Favorite books about World War II

by Andrea Cooley

WWII booksEven though I’ve been blogging here off and on for more than 5 years, I feel like I’m still figuring out what I want to write about.

Before having kids, I had lots of time to do projects around the house and decorate. I still love these things, but the reality is that with 2 little kids, decorating and house projects take a backseat to doing laundry, digging in the dirt, and taking naps whenever possible!

I also have a passion for marriage. I love God’s plan for marriage, and I have a heart for encouraging people to invest in their marriage. I want to keep writing about how Adam and I are growing in our marriage and the challenges we are facing.

I also love to read. And while I don’t have as much time to spend reading adult books, I’m always reading at least one fiction book and some kind of Bible study or memoir. I am also well versed in the world of Curious George, Clifford, and anything to do with dump trucks, diggers, and trains.

I love talking about my favorite books and I love hearing about what other people reading. So I thought why not write about my favorite books?

Sometimes it seems like every other book I read is about World War II. It was such a pivotal time in history! There are so many incredible stories from concentration camps and people living in Europe during the time, to the men and women fighting on the front lines to families who were home in the United States during it all. I’m currently reading this and I can’t decide yet if it would make my best-of list.

Here are 6 of my all-time favorite books about World War II:

All the Light We Cannot See

This book recently won the Pulitzer Prize and I highly recommend it. It’s a book you want to read slowly because the writing is so beautiful and descriptive. It is the story of blind girl in France and a German radio controller during WWII and how their lives intersect.

Life After Life

This book got a lot of buzz a few years ago. It is set primarily in London during WWII, but it isn’t necessarily chronological. The narrator is a girl who is able to relive her life over and over again, so it is a little disjointed, but it is an interesting look at how seemingly small decisions impact the rest of our lives.

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Before reading this book I didn’t know anything about the Japanese internment camps that were in the United States during WWII. It’s a fascinating (and sad) side of the war that isn’t talked about a lot.

Winter of the World

This is the second in Ken Follett’s Century Trilogy. You really should read Fall of Giants first (it introduces all the characters and is set during WWI), but I liked Winter of the World better (I haven’t read the final book in the trilogy yet). I learned a lot about Russia and Stalin’s role in the war as well as about the making of the atomic bomb.


I don’t read a lot of non-fiction, but I knew I wanted to read this before the movie came out last year (I still have yet to see the movie). The story of how American fighter pilot Louie Zamperini survives for months at sea after his plane crashes only to be taken prisoner by the Japanese was gruesome yet fascinating. It was one of those books that I kept reading passages of to Adam because it was so amazing!

Book Thief

It’s been a long time since I read this and I don’t remember all the details, but it’s one of those books that is memorable enough to be a favorite and one I often recommend. This is a young adult story, but it isn’t childish. It is told from the perspective of death, which sounds weird, but it works. I do remember that it made me cry and the main character is a little girl who befriends a Jew. I haven’t seen the movie, but maybe I should.

So there you have it. Six of my favorite books about WWII. Did you add any of them to your list? I wonder how many books in total I’ve read about that time in history. If I had to guess, I’d probably close to 50!

What World War II books am I missing? I’d love to hear your favorites!

And if you love book recommendations as much as I do, here are my some more of my favorites


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Andrea Cooley

  1. You started me on Ken Follett, but I haven’t picked up his second. Not sure why since I like Pillars of the Earth! I’ll have to restart that series. (And I love seeing more book talk on your blog!)

  2. I have only read half of these, but I love love loved the three I read so will put these on my list.

  3. Love Unbroken too!
    I have All the Light We cannot See on my list to read! Thanks for linking up, Andrea!!

  4. I’ve read Unbroken (LOVED it) but I need to check out these other books! I’m always excited to find new great books to read! :)

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