The best 100 Wars books

Wars have shaped human history and continue to influence international relations and global politics. Understanding the causes, consequences, and intricacies of wars can provide valuable insights into our past, present, and future. Our meticulously curated list of books aims to facilitate this understanding.

Covering a wide range of conflicts and perspectives, this list offers a comprehensive exploration of warfare and its impact on societies. So, are you ready to delve into these compelling narratives and expand your knowledge on this crucial subject?
The best 100 Wars books
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1
Wars Books: Man, the State and War by Kenneth N. Waltz

Man, the State and War

Kenneth N. Waltz
A Theoretical Analysis
4.4 (66 ratings)
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What's Man, the State and War about?

In Man, the State and War, Kenneth Waltz develops a groundbreaking analysis of the nature and causes of war, offering readers a wide overview of the major political theories of war from the perspective of political philosophers, psychologists and anthropologists.

Who should read Man, the State and War?

  • Anyone studying international relations
  • Anyone interested in politics
  • Anyone curious about the long tradition of thinking about war and peace

2
Wars Books: Brave New War by John Robb

Brave New War

John Robb
The Next Stage of Terrorism and the End of Globalization
3.9 (22 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Brave New War about?

Modern technology and globalization have made it possible for one man to wage war against an entire country and win. Although it might seem unbelievable, it’s not.

Technological advances like the internet have made it possible for groups of terrorists and criminals to continuously share, develop and improve their tactics. This results in ever-changing threats made all the more dangerous by the interconnected nature of the modern world, where we rely on vital systems, like electricity and communication networks, that can be easily knocked out. Brave New War (2008) explores these topics and gives recommendations for dealing with future threats.

 

Who should read Brave New War?

  • Anyone who wants to learn what warfare will be like in the future
  • Students of military history
  • Anyone concerned with the negative aspects of globalization and instant communication

 

 


3
Wars Books: Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Man’s Search for Meaning

Viktor Frankl
4.4 (983 ratings)
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What's Man’s Search for Meaning about?

Originally published in 1946, Man’s Search for Meaning details the harrowing experiences of author and psychologist Viktor Frankl during his internment in Auschwitz concentration camp during the Second World War. It offers insights into how human beings can survive unsurvivable situations, come to terms with trauma, and ultimately find meaning.

Who should read Man’s Search for Meaning?

  • Anyone interested in psychotherapy
  • Anyone who wants to know how ordinary people cope with extraordinary situations
  • Anyone trying to work out the meaning of life

4
Wars Books: The Sleepwalkers by Christopher Clark

The Sleepwalkers

Christopher Clark
How Europe Went To War in 1914
4.5 (233 ratings)
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What's The Sleepwalkers about?

Christopher Clark’s The Sleepwalkers takes a fresh look at the outbreak of the First World War, focusing on the alliances established among Europe’s nations in the years leading up to 1914. In his compelling and masterful account, Clark examines the decisions, both big and small, that led to the outbreak, and investigates the common belief that the war was an inevitability.

Who should read The Sleepwalkers?

  • Anyone who wants to learn more about the outbreak of the First World War
  • Anyone interested in European history and international relations
  • Anyone interested in how wars can start

5
Wars Books: ISIS by Michael Weiss and Hassan Hassan

ISIS

Michael Weiss and Hassan Hassan
Inside the Army of Terror
4.1 (42 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's ISIS about?

ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror (2015) charts the rapid rise of the Islamic State in the Middle East, from its early beginnings to its self-proclaimed caliphate in Iraq and Syria. Grippingly told, the story of ISIS’s domination over al-Qaeda in Iraq and its slow but ruthless push in Syria also shines light on the failings of the West in dealing with this fanatical yet disciplined jihadi group.

Who should read ISIS?

  • People interested in international politics and the rise of terrorism
  • Historians or students of Middle Eastern studies
  • Anyone with an interest in examples of religious extremism

6
Wars Books: Bloodlands by Timothy Snyder

Bloodlands

Timothy Snyder
Europe Between Hitler and Stalin
4.4 (161 ratings)
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What's Bloodlands about?

In Bloodlands (2010), author Timothy Snyder tells the tragic story of the people caught in the crossfire between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union during World War II. The victims of the “bloodlands,” or territories that after the war became the Eastern Bloc, were pushed and pulled by two ruthless powers and treated like pawns both before the conflict and afterward.

Who should read Bloodlands?

  • Historians with a particular interest in World War II
  • People interested in the modern history of Eastern Europe
  • Students of German or Russian history

7
Wars Books: The True Believer by Eric Hoffer

The True Believer

Eric Hoffer
Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements
4.0 (82 ratings)
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What's The True Believer about?

The True Believer (1951), published in the aftermath of World War II, is an exploration of mass movements and the means by which they attract followers. These blinks will take you on a walk through history – showing how, under certain circumstances, be they right or wrong, anyone can become a true believer.

Who should read The True Believer?

  • People wanting to learn about the history, logic and component parts of mass movements
  • Those interested in group psychology
  • Anybody with an interest in politics and how change is affected

8
Wars Books: Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

Sapiens

Yuval Noah Harari
A Brief History of Humankind
4.4 (5,443 ratings)
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What's Sapiens about?

Sapiens (2015) traces the evolution of our species – from the rise of our most ancient ancestors to our current place in the modern, technological age. How have we, a species of hairless, tailless ape, managed to completely dominate the entire planet? These blinks show you the developments and trends that have allowed Homo sapiens to rise to the top.

