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WWII Fiction

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Veronica
Avid Reader
Location: NT, Australia

Postby Veronica » Thu September 24th, 2009, 11:30 pm

Don't forget Irene Nemirovsky, she has such a uniqe language I reckon. Got hooked on her books after Suite Francaise
[SIZE="3"]"Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted"[/SIZE]

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love_uk
Reader
Location: Milwaukee & Northumberland

Jeff Shaara

Postby love_uk » Thu September 24th, 2009, 11:31 pm

"Misfit" wrote: but I have to say when I read the Shaara Civil War Trilogy last year it just knocked my socks off. I had no idea how horrific this war was(and all war), let alone starting with that one that introduced cannons, trenches and did away with more traditional hand to hand sword fights of yesterday.

I am glad I read those books, and the eye opening it gave me, but I will never be able to read them again.


Misfit, I'm a Jeff Shaara addict so do have to tell you that, among others, he has published a WWI novel & has just finished the 3rd book in his WWII trilogy. His father Michael would be sooo proud of him. That said ... I agree that they are harrowing & unforgettable.

http://www.jeffshaara.com/books.html
Joan

My test of a good novel is dreading to begin the last chapter. ~Thomas Helm

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love_uk
Reader
Location: Milwaukee & Northumberland

What about ...

Postby love_uk » Sat September 26th, 2009, 4:38 am

Very surprised that no one mentions Winds of War & War & Remembrance. Not up to the standard of The Caine Mutiny, perhaps, but millions have been enthralled by the books & badly-cast miniseries.

I've re-read them at least 6 or 7 times over the years & love the characters.
Joan



My test of a good novel is dreading to begin the last chapter. ~Thomas Helm

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Vanessa
Bibliomaniac
Currently reading: The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell & And So It Begins by Rachel Abbott (Pigeonhole)
Interest in HF: The first historical novel I read was Katherine by Anya Seton and this sparked off my interest in this genre.
Favorite HF book: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell!
Preferred HF: Any
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

Postby Vanessa » Fri October 16th, 2009, 1:44 pm

I've just finished Guernica by Dave Boling, a story set during the Spanish Civil War centering around the bombing of Guernica in 1937. It has a slow start and build up to the actual event, but I very much enjoyed it in the end and found it a worthwhile read.

I'm not sure if this is the right place to put it, but it does involve WWII - well, it's set on the eve of it.
Last edited by Vanessa on Fri October 16th, 2009, 1:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
currently reading: My Books on Goodreads

Books are mirrors, you only see in them what you already have inside you ~ The Shadow of the Wind

Chatterbox
Bibliophile
Location: New York

Postby Chatterbox » Fri October 16th, 2009, 7:50 pm

Some more additions for a great list:

Michael Dobbs has a series revolving around Winston Churchill -- I think four novels in total. All are good, and focus on the hard decisions that had to be made. My favorites are probably the first, leading up to the declaration of war, and the one that focuses on Churchill's efforts to get the Americans to do more than 'jaw jaw'.

In addition to Jackdaws, Ken Follett has another few WW2 thrillers. The Eye of the Needle, his breakthrough book, is one that still thrills and chills today -- about a German spy and his efforts to take D-Day secrets back to Canaris. The Key to Rebecca is set in wartime Cairo (as is Glenn Meade's "Stones of Sakkarra", also excellent). "Hornet Flight" is about the Danish resistance.

Alan Furst has written several excellent thrillers, most of them about the 1930s. But one short series of books featuring Jean Casson, a Paris film-maker, focuses on the occupation of France & Vichy. "The World at Night", is the first. Non-Casson WW2 books include: "Blood of Victory" revolves around the German efforts to nab the Ploesti oilfields. "Dark Voyage" is centered around a merchant sea captain and his vessel.

Moving over to the other side of the conflict, John Toland wrote "The Gods of War" -- excellent. about an American family involved in the war in the Pacific in different ways. (There is a sequel, "occupation".)

Anita Shreve has a book set in the French Resistance entitled (duh) "Resistance".

Indeed, the SOE/resistance generated a lot of books, many of which are crossover thrillers/mysteries. "Fall from Grace" is one by Larry Collins; there is also "Light of the Moon" by Elizabeth Buchan. "Night Sky" by Clare Francis is better than both, worth hunting down.

In the same vein (and area of the world) as Sansom's excellent Winter in Madrid is Aly Monroe's newish "Maze of Cadiz". Her next one will be published next month, set in Washington. Robert Wilson also wrote the wonderful "A Small Death in Lisbon".

On a completely different note, Susan Isaacs wrote "Shining Through", which has a romance plot set against the backdrop of ww2 (and the heroine goes into wartime Berlin.)

