The best books about soldiers

Who picked these books? Meet our 122 experts.

122 authors created a book list connected to soldiers, and here are their favorite soldier books.
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Book cover of The Tyranny of the Night

K.V. Johansen Author Of Blackdog

From the list on with gods as characters.

Who am I?

I’m a Canadian writer with a degree in Mediaeval Studies. Even as a child, I wrote stories about characters who weren’t entirely human; they were also always people lurking on the edges of things—families, cultures, places, ways of being, even people existing only on the edges of becoming themselves. Those have always been where I found my stories and as an adult I haven’t lost this fascination and the need to tell such tales. Gods, assassins, devils, demons, shapeshifters, immortal wanderers, and ordinary people caught up in their history, vast, deep worlds, and complex charactersthat’s what I do. 

K.V.'s book list on with gods as characters

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

Why did K.V. love this book?

I’ve loved Glen Cook’s work since reading The Black Company back in the eighties. Tyranny of the Night begins The Instrumentalities of the Night. Yes, the series isn’t finished. No, that doesn’t matter; each book might be part of a larger history but each is a satisfying story on its own, so read them anyway. A world of realistically complex late-medieval politics and mostly unpleasant gods with their own agendas that have little to do with the desires of their human worshippers. It’s a secondary world, but the fastest way to describe the main character, Else/Piper, is to say he’s a Janissary sent back undercover to the people from whom he was stolen as a boy, living as a double, or maybe a triple agent—but it gets more complex than that, as you’d expect from a) Glen Cook and b) a hero who begins his story by using artillery against…

By Glen Cook,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Moon, once a solitary wanderer, has become consort to Jade, sister queen of the Indigo Cloud court. Together, they travel with their people on a pair of flying ships in hopes of finding a new home for their colony. Moon finally feels like he's found a tribe where he belongs. But when the travelers reach the ancestral home of Indigo Cloud, shrouded within the trunk of a mountain-sized tree, they discover a blight infecting its core. Nearby they find the remains of the invaders who may be responsible, as well as evidence of a devastating theft. This discovery sends Moon…

Marching Masters

By Colin Edward Woodward,

Book cover of Marching Masters: Slavery, Race, and the Confederate Army During the Civil War

Kevin M. Levin Author Of Searching for Black Confederates: The Civil War's Most Persistent Myth

From the list on slavery and the confederacy.

Who am I?

I am a historian and educator based in Boston. I have authored three books and numerous essays on the Civil War era. You can find my op-eds in The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Atlantic, and The Daily Beast. Over the past few years, I have worked with students and teachers across the country to better understand the current controversy surrounding Confederate monuments.

Kevin's book list on slavery and the confederacy

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

Why did Kevin love this book?

Most Confederate soldiers were not slaveholders, but as historian Colin Woodward argues, all of them were products of a slaveholding culture and, as a result, fought to maintain the rigid racial hierarchy that had come to define their respective communities. Appreciating the central place that the defense of slavery occupied for most Confederates helps us to better understand why the war lasted as long as it did. Some of the most interesting chapters in this book explore the roles played by thousands of body servants that accompanied officers from the slaveholding class. Enslaved men performed a wide range of jobs, including cooking meals, washing clothes, and digging ditches. Their presence served as a constant reminder of the army’s reliance on enslaved labor and its broader significance as the Confederacy’s “cornerstone.”

By Colin Edward Woodward,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Confederate army went to war to defend a nation of slaveholding states, and although men rushed to recruiting stations for many reasons, they understood that the fundamental political issue at stake in the conflict was the future of slavery. Most Confederate soldiers were not slaveholders themselves, but they were products of the largest and most prosperous slaveholding civilization the world had ever seen, and they sought to maintain clear divisions between black and white, master and servant, free and slave.

In Marching Masters Colin Woodward explores not only the importance of slavery in the minds of Confederate soldiers but…

The Wild Goose and the Eagle

By Christopher Duffy,

Book cover of The Wild Goose and the Eagle: A Life of Marshal Von Browne 1705-1757

Peter H. Wilson Author Of Iron and Blood: A Military History of the German-Speaking Peoples since 1500

From the list on German military history saying something different.

Who am I?

I have been drawn to the history of the German lands ever since I opened a historical atlas as a child and wondered why the middle of Europe was a colorful patchwork compared to the solid blocks depicting other countries. I then wondered how the people living under this multitude of authorities could manage their affairs, resolve differences, and defend themselves against each other and outsiders. Digging deeper into these questions has unearthed fascinating stories, not all of them pleasant, but which also shed light on the complexities of our shared existence. 

