The best books about Munich

1 authors have picked their favorite books about Munich and why they recommend each book.

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A Noble Treason

By Richard Hanser,

Book cover of A Noble Treason: The Revolt of the Munich Students against Hitler

Resistance in Nazi Germany was overwhelmingly moral and almost always fatal, but too often attention is focused on the military resistance because they were the only people in Nazi Germany with the means to topple the Nazi regime. This tale of young students outraged by the corruption and brutality of the world around them, however, has a timelessness and a universal appeal. It is the story of youthful indignation and an example of conscience over-ruling rationality and self-interest. Hanser’s book makes this clear in prose that is sober yet lively, pulling the reader in emotionally as well as intellectually.

Who am I?

I'm a retired diplomat and award-winning novelist with a PhD in history. I was drawn to the German Resistance because, unlike the other resistance movements across Europe, the German Resistance fought not a foreign invader but rather confronted the corruption and hijacking of their own state. Germans opposed to Hitler needed the moral fortitude to commit treason, and ultimately tyrannicide, not for the sake of the nation, but for humanity itself. I devoted ten years of my life to studying the German Resistance, first for my doctoral dissertation and then to write my novel. During that time, I was asked a thousand times why I was so fascinated and committed to the topic. The answer, tragically proven true over the last five years, is that the United States is not immune to fascism. The need to resist a racist and immoral demagogue has never been more relevant.


I wrote...

Traitors for the Sake of Humanity: A Novel of the German Resistance to Hitler

By Helena P. Schrader,

Book cover of Traitors for the Sake of Humanity: A Novel of the German Resistance to Hitler

What is my book about?

They opposed Hitler's diabolical regime on moral grounds. They sought to defend human dignity and restore the rule of law -- at the risk of their own lives. Traitors to Hitler, they were heroes to the oppressed. They remain an inspiration to anyone fighting against immoral and corrupt governments anywhere in the world.

Adolf Hitler seems to have captivated all of Germany, yet even as one Nazi victory follows another, individuals with integrity and compassion remain opposed to him, his regime, and all it stands for. People like Philip, Alexandra, and Marianne. They feel isolated and hopeless until they discover each other -- and learn that their concerns are shared by men in the highest echelons of the German High Command...

Explaining Hitler

By Ron Rosenbaum,

Book cover of Explaining Hitler: The Search for the Origins of His Evil

Ron Rosenbaum, an American journalist, is the original re-discoverer of the long-forgotten Munich Post. Explaining Hitler is both about the Nazi dictator and about humankind’s seemingly eternal quest to understand his power and appeal. Rosenbaum devotes a chapter to the Munich Post, calling the newspaper one of the first explainers of Hitler as it warned Germans about the perils he posed to democracy.


Who am I?

While growing up in a Vermont town in the lower Champlain Valley, I became fascinated with the wealth of nearby historic sites dating from the French and Indian War and the American Revolution. Within easy reach of our family station wagon were Fort Ticonderoga and more. I became especially intrigued by German mercenaries hired by the British to fight the American colonists. My interest led me to become a history major at the University of Vermont, and eventually to Germany as a correspondent for The Associated Press. I worked and lived in Germany from 1987-1997, covering the toppling of Communism, the birth of a new Germany, the rise of neo-Nazi violence, and other themes.


I wrote...

Enemy of the People: The Munich Post and the Journalists Who Opposed Hitler

By Terrence Petty,

Book cover of Enemy of the People: The Munich Post and the Journalists Who Opposed Hitler

What is my book about?

The staff of the Münchener Post (Munich Post) were the Woodwards and Bernsteins of their time. During the 1920s and until it was violently shut down in 1933, the Post employed investigative journalism to try to thwart Adolf Hitler. Secrets whispered to the Post by Nazi malcontents, documents leaked by party members—the Munich Post made use of all these sources. The Nazis reacted with lawsuits against the paper and physical assaults on its editors and office. After the paper was suspended for four days in late February 1933, the Post resumed publication with this defiant banner headline: “We Will Not Be Intimidated!” Enemy Of The People is not just a story about the gutsiness of this German newspaper. It is also a story about how easily democracy can be lost.

