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
236 56
The Nightingale is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
carlybobarly added Kristin Hannah

2
272 81
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
370 127
The Book Thief is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added Markus Zusak

4
201 52
War and Remembrance is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
oldrocker added Herman Wouk

5
237 72
All the Light We Cannot See is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2

6
181 52
Night is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added Elie Wiesel

7
136 37
The Bridge over the River Kwai is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added Pierre Boulle

8
160 50
The Eagle Has Landed is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Jack Higgins

9
184 69
Slaughterhouse-Five is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added Kurt Vonnegut

10
208 83
Catch-22 is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added Joseph Heller

11
166 68
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2

12
131 54
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 41
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
57 13
The Caine Mutiny is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Charles Hornaday added Herman Wouk

15
96 44
The Naked and the Dead is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added Norman Mailer

16
93 45
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 56
Sarah's Key is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Tatiana De Rosnay

18
73 38
Eye of the Needle is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
slaft added Ken Follett

19
98 59
Memoirs of a Geisha is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Arthur Golden

20
93 55
Atonement is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Ian McEwan

21
74 41
Mila 18 is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
oldrocker added Leon Uris

22
84 50
Winter of the World is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Clark Benson added Ken Follett

23
82 49
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 41
King Rat is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
oldrocker added James Clavell

25
32 13
The Unknown Soldier is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Väinö Linna

26
40 25
Grave of the Fireflies is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added Akiyuki Nosaka

27
52 42
Winter: a Novel of a Berlin Fa... is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2

28
42 32
Suite Française is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Irène Némirovsky

29
28 18
The Forbidden Forest is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Mircea Eliade

30
23 15
Nord is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Louis-Ferdinand Céline

31
22 15
Castle to Castle is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Louis-Ferdinand Céline

32
20 14
Rigadoon is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Louis-Ferdinand Céline

33
18 13
Fragebogen: the Questionnaire is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Ernst von Salomon

34
17 12
Under the North Star is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Väinö Linna

35
12 7
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
15 11
Fable for Another Time is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added

37
40 42
Hornet Flight is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Ken Follett

38
15 12
Blue Island is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Jean Raspail

39
10 6
Once We Were Brothers is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Marykins added Ronald H. Balson

40
5 0
The Cypher Bureau Eilidh McGin... is listed (or ranked) 40 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 ...

41
39 43
Jackdaws is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Ken Follett

42
37 41
SS-GB is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Len Deighton

43
15 14
Under the North Star 2: The Up... is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Väinö Linna

44
25 27
Life and Fate is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added Vasily Grossman

45
29 33
Stones from the River is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Ursula Hegi

46
12 12
Normance is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Louis-Ferdinand Céline

47
11 11
L'europe Buissonnière is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added

48
12 13
Under the North Star 3: Reconc... is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Väinö Linna

49
24 29
Gravity's Rainbow is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added Thomas Pynchon

50
6 6
Behind the lines is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
yosoykarlos added 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 ...