Who should read Sapiens?

  • People curious about why our species – Homo sapiens – came to rule the world
  • Those who want to know how humans ended up living in a capitalist world community
  • Anyone curious to discover the beginnings of human society and culture

9
Wars Books: Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick

Nothing to Envy

Barbara Demick
Real Lives in North Korea
4.3 (40 ratings)
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00:00

What's Nothing to Envy about?

Nothing to Envy (2010) presents fascinating first-hand anecdotes from North Korean defectors, giving intimate insights into the lives of North Koreans under the rule of Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il and Kim Jong-un. The thousands of refugees who arrive in South Korea each year bring with them stories of famine, repression and an isolated nation that has fallen out of touch with the developed world.

Who should read Nothing to Envy?

  • Anyone interested in North Korea
  • Anyone who wants to know what it’s like to live under a communist dictatorship
  • Those curious about the lives of defectors and refugees

10
Wars Books: World Order by Henry Kissinger

World Order

Henry Kissinger
Reflections on the Character of Nations and the Course of History
4.2 (158 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's World Order about?

World Order (2014) is a guide to the complex mechanisms that have governed international relations throughout history. These blinks explain how different countries conceive of different world orders and how they are held in balance or brought into conflict.

Who should read World Order?

  • Anyone who wants to learn more about the intricacies of global politics
  • Students of political science, governance and international relations
  • Everyone with an interest in globalization and clashes of cultures

11
Wars Books: Causes of Rebellion in Waziristan by Khalid Aziz

Causes of Rebellion in Waziristan

Khalid Aziz
3.9 (16 ratings)
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What's Causes of Rebellion in Waziristan about?

Causes of Rebellion in Waziristan (2015) takes the reader on a journey into the rocky terrain of this tiny South Asian region whose geopolitical influence reaches far beyond Afghanistan and Pakistan. These blinks explore how the region became such a hotbed of insurrection and what can be done about it.

Who should read Causes of Rebellion in Waziristan?

  • Anyone interested in international politics
  • Those looking for more background about the conflicts and wars in South and Central Asia

12
Wars Books: The Code Book by Simon Singh

The Code Book

Simon Singh
The Science of Secrecy From Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography
4.2 (52 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Code Book about?

The Code Book (1999) lays out the long and intriguing history of secret communication. These blinks will take you on a journey from Ancient Greece to the modern-day NSA, detailing innumerable stories of cunning, determination and deceit along the way.

Who should read The Code Book?

  • Anyone interested in codes, secrets and world history
  • People with a taste for stories of wartime espionage
  • Any linguist and mathematician

13
Wars Books: A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah

A Long Way Gone

Ishmael Beah
Memoirs of a Boy Soldier
4.3 (33 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's A Long Way Gone about?

A Long Way Gone (2007) is a story of how, as a young boy in Sierra Leone, the author found himself caught in a civil war and recruited as a child soldier. You’ll travel alongside during his harrowing journey, eventual rescue and recovery guided through the kindness and grace of loving people.

Who should read A Long Way Gone?

  • Anyone interested in modern history of Sierra Leone
  • Students of history exploring civil wars and warfare
  • People curious about the ongoing plight of child soldiers in Africa

14
Wars Books: Red Team by Micah Zenko

Red Team

Micah Zenko
How to Succeed by Thinking Like the Enemy
4.0 (64 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Red Team about?

Red Team (2015) gives insight into the military and security strategies that try to anticipate the adversary’s next move. Covering events from the capture of Osama bin Laden to mysterious break-ins operated through warehouse skylights, this book is a reminder of everyday vulnerability and what to do about it.

Who should read Red Team?

  • Anyone interested in military tactics or history
  • People who want to learn how to think like their enemies in order to defeat them
  • Company leaders who want strong arguments for increasing cyber and facility security

15
Wars Books: Crisis Caravan by Linda Polman

Crisis Caravan

Linda Polman
What’s Wrong with Humanitarian Aid?
4.3 (12 ratings)
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00:00

What's Crisis Caravan about?

The Crisis Caravan (2011) is about the complexities and pitfalls that come with delivering humanitarian aid to conflict zones. Though aid is usually provided with nothing but good intentions, there are political, social and economic obstacles that can cause it to do more harm than good. These blinks outline the reasons aid work often fails, and offer advice on how we can improve it.

Who should read Crisis Caravan?

  • Students of politics or conflict studies
  • Anyone who has donated money to a humanitarian organization
  • People thinking of working in humanitarian aid

16
Wars Books: Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford

Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World

Jack Weatherford
4.3 (321 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
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What's Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World about?

These blinks will make you re-examine what you thought you knew about the Mongols of the twelfth century. They’ll show you why it’s unfair to imagine them as uncivilized barbarians. Indeed, the Mongol army under Genghis Khan and his descendants brought trade, civilization and order – the Mongol Empire contributed to the making of the modern world.

Who should read Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World?

  • Historians interested in the construction of historical narratives
  • Global citizens interested in the roots of the modern world
  • Students of political science

17
Wars Books: A Peace to End All Peace by David Fromkin

A Peace to End All Peace

David Fromkin
The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and Creation of the Modern Middle East
4.5 (275 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's A Peace to End All Peace about?

The Middle East today is a hotbed of violence and war. Whether the civil war in Syria or the intractable Arab-Israeli conflict, peace in the region seems a far-off dream. Yet how did the Middle East become so unstable? In A Peace to End All Peace (1989), you’ll learn that European colonial ambitions during World War I were the catalyst that led to today’s modern crises.