The Lady with the Books

By Kathy Stinson, Marie LaFrance (illustrator),

Book cover of The Lady with the Books: A Story Inspired by the Remarkable Work of Jella Lepman

In the dark era of post-World War II Germany, journalist, author, and translator Jella Lepman organized a traveling exhibit of over 2,000 books from 14 countries. The Lady with the Books is a fictionalized account of Lepman’s project, told through the eyes of siblings Annelise and Peter, who enter the exhibit hoping to find food and discover something even more sustaining—books, and the hope of better days to come.

Who am I?

Angela Burke Kunkel is an author, school librarian, and former English Language Arts teacher. She has experience working with all types of young readers, from the reluctant to the voracious, and has taught in both alternative and public schools, including a New Mexico middle school with a nationally-recognized dual education program. She is passionate about ensuring equitable book access for all children, and has published articles and participated as a panelist on these issues.


I wrote...

Digging for Words: José Alberto Gutiérrez and the Library He Built

By Angela Burke Kunkel, Paola Escobar,

Book cover of Digging for Words: José Alberto Gutiérrez and the Library He Built

What is my book about?

In the city of Bogata, in the barrio of La Nueva Gloria, there live two Joses. One is a boy who dreams of Saturdays– that’s the day he gets to visit Paradise, the library. The second Jose is a garbage collector. From dusk until dawn, he scans the sidewalks as he drives, squinting in the dim light, searching household trash for hidden treasure...books! Some are stacked in neat piles, as if waiting for Jose. Others take a bit more digging.

Ever since he found his first book, Anna Karenina, years earlier, he’s been collecting books–thick ones and thin ones, worn ones and almost new ones– to add to the collection in his home. And on Saturdays, kids like little Jose run to the steps of Paradise to discover a world filled with books and wonder.

Hitler at Home

By Despina Stratigakos,

Book cover of Hitler at Home

This fascinating book takes the seemingly banal topic of Hitler’s domestic interiors as a way into exploring both how Hitler chose to project himself and how others – from foreign diplomats to ordinary Germans – learned to see him. From his initial humble quarters in Munich to his conservatively furnished apartments in Berlin and his mountain retreat in the Alps, the evolution of Hitler’s interior design ethos reflected his move from ordinary front soldier to European statesman. The reproduction of his furnishing choices in glossy consumer magazines, meanwhile, offered aspirational Germans a chance to remake their own homes in emulation of their idol. If this sounds familiar, well, that may be the point.


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.


I wrote...

How to Read Hitler

By Neil Gregor,

Book cover of How to Read Hitler

What is my book about?

This short book introduces the general reader to the ways in which we might read and understand the most writings of Adolf Hitler, the leader of the Nazi Party. They are notoriously badly written, and often dismissed as incoherent ramblings with little to tell us about what Hitler intended to do when he came to power. Taking a series of key passages and subjecting them to close analysis, this book shows how the careful reader can detect a coherent worldview in Hitler’s writings. It shows how Hitler may not have had a clear plan for conquest and genocide, but he did have a clearly genocidal vision, and a mindset of extreme violence to accompany it.

Sophie Scholl and the White Rose

By Annette Dumbach, Jud Newborn,

Book cover of Sophie Scholl and the White Rose

Sophie and Hans Scholl are often remembered as the siblings who “would not keep silent” against the Nazis until their arrest, flash trial, and execution by guillotine on February 22, 1943. What Sophie and Hans started was much more than a local students’ movement; The White Rose involved students, academics, clergy, and civilians in Munich and around other parts of Germany. The book captures and reflects upon the many dimensions of the activities of those involved, it contains all the 6 original leaflets published by the White Rose as well as indexes of the trial and sentences of its members.


