34 World War Two Books (WW II)

Do you love to read World War Two books (WW II)? Are you looking for some new reads to add to your list?

Our list of 34 books about WW2 includes some well-known options as well as a few you've probably never heard about. They cover the stories of heroes, important point-in-time events within the war, and spies that helped change the outcome.

They include stories about both soldiers and regular citizens that put their lives on the line to make sure we came out victorious. 

We hope you will find some great new books about this important event in history! 

Books About World War II

1. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich

Written by: William L. Shirer

Published: 2011

Pages: 1711

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich is a captivating story. The book by William Shirer is an in-depth account of the events that led to Hitler's dictatorship, World War II, and eventual defeat. Written as one long narrative, it reads like a novel with many twists and turns.

With surprises around every corner, you will never be able to guess what happens next! 

2. D-Day, June 6, 1944: The Battle for the Normandy Beaches

The Battle for the Normandy Beaches

Written by: Stephen E. Ambrose

Published: 2013

Pages: 791

D-Day was when Allied Forces stormed the Normandy Beaches and kicked off Operation Overlord, which would eventually lead to victory in World War II. June 6th, 1944, was a pivotal day for Europe and for the USA. This book explores what happened on that historic date with an interesting angle: How did D-Day affect the people of Normandy? 

Thousands of soldiers landed on French soil at once, while planes flew overhead and ships sailed through murky waters. This book will help you imagine what people experienced at this moment in history first-hand.

>> More books by Stephen E. Ambrose

3. The Girls Who Stepped Out of Line: Untold Stories of the Women Who Changed the Course of World War II

The Girls Who Stepped Out of Line

Written by: Mari K. Eder

Published: 2021

Pages: 400

The Girls Who Stepped Out of Line by Major General Mari Eder is a fascinating account of WW II's unsung heroines, from spies to nurses, who stepped out of their prescribed roles to serve our country in its most trying hour.

This book tells the story that was never told about female heroes who served during World War II.  In 1942, with America's entry into war imminent, Congress passed legislation authorizing women to enlist in the military services alongside men. 

4. Flags of Our Fathers

Flags of our Fathers

Written by: James D. Bradley with Ron Powers

Published: 2006

Pages: 576

The Flags of Our Fathers is a book about the creation and aftermath of the iconic flag-raising at Iwo Jima. This memoir tells how six soldiers were chosen to pose as heroes in an artful propaganda campaign that has been used as an American symbol since WWII.

James Bradley shares his father's experience during the war, from enlisting to being wounded on Iwo Jima, and how he never spoke of it again after coming home. Up until this book was written for all to learn about what his life during wartime was like.

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

An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa

Written by: Rick Atkinson

Published: 2002

Pages: 681

The first book in Rick Atkinson's Liberation Trilogy, An Army at Dawn, is a detailed account of the North African fight during World War II. The author takes you from Tunisia, where Hitler thought he could take control of Africa, to Egypt and Libya. Atkinson describes how America joined forces with Britain to drive out the Germans.

You'll read about General George S. Patton, who was fighting against German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel for control of Tunisian ports, which were essential for supplies coming into Europe via the Mediterranean Sea. 

6. All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days: The True Story of the American Woman at the Heart of the German Resistance to Hitler

All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days

Written by: Rebecca Donner

Published: 2021

Pages: 535

One woman's resistance movement in Nazi Germany was so large and influential, it became known as the Berlin Underground. In 1932 Mildred Harnack held secret meetings with other political activists to plan acts of sabotage against Hitler's regime before he took power.

By 1940 this small band had grown into an extensive underground resistance group that helped Jews escape oppression while also plotting revolution against him. Some of their work included writing leaflets denouncing Führer und Reichskanzler (leader or prime minister) Adolf Hitler for his crimes committed during World War II and more

As she was about to escape to Sweden, she was captured. Find out the rest of her story in this amazing book!

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

The Day of Battle

Written by: Rick Atkinson

Published: 2007

Pages: 817

The war in Europe is turning. The Axis forces are on the defensive, and their mightiest weapon, the Nazi war machine, will soon be silenced for good. This story of World War II, told by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Rick Atkinson takes readers through a series of battles that culminated in Allied victory and the end of the war in 1945.

The people who fought these battles did not know how or when they would end; this book tells us what happened to them once it was all over - from taking up golf to becoming an artist's model.

