and shows, in particular, the unjustified faith the Germans had in the Enigma machine. Believing its ciphers to be unbreakable, they failed to spot evidence of its weaknesses and vulnerability.

By R.A. Ratcliff,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In 1974, the British government admitted that its WWII secret intelligence organization had read Germany's ciphers on a massive scale. The intelligence from these decrypts influenced the Atlantic, the Eastern Front and Normandy. Why did the Germans never realize the Allies had so thoroughly penetrated their communications? As German intelligence experts conducted numerous internal investigations that all certified their ciphers' security, the Allies continued to break more ciphers and plugged their own communication leaks. How were the Allies able to so thoroughly exploit Germany's secret messages? How did they keep their tremendous success a secret? What flaws in Germany's organization…


By Dave Mason,

Book cover of EO-N

Patrick Larsimont Author Of The Lightning and the Few

From the list on WW2 brought to life through brilliant storytelling.

Who am I?

I’ve always been fascinated with military history, added to which my interest in aviation after serving in Military Intelligence with the Air Force. After a career in advertising, I took to writing during lockdown. My novels uncover forgotten facts and histories, using real characters and their exploits and providing an interpretation of world war events from different perspectives, not just the victors. My recommendations bring the past to life, unpalatable as it might be, with vibrant characters, rich set-building, and beautiful period language, sentiments, and held beliefs. History and conflict, love, loss, tragedy, and forgotten memory are brought to life, full of visceral colour, but importantly always truthfully.

Patrick's book list on WW2 brought to life through brilliant storytelling

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Why did Patrick love this book?

An intriguing dual-timeline novel about a bereaved modern-day tech CEO who discovers a link with a WW2 aircraft discovered in a Norwegian glacier.

A connection with her grandfather emerges, MIA since the war, and the Mosquito frozen in time. This is a complex tale of five intertwined lives, some modern, others in wartime, revealing the disparate views held at the end of the conflict and the horrors perpetrated by the Nazi regime.

It pits modern corporate greed and the cruel science of a warped ideology against the courage and often untold contribution of Canadian airmen and their moral determination to do the right thing. Like my own work, the novel unveils forgotten aspects of the past, shows that good shines through and still leaves an imprint on us today.

By Dave Mason,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"There were so many things flowing through my mind as I finished this story that I sat very still with my thoughts for the longest time contemplating what I just read.  Indeed, I had to settle with the story a bit before I could even attempt to do it justice with a review. One thing is certain, "EO-N" is a novel of distinction - impeccably written, every sentence captivating." - Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views

2019 Alison Wiley, a once-idealistic biotech CEO, is processing her new reality: she's the last bud on the last branch of her family tree. On…

Wages of Guilt

By Ian Buruma,

Book cover of Wages of Guilt: Memories of War in Germany and Japan

Naoko Abe Author Of 'Cherry' Ingram: The Englishman Who Saved Japan's Blossoms

From the list on Japanese history.

Who am I?

Living in Britain for the past 20 years, I've been able to look at Japan with new eyes and to understand historical events from a global perspective. 'Cherry' Ingram's story isn't just about a man and his love for cherry blossoms. It's also about the cherry ideology and how it was perverted for militaristic purposes before and during World War II. While researching the book, I was amazed how many compelling anecdotes came to light that offered new insights into both British and Japanese society in the early 20th century.

Naoko's book list on Japanese history

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Why did Naoko love this book?

Buruma compares how the Japanese and Germans view their World War II behaviour and actions, with particular attention given to memories of Auschwitz, Hiroshima, and Nanking. While Germany was preoccupied after the war with atoning for its past sins, Japan swept them under the carpet. Buruma explains how, why and what this means for today's younger generation.

By Ian Buruma,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this highly original and now classic text, Ian Buruma explores and compares how Germany and Japan have attempted to come to terms with their violent pasts, and investigates the painful realities of living with guilt, and with its denial.

As Buruma travels through both countries, he encounters people whose honesty in confronting their past is strikingly brave, and others who astonish by the ingenuity of their evasions of responsibility. In Auschwitz, Berlin, Hiroshima and Tokyo he explores the contradictory attitudes of scholars, politicians and survivors towards World War II and visits the contrasting monuments that commemorate the atrocities of…

Stumbling Colossus

By David M. Glantz,

Book cover of Stumbling Colossus: The Red Army on the Eve of World War

Gerhard Weinberg Author Of A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II

From the list on World War 2.

Who am I?