Peter's book list on German military history saying something different

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

Why did Peter love this book?

This is one of the first ‘proper’ history books I read, having borrowed it from my local public library, and gave me a lasting interest in the wars and warriors of Central Europe.

First published in 1964, it recounts the life of an Irish exile who became a field marshal in the Austrian Habsburg army and died leading a bayonet charge against the Prussians. Browne’s career exemplifies how ‘German’ military history is far more diverse than it might first appear.

Christopher Duffy vividly brings the eighteenth century to life, and I warmly recommend his many other books on early modern warfare. 

By Christopher Duffy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Maximilian von Browne is counted among the finest soldiers of the old Imperial Austrian Army. As the present biography sets out to show, he was outstanding in his time for his vigorous conduct of war, and his extremely advanced idea of leadership and responsibility. Few commanders have taken so literally the phrase ‘to share the hardships of his men’.

A son of that generation of Irishmen who fled from a penal regime to take service in Catholic Europe, Browne rose in the Army of the Empress Maria Theresa. In 1746, he could take the greater part of the credit for…

The Slaves of Solitude

By Patrick Hamilton,

Book cover of The Slaves of Solitude

Gerard Woodward Author Of Nourishment

From the list on human stories behind World War Two.

Who am I?

My novel Nourishment is loosely based on stories I was told about the war by my parents who lived through it. My mother was a firewoman during the Blitz and my father was in Normandy after the D-Day landings. They married during the war. I wish now I’d written down the stories my parents used to tell me. There was always humour in their stories. My parents could both see the absurdity and the dark comedy that can sometimes be present in wartime situations, especially on the home front, and I hope some of that comes through in Nourishment.

Gerard's book list on human stories behind World War Two

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

Why did Gerard love this book?

Patrick Hamilton has a wonderfully simple and direct style, and is always utterly compelling, no matter if he’s writing about ordinary people going about their daily lives. This wartime novel seems to happen a long way from the war itself, though it is set in Maidenhead, which was far enough away from the capital to be thought safe for evacuees. We spend our time with a wonderfully cliquey and gossipy set of boarding house tenants who constantly compete with each other and have their own little wars and conflicts. Like many of Hamilton’s novels it has a theatrical quality, reading it is almost like watching actors performing on a stage. Indeed, one of the characters is an actor, and theatre provides a note of redemption in this beautifully bleak novel. 

By Patrick Hamilton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

As World War II drags on, the lonely Miss Roach flees London for the dull but ostensible safety of a suburban boarding house in this comically rendered “masterpiece” from the author of Gaslight (The Times Literary Supplement)

England in the middle of World War II, a war that seems fated to go on forever, a war that has become a way of life. Heroic resistance is old hat. Everything is in short supply, and tempers are even shorter. Overwhelmed by the terrors and rigors of the Blitz, middle-aged Miss Roach has retreated to the relative safety and stupefying boredom of…

The Coldest War

By James Brady,

Book cover of The Coldest War: A Memoir of Korea

Andrew Lubin Author Of Charlie Battery: A Marine Artillery Unit in Iraq

From the list on famous battles that make you want to be there.

Who am I?

When reading about famous battles such as Thermopylae, Tarawa, the Chosin Reservoir, or Taffy-3’s gallantry off Samar: have you ever wondered “what makes young men fight against such overwhelming odds?” Or a more important question: “would I do the same?” I know I wondered. Both my mom and dad were WW2 Marines, and I was raised with the stories of the Marines at Tarawa wading a half-mile ashore against horrific Japanese fire, along with their epic Korean War 79-mile fighting retreat in -50’F bitter cold and snow while grossly outnumbered by the Chinese army; these were often our dinnertime discussions and impromptu leadership lessons.

Andrew's book list on famous battles that make you want to be there

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

Why did Andrew love this book?

Those of us who read newspaper remember James Brady, who wrote Page Six a Hollywood gossip column that ran every Sunday for 25 years on the last page of Parade magazine.

What few knew is that James Brady was a Marine officer who’d seen combat in the Korean War, and lived to write 13 fiction and five nonfiction books, with his autobiography, “The Coldest Winter” nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.              

Brady often described himself as “an immature 23-year old when I left for Korea, but when I left nine months later I was a grown-up and a pretty good Marine officer,” and reading his story, you’ll see this ‘pretty good Marine officer’ became a ‘pretty fine author.’                               

Brady concentrates on the Marines in his unit and his growth as an officer in leading them. Except for ‘Saving Private Ryan and few others, combat isn’t near as glorious or macho as…

By James Brady,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

James Brady's The Coldest War is a powerful and moving memoir of the Korean War.