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

The Guns at Last Light

Written by: Rick Atkinson

Published: 2013

Pages: 896

In the concluding volume of his monumental trilogy on World War II, Rick Atkinson tells the dramatic and deeply human story of how an American-led coalition invaded Western Europe in 1944.

The Guns at Last Light is a riveting work of military history that brings to life the extraordinary courage and skill required by Allied soldiers and airmen as they battled their way across France, Belgium, Holland, Germany. Learn what happened in the days leading up to the end of World War II.

9. Ghost Soldiers: The Epic Account of World War II's Greatest Rescue Mission

Ghost Soldiers

Written by: Hampton Sides

Published: 2002

Pages: 384

In Ghost Soldiers, Hampton Sides recounts the tale of a small elite group of American soldiers that defied orders and rescued more than 500 Americans from a Japanese POW camp in the Philippines. The rescue took place only days before Japan surrendered to end World War II.

In this gripping narrative history, he brings to life one of America's greatest untold stories - forgotten men who were lost behind enemy lines for decades and then found by their own countrymen in a daring raid against overwhelming odds.

10. Beyond Band of Brothers: The War Memoirs of Major Dick Winters

Beyond Band of Brothers

Written by: Dick Winters, Cole C. Kingseed

Published: 2006

Pages: 318

Major Dick Winters is the most decorated American soldier in World War II. He was also one of the youngest commissioned officers in the 101st Airborne Division. His memoir follows him from his teenage years, through his training for war, and finally to Normandy, where he parachuted into France on D-Day with a company of men who would come to be known as the "Band of Brothers."

The book tells how this young major led them across Europe during some of the harshest battles against Hitler's army -- at times holding off thousands upon thousands of Germans by himself while surrounded on all sides.

What emerges is not only an intimate portrait of Major Winters but also a riveting account that puts readers inside WWII's deadliest battlefields.

11. The Bomber Mafia: A Dream, a Temptation, and The Longest Night of the Second World War

The Bomber Mafia

Written by: Malcolm Gladwell

Published: 2021

Pages: 179

The Bomber Mafia is one of the newest World War Two books. It's the story of an important transition in power over the bombing of Japan.

It includes a little history about how the ideas around using aircrafts in war came to be and the story of their importance in World War II. It also talks about an important invention that was designed to help more effectively target the bombs coming from aircrafts.

The most intriguing part of the book is the story of a key transition of power over the bombing of Japan. It leaves you with the question of what would have happened in Japan if this transition did not take place.

>> More books about the atomic bomb and the Manhattan Project

12. The Happiest Man on Earth

The Happiest Man on Earth

Written by: Eddie Jaku

Published: 2021

Pages: 212

"I was beaten, arrested, and taken to a concentration camp. My whole life changed in one day."

Eddie Jaku always considered himself a German first, but after his experience, he became more grateful for being given the opportunity that Germany gave him because all of those years living under Nazi rule had an unimaginable effect not only on their victims.

The story of Eddie is a testament to the power of never giving up on yourself and your dreams. Despite being confined by mental illness, he survived long enough for his vow – "to always smile" - to sink in deeply with him, as it does now that he's 100 years old! It is unlike any other World War Two books you'll find anywhere else.

>> Find additional books about the holocaust

13. Fallout: The Hiroshima Cover-up and the Reporter Who Revealed It to the World


Written by: Lesley M.M. Blume

Published: 2020

Pages: 287

Leslie Bloom has been a reporter for over 40 years. She's covered topics ranging from the Vietnam War to Watergate and is an Emmy Award-winning journalist. One of her most recent stories was about what happened in Hiroshima on August 6th, 1945.

During this story, she uncovered that the United States government was aware of how many casualties would be incurred by dropping the atomic bomb but decided to go ahead with it anyway. It wasn't until Leslie interviewed some survivors that she realized why they were so adamant about not wanting anyone else to know what happened there.

14. The Last Train from Hiroshima: The Survivors Look Back

The Hell and Back: The Last Train to Hiroshima

Written by: Charles Pellegrino

Published: 2015

Pages: 433

This is an intriguing account of the events that took place on August 6th, 1945, in Hiroshima. Charles Pellegrino was a journalist who traveled to Japan to interview survivors of the nuclear attacks for this book.

It is about how one man's curiosity led him to find out what happened during this horrifying time and how it impacted the people living in Hiroshima. 

