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The Best Novels About World War 1

Updated June 14, 2019 2.5k votes 609 voters 66.8k views50 items

List RulesFiction books that use WWI as a setting or major theme

Love historical fiction? This list of the best novels about World War 1 is perfect for you!  This list attempts to answer the question, "What are the best historical fiction books about World War 1?" But with so many good books to choose from, there's bound to be some debate about the best WW1 books. And that's just fine. Voting for your favorite WW1 novel will help us finally decide which books are the most beloved.

Also known as the First World War, this global war lasted from 1914 – 1918. It was the fifth deadliest war in the world’s history. Until the approach of second World War, it was simply referred to as the Great War or World War. The war involved most of the world’s countries that drew together and eventually formed into two separate alliances: the Allies and the Central Powers. Ultimately over 70 military personnel, including 60 million European military personnel were mobilized into one of the largest wars in history. The underlying cause of the war was the 28 June 1914 assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, by Yugoslav nationalist Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo.

The end-result of the murder set off a diplomatic crisis; within weeks the war began, spreading the conflict across the world. The League of Nations was formed as a direct result of the war. While many timeless stories have been written about the events that took place in the war, this list focuses on perhaps the best WWI fictional novels.
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  • 1
    114
    12

    SubjectsEngland, Hospitals

    The Regeneration Trilogy is a series of three novels by Pat Barker on the subject of the First World War. In 2012, The Observer named it as one of "The 10 best historical novels". Regeneration The...  more
  • 2
    sebbzor added

    Johnny Got His Gun

    Dalton Trumbo
    104
    14

    First Published1939

    SubjectsLiterary, World War I, Literature, Classics, Veteran

    Genres (Book)Fiction, Novel

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Johnny Got His Gun is an anti-war novel written in 1938 by American novelist and screenwriter Dalton Trumbo and published September 1939 by J. B. Lippincott. The novel won one of the early National...  more
  • 3

    A Very Long Engagement

    Sébastien Japrisot
    84
    8

    SubjectsWorld War I

    A Very Long Engagement is a novel by Sebastien Japrisot....
  • 4

    Fall of Giants

    Ken Follett
    112
    30

    First Published2010-09-28

    Genres (Book)Historical novel

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Fall of Giants is a historical novel by Welsh-born author Ken Follett. It is the first in the Century Trilogy, and follows five interrelated families throughout the course of the 20th century. The...  more

    #3 of 22 The Best Ken Follett Books#100 of 100 The Best Books With Fall in the Title

  • 5
    77
    7

    Genres (Book)Black comedy, Satire, Novel

    Original LanguageCzech Language

    The Good Soldier Švejk, also spelled Schweik or Schwejk is the abbreviated title of an unfinished satirical/dark comedy novel by Jaroslav Hašek. The original Czech title of the work is Osudy dobrého...  more
  • 6

    All Quiet on the Western Front

    Erich Maria Remarque
    142
    53

    First Published1929-01-29

    SubjectsMusic, World War I, War, History, Germany

    Genres (Book)War novel, Roman à clef

    Original LanguageGerman Language

    An omnibus of Erich Maria Remarque's "All Quiet on the Western Front" and Joseph Roth's "Job"....  more

    #200 of 704 Books That Changed Your Life#10 of 40 The Best Books That Were Adapted Into Oscar-Winning Movies#3 of 92 90+ Controversial Banned Books

  • 7

    First Published1991-05

    SubjectsWorld War I

    Genres (Book)War novel, Fiction

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    A Soldier of the Great War is a novel by Mark Helprin concerning an aged World War I veteran who recounts his life and adventures while traveling with a young man he meets after the two of them are...  more
  • 8
    63
    4

    SubjectsPopular literature

  • 9

    First Published1918

    SubjectsWorld War I, England

    Genres (Book)War novel, Psychological novel

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    The Return of the Soldier is the debut novel of English novelist Rebecca West, first published in 1918. The novel recounts the return of the shell shocked Captain Chris Baldry from the trenches of...  more
  • 10

