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Best World War 2 Books

Dive into history with the top World War 2 books, aggregating insights from respected sources to bring you the most recommended reads on this pivotal era.

Recommendations from 58 articles, Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Richard Branson and 57 others.
Best World War 2 Books
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The Book Thief book cover
The Book Thief
Markus Zusak - 2006-03-14 (first published in 2005)
Goodreads Rating
In Nazi Germany, a young girl falls in love with books and words. From stealing books from book burnings to the mayor's wife's library, Liesel's love affair with literature blooms with the help of her foster father. But when her family hides a Jew in their basement, the danger intensifies. Markus Zusak's superbly crafted writing tells a timeless story of love and loss in a tumultuous era.
All the Light We Cannot See book cover
All the Light We Cannot See
A Novel
Anthony Doerr - 2014-01-01
Goodreads Rating
Set against the backdrop of World War II, this beautiful and moving novel follows the intertwined lives of a blind French girl and a German boy. When Marie-Laure and her father must flee Paris for the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, they carry with them a valuable and dangerous jewel from the Museum of Natural History. Meanwhile, Werner Pfennig grows up enchanted by a radio he finds in a mining town in Germany, and becomes enlisted to track down the resistance. As their paths converge, they must try to be good to each other in the midst of the devastation of war. With stunning detail and captivating prose, this National Book Award finalist is a must-read for lovers of historical fiction.
The Nightingale book cover
The Nightingale
A Novel
Kristin Hannah - 2015-02-03
Goodreads Rating
Set in WWII France, The Nightingale follows the stories of two sisters who embark on their own dangerous paths towards survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France. Vianne and Isabelle's lives take different turns during the war, but both must make impossible choices to stay alive. Kristin Hannah's heartbreakingly beautiful novel illuminates the rarely seen stories of women's war and celebrates the resilience and durability of the human spirit. It's a novel for everyone, a must-read for a lifetime.
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas book cover
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
John Boyne - 2006-09-12
Goodreads Rating
Take a journey with a nine-year-old boy named Bruno, but beware of the fence he eventually reaches - one you hope to never have to cross. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is a difficult story to describe, with a mystery that makes it best to start without any prior knowledge. Although not written for nine-year-olds, this tale will capture anyone's heart.
Code Name Verity book cover
Code Name Verity
Elizabeth Wein - 2012-02-06
Goodreads Rating
Set in Nazi-occupied France, this gripping novel follows a British spy plane crash that leaves its pilot and passenger, best friends, in a game of survival. One is arrested by the Gestapo and faces a life-or-death choice: reveal her mission or be executed. As she weaves her confession, the story reveals the girls' past and the strength of friendship. This harrowing and beautifully written novel will keep you on edge until the very end.
Night book cover
Elie Wiesel - 2006-01-16 (first published in 1956)
Goodreads Rating
A powerful memoir, Night delves into the memories of Elie Wiesel, a Jewish teenager taken from his home and sent to concentration camps during WWII. Wiesel recounts the anguish of losing his family and his faith, and his despair in coming face to face with the unimaginable evil of humanity. This moving and unforgettable testimony serves as a stark reminder of the need to fight against such atrocities ever occurring again.
The Diary Of A Young Girl book cover
The Diary Of A Young Girl
Anne Frank - 1993-07-01 (first published in 1947)
Goodreads Rating
Discover a world classic and timeless testament to the human spirit in this extraordinary diary, written by a teenage girl who hid with her family from Nazis for two years in Amsterdam. With new passages originally withheld by her father, meet Anne Frank: stubbornly honest, touchingly vulnerable, in love with life, and facing hunger, fear, death, and frustrations few teenagers have ever known. Explore her secret world of soul-searching, rebellious clashes, romance, newly discovered sexuality, and candid observations of companions. Imparting adult wisdom beyond her years, Anne's story is that of every teenager.
