World War II Books

Recommended WWII Books to Read

Pre-War

The Battle for Spain: The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939, Antony Beevor

The Hundred Day Winter War: Finland’s Gallant Stand Against the Soviet Army, Gordon F. Sander

A Frozen Hell: The Russo-Finnish Winter War of 1939-1940, William Trotter

Flying Tigers, Daniel Ford

The Trial of Adolf Hitler: The Beer Hall Putsch and the Rise of Nazi Germany, David King

Overview/”Big Picture”

National Geographic’s Atlas of World War II, Neil Kagan and Stephan Hyslop

National Geographic’s The Secret History of World War II: Spies, Code Breakers and Covert Operations, Neil Kagan and Stephan Hyslop

The Oxford Illustrated History of the Third Reich, Robert Gellately

The Third Reich at War, Richard J. Evans

The Liberation Trilogy, Rick Atkinson

*An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943

*The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944

*The Guns at Last Light : The War in Western Europe, 1944-1945

Deadly Sky: The American Combat Airman in World War II, John C. McManus

The Pacific Trilogy, Ian W. Toll

*Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942

*The Conquering Tide: War in the Pacific Islands, 1942-1944

*Twilight of the Gods: War in the Western Pacific 1944-1945

Leadership

Winston’s War: Churchill, 1940-1945, Max Hastings

The Supreme Commander; the War Years of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Stephen E. Ambrose

The Generals; Patton, MacArthur, Marshall and the Winning of World War II, Winston Groom

Monty and Rommel; Parallel Lives, Peter Caddick-Adams

Patton and Rommel: Men of War in the Twentieth Century, Dennis Showalter

Panzer Leader, General Heinz Guderian, Introduction by Kenneth Macksey

Panzer Commander: The Memoirs of Colonel Hans von Luck, Introduction by Stephen E. Ambrose

The Rommel Papers, Edited by B.H. Liddel-Hart

The Memoirs of Field-Marshal Kesselring, Forward by Kenneth Macksey

George Marshall: A Biography, Debi and Irwin Unger (Note: U.S. General)

Mussolini and Hitler: The Forging of the Fascist Alliance, Christian Goeschel

Memoirs: Ten Years and Twenty Days, Grand Admiral Karl Doenitz, Forward by John Toland, Introduction by Jurgen Rohwer

The First and The Last, Adolf Galland (Note: Luftwaffe General)

So Sad to Fall in Battle: An Account of War Based on General Tadamichi Kuribayashi’s Letters from Iwo Jima, Edited by Kakehasi Kumiko

Tapping Hitler’s Generals; Transcripts of Secret Conversations, 1942-1945, Sonke Neitzel

Arsenal of Democracy

Freedom’s Forge: How American Business Produced Victory in WWII, Arthur Herman

Engineers of Victory; the Problem Solvers Who Turned the Tide in the Second World War, Paul Kennedy

Battle of the Atlantic/Europe/North Africa

The Irregulars; Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in War Time Washington, Jennet Conant

Operation Drumbeat; the Dramatic Story of Germany’s First U-Boat Attacks Along the American Coast in World War II, Michael Gannon

The Battle of the Atlantic: How the Allies Won the War, Jonathan Dimbleby

Very Special Intelligence; the Story of the Admiralty’s Operational Intelligence Center, 1939-1945, Patrick Beesly

Case Red: The Collapse of France, Robert Forczyk

The Battle of Britain: Five Months That Changed History; May-October 1940, James Holland

Crete 1941: The Battle and Resistance, Antony Beevor

The Allies Strike Back 1941-1943, James Holland

The Star of Africa: The Story of Hans Marseille, Colin D. Heaton and Anne Marie Lewis (Note: German Fighter Ace)

Iron Hulls, Iron Hearts: Mussolini’s Elite Armored Divisions in North Africa, Ian W. Walker

Pendulum of War: The Three Battles of El Alamein, Niall Barr

Patton’s First Victory: How General George Patton Turned the Tide in North Africa and Defeated the Afrika Korps at El Guettar, Led Barron

Italian Campaign

And No Birds Sang, Farley Mowat (Note: Biography of Canadian Soldier in Italian Campaign)

The Liberator: One WWII Soldiers 500-Day Odyssey from the Beaches of Sicily to the Gates of Dachau, Alex Kershaw

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

Anzio: Italy and the Battle for Rome-1944, LLoyd Clark

Honor Before Glory: The Epic World War II Story of the Japanese-American GIs Who Rescued the Lost Battalion, Scott Mc Gough

The Last Ridge: The Epic Story of the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division and the Assault on Hitler’s Europe, McKay Jenkins

A Memoir: One Soldier’s Story, Bob Dole

Normandy and Beyond

Six Armies at Normandy: From D-Day to the Liberation of Paris – June,6-August, 5, 1944, John Keegan

The Dead and Those About to Die; D-Day – The Big Red One at Omaha Beach, John C. McManus

Omaha Beach, Joseph Balkoski (Note: 29th Infantry Division)

The Americans at Normandy: The Summer of 1944-The American War from the Normandy Beaches to Falaise, John C. McManus

Closing with the Enemy; How GIs Fought the War in Europe, 1944-1945, Michael D. Doubler

A Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler’s Eagles Nest, Stephen E. Ambrose

Sons and Soldiers: The Untold Story of the Jews Who Escaped the Nazis and Returned with the U.S. Army to Fight Hitler, Bruce Henderson

