The most recommended books on Nazism

Who picked these books? Meet our 206 experts.

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


Blood Brothers

By Ernst Haffner, Michael Hofmann (translator),

Book cover of Blood Brothers

Catherine Hokin Author Of The Secretary

From the list on stories set in Berlin.

Who am I?

I’ve been fascinated with the history-soaked city of Berlin where my novels are set since a school exchange trip as a teenager. It was the border that did it. Machine guns, dog runs, barbed wire, watchtowers. They were daunting. More striking still was our guide’s story about her sister who lived on the other side in the East. They were barely a mile apart but hadn’t seen each other in the twenty years since the Wall went up. I’ve been back many times since and have had a passion for German history from that day, particularly for the experiences of its people who have lived through such turbulent times.

Catherine's book list on stories set in Berlin

Why did Catherine love this book?

I stumbled on this novel when I was looking for something else (a common writers’ problem). It was written in 1932 and banned the next year by the Nazis and is set amongst the gangs of young men struggling to survive in a harsh and desperately impoverished Berlin. The descriptions of the hard side of the city are brilliantly drawn and the characters are so real you long for their lives to improve even when you know there is almost no hope of it. Haffner was a social worker who clearly knew Berlin’s streets well. To add to the poignancy of his writing, nothing is known about his fate beyond a summons before a Nazi tribunal in the late 1930s. After that, he disappears. I really hope his book doesn’t.

By Ernst Haffner, Michael Hofmann (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Blood Brothers is the only known novel by German social worker and journalist Ernst Haffner, of whom nearly all traces were lost during the course of the Second World War. Told in stark, unsparing detail, Haffner's story delves into the illicit underworld of Berlin on the eve of Hitler's rise to power, describing how these blood brothers move from one petty crime to the next, spending their nights in underground bars and makeshift hostels, struggling together to survive the harsh realities of gang life, and finding in one another the legitimacy denied them by society.

Book cover of Good Neighbors, Bad Times Revisited: New Echoes of My Father's German Village

Ellen Cassedy Author Of We Are Here: Memories of the Lithuanian Holocaust

From the list on hope and understanding after the Holocaust.

Who am I?

Ellen Cassedy explores the ways that people, and countries, can engage with the difficult truths of the Holocaust in order to build a better future. She researched Lithuania’s encounter with its Jewish heritage, including the Holocaust, for ten years. Her book breaks new ground by shining a spotlight on how brave people – Jews and non-Jews – are facing the past and building mutual understanding. Cassedy is the winner of numerous awards and a frequent speaker about the Holocaust, Lithuania, and Yiddish language and literature.  

Ellen's book list on hope and understanding after the Holocaust

Why did Ellen love this book?

Mimi Schwartz’s Jewish father grew up in a German town where Jews and gentiles got along – until the Nazi era put extraordinary strains on their ability to coexist peaceably.  Schwartz explores how people who were not unusually brave managed to perform small acts of kindness and defiance. Her book offers important lessons for our time.

By Mimi Schwartz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Good Neighbors, Bad Times Revisited as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Mimi Schwartz's father was born Jewish in a tiny German village thirty years before the advent of Hitler when, as he'd tell her, "We all got along." In her original memoir, Good Neighbors, Bad Times, Schwartz explored how human decency fared among Christian and Jewish neighbors before, during, and after Nazi times. Ten years after its publication, a letter arrived from a man named Max Sayer in South Australia. Sayer, it turns out, grew up Catholic in the village during the Third Reich and in 1937 moved into an abandoned Jewish home five houses away from where the family of…

The 12th Man

By Astrid Karlsen Scott, Tore Haug,

Book cover of The 12th Man: A WWII Epic of Escape and Endurance

J.L. Oakley Author Of The Jossing Affair

From the list on Norway during WWII.

Who am I?

I am a trained historian and past educator at a historical museum. I fell into my passion for Norway during WWII after I dreamed about a man in the snow surrounded by German soldiers. I was encouraged to write the scene down. That scene became the prologue to The Jøssing Affair, but not before going to libraries and reading countless secondary and primary resources, interviewing numbers of Norwegian-Americans who settled in my area in the 1950s, and eating a lot of lefse. This passion of over 28 years has taken me to Norway to walk Trondheim where my novels take place and forge friendships with local historians and experts.

