18 World War 1 Books to Add to Your Reading List

Are you looking for some great World War 1 books? Our list includes a variety of reads talking about what led up to and what happened during the war. You will also find those that discuss the lasting impact of this war on our world today.

We've also included books about The Treaty of Versailles, including different views of how it shaped our world. You will also find options written by people that fought in the war and others who experienced it in other ways.

World War I Books

1. The Guns of August

Guns of August

Written by: Barbara W. Tuchman

Published: 511

Pages: 1962

Written in 1962, The Guns of August is a Pulitzer Prize-winning book that tells the story of the events leading up to World War I. Tuchman uses a wide variety of primary and secondary sources to paint a picture of Europe on the brink of war. The book's narrative follows military leaders from all sides during this time.

It also offers insight into how tensions between Russia and Austria-Hungary led to a series of diplomatic blunders, culminating with Germany's invasion of Belgium. 

The Guns Of August is an excellent read and is considered one of the best World War 1 books of all time.

2. The First World War

The First World War

Written by: John Keegan

Published: 475

Pages: May 16th, 2000

The First World War was a horrific war, with millions of troops dying and casualties on both sides. John Keegan's book The First World War goes into great detail about the conflict and its causes throughout history. 

The author provides excellent examples to help you understand what was happening at the time and how it affected everyone involved. This book helps put into perspective just how impactful this war was on modern history. 

I would highly recommend reading this book if you are interested in learning more about WWI!

>> More books by John Keegan

3. Storm of Steel

storm of steel

Written by: Ernst Jünger

Published: 1920

Pages: 289

The book Storm of Steel by German World War I veteran Ernst Jünger is an exciting read, especially for military history lovers. This memoir follows the author's experiences throughout the war and gives readers an account of what life was really like on the front line.

It was originally published in 1920, but this new translation by Michael Hofmann brings it to life for modern readers. The book consists of fifty-three short chapters, which are divided into four parts: "The Battle," "Retreat," "Trench Warfare," and "Stormtroopers." 

4. Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania

Dead Wake

Written by: Erik Larson 

Published: March 3rd, 2015

Pages: 448

The Lusitania was a luxury ocean liner that had just finished its maiden voyage. It was heading to New York, but it never made it there. In 1915, a German U-boast torpedoed and sank in 18 minutes. 

Dead Wake is the story of what happened on the Lusitania's last voyage as told from multiple perspectives, including those of passengers, crew members, and German sailors who were part of the attack. 

The way Erik Larson tells this tale makes you feel like you are experiencing everything right alongside those involved with the sinking of this ship. 

He explains the terror before they knew what happened, their confusion during the attack, and finally their despair as they realized too late that their boat would not make port. 

>> More books by Erik Larson

5. Paris, 1919: Six Months that Changed the World

Paris 1919

Written by: Margaret MacMillan

Published: September 6th, 2001

Pages: 624

In 1919, the world was a very different place. The Great War had just ended in a victory for Allied forces, and much of Europe was left in shambles. 

At this time in history, Paris played an important role in peace negotiations between world powers. Margaret MacMillan's book Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World gives readers insight into this significant six-month period when many countries were reestablished, and new boundaries were drawn across continents. 

In her own words, MacMillan says that she wrote this book because she wanted to "help [readers] understand how we got from there to here." 

>> More books by Margaret MacMillan

6. The Pity of War: Explaining World War I

The Pity of War

Written by: Niall Ferguson

Published: 1998

Pages: 624

Niall Ferguson's The Pity of War, written in 1998, by no means attempts to be the definitive work on World War I. However, it does offer a fresh look at this watershed event and helps shed light on its causes. Niall Ferguson uses an economic approach to discuss what would become one of history's most devastating wars. 

With his characteristic wit and eloquence, he argues that the war was not inevitable but brought about by various factors, including imperialism, nationalism, and military mismanagement. 

This book is essential for anyone interested in how World War I came to pass or looking for new ways to think about this seminal event. 

7. To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918

To End All Wars

Written by: Adam Hochschild

Published: 448

Pages: May 1st, 2011

To End All Wars is a story that tells the all-too-often forgotten history of World War I. It's an exciting read because it covers the war from all angles, not just the trenches. There are stories of soldiers, politicians, journalists, and more that follow this tumultuous time in history. 

The author also does a great job covering topics like class inequality during wartime and how WWI impacted women's suffrage in Britain and America which might be unfamiliar to some readers. 

I highly recommend checking out this book if you want to read about what life was like for those who lived through WWI or if you're interested in reading about social change during wartime periods.

8. The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914

The Sleepwalkers

Written by: Christopher Clark

Published: March 19th, 2013

Pages: 736

On June 28, 1914, the heir to Austria-Hungary's throne was assassinated by a Serbian nationalist. This event is often cited as the catalyst that led to World War I.  To be sure, tensions between empires in Europe were already high by this point in time, and the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand was just one more match thrown onto an already lit fire. 

But Clark's book points out that it wasn't so much his death but rather how he died that caused conflict to escalate into what would become known as "the Great War." 

The assassins had been part of a terrorist organization called Black Hand, which sought independence for Serbia from Austro-Hungarian rule. They hatched their plot, not with some grand plan of overthrowing the established order.

9. The Great War: A Combat History of the First World War

The Great War

Written by: Peter Hart

Published: May 9th, 2013

Pages: 544

The Great War: A Combat History of the First World War by Peter Hart is a comprehensive, readable account of one of the most pivotal events. As you read these pages, you will find yourself on battlefields across Europe where soldiers fought for their lives against an enemy they could not see or hear. 

You'll learn about new weapons and military tactics that revolutionized combat, as well as some of the horrific consequences that came with them. 