America's "forgotten war" lasted just thirty-seven months, yet 54,246 Americans died in that time -- nearly as many as died in ten years in Vietnam. On the fiftieth anniversary of this devastating conflict, James Brady tells the story of his life as a young marine lieutenant in Korea.

In 1947, seeking to avoid the draft, nineteen-year-old Jim Brady volunteered for a Marine Corps program that made him a lieutenant in the reserves on the day he graduated college. He didn't plan to find himself in…

Bugles and a Tiger

By John Masters,

Book cover of Bugles and a Tiger: My Life in the Gurkhas

Charles Oliviero Author Of Praxis Tacticum: The Art, Science and Practice of Military Tactics

From the list on military tactical thinking.

Who am I?

I spent 40 years as a soldier studying war. After graduation from Royal Military College, I joined the Armoured Corps. Throughout history, we have regaled each other with stories of war. From Greek myths to Norse sagas to modern movies, we cannot seem to get enough of war stories. And yet, we know that war is inherently a bad idea. It is evil. It is a form of collective madness. War is destructive and cruel, unworthy of our better selves. To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, war breaks the bonds of our affection and does not speak to our better angels. I study it in order to better understand this madness.

Charles' book list on military tactical thinking

Discover why each book is one of Charles' favorite books.

Why did Charles love this book?

John Masters grippingly tells of his life as a newly commissioned Subaltern in a Gurkha regiment, warts, and all. This book is especially valuable to new infantry platoon commanders, or anyone interested in the challenges of leading at the lowest levels. Masters is a consummate storyteller who takes the reader along with him in his personal journey of discovery as he learns about life, leadership, and the nature of war.

By John Masters,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The first of John Master's evocative memoirs about life in the Gurkhas in India on the cusp of WWII

John Masters was a soldier before he became a bestselling novelist. He went to Sandhurst in 1933 at the age of eighteen and was commissioned into the 4th Gurkha Rifles in time to take part in some of the last campaigns on the turbulent north-west frontier of India.

John Masters joined a Gurhka regiment on receiving his commission, and his depiction of garrison life and campaigning on the North-West Frontier has never been surpassed. BUGLES AND A TIGER is a matchless…

Night Catch

By Brenda Ehrmantraut, Vicki Wehrman (illustrator),

Book cover of Night Catch

Shermaine Perry-Knights Author Of I Miss My Friend And That's Okay

From the list on military family life.

Who am I?

I empower military-connected kids through books that support their mental and emotional growth, ensuring they feel "heard, seen, and chosen”. I draw from my bi-cultural military upbringing and global experiences to deliver keynotes and workshops on resilience and change management. My mission is to create empathy and curiosity beyond comfort zones, advocating for representation of kids who moved frequently worldwide. Through my children's book series, And That's Okay, I sparked a movement to inspire a growth mindset, empathy, and authentic connections through meaningful conversations. Writing the books that I wanted as a child, I understand the power of representation. Every child must see themselves and their lived experience to believe, dream, and achieve great things.

Shermaine's book list on military family life

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

Why did Shermaine love this book?

This heart-warming story teaches military families that they can stay connected although physically separated due to job assignments. Its reference to the starry night is relevant and relatable because we all share the night sky despite our physical location.

As a military-kid, this is the kind of story that we all wanted. I remember looking into the night sky and wondering where in the world he was and when our family would be together again. This story peeks into the minds of little soldiers and eases their concerns.

By Brenda Ehrmantraut, Vicki Wehrman (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Not ball as usual in the park,
but something special after dark."

When a soldier's work takes him half-way around the world, he enlists the help of the North Star for a nightly game of catch with his son.

Night Catch is a timeless story that connects families while they are apart and offers comforting hope for their reunion.

Featured book in the United Through Reading program.

"… Night Catch is the best of the best!"
—Sally Ann Zoll, CEO, United Through Reading

"… a staple in our Parent to Parent Program … We enthusiastically recommend it!"
—Military Child Education…

Hitler's First War

By Thomas Weber,

Book cover of Hitler's First War: Adolf Hitler, the Men of the List Regiment, and the First World War

Benjamin Carter Hett Author Of The Death of Democracy: Hitler's Rise to Power and the Downfall of the Weimar Republic

From the list on the legacy of the First World War.

Who am I?

