Books Set During World War II
This is a thread about fictional and non-fictional books set during World War II. Here I will list books that I highly recommend and think are worth reading.
Except form being remarkable and terrifying stories, books depicting events from World War II play a crucial role in remembrance. It’s important not to forget history and hopefully learn from it and prevent history from repeating itself.
Feel free to add to the list of books and discuss them.
Empire of the Sun
~ by J. G. Ballard
The novel recounts the story of a young British boy, Jamie Graham, who lives with his parents in Shanghai. After the Pearl Harbor attack, Japan occupies the Shanghai International Settlement, and in the following chaos Jim becomes separated from his parents.
He spends some time in abandoned mansions, living on remnants of packaged food. Having exhausted the food supplies, he decides to try to surrender to the Imperial Japanese Army. After many attempts, he finally succeeds and is interned in the Lunghua Civilian Assembly Center.
~ by Patricia Reilly Giff, recommended by @Ouijaloveletters
Every summer Lily and her father go to her family’s house in Rockaway, near the Atlantic Ocean. But the summer of 1944 is different. World War II has called Lily’s father overseas, Lily’s best friend Margaret had to move with her family to a wartime factory town, and Lily is forced to live with her grandmother. But then a boy named Albert, a refugee from Hungary, comes to live in Rockaway. He has lost most of his family to the war. Soon he and Lily form a special friendship, and they have secrets to share. But they have both told lies, and Lily’s lie may cost Albert his life.
~ by Eleanor H. Ayer, Alfons Heck, Helen Waterford, recommended by @Melaniey
She was a young German Jew. He was an ardent member of the Hitler Youth. This is the story of their parallel journey through World War II. Helen Waterford and Alfons Heck were born just a few miles from each other in the German Rhineland. But their lives took radically different courses: Helen’s to the Auschwitz extermination camp; Alfons to a high rank in the Hitler Youth.
~ by Thomas Keneally
The book tells the story of Oskar Schindler, a member of the Nazi Party who becomes an unlikely hero by saving the lives of 1,100 Polish Jews during the Holocaust. It is a non-fiction novel which describes actual people and places, with fictional events, dialogue and scenes added by the author, and reconstructed dialogue where exact details are unknown.
Someone Named Eva
~ by Joan M. Wolf, recommended by @ThePoeticRaven
Milada, a young Czechoslovakian girl, lives in the village of Lidice. The book starts out with her and her friends hanging out on her 11th birthday and Milada receives a telescope. The next days, Nazis break into their home. She doesn’t understand at first when Nazi soldiers come to her house, ordering them to pack belongings for three days and leave the house. Her father and her older brother, Jaroslav, are separated from the rest of the family to be taken elsewhere; Milada, her mother, younger sister Anechka and grandmother, are subsequently held together with the rest of the female inhabitants of Lidice, in a building.
The Book Thief
~ by Markus Suzak
Narrated by Death, a male voice who over the course of the book proves to be morose yet caring, the plot follows Liesel Meminger as she comes of age in Nazi Germany during World War II. After the death of her younger brother on a train to the fictional town of Molching, Germany, on the outskirts of Munich, Liesel arrives at the home of her new foster parents, Hans and Rosa Hubermann, distraught and withdrawn.
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
~ by John Boyne
Bruno is a 9-year-old boy growing up during World War II in Berlin. After a visit by Adolf Hitler, Bruno’s father is promoted to Commandant, and the family has to move to “Out-With” because of the orders of “The Fury”. From the house at Out-With, Bruno sees a camp in which the prisoners wear “striped pyjamas”. One day, Bruno decides to explore the wire fence surrounding the camp. As he walks along the fence, he meets a Jewish boy named Shmuel, who he learns shares his birthday and age.
The Diary of a Young Girl
~ by Anne Frank
The Diary of a Young Girl, also known as The Diary of Anne Frank, is a book of the writings from the Dutch language diary kept by Anne Frank while she was in hiding for two years with her family during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. The family was apprehended in 1944, and Anne Frank died of typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945.
~ by Władysław Szpilman
The Pianist is a memoir by the Polish-Jewish pianist and composer Władysław Szpilman in which he describes his life in Warsaw in occupied Poland during World War II. After being forced with his family to live in the Warsaw Ghetto, Szpilman manages to avoid deportation to the Treblinka extermination camp, and from his hiding places around the city witnesses the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943 and the Warsaw Uprising the following year.