Gerhard Weinberg fled Germany at the end of 1938 and experienced the first year of World War II – including the beginning of the Blitz – in England. He completed his PhD after serving in the US Army of Occupation in Japan, researched the captured German documents, established the program for microfilming them, and after writing an analysis of the origins of World War II decided to prepare a book covering the war as a whole.

Gerhard's book list on World War 2

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Why did Gerhard love this book?

A truly extraordinary examination of the army that would do a majority of the fighting and suffer as well as inflict the largest portion of the military casualties of the European part of World War II. The "Bibliographic Essay and Selective Bibliography" is extraordinarily helpful in its account of the fate of Soviet archives and publications over the years.

By David M. Glantz,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Germany's surprise attack on June 22, 1941, shocked a Soviet Union woefully unprepared to defend itself. The day before the attack, the Red Army still comprised the world's largest fighting force. But by the end of the year, four and a half million of its soldiers lay dead. This new study, based on formerly classified Soviet archival material and neglected German sources, reveals the truth behind this national catastrophe.

Drawing on evidence never before seen in the West-including combat records of early engagements-David Glantz claims that in 1941 the Red Army was poorly trained, inadequately equipped, ineptly organized, and consequently…

Book cover of The German Conception of History: The National Tradition of Historical Thought from Herder to the Present

Brett Bowden Author Of The Strange Persistence of Universal History in Political Thought

From the list on humankind’s place in history.

Who am I?

The search for meaning in history is all part of the search for meaning in life. Whether archaeologists or historians, economists or physicists, they are not just looking for artefacts when digging in the dirt or scanning the skies, they are looking for evidence to piece together a bigger picture—meaning in the minutiae. I’m sceptical, but the philosophy of history remains a fascinating subject, which is why I’ve explored ideas about civilization, progress, and progressive history in a number of books and articles. My primary concern about teleological accounts of history is that they tend to deny people's agency, especially non-Western peoples.

Brett's book list on humankind’s place in history

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

Why did Brett love this book?

It is difficult to settle on just five books; I include Iggers here because this book transcends its primary subject, German historiography. It offers an insight into some of the key thinkers that have helped to shape predominant and pervasive thinking about human progress and socio-political development. Thinkers such as Kant and Herder, Hegel and Schiller. It is important to have a good understanding of the foundations of a train of thought, and Iggers knows his subject matter well and astutely highlights the various strengths and weaknesses. 

By Georg G. Iggers,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is the first comprehensive critical examination in any language of the German national tradition of historiography. It analyzes the basic theoretical assumptions of the German historians of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and relates these assumptions to political thought and action.
The German national tradition of historiography had its beginnings in the reaction against the Enlightenment and the French Revolution of 1789. This historiography rejected the rationalistic theory of natural law as universally valid and held that all human values must be understood within the context of the historical flux. But it maintained at the same time the Lutheran…

Book cover of A Guest at the Shooters' Banquet: My Grandfather's SS Past, My Jewish Family, a Search for the Truth

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 author, a daughter of an uncommon ‘mixed marriage’ between a Lithuanian-Jewish Holocaust survivor and a Lithuanian-Christian immigrant family. Both sides of her families were kept separate, except for rare special occasions. As a child, she was told wonderful stories about how her Lithuanian grandfather helped save Jews. As an adult and as an historian, she began to investigate the true activities of her grandfather, during those dark days in Lithuania. Like, Silvia Foti, she was emotionally fractured when she learned the truth. 

There were very few Jewish survivors from Lithuania, and Gabis’ book helps me understand why.

By Rita Gabis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Guest at the Shooters' Banquet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In prose as beautiful as it is powerful, Rita Gabis follows the trail of her grandfather’s collaboration with the Nazis--a trail riddled with secrets, slaughter, mystery, and discovery.

Rita Gabis comes from a family of Eastern European Jews and Lithuanian Catholics. She was close to her Catholic grandfather as a child and knew one version of his past: prior to immigration he had fought the Russians, whose brutal occupation of Lithuania destroyed thousands of lives before Hitler’s army swept in.

Five years ago, Gabis discovered an unthinkable dimension to her family story: from 1941 to 1943, her grandfather had been…

Book cover of Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales

Anushka Bhattacharjee Author Of My Magic Mirror

From the list on where ordinary items become magical.

Who am I?

Anushka is an avid reader and reads thousands of books every year. She loves fantasy stories. She has been inspired by many of these stories before she planned to write one of her own. As a young reader and writer, she also understands what her peers will enjoy.

Anushka's book list on where ordinary items become magical

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

Why did Anushka love this book?