    Maisie Dobbs

    Jacqueline Winspear
    49
    9

    First Published2003

    Genres (Book)Mystery, Fiction

    Maisie Dobbs is a mystery by Jacqueline Winspear published in 2003. Set in England between 1910 and 1929, it features the title character Maisie Dobbs, a private investigator. Generally well received...  more
  • 11
    RazvanPop added

    Forest of the Hanged

    Liviu Rebreanu
    32
    6

    First Published1922

    Genres (Book)Drama

    Original LanguageRomania

  • 12
    Mollevangsvagen added

    Guignol's band

    Louis-Ferdinand Céline
    25
    2
  • 13
    26
    4

    First Published1928

    SubjectsEspionage, World War I

    Genres (Book)Fiction, Novel

    Ashenden: Or the British Agent is a 1928 collection of loosely linked stories by W. Somerset Maugham. It is partly based on the author's experience as a member of British Intelligence in Europe...  more
  • 14
    TrevJohns added

    Covenant With Death

    John Harris, John Harris
    18
    2
  • 15

    Random Harvest

    James Hilton
    31
    18

    First Published1941-12

    SubjectsEngland, American History

    Genres (Book)War novel, Biography, Fiction, Novel, History

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Random Harvest is a novel written by James Hilton, first published in 1941. Like previous Hilton works, including Lost Horizon and Goodbye, Mr. Chips, the novel was immensely popular, placing second...  more
  • 16

    A Farewell to Arms

    Ernest Hemingway
    66
    61

    First Published1929

    SubjectsLiterary, World War I, Literature, Classics, Italy

    Genres (Book)Fiction, Novel

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    A Farewell to Arms is a novel written by Ernest Hemingway set during the Italian campaign of World War I. The book, published in 1929, is a first-person account of American Frederic Henry, serving as...  more

    #12 of 161 The Greatest American Novels#160 of 331 The Top Must-Read Books of All Time#88 of 1,236 The Best Novels Ever Written

  • 17

    In Pale Battalions

    Robert Goddard
    26
    14

    Genres (Book)Fiction

  • 18

    Winged Victory

    V. M. Yeates
    25
    14

    SubjectsWorld War I

    Winged Victory is a 1934 novel by English World War I fighter pilot Victor Maslin Yeates that is widely regarded as a classic description of aerial combat and the futility of war....  more
  • 19

    The First Casualty

    David L. Seidman, Ben Elton
    33
    23

    First Published2005

    SubjectsLiterary, World War I, Suspense, Military

    Genres (Book)Speculative fiction, Crime Fiction, Suspense, Mystery, Fiction

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    The First Casualty is a historical crime novel by English author Ben Elton, set during the First World War....  more
  • 20
    AndrewKern added

    August 1914

    Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
    41
    34

    SubjectsWorld War I

    Genres (Book)Historical novel

    Original LanguageRussian Language

  • 21

    Birds Without Wings

    Louis de Bernières
    31
    22

    First Published2004

    Genres (Book)Romance novel, War novel, Historical novel

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Birds Without Wings is a novel by Louis de Bernières, written in 2004. Narrated by various characters, it tells the tragic love story of Philothei and Ibrahim. It also chronicles the rise of Mustafa...  more
  • 22

    The Daughters of Mars

    Thomas Keneally
    23
    12
    The Daughters of Mars is a book written by Thomas Keneally....
  • 23

    Flanders

    Patricia Anthony
    26
    16

    Genres (Book)Speculative fiction

  • 24

    And Quiet Flows the Don

    Michail Aleksandrovich Sholokhov
    17
    5

    First Published1928

    Genres (Book)Novel

    Original LanguageRussian Language

    And Quiet Flows the Don or Quietly Flows the Don is an epic novel in four volumes by Russian writer Mikhail Aleksandrovich Sholokhov. The first three volumes were written from 1925 to 1932 and...  more
  • 25
    jhomziak added

    The Winter Soldier

    10
    0

    Daniel Mason https://www.amazon.com/Winter-Soldier-Daniel-Mason/dp/0316477605/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1539448983&sr=8-1&keywords=the+winter+soldier+daniel+mason

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List Rules: Fiction books that use WWI as a setting or major theme