This is a story about people who endured unimaginable horrors to protect their homes and loved ones from invasion-and who sacrificed everything to end it.

10. Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to War

Catastrophe 1914

Written by: Max Hastings

Published: September 12, 2013

Pages: 628

This book is an excellent read for anyone interested in WWI. It goes into detail about the events leading up to and after the start of the war. It also provides more insight into how each country was affected by its involvement in the war. 

The author uses quotes from people involved and even some newspapers to show what was happening back then and not just what we were told. 

He also has maps that help visualize where everything is taking place, making it easier to understand all of the moving parts of this highly complex story. 

11. The First World War: A Complete History

the first world war - a complete history

Written by: Martin Gilbert

Published: 1994

Pages: 688

The First World War was one of the most significant events in human history, and it changed the world, both politically and socially. The war began with an assassination in Serbia on June 28, 1914, but it did not become a global conflict until Germany invaded Belgium while simultaneously invading France. 

Although there were other causes to the beginning of this terrible war, these two are considered its official starting points. This book is a complete history of that period from all perspectives, including social impacts on people during wartime and political changes after the fact. 

The First World War: A Complete History by Martin Gilbert is a detailed account of how this critical event affected everyone involved at every level of society - whether they wanted it or not!

>> More books by Martin Gilbert

12. The Deluge: The Great War, America and the Remaking of the Global Order, 1916-1931

The Deluge: The Great War

Written by: Adam Tooze

Published: August 22nd, 2014

Pages: 672

Adam Tooze's The Deluge: The Great War, America and the Remaking of Global Order 1916-1931 is a fascinating and in-depth look at the changes in global power dynamics during this tumultuous time. 

Through his research, we can see how America changed from an isolationist nation to one willing to use its military strength for economic gain. 

We also witness the long-term effects of these decisions on international relations throughout history. If you're looking for a book about American foreign policy over the last 100 years, this is one you'll want to add to your reading list!

13. Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age

Rites of Spring

Written by: Modris Eksteins

Published: April 1st, 1989

Pages: 396

Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age is a scholarly work by Modris Ekstein. It spans from 1914 to 1939, detailing how World War I profoundly changed Europe and all of humanity. 

The book provides an expansive view of the war's effects, such as its impact on arts and literature; it also covers the societal changes that arose because of WWI, such as new social classes and sexual mores. The author examines how this period changed people's values and perceptions about life. 

He argues that "the modern age" began with World War I, which led to profound cultural change in attitudes towards death; family; property; love; morality; health care; sexuality (including prostitution); citizenship rights, and more. 

14. The White War: Life and Death on the Italian Front 1915-1919

The White War

Written by: Mark Thompson

Published: September 1st, 2008

Pages: 454

Italy declared war on the Habsburg Empire in 1915, and nearly 750 thousand Italian troops were killed during savage fighting north of Trieste. 

General Luigi Cadorna restored the ancient Roman practice of decimation to maintain discipline, executing random members from units that had retreated or rebelled with elegance. 

Historian, author, and pathos Mark Thompson relates this saga - nationalist frenzy leading up conflict and politics tied into international intrigue surrounding Great War - lasting through towering personalities drawn into it all. 

It’s one of the few World War 1 books that included a detailed account of what happened in Italy. 

15. The Beauty and the Sorrow: An Intimate History of the First World War

The Beauty and the Sorrow

Written by: Peter Englund

Published: January 4th, 2008

Pages: 532

The first world war is a complex topic to discuss, but Peter Englund's intimate history of the first world war sheds light on some of the darkest moments in human history. 

This book explores how this conflict shaped not only Europe but also Russia and America. It follows how this event impacted different people from all walks of life, including civilians who were caught up in battle and soldiers who fought for their countries with bravery and honor. 

Englund shares his thoughts on what he feels are misconceptions surrounding this historical period, resulting in judgmental attitudes towards those who served during WWI. 

16. The Burning of the World: A Memoir of 1914

The Burning of the World

Written by: Béla Zombory-Moldován

Published: January 1st, 2014

Pages: 184

Bela Zombory Moldovan's memoir tells the story of what it was like to be a young man living in Hungary as the world went mad. His perspective is unique, as he fought in World War I, came home severely wounded, and found out his life and the lives of many others had radically changed. 

He provides readers with insight into how people reacted to such an eventful time and gives them a window into his life. The Burning of the World: A Memoir of 1914 by Bela Zombory Moldovan is a riveting read that will provide you with new perspectives on the war that changed everything.

17. The Treaty of Versailles: A Concise History

The Treaty of Versailles

Written by: Michael S. Neiberg

Published: September 1st, 2017 

Pages: 152

The Treaty of Versailles is a watershed moment in the history of Western Europe. The treaty, signed on June 28, 1919, has been subject to scrutiny and criticism for many years. 

Many historians believe that it led to the rise of Nazi Germany as well as World War II. It can be challenging to understand what happened because so many different perspectives come into play when discussing such an eventful time in history. 

However, Michael S. Neiberg's A Concise History does a fantastic job at providing readers with an introduction to one point of view: how those who were involved experienced and understood the events surrounding the Treaty of Versailles and its aftermath.

>> More World War II books

18. Woodrow Wilson: A Biography

Woodrow Wilson: A Biography

Written by: John Milton Cooper Jr.

Published: November 3rd, 2009

Pages: 702

Woodrow Wilson has been a controversial president since his death. His policies have been debated for decades, and historians are still debating the merits of the President's actions. 

In this biography, John Milton Cooper Jr., a Princeton professor emeritus who is also one of America's foremost scholars on American history and international relations, takes an objective look at Wilson's life from childhood to his presidency. It also talks about how he took the US through the World War I years.

Cooper offers insights into how Wilson viewed international politics and domestic policy to help readers understand why he acted as he did during his presidency.