Who should read A Peace to End All Peace?

  • Anyone interested in understanding the Middle East
  • Political junkies
  • Students of history or international relations

18
Wars Books: Killing Lincoln by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard

Killing Lincoln

Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard
The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever
4.3 (79 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Killing Lincoln about?

Killing Lincoln (2011) tells the story behind the assassination of president Abraham Lincoln, which took place in 1865, shortly after the Confederate army had surrendered, effectively putting an end to the US Civil War. Learn all about the conspirators who plotted the killing, what their motives were and the details surrounding the fateful night at Ford’s Theater.

Who should read Killing Lincoln?

  • History buffs
  • Readers curious about Lincoln’s assassination
  • Civil War fanatics

19
Wars Books: Sea Power by James Stavridis

Sea Power

James Stavridis
The History and Geopolitics of the World’s Oceans
4.0 (48 ratings)
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00:00

What's Sea Power about?

Sea Power (2017) provides an enlightening look at the role Earth’s oceans have played over the course of human history. From early voyagers who sailed into the vast unknown, to the tens of thousands of commercial ships now traversing the globe on a daily basis, our oceans have always been a powerful force that we’ve longed to tame and control. While we’ve come a long way, we still find ourselves faced with immense challenges that we’ll only overcome by working together.

Who should read Sea Power?

  • History buffs
  • News junkies worried about the future
  • Readers interested in politics and global affairs

20
Wars Books: Command and Control by Eric Schlosser

Command and Control

Eric Schlosser
Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety
4.8 (34 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Command and Control about?

Command and Control (2013) uncovers the disturbing truth behind the troubled and accident-prone US nuclear weapons program. Find out what’s really been going on since World War II, when the first nuclear bomb was invented, and how lucky we are to still be here despite numerous accidents and close calls that could have kicked off Armageddon. If you think the stockpile of nuclear weapons in the United States has always been safely stored under lock and key – think again!

Who should read Command and Control?

  • Readers interested in nuclear threats past and present
  • History buffs
  • Anti-nuke advocates

21
Wars Books: Killing the Rising Sun by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard

Killing the Rising Sun

Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard
How America Vanquished World War II Japan
4.3 (81 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Killing the Rising Sun about?

Killing the Rising Sun (2016) tells the story of the Pacific War, which took place between 1941 and 1945, and its main belligerents, the United States and Japan. From the attack on Pearl Harbor to bloody invasions of Japan to the development of the world’s first atomic bomb, the book portrays the brutality of World War II from a US perspective, and describes how the war was eventually won.

Who should read Killing the Rising Sun?

  • Fans of world history and politics
  • Military enthusiasts
  • Anyone obsessed with or fascinated by the story of World War II

22
Wars Books: First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung

First They Killed My Father

Loung Ung
A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers
4.5 (17 ratings)
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00:00

What's First They Killed My Father about?

First They Killed My Father (2006) is Loung Ung’s memoir of her childhood experiences living under the brutal Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia during the 1970s. She begins her story as the Khmer Rouge take power, forcing her family to flee the country’s capital, Phnom Penh, only to find themselves living as slave laborers, in constant fear that they would be personally targeted by the regime.

Who should read First They Killed My Father?

  • Anyone who’s seen the Oscar-winning film The Killings Fields
  • History buffs
  • Fans of autobiographies and memoirs

23
Wars Books: Why The West Rules – For Now by Ian Morris

Why The West Rules – For Now

Ian Morris
The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal About the Future
4.3 (85 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Why The West Rules – For Now about?

Why The West Rules – For Now (2010) is a treatise on Western rule. It examines what “the West” is and how its current dominance came about. Starting with the earliest development of humankind, it rules out racist genetic beliefs and theories of cultural superiority. It describes how East and West have been locked neck and neck in a race for advancement up to the present day. And, of course, it goes on to address the question: will the West’s dominance last?

Who should read Why The West Rules – For Now?

  • Anyone wondering why or if the West rules – and what “the West” is
  • Historians and archaeologists
  • Politicians and those interested in politics

24
Wars Books: Hue 1968 by Mark Bowden

Hue 1968

Mark Bowden
A Turning Point of the American War in Vietnam
4.4 (59 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Hue 1968 about?

The Vietnam War is remembered as one of the longest and bloodiest conflicts of the twentieth century. At the end of 1967, the US government was assuring the public the war was almost won; by February 1968, that was no longer the case. In Hue 1968 (2017) Mark Bowden examines the battle in the city of Hue which changed the way the American public viewed the war.

Who should read Hue 1968?

  • Anyone interested in modern American history
  • Students of politics or international relations
  • Soldiers and veterans

25
Wars Books: Black Flags by Joby Warrick

Black Flags

Joby Warrick
The Rise of ISIS
4.3 (47 ratings)
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00:00

What's Black Flags about?

Black Flags (2015) tells the origin story of the infamous terror organization known as the Islamic State or ISIS. These blinks detail a history that begins with a fledgling insurgency in Iraq following the US invasion in 2003 and ends with one of the most powerful and frightening terrorist groups of all time.

Who should read Black Flags?

  • Anyone wondering how ISIS came into existence
  • Students of geography, politics and history
  • People interested in the Middle East

26
Wars Books: A River in Darkness by Masaji Ishikawa

A River in Darkness

Masaji Ishikawa
One Man’s Escape from North Korea
4.5 (52 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's A River in Darkness about?