The Complete Maus book cover
The Complete Maus
Art Spiegelman - 2003-10-02 (first published in 1980)
Goodreads Rating
The Complete Maus is a captivating graphic novel that tells the story of Vladek Spiegelman and his wife's survival during Hitler's Europe. Through the use of cartoons, the author conveys the everyday struggles and fear of the Holocaust while exploring the emotional journey of guilt, relief, and survival. This contemporary classic sheds light on how the trials of survivors affect their children and is of immeasurable significance.
Stalingrad book cover
The Fateful Siege
Antony Beevor - 1999-05-01 (first published in 1998)
Goodreads Rating
Discover the story of the Battle of Stalingrad, the psychological turning point of World War II that changed modern warfare forever. Historian Antony Beevor's Stalingrad is hailed as the definitive account of this harrowing battle where Hitler's Sixth Army met the city bearing Stalin's name, engaging in a five-month siege that cost over a million lives. Beevor's interviews with survivors and his findings in multiple archives provide unparalleled insight into the horror experienced by soldiers and civilians alike. From cruelty to courage to unimaginable human suffering, Stalingrad provides an unforgettable look at the human cost of war.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society book cover
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Mary Ann Shaffer - 2018-07-10 (first published in 2008)
Goodreads Rating
Discover an eccentric world of book lovers in the aftermath of WWII with a remarkable conversation in letters. Join Juliet Ashton as she discovers the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, a book club born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi for breaking curfew under German occupation. As she learns about the impact of the war on the Society's members, she finds herself drawn to the story of Elizabeth and sets sail for Guernsey, changing her life forever. A celebration of the written word in all its guises, this debut novel is a collaboration between Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.
Hiroshima by John Hersey
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr
The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
Band of Brothers by Stephen E. Ambrose
Code Name Hélène by Ariel Lawhon
A Woman of No Importance by Sonia Purnell
If This Is a Man and The Truce by Primo Levi
The Unwomanly Face of War by Svetlana Alexievich
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
The Longest Day by Cornelius Ryan
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer
Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff
The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
The Huntress by Kate Quinn
Atonement by Ian McEwan
The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
City of Thieves by David Benioff
With the Old Breed by E. B. Sledge
Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett
Madame Fourcade's Secret War by Lynne Olson
Code Name by Larry Loftis
The Girls of Atomic City by Denise Kiernan
Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan
Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan
The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel
An Army at Dawn by Rick Atkinson
Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
Good Night, Mr. Tom by Michelle Magorian
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter
The Day of Battle by Rick Atkinson
Mila 18 by Leon Uris
Ghost Soldiers by Hampton Sides
Guadalcanal Diary by Richard Tregaskis
The Women with Silver Wings by Katherine Sharp Landdeck
Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith
The Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel
In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson
The Guns at Last Light by Rick Atkinson
The Rose Code by Kate Quinn
Pacific Crucible by Ian W. Toll
The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult
The Good War by Studs Terkel
Normandy '44 by James Holland
Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan
The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk
Irena's Children by Tilar J. Mazzeo
Enemy at the Gates by William Craig
The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang
The Second World War by John Keegan
The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles
The Chosen by Chaim Potok
Jackdaws by Ken Follett
The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan
Once by Morris Gleitzman
The Bomber Mafia by Malcolm Gladwell
Eagle Against the Sun by Ronald Spector
Lion and the Unicorn by Shirley Hughes
D-Day Girls by Sarah Rose
Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston
The Night Watch by Sarah Waters
Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman
Last Witnesses by Svetlana Alexievich
The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson
The Conquering Tide by Ian W. Toll
A Woman in Berlin by Anonymous
Black Cross by Greg Iles
Flags of Our Fathers by James Bradley
I Survived the Nazi Invasion, 1944 by Lauren Tarshis
The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
The Admirals by Walter R. Borneman
Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner
La carte postale by Anne Berest
Purple Hearts by Michael Grant
Anne Frank by Scholastic Inc.
Churchill by Andrew Roberts
To Hell and Back by Audie Murphy
Schindler's List by Thomas Keneally
The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn
The Lost Letter by Jillian Cantor
The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer