The best books about the Gestapo 📚

Browse the best books on the Gestapo as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of Alone in Berlin

Alone in Berlin

By Hans Fallada

Why this book?

This is the consummate political thriller. First published in 1947, but not translated into English until 2009, the story (based on a real incident) is set in war-time Berlin. It tells the story of the Quangels, a respectable, working-class couple who, prompted by the death of their only son Otto, distribute hundreds of hand-written post-cards critical of Hitler and the Nazi regime. As the Gestapo close in, it is as if the streets themselves become narrower and more oppressive, and the networks which have surrounded the Quangels, become tighter and more intricately interlinked. The city becomes a metaphor for the…

From the list:

The best forgotten (or untold) histories of war

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Book cover of Madame Fourcade's Secret War: The Daring Young Woman Who Led France's Largest Spy Network Against Hitler

Madame Fourcade's Secret War: The Daring Young Woman Who Led France's Largest Spy Network Against Hitler

By Lynne Olson

Why this book?

I can only read Lynne Olson’s work with an aspiration for research and excellence that I will never fulfill. In this case, the Hero of France is the nonfictional Marie-Madeleine Fourcade, who, like the fictional Mathieu, brought together the most ordinary people to do the most extraordinary work of espionage and resistance. It would not be enough to say that Olson has finally brought forth the largely unknown and remarkable story of a female spy against the Nazi occupation of her country. Much more than that, it is the story of the particular qualities of what it is to be…

From the list:

The best books about some human undercurrents of the World Wars, and a father’s war revealed

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Book cover of Backing Hitler: Consent and Coercion in Nazi Germany

Backing Hitler: Consent and Coercion in Nazi Germany

By Robert Gellately

Why this book?

Contrary to popular belief, the Nazis did not rely on an omnipresent secret police force to win Germans’ cooperation. A skilled combination of fear, propaganda, and self-promotion alternatively cowed Germans and manufactured their consent for this regime. In the 1930s, ordinary Germans regarded the Nazis as restoring order to a chaotic society, and a flood of denunciations helped the Gestapo with its work. At the same time, the existence of the concentration camps was no secret to ordinary Germans.

From the list:

The best books on Nazi Germany and the Holocaust

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Book cover of Code Name Verity

Code Name Verity

By Elizabeth Wein

Why this book?

I’ll admit it: One of the things I love about spy novels is the heart-thumping intrigue they typically deliver, and Code Name Verity is, simply put, harrowing. The action begins in 1943 when a British spy plane carrying two good friends crashes in Nazi Germany. From that point on Verity is tested to the limit, and I had to ask myself again and again: What would I have done if arrested and interrogated by the Gestapo? When I look back on World War II, I am amazed by the bravery of not just the men, but women, who felt called…

From the list:

The best books about intrepid women spies of World War II

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Book cover of Every Man Dies Alone

Every Man Dies Alone

By Hans Fallada, Michael Hofmann

Why this book?

Based on a true story, this novel focuses on Anna and Otto Quangel, a working-class married couple who begin to resist the Nazis after losing their only son in the fighting. The novel is dense, immersive, and rich with characters, ranging from rabid Nazi members to those opposing the murderous goals of the party and those in the middle trying to survive the regime. “Most people today are afraid, basically everyone, because they’re all up to something forbidden, one way or another, and are worried someone will get wind of it,” Quangel thinks to himself. Fallada wrote the novel in…

From the list:

The best personal books about German complicity and resistance in WW2

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Book cover of Rogue Male

Rogue Male

By Geoffrey Household

Why this book?

Imagine a lone man, who single-handedly attempts to kill Adolf Hitler, who then gets caught and tortured by the Gestapo, then manages to escape back to England. By itself, the book could stop there, as this would be sufficient for any adventure novel. However, Household continues the story. The hero, once back in England, discovers that the Nazis are on his tail, and have sworn to kill him: he turns into a rogue male, which is an expression to describe a runaway, marauding elephant bull. Ironically, the spy on the hero’s heels is a big game hunter, and the two…

From the list:

The best novels about people with guts

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