literature The Best Novels About World War 2  

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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
293 100
The Book Thief is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added The Book Thief Markus Zusak

2
196 57
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
168 48
All the Light We Cannot See is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2

4
156 43
War and Remembrance is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
oldrocker added War and Remembrance Herman Wouk

5
135 34
The Nightingale is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
carlybobarly added The Nightingale Kristin Hannah

6
135 42
Night is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added Night Elie Wiesel

7
106 29
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
137 48
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2

9
121 40
The Eagle Has Landed is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
The Eagle Has Landed Jack Higgins

10
149 58
Slaughterhouse-Five is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added Slaughterhouse-Five Kurt Vonnegut

11
166 69
Catch-22 is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added Catch-22 Joseph Heller

12
111 40
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
37 4
The Caine Mutiny is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Charles Hornaday added The Caine Mutiny Herman Wouk

14
75 30
Empire of the Sun is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added Empire of the Sun J. G. Ballard

36 Rare Photos From World War II

15
74 34
Battle Cry is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
oldrocker added Battle Cry Leon Uris - Leon Uris

16
85 43
Sarah's Key is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Sarah's Key Tatiana De Rosnay

17
71 37
The Naked and the Dead is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added The Naked and the Dead Norman Mailer

18
78 44
Atonement is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Atonement Ian McEwan

19
83 48
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
54 26
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
59 33
Mila 18 is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
oldrocker added Mila 18 Leon Uris

The Best Novels Ever Written

22
66 39
The Guernsey Literary and Pota... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows

23
67 40
Winter of the World is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Clark Benson added Winter of the World Ken Follett

24
24 4
The Unknown Soldier is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added The Unknown Soldier Väinö Linna

25
57 34
King Rat is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
oldrocker added King Rat James Clavell

26
36 18
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
22 7
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
20 6
Castle to Castle is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Castle to Castle Louis-Ferdinand Céline

The Greatest World War 2 Tanks

29
15 4
Under the North Star is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Under the North Star Väinö Linna

30
17 6
Fragebogen: the Questionnaire is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Fragebogen: the Questionnaire Ernst von Salomon

31
15 5
Rigadoon is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Rigadoon Louis-Ferdinand Céline

32
18 8
Nord is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Nord Louis-Ferdinand Céline

33
13 4
Fable for Another Time is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Fable for Another Time

34
14 6
Under the North Star 2: The Up... is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Under the North Star 2: The Uprising Väinö Linna

35
13 5
Blue Island is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Blue Island Jean Raspail

The Best Books Written Under Pen Names

36
11 4
L'europe Buissonnière is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added L'europe Buissonnière

37
11 4
Normance is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Normance Louis-Ferdinand Céline

38
38 32
Winter: a Novel of a Berlin Fa... is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2

39
37 32
Hornet Flight is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Hornet Flight Ken Follett

40
12 6
Under the North Star 3: Reconc... is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Under the North Star 3: Reconciliation Väinö Linna

41
27 22
Suite Française is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Suite Française Irène Némirovsky

42
4 0
Elephant in the Garden is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Natalie Yu added Elephant in the Garden

Old School Pictures from World War 2

43
8 5
The best butter is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added The best butter Jean Dutourd

44
26 26
Stones from the River is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Stones from the River Ursula Hegi

45
34 35
Jackdaws is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Jackdaws Ken Follett

46
32 35
SS-GB is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
SS-GB Len Deighton

47
1 0
With the Old Breed: At Peleliu... is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
westcoastwayne added With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa Eugene Sledge

48
9 10
A Good Clean Fight is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
ScottCameron added A Good Clean Fight Derek Robinson

49
18 21
Life and Fate is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added Life and Fate Vasily Grossman

50
16 19
Skeletons at the Feast is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Skeletons at the Feast Chris Bohjalian