Speaking of wartime Berlin -- David Downing's three books in a series are great reads, ostensibly mysteries but set against the background of the Third Reich. Zoo Station, Silesian Station and Stettin Station. (The last is just out, and is great.) Phillip Kerr (who is better still) also has a brand new book out now that is on my TBR pile. (set in 1934).

"Berlin Solstice" is a great book by Sylvia Fraser, focusing on a range of characters leading up to and during WW2 in Berlin itself.

Helen MacInnes has a great (OOP) book about a young English woman caught in Poland by the war, "While Still we Live". (Very very evocative).

There are several books that are reminiscent of Pilcher's "Coming Home" by Elizabeth Elgin, and probably available from Amazon vendors, particularly in the UK. They are mostly about women in the various services, especially the WAAFs and Wrens, but I think also dealing with land girls. Classic romantic sagas. Whisper on the Wind, All the Sweet Promises, A Scent of Lavender.

Add to Battle Cry by Leon Uris, Armageddon (set in Berlin in the days and months following its collapse, but still essentially a WW2 book), and Mila 18, set in the Jewish ghetto of Warsaw.

Rennie Airth has just published a third in a series of mysteries (which are utterly brilliant) that is set during against the backdrop of the middle stages of the war, in which rationing, the blackout, the impact of the war on families etc. is described better than in most other books I've read. "In the dead of winter". (The plot also involves some war themes, such as Polish exiles & the collapse of Paris.) "The Dead of Winter."
Laura Wilson has written two other detective novels set against wartime London -- Stratton's War and An Empty Death.

I wouldn't class Uris or most of these writers as great novelists, but then with the exception of McEwan or Faulks, I wouldn't apply that label to the original list, either. All, however, are what I would call "thumping good reads" in their own different ways.
Last edited by Chatterbox on Fri October 16th, 2009, 8:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: correcting title.

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Miss Moppet
Bibliophile
Location: North London
Contact:

Postby Miss Moppet » Sat October 17th, 2009, 7:41 pm

Sarah Harrison, A Flower That's Free. Sequel to her WW1 novel The Flowers of the Field, but it can be read by itself. Starts in the mid-1930s with the 1936 Berlin Olympics and finishes up in postwar Berlin, also sections set in wartime London and in Malta. Recommended.

Henri Troyat, The Seed and the Fruit. Translation of Les semailles et les moissons, a series of five novels published in the 1950s. Saga of a French family from the early 1900s to 1945. The earlier novels follow Amelie and Pierre, the later ones their daughter Elisabeth who lives in Paris under the Occupation. Titles in order are:

1. Amelie in Love (Les semailles et les moissons)
2. Amelie and Pierre (Amelie)
3. Elizabeth (La grive)
4. Tender and violent Elizabeth (Tendre et violente Elisabeth)
5. The encounter (La rencontre)

Also recommended. But probably somewhat HTF in translation.

Judith Gould, Sins - 80s sex and shopping novel but it has quite lengthy flashbacks from the heroine's childhood when she was on the run from the Nazis in occupied France. The rest of the novel is about how she gets revenge on them (building a magazine empire along the way).

annis
Bibliomaniac

Postby annis » Sat October 17th, 2009, 11:53 pm

A real oldie (1947), but one i enjoyed back in the day is Frances Parkinson Keyes', "Came A Cavalier". Set in France, it starts near the end of WWI and goes through the German occupation during WWII.

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Miss Moppet
Bibliophile
Location: North London
Contact:

Postby Miss Moppet » Mon October 19th, 2009, 10:04 pm

"annis" wrote:A real oldie (1947), but one i enjoyed back in the day is Frances Parkinson Keyes', "Came A Cavalier". Set in France, it starts near the end of WWI and goes through the German occupation during WWII.


I just ordered it second-hand. Thanks Annis, I would have assumed this was a Civil War novel from the title!

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love_uk
Reader
Location: Milwaukee & Northumberland

Postby love_uk » Sun November 29th, 2009, 8:26 am

"annis" wrote:A real oldie (1947), but one i enjoyed back in the day is Frances Parkinson Keyes', "Came A Cavalier". Set in France, it starts near the end of WWI and goes through the German occupation during WWII.


Oh, Annis - I loved that book too. It is my favorite of all the FPK books - I couldn't wait to visit some little chateaux - it only took me about 20 years to do so.

She wrote another WWII novel but the name escapes me - about 3 friends who end up on different sides.
Joan



My test of a good novel is dreading to begin the last chapter. ~Thomas Helm

Texas
Scribbler
Location: born and raised in Texas

Postby Texas » Tue January 26th, 2010, 4:07 am

The WW II era is as close as this gets to my favorite (1930's). However, since my dad is a vet, I just wanted to mention that we still have with us some WW II vets with vivid memories--they're a treasure trove of oral history and many are gratified by talking about it!

Texas
http://dustbowlpoetry.wordpress.com


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