J.L.'s book list on Norway during WWII

Why did J.L. love this book?

The Twelfth Man by Norwegian-American writer Astrid Karlsen Scott is the dramatic story of Norwegian agent Jan Baalsrud’s survival after a SOE mission gone wrong. A first account of his ordeal was published in 1955, but this is a more accurate telling. I like her in-depth approach to uncovering the true facts. On one of her research trips to Norway, she teamed up with Dr. Tore Haug who was also investigating Baalsrud’s story of survival. They were able to meet and interview all the survivors who helped the agent or who were indirectly involved and had knowledge of his story. You not only see what is at stake for the hero of the story, but for the people who are helping him escape the Nazis’ search for him. 

By Astrid Karlsen Scott, Tore Haug,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The 12th Man as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A stunning story of heroism and survival during World War II. The book that inspired the international film of the same name. "A must-read .... Intrigue, suspense, and adventure."-The Norwegian American

"I remember reading We Die Alone in 1970 and I could never forget it. Then when we went to Norway to do a docudrama, people told us again and again that certain parts were pure fiction. Since I was a Norwegian that was not good enough; I had to find the truth. I sincerely believe we did," writes author Astrid Karlsen Scott.

The 12th Man is the true story…

The Boys of Winter

By Charles J. Sanders,

Book cover of The Boys of Winter: Life and Death in the U.S. Ski Troops During the Second World War

Jimmy Petterson Author Of Skiing Around the World: Over 30 Years in Search of the Ultimate Ski Descent

From the list on skiing from the man who skied the most countries.

Who am I?

I’ve spent a lifetime in search of the coziest ski village, the most spectacular mountaintop view, and the ultimate powder descent, and for the past 35 years, I’ve been writing about and photographing my experiences for ski and travel magazines. I am one of the world’s most published ski journalists, with more than 600 feature articles with photos having appeared in 20 countries. I’ve skied about 4700 days in my life, and have managed to ski in 650 ski resorts, in 75 countries, and on all seven continents. I have also written an unusual multi-media novel with photos and music called Coming of Age

Jimmy's book list on skiing from the man who skied the most countries

Why did Jimmy love this book?

This is, again, a different kind of book than the previous two. Namely, this is a deeply researched, historical account of how some of America’s best skiers of the 1930s ended up in the famed 10th Mountain Division, fighting the Nazis in Italy during World War II. No history of skiing is complete without mention of the 10th Mountain Division—many of whose members came back to the US after the war as pioneers in the early days of the US ski industry. Charles Sanders gives a heartfelt and detailed account of some of the key men in this saga—great athletes and soldiers. 

By Charles J. Sanders,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“An immensely valuable and substantial addition to 10th Mountain literature and to the history of skiing in the United States.” —International Ski History Association
The Boys of Winter tells the true story of three young American ski champions and their brutal, heroic, and fateful transformation from athletes to infantrymen with the 10th Mountain Division. Charles J. Sanders’s fast-paced narrative draws on dozens of interviews and extensive research to trace these boys’ lives from childhood to championships and from training at Mount Rainier and in the Colorado Rockies to battles against the Nazis.
“The Boys of Winter perfectly captures the spirit…

People in Auschwitz

By Hermann Langbein,

Book cover of People in Auschwitz

Erik Brouwer Author Of The Fighter of Auschwitz: The incredible true story of Leen Sanders who boxed to help others survive

From the list on Auschwitz you’ve probably never heard of.

Who am I?

I've written books about Jewish subjects before. A few years ago I published a biography about a Jewish Dutch actress named Jetta Goudal who invented a new life story for herself and became a Hollywoodstar. Before that I wrote a book about my Jewish great-grandfather Emanuel Brouwer who traveled to London in 1908 to compete in the Olympics. He traveled to the UK by boat with his best friend Isidore Goudeket, who was murdered in a German deathcamp. My great-grandfather did not win a medal in Londen (63rd place!), but he had a lot of fun in London, with loads of beer, whisky, and cigars. In 1943 he was sent to a camp as well. 

Erik's book list on Auschwitz you’ve probably never heard of

Why did Erik love this book?

Also a book written by an insider. Langbein was an Austrian communist who was arrested by the Nazis in Vienna and got deported.

