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Best Books About War

Discover the most compelling narratives and insightful analyses of warfare with this collection of the best books about war, as collated from leading book publications and blogs, and ranked by their frequency of recommendation.

Recommendations from 42 articles, Barack Obama, Donald Trump, Bill Gates and 82 others.
90 books on the list
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All Quiet on the Western Front book cover
All Quiet on the Western Front
A Novel
Erich Maria Remarque - 1987-01-01 (first published in 1928)
Goodreads Rating
"Experience the raw emotions of war through the eyes of a young soldier. Set in 1914, a group of German schoolboys eagerly embark on a patriotic journey to fight for their country. However, as they enter the trenches, they soon face the brutal reality of war. Follow the story of one soldier as he encounters the heart-wrenching loss of his comrades and the crushing disillusionment that comes with war. A powerful and poignant tale of youth, sacrifice, and hope."
The Things They Carried book cover
The Things They Carried
Tim O'Brien - 1998-12-29 (first published in 1990)
Goodreads Rating
This book takes readers on a journey through the lives of characters affected by the Vietnam War. Through a collection of fictional episodes, the story explores the childhoods of these characters, their time in the jungles of Vietnam, and their return to America twenty years later. The author's unique vision is showcased, making this both a compelling and thought-provoking read.
Recommended by
Caroline Paul
War and Peace book cover
War and Peace
Leo Tolstoy - 1998-06-25 (first published in 1867)
Goodreads Rating
This epic historical novel, set in 19th-century Russia, follows the lives of three young people - Pierre, Andrey, and Natasha - as they navigate love and loss against the backdrop of Napoleon's invasion. From aristocrats to peasants, soldiers to Napoleon himself, War and Peace weaves together a vivid tapestry of human life. Tolstoy expertly tackles themes of conflict, free will, and faith, crafting a magnificent tale of imperfection and grandeur. This beautiful, clothbound Penguin Classics edition features a superb translation by Anthony Briggs and an afterword by Orlando Figes, providing readers with a truly unforgettable reading experience.
Slaughterhouse-Five book cover
A Novel (Modern Library 100 Best Novels)
Kurt Vonnegut - 1999-01-12 (first published in 1969)
Goodreads Rating
This satirical novel explores World War II experiences and journeys through time of a chaplain's assistant, highlighting the firebombing of Dresden in a semi-autobiographical story. It is a highly influential and popular work from the author.
The Art of War book cover
The Art of War
Sun Tzu - 2005-01-11 NaN
Goodreads Rating
A timeless masterpiece on military strategy based on ancient Chinese warfare and thought, The Art of War has been adapted for use in politics, business, and everyday life. Widely read and respected for centuries, this book provides tactics and insights that help gain advantage over opponents, whether in the boardroom or on the battlefield.
Homage to Catalonia book cover
Homage to Catalonia
George Orwell - 1980-10-22 (first published in 1938)
Goodreads Rating
Join George Orwell on a journey documenting his experiences of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, where he transitioned from a reporter to a participant in the fight against Fascists. With an introduction by Lionel Trilling, this is a famous account of the war and Orwell's first-hand experiences.
The Civil War book cover
The Civil War
A Narrative
Shelby Foote - 1986-11-12 (first published in 1958)
Goodreads Rating
Experience the Civil War like never before in this remarkable narrative. From epic battles like Bull Run and Antietam to smaller clashes at Ball's Bluff and Island Ten, this comprehensive work covers it all. But what sets it apart is the engaging storytelling style that puts you in the shoes of those who lived through the conflict. With exhaustive research from the author, this first volume is a must-read for history buffs and anyone interested in America's bloodiest war.
A Rumor of War book cover
A Rumor of War
The Classic Vietnam Memoir (40th Anniversary Edition)
Philip Caputo - 2017-08-01 (first published in 1977)
Goodreads Rating
A Vietnam War memoir that is a renowned classic in the literature of wars throughout history. It shattered America's indifference to the fate of the men sent to fight in the jungles of Vietnam. The author's experience serving on the line for 16 months will leave you emotionally wasted but enlightened on the things men do in war and the things war does to them. Recently featured in the PBS documentary series The Vietnam War by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick.
