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
335 114
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
226 66
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
169 41
The Nightingale is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
carlybobarly added The Nightingale Kristin Hannah

4
171 44
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
199 59
All the Light We Cannot See is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2

6
157 46
Night is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added Night Elie Wiesel

7
115 30
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
135 41
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
188 72
Catch-22 is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added Catch-22 Joseph Heller

10
165 61
Slaughterhouse-Five is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added Slaughterhouse-Five Kurt Vonnegut

11
154 55
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2

12
117 45
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
86 32
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
42 6
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

36 Rare Photos From World War II

15
93 46
Sarah's Key is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Sarah's Key Tatiana De Rosnay

16
79 37
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
80 38
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
90 51
Memoirs of a Geisha is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Memoirs of a Geisha Arthur Golden

19
85 48
Atonement is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Atonement Ian McEwan

20
74 41
Winter of the World is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Clark Benson added Winter of the World Ken Follett

21
59 29
Eye of the Needle is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
slaft added Eye of the Needle Ken Follett

The Best Free eBooks

22
64 35
Mila 18 is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
oldrocker added Mila 18 Leon Uris

23
73 43
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
60 35
King Rat is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
oldrocker added King Rat James Clavell

25
26 7
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
36 19
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
23 9
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 8
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

Old School Pictures from World War 2

29
19 9
Nord is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Nord Louis-Ferdinand Céline

30
17 7
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
Under the North Star is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Under the North Star Väinö Linna

32
33 24
Suite Française is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Suite Française Irène Némirovsky

33
17 8
Rigadoon is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Rigadoon Louis-Ferdinand Céline

34
14 5
Fable for Another Time is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Fable for Another Time

35
41 34
Winter: a Novel of a Berlin Fa... is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2

Last Words Written By Famous People In Their Suicide Notes

36
13 6
Blue Island is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Blue Island Jean Raspail

37
12 5
Normance is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Normance Louis-Ferdinand Céline

38
14 8
Under the North Star 2: The Up... is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Under the North Star 2: The Uprising Väinö Linna

39
38 34
Hornet Flight is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Hornet Flight Ken Follett

40
11 5
L'europe Buissonnière is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added L'europe Buissonnière

41
12 7
Under the North Star 3: Reconc... is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Under the North Star 3: Reconciliation Väinö Linna

42
37 36
Jackdaws is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Jackdaws Ken Follett

The Worst World War II Generals

43
5 1
Once We Were Brothers is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Marykins added Once We Were Brothers Ronald H. Balson

44
5 1
Elephant in the Garden is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Natalie Yu added Elephant in the Garden

45
34 36
SS-GB is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
SS-GB Len Deighton

46
8 6
The best butter is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added The best butter Jean Dutourd

47
21 22
Life and Fate is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added Life and Fate Vasily Grossman

48
26 28
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
3 1
Behind the lines is listed (or ranked) 49 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 ...

50
19 20
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