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25 novels and biographies about World War II

2013 was marked by an obsession with young adult dystopian novels, and last year was the year of escapism (and also the year I discovered that not all contemporary fiction is as cheesy as most of the contemporary Christian fiction I read in my early 20s…but that’s a post for another day). While I have several reading goals this year, the year as a whole just might end up being characterized by books about World War II.

I’ve always been a fan of both history and historical fiction, and last year I picked up a couple of different stories that sparked a desire to read more and learn more about World War II. Reading Unbroken solidified that new passion, and I think I could easily read nothing by WWII biographies and fiction this year and be very happy!

This list includes both the books I’ve read and recommended as well as a (much longer) list of the books I’d like to read. I’m not sure I’ll make it through this whole list this year, but we’ll see.

WWII Books I’ve Read and Recommend


  • Unbroken: A World War II Book of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
  • The Nazi Officer’s Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived The Holocaust by Edith Hahn Beer
  • The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom


  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  • Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
  • Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
  • Code Name Verity (Code Name Verity #1) by Elizabeth Wein
  • Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
  • The Kommandant’s Girl by Pam Jenoff
  • Far to Go by Alison Pick

WWII Books on My Reading List


  • The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown
  • No Ordinary Time: Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II by Doris Kearns Goodwin
  • Lost in Shangri-La: A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War II by Mitchell Zuckoff
  • Elephant Company: The Inspiring Story of an Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save Lives in World War II by Vicki Croke
  • Women Heroes of World War II: 26 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance, and Rescue by Kathryn J. Atwood


  • Rose Under Fire (Code Name Verity #2) by Elizabeth Wein
  • The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult
  • The Paris Architect: A Novel by Charles Belfoure
  • The Soldier’s Wife by Margaret Leroy
  • Tallgrass by Sandra Dallas
  • The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Classical conversations

Do you like this genre of books? Which of these have you read? Any books you’d add?