A River in Darkness (2000) is the harrowing true story of one man’s life in and eventual escape from the brutal dictatorship of North Korea. Born in Japan, Masaji Ishikawa was one of hundreds of thousands of Koreans who moved to the country between the 1950s and 1980s. His memoir chronicles the life of drudgery, terror and endless hardship that awaited them.

Who should read A River in Darkness?

  • Human rights advocates
  • History buffs fascinated by the Cold War
  • Anyone who loves true life stories

27
Wars Books: A Spy Among Friends by Ben Macintyre

A Spy Among Friends

Ben Macintyre
Philby and the Great Betrayal
4.2 (51 ratings)
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00:00

What's A Spy Among Friends about?

A Spy Among Friends (2014) details the life of Kim Philby, a highly respected operative who rose through the ranks of the British secret services during World War II and the Cold War. Though a seeming paragon of British values, he actually spent his career working as a double agent for the Russians.

Who should read A Spy Among Friends?

  • Fans of John Le Carré and other spy novelists
  • People interested in the history of the Cold War
  • Espionage enthusiasts and would-be spies

28
Wars Books: The Great Leveler by Walter Scheidel

The Great Leveler

Walter Scheidel
Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century
3.5 (75 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Great Leveler about?

The Great Leveler (2017) takes a look at the inequality faced by different societies throughout history. It highlights war, plague and other major catastrophes as a leveler of the unequal distribution of power and property, prompting the question: can equality be achieved in a non-violent manner?

Who should read The Great Leveler?

  • People interested in the history of inequality
  • Students of politics
  • Those who enjoy learning about different societies

29
Wars Books: Presidents of War by Michael Beschloss

Presidents of War

Michael Beschloss
The epic story, from 1807 to modern times
4.4 (77 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Presidents of War about?

Presidents of War (2018) is a panoramic study of eight US presidents and the conflicts into which they led their country. Detailing each POTUS’ motivations for war, their decisions once hostilities began, and the mood of the press and public at home, these absorbing portraits of wartime leaders look at American history on the grandest of scales – from the War of 1812 to Vietnam. 

Who should read Presidents of War?

  • Americans wanting to understand their past leaders
  • Foreigners whose knowledge of American history is limited to the twentieth century 
  • Future presidents trying to avoid the mistakes of their predecessors

30
Wars Books: A Woman of No Importance by Sonia Purnell

A Woman of No Importance

Sonia Purnell
The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II
4.7 (91 ratings)
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00:00

What's A Woman of No Importance about?

A Woman of No Importance (2019) sheds light on the shadowy world of wartime espionage and the career of one of the Allies’ most effective spies in the battle against Nazi Germany – Virginia Hall. In these blinks, we’ll follow Virginia from her Maryland home to the jazz clubs of interwar Paris and the warren-like streets of Lyon, the city in which she learned her trade. Along the way, you’ll discover how the “limping lady” dodged Gestapo agents, martialled the French resistance and revolutionized spycraft.

Who should read A Woman of No Importance?

  • Adventure addicts 
  • History buffs 
  • Francophiles 

31
Wars Books: To Stop a Warlord by Shannon Sedgwick Davis

To Stop a Warlord

Shannon Sedgwick Davis
My Story of Justice, Grace, and the Fight for Peace
4.2 (12 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's To Stop a Warlord about?

To Stop a Warlord (2019) is an inspiring account of a remarkable mission: the quest to bring to justice one of the world’s most notorious war criminals – Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army. Packed with insights into Africa’s longest-running conflict, this account tells how Shannon Sedgwick Davis helped assemble an unlikely alliance between philanthropists, the Ugandan military and a South African mercenary to take on Kony’s army across four countries. While that coalition might not have achieved its primary objective of bringing Kony to justice, it did help tip the balance in favor of peace.

Who should read To Stop a Warlord?

  • Campaigners, activists and human-rights advocates
  • Politics buffs fascinated by Central Africa’s past and present
  • Anyone interested in conflict resolution

32
Wars Books: Code Girls by Liza Mundy

Code Girls

Liza Mundy
The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II
4.6 (68 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Code Girls about?

Code Girls (2017) is about the thousands of American women who worked as code breakers during World War II. Informed by interviews with over 20 surviving women, archived documents, and recently declassified oral histories, author Liza Mundy details the unprecedented lives of female code breakers in Washington, DC and beyond as well as the American intelligence that led to the success of the Allied war efforts.

Who should read Code Girls?

  • History buffs
  • Espionage enthusiasts interested in the history of cryptography
  • Students of science or gender studies

33
Wars Books: A People Betrayed by Linda Melvern

A People Betrayed

Linda Melvern
The Role of the West in Rwanda's Genocide
4.5 (70 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's A People Betrayed about?

A People Betrayed (2000) is a masterful, in-depth look at the international community’s failure to intervene in one of the greatest humanitarian catastrophes since the Holocaust. Through selfish and racist policies, the UN and its Security Council dithered  and denied its way through three months of genocidal slaughter. As a direct result of their inaction, an estimated one million civilians were brutally murdered.

Who should read A People Betrayed?

  • Anyone interested in how policy translates from boardroom to battlefield
  • History buffs interested in the chilling after-effects of colonialism in Africa
  • People who suspect there’s a dark side to the new world order

34
Wars Books: The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson

The Splendid and the Vile

Erik Larson
A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz
4.6 (119 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Splendid and the Vile about?