I was a law school graduate heading for my first job when, unable to think of anything better to do with my last afternoon in London, I wandered through the First World War galleries of the Imperial War Museum. I was hypnotized by a slide show of Great War propaganda posters, stunned by their clever viciousness in getting men to volunteer and wives and girlfriends to pressure them. Increasingly fascinated, I started reading about the war and its aftermath. After several years of this, I quit my job at a law firm and went back to school to become a professor. And here I am.

Benjamin's book list on the legacy of the First World War

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

Why did Benjamin love this book?

Weber is another outstanding and original historian. Here he takes apart all the myths that have accumulated around Hitler’s military service in the First World War, showing that Hitler was a mediocre soldier with a relatively safe job who got medals because the officers knew who he was. Weber also shows how crucial a (legendary) version of Hitler’s war service was to his rise to power.

By Thomas Weber,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Hitler claimed that his years as a soldier in the First World War were the most formative years of his life. However, for the six decades since his death in the ruins of Berlin, Hitler's time as a soldier on the Western Front has, remarkably, remained a blank spot. Until now, all that we knew about Hitler's life in these years and the regiment in which he served came from his own account in Mein Kampf and the equally mythical accounts of his comrades.

Hitler's First War for the first time looks at what really happened to Private Hitler and…

A Gentleman's Murder

By Christopher Huang,

Book cover of A Gentleman's Murder

Connie Berry Author Of The Shadow of Memory

From the list on mysteries on the golden age of detective fiction.

Who am I?

My love of British crime fiction began when, as a young teen, I discovered Agatha Christie on the shelves of my local library. With Scottish grandparents, I was already well indoctrinated in the “everything British is best” theory, but it was as a student at St. Clare’s College, Oxford, that I fell totally under the spell of the British Isles. No surprise, then, that my Kate Hamilton Mystery series is set in the UK and features an American antiques dealer with a gift for solving crimes. I love to read the classic mysteries of the Golden Age as well as authors today who follow that tradition.

Connie's book list on mysteries on the golden age of detective fiction

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

Why did Connie love this book?

Since the publication of Dorothy L. Sayer’s The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club in 1928, London’s gentlemen’s clubs, bastions of upper-class male privilege, have been fertile ground for murder and mayhem. Huang’s debut novel is set in 1924. With the memory of the Great War still fresh in everyone’s minds, the prestigious soldiers-only Britannia Club is rocked by the stabbing of a member within the club vaults. The killer must be a fellow club member, but when Eric Peterkin, descendant of one of the club’s founders, witnesses the Scotland Yard detective tampering with evidence, he is forced to launch an investigation of his own.

By Christopher Huang,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The year is 1924. The streets of St. James ring with jazz as Britain races forward into an age of peace and prosperity. London's back alleys, however, are filled with broken soldiers and still shadowed by the lingering horrors of the Great War.

Only a few years removed from the trenches of Flanders himself, Lieutenant Eric Peterkin has just been granted membership in the most prestigious soldiers-only club in London: The Britannia. But when a gentleman's wager ends with a member stabbed to death, the victim's last words echo in the Lieutenant's head: that he would "soon right a great…

The Stuff of Soldiers

By Brandon M. Schechter,

Book cover of The Stuff of Soldiers: A History of the Red Army in World War II Through Objects

Francine Hirsch Author Of Soviet Judgment at Nuremberg: A New History of the International Military Tribunal After World War II

From the list on The experience of Soviet Soldiers in WW2.

Who am I?

Francine Hirsch is Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she teaches courses on Soviet History, Modern European History, and the History of Human Rights. She spent fifteen years researching and writing about the Soviet Union’s experience in World War II and the role that it played in the Nuremberg Trials. Her recently published Soviet Judgment at Nuremberg was awarded the 2021 Certificate of Merit for a Preeminent Contribution to Creative Scholarship from the American Society of International Law.

Francine's book list on The experience of Soviet Soldiers in WW2

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

Why did Francine love this book?

This fascinating history of the Red Army in World War II examines the material objects—the overcoat, the boots, the “thing bag,” the spade, the spoon, the bayonet, and other items—that helped turn civilians into Soviet soldiers. By focusing in on “the quotidian details of provisioning,” Schechter provides a unique view of the Red Army and of soldiers’ everyday lives.

By Brandon M. Schechter,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Stuff of Soldiers uses everyday objects to tell the story of the Great Patriotic War as never before. Brandon Schechter attends to a diverse array of things-from spoons to tanks-to show how a wide array of citizens became soldiers, and how the provisioning of material goods separated soldiers from civilians.

Through a fascinating examination of leaflets, proclamations, newspapers, manuals, letters to and from the front, diaries, and interviews, The Stuff of Soldiers reveals how the use of everyday items made it possible to wage war. The dazzling range of documents showcases ethnic diversity, women's particular problems at the front,…

Book cover of Lord John and the Private Matter

Fenna Edgewood Author Of The Bluestocking Beds Her Bride

From the list on a pride-filled summer of LGBT reading.

Who am I?

I grew up in a religion and family where being gay was most definitely more than frowned upon. Now as a queer author and parent (and former academic who studied queer lit and video games!), I’m thrilled to be bringing a “book baby” into the world during Pride Month that is pure historical romantic fantasy in which two women embrace who they are and one another. When I first started reading queer fiction, much of it was gritty and realistic, sure, but also extremely grim. I think we desperately need a balance of the grim and the gleeful and that is what I hope this little list gives you! Happy endings are possible in fiction and reality. Happy Pride Month, dear readers! 

Fenna's book list on a pride-filled summer of LGBT reading

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

Why did Fenna love this book?

So, making this list has rather reminded me that there is a major dearth of queer books in historical romance. Especially of the happy variety—and it’s not a true romance if it doesn’t have an HEA.

I could easily have included The Song of Achilles or Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café or Patience and Sarah, but they wouldn’t have fit the Regency/Victorian time period I was aiming for and they also either have very hidden/obscured queerness (e.g. Fried Green Tomatoes) or no HEA (Song of Achilles, obvs).

I’m going with Lord John even though he’s Georgian era because 1) he has a happy and fulfilling life despite his One True Love ultimately being unrequited, 2) he has some great love affairs and adventures, and 3) best of all this is a series. And a series is almost as good as an HEA!


By Diana Gabaldon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lord John and the Private Matter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Diana Gabaldon weaves a dazzling tale of history, intrigue, and suspense in this first novel featuring one of her most popular characters from the Outlander saga: Lord John Grey.
The year is 1757. On a clear morning in mid-June, Lord John Grey emerges from London’s Beefsteak Club, his mind in turmoil. A nobleman and a high-ranking officer in His Majesty’s army, Grey has just witnessed something shocking. But his efforts to avoid a scandal that might destroy his family are interrupted by something still more urgent: The Crown appoints him to investigate the brutal murder…

Land of Aching Hearts

By Leila Tarazi Fawaz,

Book cover of Land of Aching Hearts: The Middle East in the Great War

Michelle Tusan Author Of The Last Treaty: Lausanne and the End of the First World War in the Middle East

From the list on World War I and the Middle East.

Who am I?

I’m a professor of history at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas where I teach and write about topics ranging from feminism to World War. I became interested in the history of the Armenian Genocide because my grandmother was a survivor. Other books I’ve written include: Women Making News: Gender and Journalism in Modern Britain; Smyrna’s Ashes: Humanitarianism, Genocide and the Birth of the Middle East and The British Empire and the Armenian Genocide. 

Michelle's book list on World War I and the Middle East

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

Why did Michelle love this book?

I like this book because it shows in maps and in thoughtful storytelling why the Middle East mattered to World War I.

Focused on the Arab lands of the Ottoman Empire during World War I and after, Fawaz’s book shows the importance of what some in Europe considered a secondary front in the war. The end of the Ottoman Empire, destroyed by World War I, had profound consequences for the peoples living in former Ottoman lands in modern-day Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, and Israel.

By Leila Tarazi Fawaz,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Great War transformed the Middle East, bringing to an end four hundred years of Ottoman rule in Arab lands while giving rise to the Middle East as we know it today. A century later, the experiences of ordinary men and women during those calamitous years have faded from memory. A Land of Aching Hearts traverses ethnic, class, and national borders to recover the personal stories of the civilians and soldiers who endured this cataclysmic event.

Among those who suffered were the people of Greater Syria-comprising modern Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, and Palestine-as well as the people of Turkey, Iraq,…

Miracle at St. Anna

By James McBride,

Book cover of Miracle at St. Anna

Gretchen McCullough Author Of Confessions of a Knight Errant: Drifters, Thieves, and Ali Baba's Treasure

From the list on rambunctious adventure tales.

Who am I?

I love humorous tales with quirky characters who find themselves in bizarre situations, especially in foreign countries. This mirrors my own experience of the world! After Brown University, I found myself teaching rowdy Egyptian girls; I resided in a converted classroom in Istanbul; and I was tamed by an eighty-year-old Spanish nun at a girls’ school in Tokyo. In my late thirties, I dropped my anchor in Lattakia, Syria, only to be tailed by the Syrian secret police. Like the character in my novel, Confessions of a Knight Errant, I returned to Cairo from Almeria, Spain where I was on a writers’ residency on January 28th, the Friday of Rage, of the Egyptian uprising, 2011. 

