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Top 5 Novels About World War II

Updated on October 11, 2014

World War II Fiction -- My Personal Recommendations

I love reading historical fiction. My recommendations for the top 5 novels about World War II are all books I've read and loved.

These stories are compelling, and since they're based in fact, they are all the more intriguing.

I've selected books that cover the world, because it was truly a world war. These tales from America, France, Great Britain, Russia, and across Europe from Poland to Germany through France, all tell the horrors, heartache, and triumph through a personal glimpse of a few lives.

This photo shows U.S. troops entering the city of Metz, France on November 18, 1944.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

City of Theives - Russia During World War II

City of Thieves is so well written and compelling that I'd recommend it to everyone. I knew next to nothing about Russia during World War II, but this book brings it to life through a few personal stories.

Who knew the search for eggs could be such an adventure and so dangerous?

Here's my review on my book blog of City of Thieves.

Skeletons at the Feast - Prussia West through Germany

Chris Bohjalian is one of my absolute favorite authors. This novel departs from his New England settings and is his best work to date, I think.

This novel chronicles a family's evacuation from Prussia in World War II to evade the Russian army.

Sarah's Key - Based in France during World War II

This novel is heart breaking. A modern day American journalist living in France researches the Vel' d'Hiv Roundup of French Jews in July 1942 and comes away with shocking information that affects her husband's family.

Here's my book blog entry about Sarah's Key.

The movie Sarah's Key is a wonderful depiction of the book. This 2010 movie stars Kristen Scott Thomas, Melusine Mayance, and Niels Arestrup.

Which do you like to read best?

Which do you like to read best?

See results

Dream When You're Feeling Blue - America During World War II

Elizabeth Berg borrowed from her mother's life during World War II to tell a story of sisters growing up in Chicago during World War II. This take on the war may be the most familiar and relatable to many American women.

Small Island - Great Britain During the Second World War

I recently read Small Island and thoroughly enjoyed it. Jamaica is a small island ruled by Great Britain.

Small Island tells the tale of soldiers from Jamaica who fought in the war and the struggles in culture they had to endure with their fellow British soldiers and citizens.

The PBS Masterpiece Classic presentation of Small Island is just as good as the book. If watching is more your thing than reading, this is a winner.

Which of these books is your favorite?

Which of these books is your favorite?

See results

More Great Novels about World War II - Learn About History by Reading Fiction

I can personally recommend these novels that all deal with World War II as a main component of the story.

Affiliate Disclosure

This author, Peggy Hazelwood, participates in Amazon, eBay, All Posters, and other affiliate advertising programs. When you click an advertising link on this page and make a purchase, I receive a small percent of the sale. Thank you for reading this far!

Do you enjoy reading historical fiction? - What era is your favorite?

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    • ernieplotter profile image


      6 years ago

      I have read several books about WWII but none from this lens! perhaps I should check some soon... Thanks for this lens, it will be very useful for me!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I enjoy historical fiction. Sarah's Key sounds like a book I would enjoy reading, as I think it would give the reader a personal view of how World War II affects real people.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I don't have a favorite era, but I love historical fiction. I think my favorite in the genre is The Pillars of the Earth -- before Oprah had it as one of her book club selections. :-)

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 

      6 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      I've read both Unbroken and In The Garden of Beasts and highly recommend both for true stories. Nice going on this lens...I'm bookmarking it, because I think I'd like to read some of the fiction you've listed. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      nice lens

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 

      6 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I haven't read any of the 5 Novels about World War II that you have listed but they sound like something that I would enjoy. Thanks for the heads up and Congratulations on making the Best of Squidoo Summer Reading Monster Board. I have read Unbroken and strongly recommend it.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      6 years ago from Central Florida

      These sound tempting, though I'm still focusing on the Civil War right now. I'll have to add them to my to-read list.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I love NIght Watch

    • designsbyharriet profile image


      6 years ago from Indiana

      I am not really a fan of historical novels in any form. I much prefer paranormal or fantasy. Might as well really be fiction if I am going to read fiction.


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