The Splendid and the Vile (2020) is a meticulously researched account of Winston Churchill’s first year of leadership. Beginning in 1940, he led the country through France’s surrender, the miraculous rescue at Dunkirk, and the Nazi air force’s bombing blitz of the UK, which killed over 44,000 Brits. Through it all, he retained his sense of humor and charming eccentricities that ensure him a fond place in our collective memory.

Who should read The Splendid and the Vile?

  • World War II nerds
  • People interested in eccentric histories
  • Anyone curious about Winston Churchill’s legacy

35
Wars Books: The Volunteer by Jack Fairweather

The Volunteer

Jack Fairweather
One Man, an Underground Army, and the Secret Mission to Destroy Auschwitz
4.8 (72 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Volunteer about?

The Volunteer (2019) is an account of Witold Pilecki’s extraordinary life and death. A patriotic Pole, Pilecki volunteered to be sent to Auschwitz, the Nazi concentration camp. Not only did he bear witness to the camp’s atrocities; he smuggled out reports of what he’d seen, alerting the world to the horrors of the Holocaust.

Who should read The Volunteer?

  • Anyone interested in WWII history
  • People thrilled by tales of derring-do
  • Lovers of biography

36
Wars Books: Why Don't We Learn from History? by B. H. Liddell Hart

Why Don't We Learn from History?

B. H. Liddell Hart
4.0 (260 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Why Don't We Learn from History? about?

Why Don't We Learn from History? (1944) is a meditation on the nature of history and on why so few heed its lessons. First published near the end of World War Two, this thoughtful treatise contains many insights still relevant today. 

Who should read Why Don't We Learn from History??

  • Frustrated historians wondering why no-one listens
  • Armchair generals seeking insight on military strategy
  • Anyone curious about how society relates to its own past

37
Wars Books: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

The Diary of a Young Girl

Anne Frank
4.8 (177 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Diary of a Young Girl about?

The Diary of a Young Girl (first published 1952; this edition 1977) tells the story of Anne Frank, a Jewish girl who went into hiding with her family during the Second World War. It offers a remarkable portrait of a maturing young woman forced into an unbelievable situation but rising to the occasion. In her diary, Anne shares her thoughts and dreams, revealing a remarkable talent that was tragically taken from the world, along with millions of other lives during the Holocaust.

Who should read The Diary of a Young Girl?

  • People interested in stories of life during wartime
  • Anyone who likes true stories of resilience and survival
  • Young women looking for inspirational figures

38
Wars Books: Empire by Niall Ferguson

Empire

Niall Ferguson
How Britain Made the Modern World
4.6 (324 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Empire about?

Empire (2003) offers a compelling overview of the highs and lows of the British Empire, from its late-to-the-game beginnings in the seventeenth century to its ultimate collapse in the twentieth century. Through the many disgraces and unparalleled achievements, you’ll learn how Great Britain came to control close to a quarter of the world, and how we’re still coming to terms with this legacy.

Who should read Empire?

  • History buffs
  • Anyone interested in the legacy of colonialism
  • People curious about the world economy

39
Wars Books: The Peloponnesian War by Donald Kagan

The Peloponnesian War

Donald Kagan
4.5 (97 ratings)
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00:00

What's The Peloponnesian War about?

The Peloponnesian War (2003) tells the fascinating tale of a decades-long conflict among Greeks that would forever change how battles were fought and wars were won. It took warfare away from organized battlefields and put the strength of naval forces at the forefront. It also turned allies into enemies and became a struggle between democracy and oligarchy.

Who should read The Peloponnesian War?

  • History buffs
  • Anyone interested in the history of warfare
  • People who want a refresher on classical antiquity

40
Wars Books: Modern Warriors by Pete Hegseth

Modern Warriors

Pete Hegseth
Real Stories from Real Heroes
4.3 (24 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Modern Warriors about?

Modern Warriors (2020) is a collection of gut-wrenching yet heartfelt stories about US war veterans’ years in service. These tales expose the harsh realities of combat, as well as the cherished moments of love and companionship that saw these soldiers through the hardest times.

Who should read Modern Warriors?

  • People in, or soon to be in, the armed forces
  • Anyone seeking a glimpse into the lives of modern-day soldiers
  • People interested in modern wars fought by US soldiers

41
Wars Books: Agent Sonya by Ben Macintyre

Agent Sonya

Ben Macintyre
Moscow’s Most Daring Wartime Spy
4.5 (60 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Agent Sonya about?

Agent Sonya (2020) is the biography of a respectable housewife, who also just happened to be one of Soviet intelligence’s most intrepid and high-ranking spies. The book traces the life of Ursula Kuczynski, code-name Sonya, from her birth in Berlin, through her radicalization as a communist and her career as a spy who both foiled the Nazis and arguably kicked off the Cold War.

Who should read Agent Sonya?

  • World War II history buffs
  • Espionage enthusiasts
  • Anyone who loves the thrill and suspense of a good spy story

42
Wars Books: The Light of Days by Judy Batalion

The Light of Days

Judy Batalion
The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler's Ghettos
4.7 (77 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Light of Days about?

The Light of Days (2021) tells the thrilling and harrowing story of the Jewish women in Nazi-occupied Poland who served as resistance fighters during World War II. These women took up arms in ghetto uprisings and served as important couriers on dangerous missions to transport guns and supplies across a hostile territory.

