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Customer Discussions > Historical Fiction forum

Historical Fiction WWII

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Showing 1-25 of 267 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 18, 2008, 3:39:04 PM PDT
My favorite novels are in the WWII era in the genre of Winds of War. I like to read about the people and their struggles, the Holocaust, etc., and not necessarily the battles. If you have favorite books about this era, please send list.

In reply to an earlier post on May 18, 2008, 5:05:38 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 18, 2008, 6:55:30 PM PDT
KOMET says:
Hi Elizabeth,

I was delighted to see this new forum topic today, for I am highly fascinated with historical fiction centered around the Second World War.

Here are some of my recommendations for some exciting and intriguing Second World War historical fiction...

1) THE CRUEL SEA - Nicholas Monsarrat

One of THE BEST novels I've ever read - PERIOD. Chronicles the life of a crew of a Royal Navy corvette during the Second World War.

2) LOVE FOR AN ENEMY - Alexander Fullerton
Describes the combat experiences of a Royal Navy submarine crew in the Mediterranean against the Germans and Italians during 1941

By the way, Alexander Fullerton is a WWII veteran of the Royal Navy, having served on both surface vessels and on submarine duty in the Far East.

Furthermore, Fullerton also penned the following six (6) WWII high action novels (the Nicholas Everard WWII Series) ...

"Nick Everard, in a crippled destroyer, joins forces with his son and the Allied flotilla, as all converge off of Norway in a deadly arctic battle."

"Everard finds himself at the mercy of the German bombers. Carnarvon sinks with his son on board. Back in Alexandria, Nick must lift an Australian medical unit out from under German noses."

"1942: The Japanese sweep across the Pacific, a handful of Allied ships prepare to defend Java; Nicholas Everard, commander of the cruiser Defiant, seems doomed. His escape routes are blocked. Can he avoid being trapped?"

"In the central Mediterranean, Paul Everard in the submarine Ultra is concerned not only about fighting Germans, but also about his father, Nick, captain of a cruiser in the Pacific where Japanese naval superiority reigns."

"1942: Nick Everard, aboard the Harbinger, escorts a slow convoy through ferocious U-boat packs. Meanwhile, in Sicily, Paul is part of risky Allied machinations, while Jack is a fugitive POW."

"Paul commands a midget sub, sent on a suicide mission to lay explosives on a German destroyer. Meanwhile, Nick's escort of an Arctic convoy goes terribly wrong."

All of these novels have compelling characters set amidst dramatic events.

10) THE LEVANT TRILOGY - Olivia Manning

Takes place during the war from an Egypt under threat of Axis occupation to Syria and Palestine. Features Guy Pringle, a British leftist intellectual employed by the British government, his wife, and a cross section of the British social set in the Middle East.

11) SHE GOES TO WAR - Edith Pargeter (aka Ellis Peters)
Originally published in 1942 - centered around a relationship between Catherine Saxon (who has left her journalism job to join the Woman's Royal Naval Service in 1940) and Tom Lyddon, a man with whom she establishes an immediate affinity before he is shipped overseas.

In reply to an earlier post on May 18, 2008, 7:13:21 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 18, 2008, 7:14:29 PM PDT
Hi Elizabeth.

I too like stories set in this era. So much so I wrote one myself, LOL.
I read a lot of UK authors who write of the families struggling to cope at home in England in those trying times.
Try Amazon Uk for good WWII stories of family life.
There are a several WWII listmanias.
Here's two- (copy and paste the whole link)


I have a list of UK authors on my website which lists historical authors including those who write in the WWII era.

Good luck.

In reply to an earlier post on May 19, 2008, 6:30:21 AM PDT
Lisochka says:
Hello, I am enthralled w/ historical fiction set during WWII... probably because my mother was born the daughter of slave labor in Germany in 1943. Anyways, I fell in LOVE w/ SUITE FRANCAISE by Irene Nemirovsky. She makes you feel as if you were fleeing Paris w/ the Parisians with the Nazis hot on your heels. She was sent to the concentration camps & gassed, so the book was never completely finished. But what she has written is fabulous, all the more so considering it was only her first draft that was done before she was shipped off.
~Lisa McC

In reply to an earlier post on May 19, 2008, 10:47:32 AM PDT
JW says:
My father was in Great Britain during WW II and both fiction and non fiction stories about the war have held fascination for me. I would recomend some oldies but goodies:
Hermon Wouk's WINDS OF WAR and WAR AND REMBERANCE. This was made into a mini series which was pretty fair but, not as good as the books.