Pellegrino does not shy away from questioning some tough topics like why these bombs were used on civilians instead of military targets or if they should have been used at all, but he tries to answer them with as much understanding as possible.

15. Citizen Soldiers: The U.S. Army from the Normandy Beaches to the Bulge to the Surrender of Germany

Citizen Soldier

Written by: Stephen E. Ambrose

Published: 2013

Pages: 647

The book Citizen Soldiers opens early on June 7th, 1944, on the Normandy beaches and ends in the afternoon of May 1945 of WW II, a war that took many lives but brought hope for all those who fought against evil and tyranny.

This book documents a time of high tragedy as well as great beauty in its portrayal of American veterans across Europe from generals down to common soldiers alike; they share their stories one after another, bringing life back into history through interviews conducted over hundreds of conversations.

Ambrose manages not only to make this story come alive again but also to find happiness even during times where it seemed impossible.

16. Hiroshima

Written by: John Hersey

Published: 2019

Pages: 161

The book is about six people who were bombed at Hiroshima. These include Miss Toshiko Sasaki, Dr. Masakazu Fuji, Mrs. Hatsuyo Nakamara, and other people in the war-torn city in Japan near the end of World War II.

Without any warning, an atom bomb was dropped by Enola Gay plane, and over 100,000 Japanese people were killed. This book follows these six survivors through their ordeal, their pain, their hopes, and how they survived this horrible event.

17. In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin

In the Garden of Beasts

Written by: Erik Larson 

Published: 2011

Pages: 466

In 1933, the German-American William Dodd was appointed as U.S. Ambassador to Hitler's Germany. His daughter Martha was initially excited because she would be able to explore her love of botany in a new place but soon learned that this meant she had to leave behind her friends and family for an unknown future.

The story follows both father and daughter as they navigate through Nazi territory where terror is just around every corner, including the imminent threat of World War II looming on their doorstep.

This book is about how one American family dealt with the fear and uncertainty during Hitler's reign in Germany while living in Berlin from 1933-1938 when war finally broke out between America and Germany in 1941.

18. The Rape of Nanking

The Rape of Nanking

Written by: Iris Chang

Published: 2012

Pages: 338

The Rape of Nanking is a gripping account of the Japanese invasion and occupation in 1937-38. Iris Chang has compiled multiple interviews with survivors to tell this horrific story. She tells stories about the brutality committed against the Chinese citizens by Japanese troops, including rape and murder.

What makes this book different from other World War Two books is that it focuses on how these atrocities affected individuals rather than just giving numbers or dry facts. It takes you through one person's life during this time period, their childhood memories before the invasion, what they endured during the occupation, and what happened after they were liberated when they went back to rebuild their lives again.

19. Flyboys: A True Story of Courage


Written by: James D. Bradley

Published: 2003

Pages: 562

A true story of courage and heroism, Flyboys is a captivating account of the bravery and determination demonstrated by America's fighting men during World War II.

James Bradley recounts the exploits that would change the course of history. From Midway to Pearl Harbor, from Guadalcanal to Berlin, he tells their stories as only they could be told by using their own words.

This book will take you into combat with all the fear, excitement, and horror experienced first-hand by those who fought there. One of these fighters was George H. W. Bush, who later became the president of the United States.

20. Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege, 1942–1943

Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege

Written by: Antony Beevor

Published: 1999

Pages: 379

The siege of Stalingrad is one of the most famous battles in history. It was the turning point that changed the course of World War II and led to Nazi Germany's defeat. This book gives a detailed account of what happened during this fateful time, including how it impacted people at home and abroad.

Beever does not only write about military events but also tells us how life would have been for ordinary citizens who were caught up in these tumultuous years. The reader will learn about why so many people became prisoners of war or refugees, as well as what it was like living under occupation by Nazis or Soviets.

21. D-Day: The Battle for Normandy

D-Day: The Battle for Normandy

Written by: Antony Beevor

Published: 2009

Pages: 644

The Battle for Normandy, known as D-Day, was an event that took place on June 6th,  1944. The Allies had planned the invasion of Europe and France to liberate it from Nazi occupation.

This battle is one of the most important battles in history because it marked a turning point in World War II. Anthony Beevor's book about D-Day provides a detailed account of what happened during this monumental event.

He focuses on how the Allied forces fought their way across Normandy to take back control of France from Germany's Nazis forces, who occupied it at the time. He also deals with how American troops dealt with being so far away from home and how they handled intense combat situations during heavy fighting against German troops.

22. Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest

Band of Brothers: E Company, 506 Regiment

Written by: Stephen E. Ambrose

Published: 2001

Pages 336

Band of Brothers is famous for being an interesting and intensely gripping read. It follows the soldiers in E Company - 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne Division as they fight their way through Europe against Hitler's army. The soldiers' exploits are told through interviews with them and their friends and families after they return home from war.

These were no ordinary soldiers as they often would fight anywhere, at any time, whenever ever needed. They ended up with a mortality rate of over 150% and earned Bronze Stars for their service.

This book tells a story of brotherhood among comrades-in-arms who know that the only people on whom they can depend are each other; it also shows how these men deal with life back at "home" when the opportunity to be heroes has passed.

23. The Longest Day

The Longest Day

Written by: Cornelius Ryan

Published: 2010

Pages: 353

The Longest Day by Cornelius Ryan is a gripping and harrowing account of the events that took place on June 6th, 1944, D-Day. Starting at the beginning of the day, going through it, and then following it until the end of D-Day, it is a masterpiece of research and intrigue at the same time.

It's one of the most important World War Two books to ever be written, and it tells the story of both sides through first-hand accounts from soldiers on all sides. This book will make you laugh, cry, get angry, but mostly it will show you what war is like in its raw form.

24. Inside the Third Reich

Inside the Third Reich

Written by: Albert Speer

Published: 1997

Pages: 672

Albert Speer was a German architect and Nazi Minister of Armaments who is best-known for designing the Nuremberg Reich Party Rally Grounds.  Speer joined Adolf Hitler's inner circle and confidant in 1933, and his architectural skills became central to the regime's ambitions.

A favorite of Hitler's, he developed an enormous influence that rivaled that of Heinrich Himmler as well as those of Hermann Göring and Joseph Goebbels. His incredible knowledge and information about the Nazi party, and the leadership, gives the book a power that is unlike others.

This is one of the World War Two books that is not an easy read since it is very honest, upfront, and Speer's background deep inside the Nazi party.

25. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption

Unbroken: A World War 2 Story of Survival

Written by: Laura Hillenbrand

Published: 2010

Pages: 530

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption is about Louis Zamperini, a long-distance runner who had qualified for the Olympics in Berlin. However, after the war started, he was drafted into WWII.

After surviving a plane crash at sea and 47 days adrift on a raft with two other crewmen, he spent the rest of the war in Japanese prisoner-of-war camps. This book tells the harrowing tale of his life before, during, and after World War II. 

This book recounts the incredible life story, including Zamperini's struggle to survive as a POW in Japan. It is an inspirational memoir that will stay with you long after you've read it!

26. Into the Forest: A Holocaust Story of Survival, Triumph, and Love

Into the Forest

Written by: Rebecca Frankel

Published: 2021

Pages: 336

In the summer of 1942, just after World War II had broken out and Nazis occupied Poland, the Rabinowitz's family narrowly escaped being sent to a ghetto.

They fled with other Polish people into what would become known as Białowieża forest, where they spent two years surviving against all odds before Soviet soldiers liberated them in 1944

The Red Army tried to find the Jews hiding deep inside these dark woods three days after Nazi Germany invaded its soviet neighbor Latvia, luckily it took many months before any Soviets could reach this village which lay far off-course from frontline battles.

The story continues as they move to the United States of America with even more surprises.

27. The Diary of a Young Girl

The Diary of a Young Girl

Written by: Anne Frank

Published: 1947

Pages: 321

This is so much more than just a diary. It was written by Anne Frank when she was in hiding during the Nazi occupation of Holland.

The diary, which she wrote in secret to avoid being found, tells the story of her life for two years and how it changed with each day that passed. She remains optimistic throughout most of it even though they were living in constant fear that someone would discover their location and report them to the Nazis.

The depth, and honesty, of someone so young is amazing. This book is just one example of how people all over Europe had to live under these terrible conditions but continued on with hope for better days ahead.

It's one of the most read and important World War Two books around.

28. Madame Fourcade's Secret War: The Daring Young Woman Who Led France's Largest Spy Network Against Hitler

Madame Fourcade's Secret War

Written by: Lynne Olson

Published: 2019

Pages: 421

Born into high society, Marie Fourcade would be the last person you'd think would become a true hero of World War II. Even before the war, she fought against patriarchy and inequality. When the war started, she because a leader for the resistance in France. 