Who should read The Light of Days?

  • History buffs
  • Anyone interested in forgotten World War II stories
  • People who are inspired by fearless women

43
Wars Books: Israel by Daniel Gordis

Israel

Daniel Gordis
A Concise History of a Nation Reborn
3.6 (212 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Israel about?

Israel (2016) offers a big-picture historical overview of the small but mighty country. From its improbable beginnings to its controversial wars with neighboring Arab states, Israel’s evolution is a story of change, tragedy, and victory. 

Who should read Israel?

  • History buffs interested in Europe and the Middle East
  • News junkies eager to be more informed about a controversial subject
  • Anyone curious about the modern political landscape

44
Wars Books: The Daughters of Kobani by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

The Daughters of Kobani

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
A Story of Rebellion, Courage, and Justice
4.4 (84 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Daughters of Kobani about?

The Daughters of Kobani (2021) tells the riveting, edge-of-your-seat tale of a group of Syrian Kurdish women who took up arms against the terror group ISIS. Brimming with pathos and unimaginable courage, it’s a story of women fighting evil and winning, against all the odds. But it’s equally about women defying a culture that would deny them their rights –⁠ and striving toward a better one.

Who should read The Daughters of Kobani?

  • Fans of thrillers and action films
  • Feminists empowered by stories of brave women
  • Students of Middle Eastern conflict and international relations

45
Wars Books: All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days by Rebecca Donner

All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days

Rebecca Donner
The True Story of the American Woman at the Heart of the German Resistance to Hitler
4.5 (157 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days about?

All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days (2021) offers a deeply intimate look at individuals who risked their lives by establishing an anti-Nazi resistance movement in Germany. With years of research, and access to letters and declassified documents, this is a detailed story about people who have often been overlooked in the fight against fascism.

Who should read All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days?

  • Fans of real-world espionage stories
  • People curious about life in WWII-era Germany
  • History buffs

46
Wars Books: Arabs by Tim Mackintosh-Smith

Arabs

Tim Mackintosh-Smith
A 3,000 Year History of Peoples, Tribes and Empires
4.2 (199 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Arabs about?

Arabs (2021) is a deep dive into the 3,000-year history of the people we know as Arabs. It’s an exploration of the forces that gave birth to the idea of Arabs as a group – and the forces that have kept them apart ever since. 

Who should read Arabs?

  • Lovers of a good yarn
  • Those fascinated by transnational histories
  • News junkies looking to go deeper

47
Wars Books: The Happiest Man on Earth by Eddie Jaku

The Happiest Man on Earth

Eddie Jaku
The Beautiful Life of an Auschwitz Survivor
4.7 (431 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Happiest Man on Earth about?

The Happiest Man on Earth (2020) is the true story of one man, who survived inconceivable horrors during the Holocaust, and afterward made it his mission to change the world for the better. Eddie Jaku saw first-hand how a Fascist regime could spark anti-Semitic hatred, and turn former friends and neighbors into killers. In talking about what happened, he shares how love and kindness helped him to survive one of the worst atrocities in human history.

Who should read The Happiest Man on Earth?

  • History buffs interested in the Holocaust and fascism
  • Memoir-lovers excited to hear the story of an extraordinary man
  • People who want to learn more about surviving complex trauma

48
Wars Books: The Hundred Years' War on Palestine by Rashid Khalidi

The Hundred Years' War on Palestine

Rashid Khalidi
A History of Settler Colonialism and Resistance, 1917–2017
4.3 (350 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Hundred Years' War on Palestine about?

The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine (2020) is a detailed and rigorous look at one of the most misunderstood regions of the world. This timely text chronicles Palestinian history from the perspective of Palestinians. 

Who should read The Hundred Years' War on Palestine?

  • Outsiders keen to learn Palestine’s complex history
  • Zionists open to alternative perspectives on the Israel-Palestine conflict
  • Anyone seeking to understand current events in the Middle East

Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Bedtime Biography: Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World about?

Read to you by Marston York.

Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World (2004) tells the fascinating story of Genghis Khan, the man who founded the great Mongol Empire. Today, he’s remembered as a ruthless, violent conqueror who thrived on bloodshed and destruction. What has largely been forgotten, though, is how he united disparate peoples, fostered trade and modernization, and advanced democracy – and in so doing, ushered in the modern world.

Who should read Bedtime Biography: Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World?

  • History buffs
  • Global citizens interested in the roots of the modern world
  • Anyone with preconceived notions about the Mongol Empire

50
Wars Books: Florence Nightingale by Cecil Woodham-Smith

Florence Nightingale

Cecil Woodham-Smith
1820–1910
4.7 (81 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Florence Nightingale about?

Florence Nightingale (1951) tells the legendary story of the “Lady with the Lamp,” the famed nurse who arrived to soothe the souls of those wounded in the Crimean War. It chronicles her journey to the conflict’s horrific medical barracks, and how she used her experiences to forever change the way hospitals are run and how the sick are treated. 

Who should read Florence Nightingale?

  • People interested in amazing life stories
  • Those curious about life and hardships during Victorian times
  • History buffs

51
Wars Books: Powers and Thrones by Dan Jones

Powers and Thrones

Dan Jones
A New History of the Middle Ages
4.6 (335 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Powers and Thrones about?