Who am I?

The shocking discovery that my grandfather, as a 21-year-old student, had applied to join the SS as SS-Anwärter (candidate), only to withdraw in August 1939 to pursue a career as a naval engineer and start a family, led to extensive research into my family history and WWII. I developed a keen interest in the German Resistance, contacted historians, archivists, veterans, visited museums, and was in touch with members of Claus von Stauffenberg’s family, the Bonhoeffer Centre in London, and the White Rose Memorial in Munich. To this date, not many people know that over 720,000 German civilians, military, paramilitary, and clergy died trying to overturn the Nazi regime. 


I wrote...

Hitler's Lost State: The Fall of Prussia and the Wilhelm Gustloff Tragedy

By Tim Heath, Michela Cocolin,

Book cover of Hitler's Lost State: The Fall of Prussia and the Wilhelm Gustloff Tragedy

What is my book about?

Seen as an agricultural utopia within Hitler’s Germany, it's often the view that both East and West Prussia had remained relatively untouched during the Second World War. Yet the violence, prejudice, and murder associated with the National Socialist regime that brought most of Europe to ruin were widespread throughout Prussia during its brief existence. When the MV Wilhelm Gustloff was sunk by a Russian submarine, 9,343 passengers - 5,000 of them children - would perish. It was the worst loss of life in maritime history. Yet 75 years later, her tragic story is still unknown to many. 

Note: My mother was a 5-year-old child refugee at the time. With what is happening now in Ukraine, I find there are many unfortunate similarities between the two tragic stories.

Where Ghosts Walked

By David Clay Large,

Book cover of Where Ghosts Walked: Munich's Road to the Third Reich

For an understanding of how Munich became the birthplace of the Nazi movement, I highly recommend David Clay Large’s narrative nonfiction work Where Ghosts Walked: Munich’s Road To The Third Reich. At center stage in Large’s book is Munich itself, a beautiful city that before World War I was known as “Athens On The Isar” because of all of the writers, musicians, and artists it attracted. Large tells of the 1918 revolution that toppled Bavaria’s monarchy, of the Munich Soviet Republic that briefly took its place, of Bavarians’ embrace of right-wing extremism that followed the communists’ bloody ouster, and the giddy enthusiasm showered upon a mustered-out World War I corporal named Adolf Hitler as he spewed anti-Semitic and anti-democratic venom at rallies. 


Who am I?

While growing up in a Vermont town in the lower Champlain Valley, I became fascinated with the wealth of nearby historic sites dating from the French and Indian War and the American Revolution. Within easy reach of our family station wagon were Fort Ticonderoga and more. I became especially intrigued by German mercenaries hired by the British to fight the American colonists. My interest led me to become a history major at the University of Vermont, and eventually to Germany as a correspondent for The Associated Press. I worked and lived in Germany from 1987-1997, covering the toppling of Communism, the birth of a new Germany, the rise of neo-Nazi violence, and other themes.


I wrote...

Enemy of the People: The Munich Post and the Journalists Who Opposed Hitler

By Terrence Petty,

Book cover of Enemy of the People: The Munich Post and the Journalists Who Opposed Hitler

What is my book about?

The staff of the Münchener Post (Munich Post) were the Woodwards and Bernsteins of their time. During the 1920s and until it was violently shut down in 1933, the Post employed investigative journalism to try to thwart Adolf Hitler. Secrets whispered to the Post by Nazi malcontents, documents leaked by party members—the Munich Post made use of all these sources. The Nazis reacted with lawsuits against the paper and physical assaults on its editors and office. After the paper was suspended for four days in late February 1933, the Post resumed publication with this defiant banner headline: “We Will Not Be Intimidated!” Enemy Of The People is not just a story about the gutsiness of this German newspaper. It is also a story about how easily democracy can be lost.