Also Leon Uris' MILA 18, BATTLE CRY, and EXODUS. EXODUS is post WWII but a lot of historical flashback and not for the faint of heart.

A more recent and fascinating book by Robert Harris is ENIGMA. This book gives a lot of information about the attempts to ship goods to Great Britain by sea and how ships were being destroyed by German submarines until the Enigma (a decoder) was found on a captured submarine. The Enigma was taken to Benchly Hall where most of the story takes place.

Another good book is SHADOW DIVERS. It is non-fiction about divers who look for and locate a downed german submarine off of the US East Coast. It was a thrilling as any spy novel but has come under fire for "embellishing" the accomplishments of the divers. It is still a very good read loaded with information.

In reply to an earlier post on May 19, 2008, 11:24:41 AM PDT
Lisochka says:
Elizabeth, I just looked up some books that I read last year, based on recommendation from my local librarian, who is well aware that I prefer WWII fiction. The best ones were "Sarah's Key" by Tatiana deRosnay and "Those who save us" by Jenna Blum. Hard to put both of them down. Bittersweet. But above all, "Suite Francaise" is far superior. Hope you enjoy them all.


In reply to an earlier post on May 19, 2008, 2:42:46 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 19, 2008, 2:43:56 PM PDT
A Listener says:
Try the historic spy novels of Alan Furst. They are set just before and during WWII. "Night Soldiers", "Dark Star", "Kingdom Of Shadows", and others.
Also, W.E.B. Griffin's series, "The Corps", beginning with "Semper Fi". The books are more about the people than the battles. The characters are well-drawn, and interesting.
A classic is "Mister Roberts", by Thomas Heggen.

In reply to an earlier post on May 20, 2008, 5:47:41 AM PDT
Tim Hanson says:
Try "The Right Kind of war", "Battle Cry", "South to Java","The Cruel Sea"

In reply to an earlier post on May 20, 2008, 7:00:39 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 20, 2008, 7:06:43 PM PDT
A Listener says:
Further thoughts:
"From Here To Eternity", by James Jones.
"Shore Leave", by Frederick Wakeman.
"Honor Bound", by W.E.B. Griffin.
"So Little Time", by John P. Marquand.
"The Lieutenants", By W.E.B. Griffin.
"Catch - 22", by Joseph Heller.
"Spy, Counterspy", by Dusko Popov. This is the non-fiction memoir of Popov's service as a double agent for British Intelligence during WWII. It is better than most novels. Popov, code named Tricycle by British Intelligence, is considered to be the inspiration for James Bond, since Ian Fleming worked in British Intelligence during WWII, knew Popov's exploits, and reportedly studied him at length. When I read the book, I checked out Popov with British sources on the internet. The British had declassified some of the files on Popov. He was the real deal.
"The Lonely Vigil", by Walter Lord. A non - fiction account of the civilians who, at great personal risk, stayed behind in the Solomon Islands and radioed information to the Allied Command regarding Japanese aircraft and naval movements in the "Slot" between the Japanese main base at Rabaul and Guadalcanal.
I do not recommend "The Naked And The Dead", by Norman Mailer, which I thought was overrated.

In reply to an earlier post on May 21, 2008, 4:27:49 AM PDT
KOMET says:

Here are 2 books by the British writer Margaret Mayhew that I highly recommend because she has an unerring knack of evoking the wartime atmosphere in her Second World War novels.

Describes the lives of a group of women in Britain's Women Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) on an RAF base throughout the war years.

Shows the relationships between the people in a small English village and a newly arrived U.S. Army Air Force fighter group.

Posted on Jun 23, 2010, 10:23:37 AM PDT
L. El-Azem says:
Does anyone know the name of the WWII historical fiction reviewed in late April/early May on Fox and Friends in the morning; it was a love story about a Nazi Uboat defector and a Louisiana woman, written by a man who found a suitcase of stuff in his backyard? I wish I'd written it down!

Posted on Jun 27, 2010, 4:31:08 PM PDT
Here is another one:

Your Name Is Renee : Ruth Kapp Hartz's Story As a Hidden Child in Nazi-Occupied France
by Stacy Cretzmeyer (Author), Ruth Kapp Hartz

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 28, 2010, 2:19:45 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 28, 2010, 2:33:32 PM PDT
Aviva Lynne says:
the other have some great suggestions. I don't want to repear them so here are some new suggestions.

There is a great mystery series about WWII by James R Benn. The first book is titled "Billy Boyle." There is a focus on lesser know incidents in WWII. The detective is a former Boston cop whose mother got him on Eisenhower's staff. There are some great relationships in these books.

There is a lighter weight mystery series (Rosie Winter mysteries) by Kathryn Miller Haines about the homefront in WWII although in book 3 Rosie who is an actress goes to the Pacific theatre as part of the USO. The first book is "The War Against Miss Winter."

Posted on Jun 29, 2010, 5:13:45 PM PDT
KOMET says:
Here's another Second World War novel that might pique your curiosity.

SUBMARINER - Alexander Fullerton

"Lieutenant Mike Nicholson [of the Royal Navy] is operating out of Malta. Captaining the submarine Ursa, he's part of the fleet deputed to disrupt the flow of war supplies from Italian ports to Rommel's Afrika Korps. Although Ursa is small, under armed, and frustratingly slow, she succeeds, on her 17th Mediterranean cruise, in sinking a German tank-transporter. That triumph puts Mike at the top of the league - he has now sunk more tonnage than any of his contemporaries. Promotion to Lieutenant-Commander, at the age of 28, is now on the cards. All he has to do is adhere to two rules - stay alive, and keep your nose clean."

Posted on Jul 3, 2010, 5:38:13 AM PDT
I second The Cruel Sea.

And haven't seen recommendations for Scottish author Alistair MacLean's "H.M.S. Ulysses." An unusual setting, his first book and superb. So is "The Guns Of Navarone". (Some people might remember the movie from the early sixties.) Don't miss out on these great stories just because MacLean wrote some not-so-good stuff later in his career.

Posted on Jul 3, 2010, 5:53:37 AM PDT
And "The Purple Plain" by H.E. Bates. Was also a good movie.

Nevil Shute wrote several excellent novels set in W.W.II. "A Town Like Alice" ("The Legacy" in the U.S.) has been filmed once and has also been a T.V. series.

Posted on Jul 6, 2010, 2:23:28 PM PDT
Shining Through

Posted on Jul 8, 2010, 10:53:04 AM PDT
lamato says:
I just finished The Book Thief, and it was very good. :)

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 8, 2010, 3:54:32 PM PDT
I agree...that book was sad, but very good.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 10, 2010, 5:51:10 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 10, 2010, 5:55:25 AM PDT
@A Listener: Am now reading my first Alan Furst novel, Spies of the Balkans. I think it's marvelous.

Can an author mention his/her own books on this thread without being lynched? If not, where would be the best forum or thread for authors of WWII fiction? Thanks so much.

Posted on Jul 17, 2010, 5:12:10 PM PDT
PJ says:
I recommend We Band of Angels: The Untold Story of American Nurses Trapped on Bataan by the Japanese by Elizabeth Norman. Terrific story of the nurses captured by the Japanese on Bataan. My book club read it and loved it.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 19, 2010, 3:02:40 PM PDT
bert schulz says:
speak of me in whispers (marilyn m schulz) is about the german people during the war... what it was like for some of them. no one wants to feel sorry for them, true, but this sort of focuses on those who fought the nazis inside...

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 21, 2010, 5:03:55 AM PDT
DEFINITLY read "Invitation to Valhalla" by Mike Whicker. No battles but just a true story about Erika Lehmann who was a German spy for Hitler and who infiltrated the ship building yards in Evansville, IN.

It was one of my 2 favorites in 2009.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 22, 2010, 5:15:27 AM PDT
A Town LIke Alice is great, and the TV adaptation is one of the best I've ever seen--Brideshead quality.

Verdi's Dream

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 22, 2010, 5:45:56 AM PDT
Nena Butler says:
A Town Like Alice is wonderful, read it years ago and it is still in my mind.
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Discussion in:  Historical Fiction forum
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Initial post:  May 18, 2008
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