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WWII Fiction

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Steve Anderson
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Postby Steve Anderson » Tue April 26th, 2011, 12:46 am

"Margaret" wrote:Great list - that's a site worth exploring. The WWII list there is much more extensive that the one at HistoricalNovels.info (thanks for the mention, Steve) because I try to focus on true historical novels, ones written quite recently by authors who were born after the war, and keep the contemporary WWII novels to a minimum. The difference between historical novels and contemporary novels about WWII can be subtle sometimes. Novels by soldiers who fought in the war and/or people who lived through it on the "home front" have the advantage of being written by people with intimate personal experience of the wartime period. The compensating advantage for true historical novels is that the authors have more distance from the war, so they are often able to see its events in a less subjective way than authors who lived through it and therefore had strong personal feelings about it. For example, more novels are being written now that explore the experiences of Germans during the war in a nuanced way that goes beyond blame to try to understand the complexity of the German experience of the Nazi era and WWII.


Great point about the difference between historical and contemporary novels, Margaret. That distance inherent in a historical novel can allow the author to get at greater truths in the storyline, and often ones that apply to their own period just as well. I'm currently reading two novels in which this difference plays out: Field Gray by Philip Kerr, just published; and Jeder stirbt für sich alleine by Hans Fallada (Everyone Dies Alone), written in '47 and based on historical records. While Fallada's book is probably more nuanced than many contemporary novels on the subject, it's still much more damning than a book like Field Gray.

Going beyond blame to try to understand the complexity of the German experience is definitely something I've pursued in my own work. And if I can generalize, for research I tend to rely on those contemporary novels formed by experience but as a reader I tend to look to those written much later after the fact.

Thanks for the great response.

Steve
http://www.stephenfanderson.com | Novelist, writer, literary translator

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wendy
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Postby wendy » Tue April 26th, 2011, 12:02 pm

One of the most interesting WWII books I have read in a long time is Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay. It deals with the Nazi occupation in France and the startling way the French officials aided in rounding up the Jewish people.
Wendy K. Perriman
Fire on Dark Water (Penguin, 2011)
http://www.wendyperriman.com
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Margaret
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Interest in HF: I can't answer this in 100 characters. Sorry.
Favorite HF book: Checkmate, the final novel in the Lymond series
Preferred HF: Literary novels. Late medieval and Renaissance.
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Postby Margaret » Wed April 27th, 2011, 5:27 am

Jeder stirbt für sich alleine by Hans Fallada (Everyone Dies Alone), written in '47 and based on historical records


You're reading it in German? That's cool! I read too slowly in German to tackle such a major novel, though I've done some light reading, and some Goethe (while taking classes in the language). My favorite was Gotz von Berlichingen - love that Sturm und Drang!
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings (probably well over 5000 by now, but I haven't re-counted lately) and over 700 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info

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Steve Anderson
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Postby Steve Anderson » Wed April 27th, 2011, 7:37 pm

"Margaret" wrote:You're reading it in German? That's cool! I read too slowly in German to tackle such a major novel, though I've done some light reading, and some Goethe (while taking classes in the language). My favorite was Gotz von Berlichingen - love that Sturm und Drang!


Thanks, Margaret. I am, but it's my secondary read. My German is also slower going and it's a big book. I'm enjoying it though. I had some Goethe in college, but it's been a while. I think I still have Die Leiden des jungen Werthers. You should try it again -- start with something simple. I find that if I don't look every word up and just go with it, it starts to speed up and the comprehension too. Viel Glück!
http://www.stephenfanderson.com | Novelist, writer, literary translator

schultpe
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WWII fiction

Postby schultpe » Sat April 30th, 2011, 1:03 pm

I grew up reading novels from this genre and have never stopped. Some of my favorites include Ken Follett's work (EYE OF THE NEEDLE and his more recent HORNET FLIGHT). I loved Owen Sela's AN EXCHANGE OF EAGLES, and my all-time favorite novel remains Anton Myrer's ONCE AN EAGLE (not exclusively about WWII, but a huge part of it is). It is a vivid, richly written saga that I highly recommend. I first read it at the age of 13, and can't count the number of times I have re-read it, or portions of it.

My contribution to the genre is entitled THE FUHRER VIRUS. It is a spy/conspiracy thriller for adult readers set in 1941. It can be found at http://www.amazon.com, http://www.barnesandnoble.com, http://www.booksamillion.com, and on GOOGLE review.

Thanks!

Paul Schultz

Texas
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Potok

Postby Texas » Thu November 17th, 2011, 6:41 pm

Don't forget that Chaim Potok's The Chosen takes place during World War II. Aside from illuminating the "home front," I think that book has one of the few male protagonists, David Malter, who can rival the attractiveness of Atticus Finch.


Shelley
Rain: A Dust Bowl Story
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The Czar
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Postby The Czar » Sat December 3rd, 2011, 3:53 am

I didn't read all 9 pages, so surely someone has suggested these, but if you haven't, read Herman Wouk's Winds of War and War and Remembrance. I just finished them, and they are excellent. The holocaust scenes actually made me shudder with horror and tear up, first time in years a book has made me do that.
Whoever wishes to foresee the future must consult the past; for human events ever resemble those of preceding times. This arises from the fact that they are produced by men who ever have been, and ever shall be, animated by the same passions, and thus they necessarily have the same results.
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Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli

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Amanda
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Location: Sydney, Australia

Postby Amanda » Sat December 3rd, 2011, 9:16 am

"The Czar" wrote:I didn't read all 9 pages, so surely someone has suggested these, but if you haven't, read Herman Wouk's Winds of War and War and Remembrance. I just finished them, and they are excellent. The holocaust scenes actually made me shudder with horror and tear up, first time in years a book has made me do that.


I think that was one of the first things that really made me sit up and take notice of the Holocaust.

SGM
Compulsive Reader

Postby SGM » Sat December 3rd, 2011, 9:33 am

"Texas" wrote:Don't forget that Chaim Potok's The Chosen takes place during World War II. Aside from illuminating the "home front," I think that book has one of the few male protagonists, David Malter, who can rival the attractiveness of Atticus Finch.


Shelley
Rain: A Dust Bowl Story
http://dustbowlpoetry.wordpress.com


Really -- I love Atticus. I shall have to give this one a try.

I did read one of Potok's novels some years ago but would have to go and look up the title -- not set during the war though. I did enjoy it but have never been back to that author again, not sure why though.

i read the Herman Wouk novels years and years ago. I enjoyed those too, but in a different way.
Currently reading - Emergence of a Nation State by Alan Smith

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Gordopolis
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The Cyclist by Fred Nath

Postby Gordopolis » Tue May 1st, 2012, 3:23 pm

I'm normally a Bronze-age to Medieval addict, but I've taken a dip into WWII with Fred Nath's 'The Cyclist'. I've only just started it, but the descriptive prose is well done and puts you in Bergerac by the town square quite effectively.

Going by the synopsis, the story promises to be a thrilling one...


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