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
323 110
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
158 37
The Nightingale is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
carlybobarly added The Nightingale Kristin Hannah

3
212 62
The Winds of War is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
oldrocker added The Winds of War Herman Wouk - Herman Wouk

4
167 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
193 56
All the Light We Cannot See is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2

6
152 43
Night is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added Night Elie Wiesel

7
111 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
129 40
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
150 52
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2

10
179 71
Catch-22 is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added Catch-22 Joseph Heller

11
156 59
Slaughterhouse-Five is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added Slaughterhouse-Five Kurt Vonnegut

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

13
115 42
The Thin Red Line is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added The Thin Red Line James Jones

14
81 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
77 35
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
90 45
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
75 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
89 49
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
83 45
Atonement is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Atonement Ian McEwan

20
74 40
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
57 28
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 Top Must-Read Books of All-Time

22
61 33
Mila 18 is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
oldrocker added Mila 18 Leon Uris

23
71 42
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
58 34
King Rat is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
oldrocker added King Rat James Clavell

25
25 6
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 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
23 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 7
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 Worst World War II Generals

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
19 8
Nord is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Nord Louis-Ferdinand Céline

32
33 22
Suite Française is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Suite Française Irène Némirovsky

33
14 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
16 6
Rigadoon is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Rigadoon Louis-Ferdinand Céline

35
14 6
Under the North Star 2: The Up... is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Under the North Star 2: The Uprising Väinö Linna

The Most Overrated Books of All Time

36
13 5
Blue Island is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Blue Island Jean Raspail

37
39 32
Winter: a Novel of a Berlin Fa... is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2

38
11 4
L'europe Buissonnière is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added L'europe Buissonnière

39
11 4
Normance is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added Normance Louis-Ferdinand Céline

40
38 32
Hornet Flight is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Hornet Flight Ken Follett

41
12 6
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
36 35
Jackdaws is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Jackdaws Ken Follett

The Greatest World War 2 Tanks

43
4 0
Elephant in the Garden is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Natalie Yu added Elephant in the Garden

44
4 0
Once We Were Brothers is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Marykins added Once We Were Brothers Ronald H. Balson

45
8 5
The best butter is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Mollevangsvagen added The best butter Jean Dutourd

46
3 0
With the Old Breed: At Peleliu... is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
westcoastwayne added With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa Eugene Sledge

47
26 27
Stones from the River is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Stones from the River Ursula Hegi

48
2 0
Behind the lines is listed (or ranked) 48 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 ...

49
2 0
The Women in the Castle is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
Marykins added The Women in the Castle Jessica Shattuck

50
20 21
Life and Fate is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Novels About World War 2
sebbzor added Life and Fate Vasily Grossman