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
240 62
The Nightingale is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
carlybobarly added Kristin Hannah

2
275 85
The Winds of War is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
oldrocker added Herman Wouk - Herman Wouk

3
374 132
The Book Thief is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added Markus Zusak

4
204 56
War and Remembrance is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
oldrocker added Herman Wouk

5
241 77
All the Light We Cannot See is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2

6
184 56
Night is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added Elie Wiesel

7
162 55
The Eagle Has Landed is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Jack Higgins

8
137 42
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
186 73
Slaughterhouse-Five is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added Kurt Vonnegut

10
210 87
Catch-22 is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added Joseph Heller

11
169 74
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2

12
134 59
The Thin Red Line is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added James Jones

13
98 46
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
99 48
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
58 17
The Caine Mutiny is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Charles Hornaday added Herman Wouk

16
95 49
Battle Cry is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
oldrocker added Leon Uris - Leon Uris

17
104 61
Sarah's Key is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Tatiana De Rosnay

18
95 59
Atonement is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Ian McEwan

19
98 64
Memoirs of a Geisha is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Arthur Golden

20
74 43
Eye of the Needle is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
slaft added Ken Follett

21
86 56
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
74 46
Mila 18 is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
oldrocker added Leon Uris

23
82 54
The Guernsey Literary and Pota... is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows

24
68 46
King Rat is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
oldrocker added James Clavell

25
32 18
The Unknown Soldier is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Väinö Linna

26
40 30
Grave of the Fireflies is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added Akiyuki Nosaka

27
53 47
Winter: a Novel of a Berlin Fa... is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2

28
44 37
Suite Française is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Irène Némirovsky

29
29 23
The Forbidden Forest is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Mircea Eliade

30
10 1
The Cypher Bureau Eilidh McGin... is listed (or ranked) 30 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

31
24 19
Nord is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Louis-Ferdinand Céline

32
23 19
Castle to Castle is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Louis-Ferdinand Céline

33
21 18
Rigadoon is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Louis-Ferdinand Céline

34
41 47
Hornet Flight is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Ken Follett

35
13 11
With the Old Breed: At Peleliu... is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
westcoastwayne added Eugene Sledge

36
16 15
Fable for Another Time is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added

37
39 45
SS-GB is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Len Deighton

38
18 18
Fragebogen: the Questionnaire is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Ernst von Salomon

39
17 17
Under the North Star is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Väinö Linna

40
40 48
Jackdaws is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Ken Follett

41
26 31
Life and Fate is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added Vasily Grossman

42
11 11
Once We Were Brothers is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Marykins added Ronald H. Balson

43
30 37
Stones from the River is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Ursula Hegi

44
15 17
Blue Island is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Jean Raspail

45
13 16
Normance is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Louis-Ferdinand Céline

46
15 19
Under the North Star 2: The Up... is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Väinö Linna

47
24 34
Gravity's Rainbow is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added Thomas Pynchon

48
11 16
L'europe Buissonnière is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added

49
24 35
Resistance is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Owen Sheers

50
12 18
Under the North Star 3: Reconc... is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Väinö Linna