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. 

1
229 51
The Nightingale is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
carlybobarly added The Nightingale Kristin Hannah

2
265 76
The Winds of War is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
oldrocker added The Winds of War Herman Wouk - Herman Wouk

3
198 48
War and Remembrance is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
oldrocker added War and Remembrance Herman Wouk

4
363 123
The Book Thief is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added The Book Thief Markus Zusak

5
235 68
All the Light We Cannot See is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2

6
175 48
Night is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added Night Elie Wiesel

7
132 33
The Bridge over the River Kwai is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added The Bridge over the River Kwai Pierre Boulle

8
156 46
The Eagle Has Landed is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
The Eagle Has Landed Jack Higgins

9
206 77
Catch-22 is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added Catch-22 Joseph Heller

10
182 65
Slaughterhouse-Five is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added Slaughterhouse-Five Kurt Vonnegut

11
163 63
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2

12
128 50
The Thin Red Line is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added The Thin Red Line James Jones

13
97 36
Empire of the Sun is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added Empire of the Sun J. G. Ballard

14
53 9
The Caine Mutiny is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Charles Hornaday added The Caine Mutiny Herman Wouk

15
96 40
The Naked and the Dead is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added The Naked and the Dead Norman Mailer

16
90 41
Battle Cry is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
oldrocker added Battle Cry Leon Uris - Leon Uris

17
103 52
Sarah's Key is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Sarah's Key Tatiana De Rosnay

18
93 51
Atonement is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Atonement Ian McEwan

19
97 55
Memoirs of a Geisha is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Memoirs of a Geisha Arthur Golden

20
70 34
Eye of the Needle is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
slaft added Eye of the Needle Ken Follett

21
73 37
Mila 18 is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
oldrocker added Mila 18 Leon Uris

22
83 46
Winter of the World is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Clark Benson added Winter of the World Ken Follett

23
80 45
The Guernsey Literary and Pota... is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows

24
68 37
King Rat is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
oldrocker added King Rat James Clavell

25
32 9
The Unknown Soldier is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added The Unknown Soldier Väinö Linna

26
40 21
Grave of the Fireflies is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added Grave of the Fireflies Akiyuki Nosaka

27
28 14
The Forbidden Forest is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added The Forbidden Forest Mircea Eliade

28
52 38
Winter: a Novel of a Berlin Fa... is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2

29
23 11
Nord is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Nord Louis-Ferdinand Céline

30
39 28
Suite Française is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Suite Française Irène Némirovsky

31
22 11
Castle to Castle is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Castle to Castle Louis-Ferdinand Céline

32
20 10
Rigadoon is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Rigadoon Louis-Ferdinand Céline

33
18 9
Fragebogen: the Questionnaire is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Fragebogen: the Questionnaire Ernst von Salomon

34
17 8
Under the North Star is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Under the North Star Väinö Linna

35
15 7
Fable for Another Time is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Fable for Another Time

36
11 3
With the Old Breed: At Peleliu... is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
westcoastwayne added With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa Eugene Sledge

37
10 2
Once We Were Brothers is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Marykins added Once We Were Brothers Ronald H. Balson

38
15 8
Blue Island is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Blue Island Jean Raspail

39
40 38
Hornet Flight is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Hornet Flight Ken Follett

40
15 10
Under the North Star 2: The Up... is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Under the North Star 2: The Uprising Väinö Linna

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39 39
Jackdaws is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Jackdaws Ken Follett

42
12 8
Normance is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Normance Louis-Ferdinand Céline

43
11 7
L'europe Buissonnière is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added L'europe Buissonnière

44
37 38
SS-GB is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
SS-GB Len Deighton

45
24 23
Life and Fate is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added Life and Fate Vasily Grossman

46
12 9
Under the North Star 3: Reconc... is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Under the North Star 3: Reconciliation Väinö Linna

47
6 2
Behind the lines is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
yosoykarlos added Behind the lines W. E. B. Griffin - All Griffin's books are good, but this one stands out because it tells the implausible story of Wendell Fertig, real person and Army engineer who refused to surrender to the Japanese in the Philippines after Pearl Harbor. Faced ...

48
29 31
Stones from the River is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Stones from the River Ursula Hegi

49
24 27
Gravity's Rainbow is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added Gravity's Rainbow Thomas Pynchon

50
8 8
The best butter is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added The best butter Jean Dutourd