Gretchen's book list on rambunctious adventure tales

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

Why did Gretchen love this book?

This summer I visited Fort Davis, Texas and learned about the “buffalo” soldiers who were stationed there in the 1860s.

This was the nickname for African-American soldiers, who were separate regiments in the U.S. Army. McBride’s novel deals with a “buffalo” regiment but is set in World War II in Italy. I did not know anything about the experiences of African-American soldiers in World War II.

What I really loved about this book was the unlikely situations that a small group of African-American soldiers find themselves in a tiny village in Italy, under siege from the Germans. Despite the differences in culture and language, the soldiers find refuge and friendship with an Italian peasant, who is raising rabbits under the floorboards of his ramshackle cabin.

One of their pals saves a disturbed Italian orphan and the small group of soldiers, separated from their regiment, get sidetracked by this humanitarian mission…

By James McBride,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Miracle at St. Anna as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now a Spike Lee film, from the New York Times bestselling author of The Good Lord Bird, winner of the 2013 National Book Award for Fiction, Deacon King Kong, Five-Carat Soul, and Kill 'Em and Leave

James McBride’s powerful memoir, The Color of Water, was a groundbreaking literary phenomenon that transcended racial and religious boundaries, garnering unprecedented acclaim and topping bestseller lists for more than two years. Now McBride turns his extraordinary gift for storytelling to fiction—in a universal tale of courage and redemption inspired by a little-known historic event. In Miracle at St. Anna, toward the end of World…

Dear Aaron

By Mariana Zapata,

Book cover of Dear Aaron

L.J. Evans Author Of Branded by a Song: A Small-town, Rock-star Romance

From the list on romance with slow burns you’ll feel for days.

Who am I?

I’ve been reading and writing romance for most of my life, and I found the stories I was truly drawn to were the ones where I got to know the characters deeply and personally before they got their hard-earned happily ever after. I want to feel like not only the main characters are my new best friends, but also their friends and families. I want to live beside them as they go through this wild ride called life. So, those are the books I set out to write...stories telling about life’s ups and downs, dreams cast aside and remade, and families found along the way. Achingly heartfelt romance with resilient characters readers will adore.

L.J.'s book list on romance with slow burns you’ll feel for days

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

Why did L.J. love this book?

Anything―and I mean anything―by Mariana Zapata is an outstanding slow-burn read. Every book gives you not only a gorgeously written HEA but also laugh-out-loud humor, incredible secondary characters, and stories you’ll physically miss when you’re done. Dear Aaron is a unique read that starts with letters and ends with a heat you’ll feel in your bones.

By Mariana Zapata,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

If you loved From Lukov with Love - the sensational TikTok hit that is captivating readers all over the world - then you don't want to miss Ruby's story in Dear Aaron! No one writes slow burn like Mariana Zapata and her millions of fans agree!

'I swooned, I laughed and I loved!' reader review

'Zapata's books get better each time I read one!!' reader review

'OMG I wish I could rate this more than 5 stars I absolutely LOVED this story' reader review

'Sweet, funny and adorable' reader review

'Wow! I couldn't put this book down, yet I never…

Shatter Me

By Tahereh Mafi,

Book cover of Shatter Me

Victoria Evers Author Of Insidious: The Marked Mage Chronicles

From the list on young adult villain romance.

Who am I?

Ever found yourself rooting for the bad guy? Well, you’re not alone. As a lifelong villain-advocate since witnessing Dorothy steal the Wicked Witch’s rightful property, I have found myself lured to the Dark Side of fiction. After all, a villain is the hero of their own story. They’re flawed, uninhibited, and authentic to the core. These factors make for compelling stories and even more compelling romances. It’s what drives good characters to embrace their “shadow selves,” and it forever inspires my imagination. I mean, what’s the point in world domination if there’s no one to share it with?

Victoria's book list on young adult villain romance

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Why did Victoria love this book?

Romance may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you hear “dystopian YA meets X-Men, but don’t be fooled, especially when the villain runs part of the corrupt government and just so happens to be obsessed with our main character. After the United States has been taken over by the nefarious Resistance, protagonist Juliette hasn’t had things easy. Abandoned by her parents, locked away in an asylum, and cursed with an ability that will kill people with her very touch, she at last discovers hope and a blossoming romance with your run-of-the-mill “good guy,” Adam. But it’s the third corner of this love triangle, Warner, who will reshape Juliette’s life and leave fans begging for more.  

