The best World War 2 books 📚

Browse the best books on World War 2 as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

War Brides: A Novel

War Brides: A Novel

By Lois Battle

Why this book?

War Brides is a work of historical fiction that explores the lives of five young women from differing backgrounds who meet in a small English village in 1939. I love World War II stories about ordinary people on the Homefront. Despite a slightly misleading title, I was drawn to the strong characters who face the horrors surrounding them with the unwavering support of one another. Bryan has done extensive research into the time period and the traumatic effect the war had on British citizens. What sets this story apart is the inspiring friendship the women develop that endures over time…
From the list:

The best books on women during WW2

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Rising Sun, Falling Skies: The disastrous Java Sea Campaign of World War II

Rising Sun, Falling Skies: The disastrous Java Sea Campaign of World War II

By Jeffrey Cox

Why this book?

Perceptions of the first several months of World War II in the Pacific war usually focus on Douglas MacArthur’s actions in the Philippines. Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy and its British, Dutch, and Australian allies waged a largely unsung and losing battle against the Japanese onslaught to control the natural resources of the Netherlands East Indies. Rising Sun, Falling Skies scrutinizes the learning curve of allied command, the hopelessness of facing numerical superiority, and the grim awakening that airpower plays a decisive role no matter how powerful the fleet. Cox’s portraits of admirals Thomas Hart and Karl Doorman beg a host…

From the list:

The best books on naval battles in WW2

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The Long Road Home: The Aftermath of the Second World War

The Long Road Home: The Aftermath of the Second World War

By Ben Shephard

Why this book?

The greatest challenge to the Allies in the aftermath of the war in Europe was how to repatriate the millions of people from all countries who had been displaced by the violence. This included prisoners of war, Holocaust survivors, and eastern European slave laborers, many of whom no longer had homes or even countries to return to. For several years after 1945, the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration ran the greatest humanitarian operation Europe has ever seen. They not only fed, clothed, and housed millions of refugees but gave them hope for a better future. Ben Shephard’s history of…

From the list:

The best books on the immediate aftermath of World War 2

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The Book of Lost Names

The Book of Lost Names

By Kristin Harmel

Why this book?

Again, inspired by a true story, The Book of Lost Names is an astonishing novel about a young Polish-French woman who risks her life forging identity documents for Jewish children. I’m a sucker for books about people helping people, and even more so when it has to do with kids. This story will rip your heart to pieces and then sew it back together again. It’s a testament to love and sacrifice. A beautiful page-turner with secrets and turns and all the fixings of a great novel.

From the list:

The best books on remarkable women in WW2

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Ghost Soldiers: The Epic Account of World War II's Greatest Rescue Mission

Ghost Soldiers: The Epic Account of World War II's Greatest Rescue Mission

By Hampton Sides

Why this book?

I only had to read the headline to know this was the book for me. The Americans handpicked 121 soldiers to slip behind enemy lines in the Philippines. Their mission seemed impossible; another reason I chose this book. It was to march thirty miles in rugged terrain, and at the end, rescue over 500 POWs, amongst them the last survivors of the Bataan Death March.

I recommend this book because it engrossed me from page one to the last. The realistic imagery depicting how the prisoners lived in the camp, how they bonded together, and survived despite starvation, tropical diseases,…

From the list:

The best books about the Second World War

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Winston's War

Winston's War

By Sir Max Hastings

Why this book?

Churchill is perhaps best remembered for his bulldog premiership during the Second World War. Max Hasting’s excellent study graphically portrays the enormous political and strategic stresses and strains endured by Churchill. Coalition warfare was one of vigorously competing interests and Hastings shows how Churchill achieved a quite remarkable juggling act.

From the list:

The best books on Winston Churchill

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