Der Fuehrer

By Konrad Heiden, Ralph Manheim (translator),

Book cover of Der Fuehrer: Hitler's Rise to Power

Like the Munich Post, Konrad Heiden was among the first explainers of Hitler. As a Munich-based reporter for the Frankfurter Zeitung newspaper in the early 1920s, Heiden wrote about the Nazis in the early stages of Hitler’s political career. Heiden provides useful insights into Hitler’s mastery of propaganda and lies as means of controlling people’s minds, a topic that is relevant in 21st-century politics.


Who am I?

While growing up in a Vermont town in the lower Champlain Valley, I became fascinated with the wealth of nearby historic sites dating from the French and Indian War and the American Revolution. Within easy reach of our family station wagon were Fort Ticonderoga and more. I became especially intrigued by German mercenaries hired by the British to fight the American colonists. My interest led me to become a history major at the University of Vermont, and eventually to Germany as a correspondent for The Associated Press. I worked and lived in Germany from 1987-1997, covering the toppling of Communism, the birth of a new Germany, the rise of neo-Nazi violence, and other themes.


I wrote...

Enemy of the People: The Munich Post and the Journalists Who Opposed Hitler

By Terrence Petty,

Book cover of Enemy of the People: The Munich Post and the Journalists Who Opposed Hitler

What is my book about?

The staff of the Münchener Post (Munich Post) were the Woodwards and Bernsteins of their time. During the 1920s and until it was violently shut down in 1933, the Post employed investigative journalism to try to thwart Adolf Hitler. Secrets whispered to the Post by Nazi malcontents, documents leaked by party members—the Munich Post made use of all these sources. The Nazis reacted with lawsuits against the paper and physical assaults on its editors and office. After the paper was suspended for four days in late February 1933, the Post resumed publication with this defiant banner headline: “We Will Not Be Intimidated!” Enemy Of The People is not just a story about the gutsiness of this German newspaper. It is also a story about how easily democracy can be lost.

The White Rose

By Inge Scholl, Arthur R. Schultz (translator),

Book cover of The White Rose: Munich, 1942-1943

I read this book for research for my own book. The White Rose is the tragic story of Hans and Sophie Scholl and their friends, German students who defied Hitler, forming the underground movement known as The White Rose. I was thrilled at the terror of the brother and sister taking chances, distributing anti-Nazi leaflets right under the eyes of the Gestapo. Handsome Hans, heartthrob of his female medical classmates, was the leader of the group, while serious, pious Sophie was his loyal lieutenant. Written by their sister, this account shows there were good people who opposed Hitler, risking everything. I had chills, imagining the terrible price the two siblings paid for their bravery. And my heart ached for their mother, who lost two children to Himmler’s archaic method of punishment—the guillotine.


Who am I?

I am mom to three daughters, grammy to seven grandchildren. I am a storyteller and a voracious reader. There’s nothing better than to immerse myself in books about history, espionage, and family sagas. Growing up in northeastern Pennsylvania, I never suspected that I would travel the world one day, although I always dreamed of writing novels. Living in India for a time, I developed a passion for international affairs. I try to make the settings and culture of my novels as authentic as possible. To research the background for The Expatriate, I traveled to England, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, and the Eastern Republics of the former Soviet Union. 


I wrote...

The Expatriate

By Harriet Segal,

Book cover of The Expatriate

What is my book about?

The saga of Alexa Summerfield, an American woman who studies abroad in the 1930s, falls in love with an idealistic Austrian surgeon, and is caught in the maelstrom of World War II.

The Expatriate is a tale of international intrigue and danger, espionage and heroism, and undying love. Set in war-torn Europe, its main characters are involved in the OSS and the Austrian Resistance. There was an active anti-Nazi organization in Austria after the German occupation in 1938. It was especially strong among army doctors. The promise of Allied support for the nascent democratic movement became a sacrifice to realpolitik. At the war’s end, over 150,000 Austrian soldiers remained prisoners of war in Russia. Many of them would never see home again.