I started reading pretty early and the Complete Fairy Tales has been one of my favorites ever since I was a little girl. This book has definitely led to widening my imagination and helped me write my own stories even when I was as little as 8. Many of my writings are inspired by different fairy tales, and this book is definitely one of those. 

By Jakob Grimm,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Brothers Grimm: The Complete Fairy Tales is a collection of more than 200 tales by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm.


The Brothers Grimm, Jacob Ludwig Karl Grimm (1785–1863) and Wilhelm Carl Grimm (1786–1859), were Hessian academics, philologists, cultural researchers, lexicographers and authors who together collected and published folklore during the 19th century. They were among the first and best-known collectors of German and European folk tales.

Among the most popular tales: "Cinderella" ("Aschenputtel"), "The Frog Prince" ("Der Froschkönig"), "The Goose-Girl" ("Die Gänsemagd"), "Hansel and Gretel" ("Hänsel und Gretel"), "Rapunzel", "Little Red Riding Hood" ("Rotkäppchen"), "The Wolf and…

Daughter of the Reich

By Louise Fein,

Book cover of Daughter of the Reich

Helen Lundström Erwin Author Of Sour Milk in Sheep's Wool

From the list on historical fiction on women who changed history.

Who am I?

I love to write stories about people who lived during pivotal times in history. I’m intrigued by what people were thinking and why they thought that way. People, just like us now, were a product of their time and circumstance. They had strong opinions about the issues of the day, and debated fiercely. It’s these conversations and opinions that help me make the past come alive. Being born and raised in Sweden, and having been a New Yorker for thirty years, I was awarded the 2021 Swedish Women’s Educational Association (SWEA) New York’s Scholarship for the artistic promotion of Swedish culture and history in New York.

Helen's book list on historical fiction on women who changed history

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

Why did Helen love this book?

Daughter of the Reich is a story of a young girl in Nazi Germany who was raised to believe that her neighbors and fellow citizens are the enemy because they're Jewish. You gain real insight into the propaganda Germans were told about the Jewish people, and how one relationship can shatter all your misconceptions and stereotypes.

This book reminds me of my own writing in that it explores both sides of history and what happens when someone begins to question their own upbringing.

By Louise Fein,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the author of the international bestseller The Hidden Child comes a spellbinding story of impossible love set against the backdrop of the Nazi regime, perfect for fans of The Nightingale and All the Light We Cannot See.

She must choose between loyalty to her country or a love that could be her destruction…

As the dutiful daughter of a high-ranking Nazi officer, Hetty Heinrich is keen to play her part in the glorious new Thousand Year Reich. But she never imagines that all she believes and knows will come into stark conflict when she encounters Walter, a Jewish friend…

Defying Hitler

By Sebastian Haffner, Oliver Pretzel (translator),

Book cover of Defying Hitler: A Memoir

Moritz Föllmer Author Of Culture in the Third Reich

From the list on life in Nazi Germany.

Who am I?

As a historian at the University of Amsterdam, one of my concerns is to understand why so many Germans supported and participated in Adolf Hitler’s atrocious political project. I am equally interested in the other side: the Nazis’ political opponents and victims. In two decades of researching, writing, and teaching, I have read large numbers of official documents, newspapers, diaries, novels, and memoirs. These contemporary texts have made me vividly aware of how different people lived through the Nazi years, how they envisioned their lives, and how they remembered them after World War II. The questions they faced and the solutions they found continue to challenge and disconcert me.  

Moritz's book list on life in Nazi Germany

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

Why did Moritz love this book?

How do people react when a dictatorship forces them to make choices? To learn more, read this brilliant memoir by a journalist looking back on his life in 1930s Berlin. Happily focused on his legal training and circle of friends, Sebastian Haffner at first showed little interest in politics and rejected the Nazis out of instinct rather than principle. Disgusted but powerless, he was content to keep a low profile under the new regime. To his own lasting shame, however, he one day answered “yes” when an SA stormtrooper demanded to know if he was “Aryan.” But Haffner’s friendships and liaisons with Jews, and his belief in the rule of law, ultimately made him realize that he couldn’t live in Nazi Germany. His final choice? Exile in Britain.   

By Sebastian Haffner, Oliver Pretzel (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An absolute classic of autobiography and history - one of the few books to explore how and why the Germans were seduced by Hitler and Nazism.

'If you have never read a book about Nazi Germany before, or if you have already read a thousand, I would urge you to read DEFYING HITLER. It sings with wisdom and understanding' DAILY MAIL

Sebastian Haffner was a non-Jewish German who emigrated to England in 1938. This memoir (written in 1939 but only published now for the first time) begins in 1914 when the family summer holiday is cut short by the outbreak…