He became a Funktionshäftling in the camp (a prisoner who had to help the Nazis with daily tasks) and wrote this formidable book about Auschwitz right after the war. Langbein describes in great detail and with style about the daily life, including sports and music, in Auschwitz I.

Non-judgemental and seemingly without anger. That’s why this book is so impressive. 

By Hermann Langbein,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

People In Auschwitz is published by Fitzhenry and Whiteside.

Book cover of Don't Let's Be Beastly to the Germans: The British Occupation of Germany, 1945-49

Andrew Pettegree Author Of The Book at War: How Reading Shaped Conflict and Conflict Shaped Reading

From Andrew's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Professor Restless Curious

Andrew's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Andrew love this book?

I read fewer newly published books than I would want, partly because I am so busy reading potential texts for publication. But I was delighted to pick up a copy of this excellent first book by the historian Daniel Cowling. The author works at the National Army Museum, and this experience of a public-facing institution stands him in good stead, with an excellent writing style and an eye for the significant vignette.

In 1945, the Allied forces inherited a broken country, starving people, devastated cities, and a recognition that all the institutions that might provide leadership in Germany had been thoroughly Nazified over the previous 12 years. The horror of the concentration camps hung over all their relations, but the occupation administration gradually prepared Germany for re-introduction into the family of nations. It is a fine and fascinating book.

By Daniel Cowling,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Don't Let's Be Beastly to the Germans as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Germany, spring 1945. Hitler is dead and his armies crushed. Across the conquered Reich, cities lie devastated by Allied saturation bombing; their traumatised populations, exhausted and embittered by defeat, face a future of acute privation and hardship. Such was the broken state of the nation in which a British civilian and military force arrived in the spring and summer of 1945. Their zone of occupation was the northern and northwestern part of Germany, the country's former industrial heartland. Their task? To build democracy from the ruins of Hitler's Reich, and, having defeated Nazism on the battlefield, to 'win the peace'…

And Miles to Go

By Linell Smith,

Book cover of And Miles to Go: The Biography of a Great Arabian Horse, Witez II

M.J. Evans Author Of The Stallion and His Peculiar Boy

From the list on horses that teens will love.

Who am I?

I am a life-long equestrian. I believe I was born with manure in my blood! I have always loved horses. I bought my own horse with my own money when I was thirteen and had to work to support him myself. I continue to own and ride horses more than fifty years later! I love competing in Dressage and riding the trails in the beautiful Colorado mountains. My interest in researching and writing historical horse stories grew out of my love of both horses and history.

M.J.'s book list on horses that teens will love

Why did M.J. love this book?

This long-out-of-print book that came out in the 1960s introduced me to Witez II, the subject of my new book. While And Miles to Go is also historical fiction, it uses the real details of the life of Witez from his birth in Poland to his capture by the Nazis during WWII.

When I am writing a new novel about a little-known horse or horse-related event, I buy all the nonfiction books on the subject that I can find.  Once the print copy arrives, I can highlight, write notes in margins, dogear corners, and so forth, to help me with my research. This was the case with my latest book.

I purchased several nonfiction books about the army's "Operation Cowboy" during WWII during which they rescued the horses stolen by the Nazis. This book was written in the 1960s, so the closest to the time of the actual event of…

By Linell Smith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked And Miles to Go as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Witez II, purportedly the most magnificent Arabian horse ever, was born in Poland in 1938 and survived the Nazi, Russian and American invasions. This is his story--a gallant one--told with irrepressible sentiment. Any youthful interest aroused by the general aura of the stable will be squelched by the appearance of the young twins Stacia and Stasik, both of whom utter only deathless prose. Stacia and her Babka (grandmother) are both clairvoyant, so that the grim future is always agonizingly clear. There are some interesting scenes which present the plight of Poland first under the Germans, then caught between the Russians…

Total War

By Peter Calvocoressi, Guy Wint, John Pritchard

Book cover of Total War: Causes and Courses of The Second World War

Peter Grose Author Of A Good Place to Hide: How One French Community Saved Thousands of Lives in World War II

From the list on World War 2 from several different perspectives.

Who am I?