Looking for Trouble

By Virginia Cowles,

Book cover of Looking for Trouble: The Classic Memoir of a Trailblazing War Correspondent

I would love to invite Virginia Cowles to dinner, but unfortunately she died in a car accident in the 1980s (Ouija board, anyone?). A socialite turned war correspondent, Virginia navigated not just Nazis and Fascists while covering the Spanish Civil War and WWII, but an entire misogynist war bureaucracy bent on keeping her from doing her job. Looking for Trouble is a smart, funny, moving, and insightful account of being on the front lines in high heels and a fox fur jacket.


Who am I?

Doing the research for The Italian Party meant submerging myself in the Cold War Italy of the 1950s. But I found I couldn't understand that period without a better understanding of World War II and Italian Fascism. Cue an avalanche of books from which this list is culled, and the new novel I have just finished. I am drawn to first-hand accounts of women’s lives in wartime because I wonder how I would react and survive such challenges. Recent events in Europe have revived the nightmare of life under an occupying army. These stories are back at my bedside right now because I need their humor and wisdom.


I wrote...

The Italian Party

By Christina Lynch,

Book cover of The Italian Party

What is my book about?

Half glamorous fun, half an examination of America’s role in the world, The Italian Party is set in Italy in 1956, a pivotal moment in the Cold War. Newly married, Scottie and Michael are seduced by Tuscany’s famous beauty. But when Scottie’s Italian teacher disappears, the secrets they are keeping from each other force them beneath the splendid surface to a more complex view of Italy, America, and each other.

Forbidden Archaeology

By Michael A. Cremo, Richard L. Thompson,

Book cover of Forbidden Archaeology

Forbidden Archaeology is useful in revealing in a very methodical and indeed scientific way to what extent mainstream science has gone in suppressing the evidence pointing to the reality that humans have inhabited this planet for much longer than we are told. In Chapter 1.11, for example, there is a very lucid explanation of the “Phenomenon of Suppression”: the different stages by which an anomalous finding is either ignored, explained away, ridiculed, dismissed, or suppressed. Quite an enterprise from an activity—science—that originally set out to explain the unexplained or the seemingly unexplainable. While the ponderous tome of 914 pages doesn’t make for the liveliest reading, it is nevertheless an impressive contribution to the extra-canonical.


Who am I?

I learned the Western Canon at school and from various teachers during my youth; all along, I was yearning for something other, different, and, possibly, truer. Since my early twenties I've been exploring another canon, which exists in opposition to the Aristotelian-Euclidean-Cartesian-Newtonian-Darwinian/Spencerian one. While the western world in the 21st century is free from alacritous canon-enforcing enterprises such as the Holy Inquisition, it nevertheless operates by a canon that remains very much the mentioned Aristotelian-Euclidean-Cartesian-Newtonian-Darwinian/Spencerian one, inculcated into us all from kindergarten to the grave, echoed not only by schools of all levels, but by governments, the media, official institutions and nonofficial entities, and, last but not least, by the entertainment industry. 


I wrote...

Forbidden Fruits: An Occult Novel

By Joscelyn Godwin, Guido Mina di Sospiro,

Book cover of Forbidden Fruits: An Occult Novel

What is my book about?

Forbidden Fruits is a long-awaited follow-up to Godwin’s and Mina di Sospiro’s first co-authorship, The Forbidden Book. After eight years they have released a novel that will be a favorite among readers of esotericism as scholarship, authentic insights into ancient and modern occult practices and suspense meet in the alchemical retort of the “Society of Harmony.” With “the entheogenic key” as its focus, Forbidden Fruits provides insight into ancient practices and visions, with the island of Malta being the focal point of a near Lovecraftian evil. Complete with psychedelic journeys, therapeutic blasphemy, and child seers, Forbidden Fruits is a voyage into the unknown that will leave readers questioning the nature of reality—and how to know the real from the unreal.

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