Powers and Thrones (2021) is a comprehensive history of the Middle Ages. Tracing time from the fall of the western Roman Empire to the Protestant Reformation, these blinks reveal how forces such as global networks, climate change, mass migration, pandemics, and technological innovation, as well as political leaders, the clergy, and knights, shaped the medieval world.

Who should read Powers and Thrones?

  • History nerds fascinated by the Middle Ages
  • Anyone curious about the history of pandemics
  • Sociologists, archeologists, and political scientists

52
Wars Books: The Gates of Europe by Serhii Plokhy

The Gates of Europe

Serhii Plokhy
A History of Ukraine
4.3 (281 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Gates of Europe about?

The Gates of Europe (2015) offers a compelling overview of the history of Ukraine, a nation which lies between the East and the West. Due to this unique geographic position, Ukraine has been fought over and subjugated by a long line of imperial forces throughout history. Indeed, the history of Ukraine is one of the most important facets in the history of Europe.

Who should read The Gates of Europe?

  • History buffs
  • People curious about Russian-Ukrainian relations
  • Anyone interested in democracy

53
Wars Books: The American War in Afghanistan by Carter Malkasian

The American War in Afghanistan

Carter Malkasian
A History
3.9 (127 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The American War in Afghanistan about?

The American War in Afghanistan (2021) is an in-depth look at one of the defining conflicts of the twenty-first century. This exhaustively-researched analysis dives into the details of this protracted and complex military occupation.

Who should read The American War in Afghanistan?

  • Engaged citizens keen to keep up with current events
  • Civilians seeking insight into military matters 
  • Anyone eager to understand a complex conflict

54
Wars Books: War by Margaret MacMillan

War

Margaret MacMillan
How Conflict Shaped Us
4.0 (208 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's War about?

War (2020) is a philosophical inquiry into the nature of human conflict. It considers war from different angles, examining what causes it, how we think about it, and how it affects us. By making an effort to understand war, we become better prepared to avoid it.

Who should read War?

  • Students of international and military history 
  • People interested in cultural and philosophical differences
  • Anyone fascinated or affected by human conflict

55
Wars Books: On War by Carl von Clausewitz

On War

Carl von Clausewitz
4.3 (382 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's On War about?

On War (1832) is widely considered to be a landmark book on the subject of war. In its serious and thoughtful consideration of why and how states engage in warfare, it continues to be an influential piece of writing centuries later.

Who should read On War?

  • History buffs
  • Those interested in the politics and morality of war
  • Anyone curious about military strategy

56
Wars Books: The Forgotten 500 by Gregory A. Freeman

The Forgotten 500

Gregory A. Freeman
The Untold Story of the Men Who Risked All for the Greatest Rescue Mission of World War II
4.6 (199 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Forgotten 500 about?

The Forgotten 500 (2007) tells the story of Allied airmen who were trapped behind enemy lines in World War II and the courageous citizens of Yugoslavia who risked everything to help them get home. For political reasons, the story remained classified for decades until the 1980s. But now, the events leading to the largest rescue operation of the war are available to us all.

Who should read The Forgotten 500?

  • Any and all who are interested in the Balkans or World War II history
  • Serbians and Americans looking to learn more about their nations’ past
  • Everyone who enjoys a riveting story about people overcoming overwhelming odds

57
Wars Books: Slouching Towards Utopia by J. Bradford DeLong

Slouching Towards Utopia

J. Bradford DeLong
An Economic History of the Twentieth Century
4.1 (44 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Slouching Towards Utopia about?

Slouching Towards Utopia (2022) examines the “long century” between 1870 and 2010, during which technological progress, globalization, and the advent of social democracy opened a new horizon of human progress. Barring the horror years of World Wars I and II, humanity seemed to be on a slow, uneven crawl toward utopia. But in 2010, the tables turned. Economic progress in the Global North ground to a halt. 

Who should read Slouching Towards Utopia?

  • History buffs
  • John Maynard Keynes fans
  • Anyone wondering how the world became so unequal

58
Wars Books: The Iliad by Homer

The Iliad

Homer
4.5 (70 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Iliad about?

The Iliad (c. eighth century BC) is one of the oldest and most important works of Western literature. Attributed to ancient Greek poet Homer, the epic poem recounts the final days of the Greek siege of Troy. At the center of the story is Greek war hero Achilles, who has to beat back the Trojan enemy, struggle against meddling gods, and vie for recognition among his fellow Greeks. 

Who should read The Iliad?

  • Fans of classic literature
  • Bookworms and history nerds
  • Anyone interested in ancient Western culture

59
Wars Books: The Nazi Conspiracy by Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch

The Nazi Conspiracy

Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch
The Secret Plot to Kill Roosevelt, Stalin, and Churchill
4.6 (296 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Nazi Conspiracy about?

The Nazi Conspiracy (2023) tells the thrilling true story of the first meeting between the leaders of the Allied forces during the height of World War II – and the top-secret Nazi plot that almost changed the course of history. Full of drama, twists, and political intrigue stretching all over the world, it shows how the three leaders – Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin – defied all odds, and arranged one of the most pivotal events in the entire war.

Who should read The Nazi Conspiracy?

  • World War II buffs looking for a deep exploration of one of the lesser-known developments of the war 
  • Armchair historians interested in the small events that changed the world
  • Anyone who loves political drama, intrigue, and a good spy story

60
Wars Books: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

The Nightingale

Kristin Hannah
A Novel
4.8 (31 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Nightingale about?

