world war II

All the Light We Cannot See

By Anthony Doerr
Rated by Megan K.
Aug 8, 2016

Have you ever begun reading a book, and by the first few lines already accepted the fact that you probably will not sleep until the book is finished? All the Light We Cannot See is one of those books for me. I thoroughly enjoy historical fiction books, and this was no exception.

The city in which much of this story takes place- St. Malo, France- is such a beautiful place, and provides an excellent backdrop for many of the events in this book. The story centers around Marie, a sharply intelligent French girl, and Werner, a German boy with the unique talent of working with radios. The story

At the Water's Edge

By Sara Gruen
Rated by Katie S.
Jun 18, 2015

Philadelphia, 1944. The world is at war and yet Maddie and her husband, Ellis, and their friend Hank don't seem to notice. Having been forced out of their home after a drunken outburst at a New Year's Eve party, Ellis and Maddie are cut off completely from his well-off family. After throwing the final insult and claiming his father was a liar when he saw the Loch Ness monster in Scotland decades before, Ellis plans a reckless trek across the Atlantic with Hank, and Maddie is forced to go with them against her wishes. They believe that they will find the monster, prove their worth to Ellis's

Jul 16, 2013

Lieutenant Billy Boyle would much rather be a police detective back home in Boston than the personal investigator of his "Uncle Ike" in war ravaged London. Yes, he was recently promoted in Boston to police detective before the war, but that was mainly due to his police family's efforts, not his. Upon arriving in England, Billy is soon placed in a sink-or-swim investigation where he must use his untested detective skills to solve a murder and stop a spy.

 Billy Boyle is a good start to a series that combines the setting of World War II with the classic murder mystery genre.  The mystery itself

Sep 1, 2010

bliss2.jpgThere’s something romantic about the World War II era for me, so I’ve read many novels set in that period. This one is certainly romantic, and it has an unusual premise and a twist at the end that adds to the interest. Sydney was an excellent, but untrained swimmer when she began competing at age 18 in 1936. She was so good that she went with the U.S. team to the Olympics in Berlin. She fell in love with a handsome German boy and the complications began. The story and the setting were enough to keep me interested. Deford is a good storyteller, but my criticism of this book is his style. He has


By Ruth Reichl
Rated by Hope H.
Feb 8, 2015

I'll devour tasty literary fiction like any book-loving foodie, and Delicious! mixes in equal parts history, mystery and human interest for a full-bodied novel. Add to that an all-but-forgotten library that cryptically hides a series of old letters between unexpected pen pals, and you've got the cherry on top for this Librarian reviewer! 

The story opens with Billie Breslin trying to land a job at the world-renowned culinary magazine Delicious! On the surface she's just taking the first steps in a budding career, but soon it becomes obvious she's moved across the country to avoid facing

Double Cross

By Ben Macintyre
Rated by Bethany T.
Aug 6, 2014

What happens when "a Peruvian playgirl, a tiny Polish fighter pilot, a mercurial Frenchwoman, a Serbian seducer and a deeply eccentric Spaniard" come together to work for MI5?  Only one of the most important deceptions in modern history.  Ben Macintyre's latest book chronicles the machinery of the pivotal Operation Fortitude, a massive undertaking in misinformation and misdirection that led the Germans to believe that the Pas de Calais, not Normandy, would be the beachhead from where the Allies would launch their European invasion.  Macintyre documents the circuitous and often borderline

Dunkirk (2017) DVD

By Christopher Nolan
Rated by Emily D.
Apr 27, 2018

The film Dunkirk tells a very important story. During the Second World War the British, French and other allied forces get surrounded at Dunkirk, a beach town in France. The limited Navy and Red-cross ships can't seem to make it back across the channel without being hit by German forces, and British fighter planes don't have the fuel capacity to be of much help. Overall, the situation is very grim. The British Navy commissions the use of any serviceable ship or boat to rescue the 300,000 some odd soldiers trapped at Dunkirk.