I’ve now written three histories of World War 2. A Very Rude Awakening tells the story of the Japanese midget submarine raid into Sydney Harbour on the night of 31 May 1942. An Awkward Truth deals with the Japanese air raid on the town of Darwin in northern Australia on 19 February 1942. (The raid was carried out by the same force that hit Pearl Harbor ten weeks earlier.) These two books have both been filmed. My third book A Good Place To Hide is my pick for this page. Read more about it elsewhere. Last but not least, if you want a signed copy of my books then do my friend Gary Jackson and me a favour by going here and clicking on the link ‘Buy Books and DVDs’.

Peter's book list on World War 2 from several different perspectives

Why did Peter love this book?

This book has appeared under various titles and guises since its first publication in 1972. It is now available as The Penguin History of the Second World War. It is a bit like three books in one, since each author tackles a different theatre of World War 2.

There is a wonderful and possibly apocryphal publishing story about the changes the book underwent over the years. Peter Calvocoressi was always a distinguished historian but at the time this book first appeared in 1972 ‘Calvo’ was CEO of Penguin Books, and they were the book’s publishers. At that time Penguin also boasted one of the most brilliant editors in British publishing, Dieter Pevsner. Dieter was (naturally) the right man to edit his boss’s book. Having read it through, Dieter had a question for the boss. “I just don’t understand,” Dieter told Calvo, “how we won the Atlantic submarine war.” Calvo…

By Peter Calvocoressi, Guy Wint, John Pritchard

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Offers a detailed study of the sources of war in Europe and Asia, the impact of Nazism and the events that shaped the course of World War II in Europe and the Pacific

The Honest Spy

By Andreas Kollender, Steve Anderson (translator),

Book cover of The Honest Spy

Steve Anderson Author Of The Losing Role

From the list on underdogs on a doomed mission.

Who am I?

I’m drawn to characters who are stuck between two worlds and in over their heads and doomed to fail, but they stick with it anyway. My novels also tend to include overlooked historical themes from the WWII and Cold War eras, often involving espionage or crime. I have an MA in history, so I like researching and using historical detail to dramatize the story. I’ve also been a Fulbright Fellow, a fiction editor, and a translator of German fiction. The books on this list all include the type of underdogs that I love—and inspired my work. 

Steve's book list on underdogs on a doomed mission

Why did Steve love this book?

This is the improbable story of a true underdog who will stop at nothing to fight fascist evil, even when he has no idea what he’s doing and no one to help him. It’s also a true story. In WWII, Fritz Kolbe was a nondescript German official in the Berlin Foreign Office who made himself into a crucial spy against the Nazis yet for years remained an unknown and unsung hero. Kolbe’s dark drive and passion are fictionalized brilliantly by Andreas Kollender. I was so taken by this tale that I translated it myself from the original German. 

By Andreas Kollender, Steve Anderson (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

During one of history's darkest chapters, one man is determined to make a difference.

In the tradition of Schindler's List comes a thrilling novel based on the heroic true story of Fritz Kolbe, a widowed civil servant in Adolf Hitler's foreign ministry. Recognizing that millions of lives are at stake, Kolbe uses his position to pass information to the Americans-risking himself and the people he holds most dear-and embarks on a dangerous double life as the Allies' most important spy.

Summoned from his South African post to return to Nazi Germany, Kolbe leaves behind his beloved fourteen-year-old daughter, a decision…

The Glass Chateau

By Stephen P Kiernan,

Book cover of The Glass Chateau

Sarah Loudin Thomas Author Of These Tangled Threads: A Novel of Biltmore

From Sarah's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Appalachian West virginian Dog lover Hiker

Sarah's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Sarah love this book?

Delicious. And not only because of Brigitte's incredible cooking. This was a lovely book to savor, which is kind of odd since it deals with postwar trauma beautifully.

I loved how the author dealt with the lasting effects of violence and trauma--of all sorts--on the human psyche. Now I want to see that center window!

By Stephen P Kiernan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the critically acclaimed author of Universe of Two and The Baker’s Secret, a novel of hope, healing, and the redemptive power of art, set against the turmoil of post-World War II France and inspired by the life of Marc Chagall.

One month after the end of World War II, amid the jubilation in the streets of France, there are throngs of people stunned by the recovery work ahead. Every bridge, road, and rail line, every church and school and hospital, has been destroyed. Disparate factions—from Communists, to Resistance fighters, to federalists, to those who supported appeasement of the Nazis—must…