Catch-22 book cover
50th Anniversary Edition
Joseph Heller - 2004-09-04 (first published in 1961)
Goodreads Rating
Set during World War II, this novel follows U.S. Army Air Forces Captain John Yossarian and his fellow airmen stationed on a Mediterranean Sea island. With a focus on Yossarian's struggle to maintain his sanity while fulfilling his service requirements, this book offers a raw look at the realities of war.
The Guns of August book cover
The Guns of August
Barbara W. Tuchman - 2009-07-22 (first published in 1962)
Goodreads Rating
Discover the fascinating events and people that led to World War I with this Pulitzer Prize-winning book. The author, Barbara Tuchman, provides intricate details and an expert understanding of the subject that will leave readers captivated. Throughout this historical survey, Tuchman reveals how the war started, why it began, and how it could have been prevented. THE GUNS OF AUGUST offers an engaging perspective on a critical moment in world history that is not to be missed.
With the Old Breed by E. B. Sledge
Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
The Unwomanly Face of War by Svetlana Alexievich
Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford
Empire of the Sun by J. G. Ballard
Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Good-Bye to All That by Robert Graves
For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
If This Is a Man and The Truce by Primo Levi
Stalingrad by Antony Beevor
Rise and Kill First by Ronen Bergman
The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson
Generation Kill by Evan Wright
The Fiery Trial by Eric Foner
Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant by Ulysses S. Grant
The Forever War by Dexter Filkins
1776 by David McCullough
The Campaigns of Alexander by Arrian
Regeneration by Pat Barker
Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
The Diary Of A Young Girl by Anne Frank
The Cold War by Odd Arne Westad
Beyond the Wall by Katja Hoyer
The Cutting-Off Way by Wayne E. Lee
The Civil War of 1812 by Alan Taylor
The War of 1812 by Donald R Hickey
Confronting Saddam Hussein by Melvyn P. Leffler
The Gates of Europe by Serhii Plokhy
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
X Troop by Leah Garrett
Ulysses S. Grant by Ulysses S. Grant
Autumn of Glory by Thomas Lawrence Connelly
1812 by George C Daughan
Army of the Heartland by Thomas Lawrence Connelly
Marching Home by Brian Matthew Jordan
The Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1864 by Gary W. Gallagher
The Last Battle of Winchester by Scott C. Patchan
With Sheridan Up The Shenandoah Valley in 1864 by James E Taylor
From Winchester to Cedar Creek by Jeffry D. Wert
Of Age by Frances M. Clarke, Rebecca Jo Plant
Night by Elie Wiesel
No Right to an Honest Living by Jacqueline Jones
Defend The Valley by Margaretta Barton Colt
Conquering the Valley by Robert K. Krick
Churchill by Andrew Roberts
Battle Cry of Freedom by James M. McPherson
First light by Geoffrey Wellum
A Peace to End All Peace by David Fromkin
WAR by Sebastian Junger
The Face of Battle by John Keegan
The Fire and the Darkness by Sinclair McKay
Robert Oppenheimer by Ray Monk
Searching for Black Confederates by Kevin M. Levin
Fire and Steel by Peter Caddick-Adams
Shenandoah 1862 by Peter Cozzens
In the Presence of Mine Enemies by Edward L. Ayers
White Sun War by Major General Mick Ryan
The Thin Light of Freedom by Edward L. Ayers
The Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1862 by Gary W. Gallagher
The Second Battle of Winchester by Eric J. Wittenberg, Scott L. Mingus
Three Days in the Shenandoah by Ecelbarger
The Odyssey of Homer by Homer
Planning for Protraction by Iskander Rehman
Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
1812 by Walter R. Borneman
The Landmark Thucydides by Thucydides
Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T. E. Lawrence
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain
The Quiet American by Graham Greene
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
Slavery and Freedom in the Shenandoah Valley During the Civil War Era by Jonathan Noyalas
Arms of the Future, The by Jack Watling
Men At Arms by Evelyn Waugh
The Burning by John L. Heatwole
Chip War by Chris Miller
The Civil War Journal of Mary Greenhow Lee by Mary Greenhow Lee