Now you are prepared to watch a movie that has virtually no


By Pam Muñoz Ryan
Rated by Emily D.
Nov 29, 2017

Echo follows the stories of Otto, Friedrich, Mike, Ivy, and the mysterious harmonica that ties them together! The magical thread of music carries you through this wonderful tale. Friedrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California are all dealing with the wrath of a war that tore countries and families apart. Friedrich is living with a birthmark that Hitler deems unsuitable, Mike will do anything to keep him and his brother together, and Ivy is learning that prejudice in America affects even the innocent. But they all find solace in music. With the help of the harmonica, someone

Jul 29, 2011

Eloquent, intense, terrifying… This novel has been called the ultimate and definitive novel of German resistance during WWII. An elderly laborer and his wife learn of the death of their only son on the Western Front. They are not interested in politics or patriotism. They want only to live their mundane and predictable lives in peace. Even the loss of their son does not initially move them to act. Besides, what is one to do? You will lose your ration cards, your job, your apartment…maybe more. And if one was to could you affect anything so big? So ruthless? So cruel?

But as threats

Fury (DVD)

By David Ayer, Director
Rated by Jed D.
Jun 29, 2015

Take one part 300, one part Das Boot, and one part Inglourious Basterds, and you have Fury, a brutal and overly-earnest tank battle movie. Set in the final days of WWII, five American soldiers are trapped in a disabled tank and must fend off hordes of Germans. Brad Pitt, the commanding officer named Wardaddy, leads Michael Peña, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman and Jon Bernthal in an exciting and bloody fight for their lives. The non-stop action is entertaining, but the numerous war movie clichés make Fury mostly forgettable. Also of interest to some, LaBeouf was reportedly involved in behind-the

Mar 8, 2011

This is a delightful tale told in epistolary form. Set in 1946, its heroine is Juliet Ashton, a 33 year old London writer who like everyone else is recovering from the devastation of World War II. She corresponds regularly by mail with her close friends, Sidney and Sophie, whom she has known since childhood. Sidney is also her publisher. Juliet also receives a letter from a man on Guernsey – one of the Channel Islands that were occupied by the German army during the war. Her interest is piqued and she begins exchanging letters with other residents of the island until the time comes when Juliet

Into the White (DVD)

By Peter Naess
Rated by Katie S.
Jun 14, 2015

Into the White portrays the true story of soldiers aboard German and British fighter planes after they are shot down over the wilderness of Norway on April 27, 1940. The three German soldiers stumble upon an abandoned cabin after trekking through the snowy landscape for days only to find two British soldiers wanting to use the shelter as well. Out of pity, the Germans take the British soldiers in as their prisoners and they begin a push-and-pull for power as the days drag on. Cold, hungry and with one wounded soldier, all five men learn that in order to survive, they have to work together. In

Life After Life

By Kate Atkinson
Rated by Heather B.
Nov 2, 2015

If you had your life to live over, what would you do differently? If you could go back in time, would you kill Hitler? Life After Life is an inventive novel by Kate Atkinson that explores both questions, and much more. 

When Ursula Todd is born for the first time on a snowy night in 1910, she dies almost immediately. But this isn't the end of her story--far from it, in fact. Every time Ursula dies, she is born again. This isn't reincarnation, strictly speaking. She's born at the same time, to the same parents, into the same life. But it's always just a bit different somehow. She drowns

Lilac Girls

By Martha Hall Kelly
Rated by Lisa J.
Apr 4, 2016

It's September 1939 and as Hitler invades Poland with his sight set on France, the paths of Caroline, Kasia and Herta are set on a course that will change their lives forever. Socialite Caroline Ferriday lives in New York City and volunteers at the French Consulate, helping French nationals visiting the United States. She also organizes aide for French orphanages. Kasia Kuzmerick is a Polish teenager who sees her way of life disappearing with the occupation of Hitler and she works as a courier for the resistance movement in Poland. Meanwhile, German physician, Herta Oberheuser, frustrated at

Lilac Girls

By Martha Hall Kelly
Rated by Debbie L.
Feb 23, 2017

Lilac Girls is a World War II historical fiction book focusing on Ravensbruck, a women's concentration camp where some prisoners endured cruel experimental surgeries. Chapters alternate between the perspectives of three different women: former actress and wealthy American, Catherine Ferriday, who sends care packages to orphaned children overseas; Kasia, a Polish teenager and Ravensbruck prisoner; and Herta Oberhauser, a German doctor performing experiments in Ravensbruck.