Her spy network, known as Alliance, was the longest-lasting and one of the most important spy networks of all in the war. Because of this, she constantly had to move offices, go into disguises, and much more to trick the Nazis.

Even with all that, she was caught twice and imprisoned. Amazingly, she still managed to escape and continue on her much-needed work to help win the war, all the while not seeing her two children.

It's one of the World War Two books that gives you great insight into what it took and what people were willing to do in order to fight off Germany.

>> More books about women spies

29. The Last Battle: The Classic History of the Battle for Berlin

The Last Battle

Written by: Cornelius Ryan

Published: 2010

Pages: 578

The last battle of World War II is one that you will be sure to remember once you read this book. It was a grueling fight for Berlin and for everyone, no matter which country they were from, to the bitter end.

It focuses on how Hitler and his remaining forces fought against the Allied Forces, who were coming from all directions. You will also see how Russian troops came from East Germany and battled their way through German defenses before they finally reached Berlin.

There is so much more to this battle and the people involved than you can even imagine.

30. The Longest Winter: The Battle of the Bulge and the Epic Story of World War II's Most Decorated Platoon

The Longest Winter

Written by: Alex Kershaw

Published: 2004

Pages: 326

Eighteen boys, with a 20-year old lieutenant Lyle Bouck in charge, are in their foxholes, waiting in the cold as the night turns into day. With that, the Nazis start an attack, and this tiny force tries to stop them. After killing many of the Nazis, they are eventually overwhelmed and become prisoners of war.

In captivity, Bouck's platoon suffered far worse than when they were trying to survive in combat. They had to deal with German guards, Allied bombing raids, and only a small amount of thin soup daily to eat.

This is the story about how they managed to survive with their hopes intact after being captured by Nazi Germany during World War II as POWs while surrounded on all sides by death itself, often left starving or thirsty without any medicines available.

It's one of the World War Two books you will not be able to put down.

31. At Dawn We Slept: The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor

At Dawn We Slept

Written by: Gordon W. Prange

Published: 1981

Pages: 905

Gordon W. Prange's At Dawn We Slept: The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor has been one of the most important books about the attack on Pearl Harbor for decades, and its importance cannot be underestimated as a resource on this pivotal event in American history.

It is based on over 37 years' worth of research and  contains interviews with those who were there and first-hand accounts from survivors of those who gave their lives to defend our country.

It also highlights America's unpreparedness for an attack like this which led to the United States entering World War II even though there was more than enough information that it was going to happen. 

32. The Rising Sun: The Decline & Fall of the Japanese Empire, 1936-45

The Rising Sun

Written by: John Toland

Published: 2014

Pages: 1010

This is one of the most in-depth books about how Japan rose to be a country with power, then part of the Axis, and eventually fell into decline after the war. Primarily through interviews with people from Japan, this book gives readers an inside view of what was happening during these times without bias.

As with any history, it is often convoluted, and each person has a different view and reason for their actions, and this one is no different.

This moral of this book is summed up elegantly by Told himself when he writes, “that there are no simple lessons in history, that it is human nature that repeats itself, not history.”

33. The Bedford Boys: One American Town's Ultimate D-Day Sacrifice

The Bedford Boys

Written by: Alex Kershaw

Published: 2008

Pages: 322

Bedford, Virginia, was home to barely 3,000 people when World War II broke out. As the beach at Normandy was attacked, 19 of them died almost instantly. Late on during the war, three more of the boys were killed.

The Bedford Boys examines their lives, the changes that happened to their little town because of so many that had died, and how people were affected by this.

Researched by using letters, notes, diaries, interviews with family members and also survivors, you will feel like you are part of the Bedford Boys extended family by the time you have finished this book.

34. The Second World War: A Complete History

The Second World War

Written by: Martin Gilbert

Published: 2014

Pages: 856

The Second World War is one of the most pivotal events in modern history. The war that shaped our world with its economic, social, and political consequences lasted from 1939-1945. Martin Gilbert's book offers a complete history of not just the war itself but also the causes, course, and aftermath.

He captures both sweeping panoramas of world events as well as telling individual stories to give readers an understanding of this complicated time in history with his readable style. 

For those who are looking for more than just a basic overview of WWII, this comprehensive account will provide you with all the information you need! It's one of the best World War Two books on the market.

>> More books by Martin Gilbert