Brave Men, Ernie Pyle, Introduction by G. Kurt Piehler

Brothers in Arms: One Legendary Tank Regiment’s Bloody War from D-Day to VE-Day, James Holland

The Best Little Army in the World: The Canadians in Northwest Europe, 1944-1945, J.C. Granatstein

September Hope; the American Side of a Bridge Too Far, John C. McManus (Note: Operation Market Garden)

The Wild Blue: The Men and Boys Who Flew the B-24’s Over Germany 1944-1945, Stephen E. Ambrose

The Battle of the Hurtgen Forest, Charles B. Mac Donald

Alamo in the Ardennes, John C. Mc Manus

Company Commander: The Classic Infantry Memoir of World War II – From the Battle of the Bulge to the Rhine, Charles B. Mac Donald

Spearhead: An American Tank Gunner, His Enemy and a Collision of Lives in World War II, Adam Makos

Berlin: The Downfall 1945, Antony Beevor

The Eastern Front

Panzer Ace: The Memoirs of an Iron Cross Panzer Commander from Barbarossa to Normandy, Richard Freiherr vonRosen

Ivan’s War: Life and Death in the Red Army, 1939-1945, Catherine Merridale

Barbarossa Through German Eyes: The Biggest Invasion in History, Jonathan Trigg

Stalingrad, Antony Beevor

The Unwomanly Face of War, Svetlana Alexievich (Note: Soviet Female Snipers)

The Forgotten Soldier: The Classic WWII Auto-Biography, Guy Sajer (Note: German Soldier)

War on the Eastern Front: The German Soldier in Russia, 1941-1945, James Lucas

Death of the Wehrmacht: the German Campaigns of 1942, Robert M. Citino

Armor and Blood; the Battle of Kursk, Dennis Showalter (Note: July/Aug, 1943)

Armageddon: The Battle for Germany 1944-1945, Max Hastings

The Pacific Theater

The Pacific War Companion: From Pearl Harbor to Hiroshima, Edited by Daniel Marston

Soldiers of the Sun: The Rise and Fall of the Imperial Japanese Army, Meiron and Susie Harries

The Defense and Fall of Singapore, Brian P. Farrell

Fire and Fortitude: The U.S. Army in the Pacific War, 1941-1943, John C. Mc Manus

Touched with Fire: The Land War in the Pacific, Eric Bergerud

A Bastard of a Place: The Australians in Papua, Peter Brune (Note: New Guinea)

Helmet for My Pillow: From Paris Island to the Pacific, Robert Leckie

The Battle of Midway: The Naval Institute’s Guide to the U.S. Navy’s Greatest Victory, Edited by Thomas C. Hone

Race of Aces: WWII’s Elite Airmen and the Epic Battle to be Masters of the Sky, John R. Bruning

The War Below: The Story of Three Submarines That Battled Japan, James M. Scott

Implacable Foes: War in the Pacific, 1944-1945, Waldo Heinrichs and Marc Gallicchio

The Fleet at Flood Tide: America at Total War in the Pacific 1944-1945, James D. Hornfischer

Burma ’44: The Battle that Turned Britain’s War in the East, James Holland

The Last Lieutenant: A Foxhole View of the Epic Battle of Iwo Jima, John C. Shively

With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa, E.B. Sledge

Into the Rising Sun: World War II’s Pacific Veterans Reveal the Heart of Combat, Patrick K. O’Donnell

Rampage: MacArthur, Yamashita, and the Battle of Manila, James M. Scott

Retribution: The Battle for Japan 1944-1945, Max Hastings

The Bomber Mafia: A Dream, A Temptation, and the Longest Night of the Second World War, Malcolm Gladwell

Black Snow: Curtis Lemay, the Fire Bombing of Tokyo, and the Road to the Atomic Bomb, James M. Scott

The Holocaust

Hitler’s Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust, Daniel Jonah Goldhagen

The Perpetrators: The World of the Holocaust Killers, Guenter Lewy

Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland, Christopher Browning

I Will Bear Witness, 1933-1941: A Diary of the Nazi Years, Victor Klemperer, Translated by Martin Chalmers

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank (Note: First Published in 1947)

Night, Elie Wiesel

The Nuremberg Trial, Ann and John Tusa

For “Deep Dives”/In-Depth Research

Blood and Ruins: The Last Imperial War, 1931-1945, Richard Overy

The Allure of Battle, Cathal Nolan (Note: Covers many historical periods; excellent discussion of WWII strategy and operational campaigns)

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany, William Shirer

(Note: First Published in 1961, 1,280 pages)

The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy, Adam Tooze

Hitler’s Generals, Edited by Correlli Barnett

Retreat from Moscow: A New History of Germany’s Winter Campaign, 1941-1942, David Stahel

Where the Iron Crosses Grow: The Crimea 1941-44, Robert Forczyk

A Time for Trumpets: The Untold Story of the Battle of the Bulge, Charles B. MacDonald

Sunburst: The Rise of Japanese Naval Air Power, 1909-1941, Mark R. Peattie

Guadalcanal: The Definitive Account of the Landmark Battle, Richard B. Frank

Neptune’s Inferno: The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal, James D. Hornfischer

The Battle for China: Essays on the Military History of the Sino-Japanese War of 1937-1945, Edited by Mark R. Peattie

Tower of Skulls: A History of the Asia-Pacific War, July, 1937-May, 1942, Richard B. Frank