Before reading this book, I hadn't heard of the Ravensbruck Rabbits, but found their story, which is based on real

May 20, 2013

Shangri-la conjures up images of a utopian kingdom where no one suffers or ages—a la the classic movie.  But the book Lost in Shangri-la is grounded in reality, relaying the harrowing rescue of a band of soldiers during World War II.  A flight of men and women stationed in New Guinea was lost, not in battle, but during a joy-ride on a lovely Sunday afternoon.  They were going to fly over a newly discovered lush valley that time had forgotten, and were excited for this diversion in what was becoming a dull stint in this no-action jungle island. But they were thwarted by the sad mistakes of the

Manhattan (DVD)

By Schlamme, Thomas
Rated by Katie S.
Nov 3, 2015

It's the 1940s and the world is at war. People are dying everyday in a land far, far away. And a group of scientists have military orders to figure out a way to stop the violence, end the war, and bring American soldiers back safely. That is the world of the Manhattan project. Physicists, members of the military and their families move to Los Alamos, New Mexico, expecting an exciting new life only to find themselves confined to a small, unknown town unable to reach anyone in the outside world. Dr. Frank Winters leads a small group of misfits working on the implosion theory while Dr. Charlie

Mar 27, 2018

This book tells the story of a Jewish survivor of Hitler’s Europe, and his son, a cartoonist trying to come to terms with his father’s story and the death of his mother. This book follows the story of his father’s experiences in Poland and Auschwitz, as well as that of his entire family. It tells of the romance between his father and mother during this time and their struggles to stay together despite the circumstances. This book shows the relationship between the author and his father throughout. This graphic novel portrays the Jews as mice and the Nazis as cats during the Holocaust.


Jul 10, 2018

This book tells the extraordinary story of survival and friendship between a man and his dog during war. This is the story of the dog Judy, the only official prisoner of war in World War ll. It details how she and flight technician Frank Williams met in a POW internment camp in the Pacific theater. Their story of an unbreakable bond during the worst circumstances is one of the great undiscovered stories during the war.

This book is amazing and inspiring. It shows what it was like to live in a POW work camp and gives a great overall view of the Pacific theater. It was obviously well

Feb 10, 2010

heroes.gifWorld War II is beginning and young Davy and his best friend Scooter are busy doing their part by collecting the junk de jour. One day they're searching for scrap metal in creepy old Mr. Stonecypher's attic the next they're scavenging for milkweed near an old barn. While they're searching around the barn they spy a vintage car and try out the seats. They're scared to death when a woman shoots her shotgun and announces that they're on her property. I loved this book. There's a lot of information about rationing and daily life during the war years. The characters express emotions about loss and

Mar 4, 2012

In Ordinary Heroes,   retired newpaperman Stewart Dubinsky has discovered a packet of wartime letters his late father wrote to a former fiancé.  He learned of his father’s court-martial and imprisonment and was determined to learn more about this man who remained distant to him in life.  As he pieced together events provided by his father’s former defense attorney and from a memoir his father wrote in prison, he began to reconstruct the terrible events and agonizing choices his father faced on the battlefield.  Stewart gains not only a better and surprising understanding of both of his parents

Playing With Fire

By Tess Gerritsen
Rated by Lisa J.
Nov 15, 2015

In a total departure from her usual fare of FBI profilers, Gerritsen takes the reader on a journey that starts in WWII Italy to present day Boston where Julia Ansdell lives with her husband and daughter.  While in Rome, Julia, a professional violinist, purchases a book of gypsy sheet music for her collection. Tucked inside the pages is a single sheet of hand written music, a waltz. Julia is immediately intrigued by the passion and complexity of the music. Upon returning to Boston, Julia sets out to master the haunting and difficult piece, titled Incendio, setting into motion something strange