By Tahereh Mafi,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Stranger Things meets Shadow and Bone in this first instalment of an epic and romantic YA fantasy series - perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo, Sarah J. Maas and Victoria Aveyard. Now a TikTok phenomenon.

A fragile young teenage girl is held captive. Locked in a cell by The Reestablishment - a harsh dictatorship in charge of a crumbling world. This is no ordinary teenager. Juliette is a threat to The Reestablishment's power. A touch from her can kill - one touch is all it takes. But not only is she a threat, she is potentially the most powerful weapon…

Book cover of The War on All Fronts

Lillah Lawson Author Of So Long, Bobby

From the list on what it was like to come of age in the 60s and 90s.

Who am I?

As an author of historical fiction, I have a number of time periods that I go back to again and again. Both the 1960s (specifically, the late 1960s) and the 1990s are two of those eras that I just can’t get enough of. The parallels between these two time periods are very compelling: both were times of political upheaval and amazing music, with young people leading the charge, hoping to create a better world than the one they were disenchanted with. 

Lillah's book list on what it was like to come of age in the 60s and 90s

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Why did Lillah love this book?

A wonderful coming-of-age novel set against the tumultuous backdrop of the Vietnam War.

Two young men are lucky enough to find kindred spirits in one another and then suddenly, they are wrenched apart one off to college in Wisconsin, and the other drafted off to fight in the Vietnam War.

The two men take up a correspondence, leaning on each other and sharing their thoughts, fears, hopes, and dreams through the only avenue available to them: the written word. Their letters are a lifeline for both.

This novel is a journey through the heart and mind of two young disillusioned men who learn all about friendship and love through letters, finding themselves again through each other.

By Kim Oclon,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An LGBTQ coming of age story about fighting for someone you love, brought to life in this Vietnam War era historical fiction.

It seemed as though Anthony and Sam had just found each other, and now they were already being torn apart. Sam to college in Wisconsin; Anthony across the world fighting in the Vietnam War. Through their separate journeys, they discover themselves, and rely on the one way to share their secret together. Corresponding with secret messages, scary truths, and fears about the war, readers will follow Anthony and Sam’s path to friendship, love, and survival.

A War of Nerves

By Ben Shephard,

Book cover of A War of Nerves: Soldiers and Psychiatrists in the Twentieth Century

Matthew Parker Author Of Monte Cassino: The Hardest Fought Battle of World War II

From the list on less-well-known books about World War 2.

Who am I?

As a Brit growing up in the 1970s, I was obsessed with the Second World War as a heroic narrative and my country’s ‘Finest Hour’. Then I went out on the road and interviewed hundreds of veterans of the Battle of Monte Cassino and learned a somewhat different story…

Matthew's book list on less-well-known books about World War 2

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Why did Matthew love this book?

It was working with the author on this book that first put me on to Monte Cassino – the whole place was one massive nervous breakdown. Compassionate but utterly unsentimental, Shephard tells the story of the very different diagnoses and treatments for what was called Shell Shock, then Battle Exhaustion, then PTSD. At its heart is the military doctor’s dilemma – the incompatibility of his role as healer and his obligation to get men back to the front. Nowhere else have I read such a vivid account of the effect of combat on the minds of soldiers.

By Ben Shephard,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A War of Nerves is a history of military psychiatry in the twentieth century-an authoritative, accessible account drawing on a vast range of diaries, interviews, medical papers, and official records, from doctors as well as ordinary soldiers. It reaches back to the moment when the technologies of modern warfare and the disciplines of psychological medicine first confronted each other on the Western Front, and traces their uneasy relationship through the eras of shell-shock, combat fatigue, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

At once absorbing historical narrative and intellectual detective story, A War of Nerves weaves together the literary, medical, and military lore…

Dear John

By Susan L. Carruthers,

Book cover of Dear John: Love and Loyalty in Wartime America

Beth Bailey Author Of An Army Afire: How the US Army Confronted Its Racial Crisis in the Vietnam Era

From the list on unexpected histories of the US military.

Who am I?

I started my career as a historian of gender and sexuality, but in what I sometimes describe as a mid-career crisis I became a historian of the US Army. I love doing research in archives, piecing together the scraps of stories and conversations into a broader whole, figuring out how people made sense of the world they lived in. The books I write make arguments that I hope will be useful to other historians and to military leaders, but I also want people to enjoy reading them. 

Beth's book list on unexpected histories of the US military

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Why did Beth love this book?

This is one of those topics that seems obvious once someone writes a book about it—but Susan Carruthers is the one who recognized a topic crying out for attention, and she’s the very best person I can imagine writing this book.

She’s good at poignancy and irony and heartbreak. That may sound like a strange thing to say about a historian—she’s good at heartbreak—but she understands that history is made up of people. There’s an argument here, in addition to some absorbing stories, but she’s also asking us to stop and think: what role have Dear John letters played in America’s wars?

By Susan L. Carruthers,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Are 'Dear John' letters lethal weapons in the hands of men at war? Many US officers, servicemen, veterans, and civilians would say yes. Drawing on personal letters, oral histories, and psychiatric reports, as well as popular music and movies, Susan L. Carruthers shows how the armed forces and civilian society have attempted to weaponize romantic love in pursuit of martial ends, from World War II to today. Yet efforts to discipline feeling have frequently failed. And women have often borne the blame. This sweeping history of emotional life in wartime explores the interplay between letter-writing and storytelling, breakups and breakdowns,…

Woods Runner

By Gary Paulsen,

Book cover of Woods Runner

Elizabeth Raum Author Of A Kidnapping In Kentucky 1776

From the list on middle-grade novels about little known aspects of American history.

Who am I?

As a child in New England, I climbed over stone walls wondering about the lives of those who built them. I devoured biographies and historical fiction, but I never imagined that I'd become a writer of such books for kids 8-14. First, I became a social studies teacher and, later, a librarian. I wanted my students to read about honorable characters striving to make the best of difficult but often little-known, historical situations. I demanded reliable details, a challenging conflict, and a resolution filled with hope for a better future. That is now my goal as a writer of children's books – and as a reader. These books meet those high standards. Enjoy! 

Elizabeth's book list on middle-grade novels about little known aspects of American history

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Why did Elizabeth love this book?

What an exciting tale! I've done lots of research about life on the American frontier during the Revolutionary War, but Gary Paulsen provided information that was new to me about British attacks on small frontier villages and prison ships anchored in New York Harbor. I couldn't stop reading. The author alternated the fiction story with nonfiction segments providing further explanation. Rather than interrupt the reading, they enhanced it, elevating the excitement I felt as Samuel searched for his missing parents.

By Gary Paulsen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Samuel, 13, spends his days in the forest, hunting for food for his family. He has grown up on the frontier of a British colony, America. Far from any town, or news of the war against the King that American patriots have begun near Boston.

But the war comes to them. British soldiers and Iroquois attack. Samuel’s parents are taken away, prisoners. Samuel follows, hiding, moving silently, determined to find a way to rescue them. Each day he confronts the enemy, and the tragedy and horror of this war. But he also discovers allies, men and women working secretly for…

Days Without End

By Sebastian Barry,

Book cover of Days Without End

Larry Mellman Author Of The Man With Sapphire Eyes

From the list on historical fiction with a twist.

Who am I?

I have always loved historical fiction as a reader, but my passion to write it caught fire during the years I lived in Venice, Italy, when I discovered the curious institution of the ballot boy within the Byzantine complexities of the thousand-year Venetian Republic. Since ballot boys were randomly chosen over a period of six hundred years, choosing my particular Doge and ballot boy required a survey of the entire field before I circled in on Venice, 1368, IMHO the peak brilliance of that maritime empire. It is a peculiarity of history that the names of all 130 doges of Venice are recorded, but none of their ballot boys are mentioned. The challenge was irresistible. 

Larry's book list on historical fiction with a twist

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Why did Larry love this book?

Barry, Irish, conjures a vision of the Civil War era American West that redefines the American experience.

A young Irish refugee fleeing the Great Famine which has wiped out his family, ends up in Missouri where he hooks up with another orphan and a lifelong love affair begins. The two boys survive by dressing as girls and entertaining at the local saloon in a town low on women.

As soon as they are old enough, they escape into the army, fighting in the Indian and Civil Wars, always together despite the amazing and terrible things that happen, steadfast in their love and their indomitable will to survive the crazy hand life has dealt them.    

By Sebastian Barry,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Days Without End as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?



"A true leftfield wonder: Days Without End is a violent, superbly lyrical western offering a sweeping vision of America in the making."—Kazuo Ishiguro, Booker Prize winning author of The Remains of the Day and The Buried Giant

From the two-time Man Booker Prize finalist Sebastian Barry, “a master storyteller” (Wall Street Journal), comes a powerful new novel of duty and family set against the American Indian and Civil Wars

Thomas McNulty, aged barely seventeen and having fled the Great Famine in Ireland, signs up for the…