Literature The Best Novels About World War 2  

Ranker Books
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List Rules Fiction that uses WWII as a setting or major theme

This is a list about the best novels about World War 2 - basically a genre onto itself considering how extensively it has been covered in literature and art. But what are the best historical books about World War 2? Many you have probably heard of because they have won awards or have been turned into movies. Also known as the Second World War, this global war lasted from 1939 – 1945. It involved the vast majority of the world’s nations that eventually formed two opposing alliances, the Allies and the Axis. WW2 books can be novels that focus on the war itself as the central story, or they can feature the war tangentially, as a force that impacts the lives of its main characters.

World War 2 was the most widespread war in history and was marked by the deaths of millions of civilians due to the use of nuclear weapons and the Holocaust; it was the deadliest war in the history of the world. It ended May 8, 1945, and the world was left picking up the pieces from the battlefield. WWII was responsible for the formation of the United Nations, a program that fosters international co-operation to prevent future conflicts. Many biographies were birthed from this time period in history, including some of the world’s greatest novels like The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank and Thomas Keneally’s Schindler's Ark which later inspired the film Schindler’s List. Good WW2 lists continue to come out every year, with top novels like All the Light We Cannot See winning the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2015.

While true stories emerged that would forever capture our hearts, this list features some noteworthy WW2 fictional stories that many times were based on true events that occurred. 
list ordered by

1
397 142
The Book Thief is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added Markus Zusak

2
253 77
The Nightingale is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
carlybobarly added Kristin Hannah

3
289 95
The Winds of War is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
oldrocker added Herman Wouk - Herman Wouk

4
215 64
War and Remembrance is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
oldrocker added Herman Wouk

5
257 89
All the Light We Cannot See is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2

6
196 64
Night is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added Elie Wiesel

7
169 62
The Eagle Has Landed is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Jack Higgins

8
145 50
The Bridge over the River Kwai is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added Pierre Boulle

9
192 81
Slaughterhouse-Five is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added Kurt Vonnegut

10
217 99
Catch-22 is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added Joseph Heller

11
181 81
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2

12
135 68
The Thin Red Line is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added James Jones

13
100 54
Empire of the Sun is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added J. G. Ballard

14
100 56
The Naked and the Dead is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added Norman Mailer

15
98 59
Battle Cry is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
oldrocker added Leon Uris - Leon Uris

16
60 26
The Caine Mutiny is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Charles Hornaday added Herman Wouk

17
108 70
Sarah's Key is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Tatiana De Rosnay

18
99 68
Atonement is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Ian McEwan

19
102 72
Memoirs of a Geisha is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Arthur Golden

20
78 52
Eye of the Needle is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
slaft added Ken Follett

21
87 65
Winter of the World is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Clark Benson added Ken Follett

22
85 64
The Guernsey Literary and Pota... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows

23
19 2
The Cypher Bureau Eilidh McGin... is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
immo added

A novel inspired by the life of Marian Rejewski, the Polish mathematician who first solved Enigma in 1932. The novel follows Marian's life and the adventures of the Polish codebreaking team as they flee  Poland after it's invasion in 1939

24
75 55
Mila 18 is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
oldrocker added Leon Uris

25
68 55
King Rat is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
oldrocker added James Clavell

26
34 27
The Unknown Soldier is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Väinö Linna

27
55 56
Winter: a Novel of a Berlin Fa... is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2

28
41 39
Grave of the Fireflies is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added Akiyuki Nosaka

29
45 46
Suite Française is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Irène Némirovsky

30
29 33
The Forbidden Forest is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Mircea Eliade

31
24 28
Nord is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Louis-Ferdinand Céline

32
42 56
Hornet Flight is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Ken Follett

33
23 28
Castle to Castle is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Louis-Ferdinand Céline

34
40 55
SS-GB is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Len Deighton

35
21 27
Rigadoon is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Louis-Ferdinand Céline

36
16 20
With the Old Breed: At Peleliu... is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
westcoastwayne added Eugene Sledge

37
40 57
Jackdaws is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Ken Follett

38
27 39
Life and Fate is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added Vasily Grossman

39
31 47
Stones from the River is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Ursula Hegi

40
18 27
Fragebogen: the Questionnaire is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Ernst von Salomon

41
16 24
Fable for Another Time is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added

42
17 26
Under the North Star is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Väinö Linna

43
12 19
Once We Were Brothers is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Marykins added Ronald H. Balson

44
15 24
Blue Island is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Jean Raspail

45
25 42
Gravity's Rainbow is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added Thomas Pynchon

46
0 1
One Morning Like a Bird is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
weirwizard added Andrew Miller

47
0 1
The Gift of Rain is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
weirwizard added Tan Twan Eng

48
15 28
Under the North Star 2: The Up... is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Väinö Linna

49
13 25
Normance is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Louis-Ferdinand Céline

50
24 44
Resistance is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Owen Sheers