Nov 26, 2012

This rambling mystery moves from Berlin to Prague as Bernie Gunther, recently on the Eastern Front with the German army, resumes his work as detective.  While investigating the death of a Dutch railway worker he becomes involved with a local girl he assumes to be a prostitute.  When he is ordered by the Nazis to go to Prague, she accompanies him and stays in a hotel while he goes to the “country house” for orders.  The day after his arrival an adjutant to the general is found dead in his bed and Gunther is assigned the job of finding the murderer.  This book would appeal to die-hard World War

Apr 13, 2017

Michael O'Shaunessey, like all his other classmates, is part of the Hitler Youth. He participates in their book burnings and horrific games, but he secretly despises everything the Nazis stand stand for. He has a dangerous secret that he must protect at all costs, he and his parents are spies. He is just playing the part so he can get insider information. Soon he hears about Projekt 1065, a secret Nazi war mission that he has to stop. But to do that he must prove his loyalty to the Third Reich no matter the cost...

Started out a little slow for me, but the last 150 pages I could not put it

Feb 9, 2016

When Tamar’s grandfather dies, she finds out he left her a box containing a series of clues and coded messages. These lead her to discover another Tamar from the past, a resistance fighter in Nazi-occupied Holland a century before. His story is one of passionate love, betrayal, jealousy, and tragedy against the backdrop of the daily fear during the second World War, and unraveling it is about to change her life forever.

I thought this was a very well written book. I enjoyed it because it is about a side of World War II that I haven't often read about-the Dutch resistance efforts.

This is

Feb 12, 2016

At the funeral of her brother, Liesel steals her first book. When she arrives at her foster home, freshly separated from her mother, she is terrified. But she does not expect the incredible kindness shown by her eccentric accordion foster father and begrudging love by her foster mother. With their help, she slowly learns to read, and shares the books she steals from book burnings and the mayor’s library to her terrified neighbors during bombing raids, as well as to the Jewish man hiding in her basement. Set in the backdrop of World War II in Germany, this book is an unforgettable story about

The Buddha in the Attic

By Julie Otsuka
Rated by Sam S.
Jul 19, 2017

The Buddha in the Attic is a short novel depicting the lives and struggles of Japanese mail-order brides arriving in America in the years leading up to World War II. It is not one central story that follows a single character--or even a few. Instead, the author uses the first person plural narrative style (through the use of "we" and "our") to tell the stories of countless, mostly nameless women. The narrative begins on the boats, as the young girls share their dreams for the unknown future, and continues with their lives in America as they struggle to adapt to a new land and a new language

Jan 20, 2011

As a confirmed Anglophile who enjoys period pieces I find Kate Morton’s mix of modern day and “old England” to be very engaging. Her latest book story begins with Edie’s visit to Milderhurst Castle where the sisters Blythe have lived in seclusion all their long lives. Saffy and Percy take care of the daily living tasks and care for their younger sister, Juniper, who hasn’t been the same since “it” happened in 1941. The work contains aspects of gothic mystery and romance, the struggles of rural England during World War II, and the every-present clash of generations. All of this is woven around

The Family Romanov

By Candace Flemming
Rated by Kate M.
Sep 23, 2014

The beginning of the end of Romanov rule of Russia began with the ascension of Nicholas II. Ill prepared for the crown by his father, Nicholas depended heavily on his new wife Alexandra (married under the shadow of the death of Nicholas’ father their marriage was seen as a curse by the Russian people). Problems for the Romanovs multiplied when Alexandra, after several difficult pregnancies, produced only female heirs leaving the line of succession unsure. A disconnect from the government and the people, and an overdependence on Alexandra and her religious advisors, made Nicholas appear weak

Mar 5, 2010

The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie BurroughsI have often enjoyed reading books in which the author uses letters or diary/journal entries to weave a story. These Is My Words by Nancy Turner, Letters From Yellowstone by Diane Smith, and Letters to Callie by Dawn Miller were good reads that used this type of plot development. In The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society authors Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Burroughs bring characters to life through correspondences written between main character Juliet Ashton and a wonderful variety of inhabitants of Guernsey Island. Juliet is an author, bored with her present job of writing rather