The Nightingale (2015) is a historical novel telling the often-neglected story of those left behind when soldiers go off to war. Set in northwestern France during World War II and told through the eyes of two sisters, this sweeping saga reveals the hidden horrors, and heroism, of the survivors.

Who should read The Nightingale?

  • Historical fiction buffs looking for a well-told tale from a new angle
  • Literature lovers craving epic stories of survival
  • Anyone interested in the true costs of war on all fronts

61
Wars Books: And There Was Light by Jon Meacham

And There Was Light

Jon Meacham
Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle
4.6 (73 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's And There Was Light about?

And There Was Light (2022) is a biography of Abraham Lincoln that takes a nuanced look at a complex leader. Focusing especially on Lincoln’s evolving views on and actions around slavery, it’s a picture of a man who wrestled with his moral convictions while attempting to hold together a divided nation. Echoes of that struggle still ring out today, making it essential to keep Lincoln’s story at the forefront of American consciousness.

Who should read And There Was Light?

  • American history enthusiasts
  • People interested in controversial historical figures
  • Budding political pundits looking to add to their historical knowledge

62
Wars Books: Killing the Killers by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard

Killing the Killers

Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard
The Secret War Against Terrorists
3.9 (265 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Killing the Killers about?

Killing the Killers (2022) takes you deep into the global war on terror. As it examines the role of Al-Qaeda, ISIS, and the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, it moves through all the theaters of action including Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Iran, and Afghanistan. It’s the eleventh book in the best-selling Killing series.

Who should read Killing the Killers?

  • Fans of the Killing series
  • History buffs interested in the war on terror
  • Lovers of dramatic story-telling

63
Wars Books: The Revolutionary by Stacy Schiff

The Revolutionary

Stacy Schiff
Samuel Adams
4.6 (217 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Revolutionary about?

The Revolutionary (2022) offers a nuanced look at one of the most central figures in the lead-up to the American War of Independence. It reveals a man of character and contradiction, whose revolutionary thinking and deep commitment to civil liberties came to define a revolution.

Who should read The Revolutionary?

  • History lovers looking for a deep dive into characters that create change
  • Political thinkers looking for an inside view of revolutionary politics
  • Anyone seeking inspiring examples of ideals put into practice

64
Wars Books: Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick

Mayflower

Nathaniel Philbrick
A Story of Courage, Community, and War
4.6 (40 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Mayflower about?

Mayflower (2006) tells the epic story of the 1620 voyage to establish a colony of religious separatists on North American shores, and the astonishing aftermath of their fateful trip. From life-or-death struggle to peaceful coexistence with native peoples to devastating war just a half century later, it tells the unvarnished truth of the people and politics that went on to shape a nation.

Who should read Mayflower?

  • History buffs looking for new insights into a little-known chapter of America’s past
  • Epic saga lovers who crave complex stories of survival, politics, and conflict
  • Anyone curious about the real facts behind all the feel-good myths, and how they went on to shape the future of a nation

65
Wars Books: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

The Song of Achilles

Madeline Miller
A Novel
4.3 (42 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Song of Achilles about?

The Song of Achilles (2011) is a creative retelling of Homer’s Iliad. The epic tale of the Trojan War is transformed into a moving love story, told from the perspective of Patroclus, the beloved companion of the Greek hero Achilles.

Who should read The Song of Achilles?

  • Hopeless romantics
  • Fans of Greek mythology
  • Anyone interested in the Iliad and the Trojan War

66
Wars Books: Ordinary Men by Christopher R. Browning

Ordinary Men

Christopher R. Browning
Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland
4.6 (28 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Ordinary Men about?

Ordinary Men (1992) tells the disturbing tale of how a group of men went from “ordinary” to brutal, hardened killers executing the Nazi mission during the Holocaust. It examines in detail the evolution of these men’s attitudes, from the beginning when most experienced disgust at the gruesome tasks they were asked to carry out, through to the end when almost all had become accustomed to the cruelty and some even came to delight in it. Above all, it is a warning and a reminder of what humanity is capable of in its darkest moments.

Who should read Ordinary Men?

  • World War II and Holocaust historians
  • Survivors of the Holocaust and their relatives and ancestors
  • Anyone who thinks themselves incapable of acts of cruelty

67
Wars Books: The 33 Strategies of War by Robert Greene

The 33 Strategies of War

Robert Greene
4.1 (306 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The 33 Strategies of War about?

The 33 Strategies of War (2006) distills the essential lessons of military strategy into a series of memorable vignettes. Drawing on ancient and modern sources, this wide-ranging study of tactical masterstrokes and follies offers fascinating insights into human psychology and motivation.

Who should read The 33 Strategies of War?

  • Thinkers and doers
  • History buffs
  • Psychologists

68
Wars Books: Hiroshima by John Hersey

Hiroshima

John Hersey
4.6 (216 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Hiroshima about?

Hiroshima (1946 and 1985) is journalist John Hersey’s classic account of six survivors of the 1945 atom bomb attack on Japan. Amid the wreckage, these six lived to offer their accounts of the devastating experience.

Who should read Hiroshima?

  • History devotees
  • Character-driven non-fiction (or fiction) enthusiasts
  • Budding journalists

69
Wars Books: Saving Aziz by Chad Robichaux with David L. Thomas

Saving Aziz

Chad Robichaux with David L. Thomas
How the Mission to Help One Became a Calling to Rescue Thousands from the Taliban
4.1 (112 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Saving Aziz about?

Saving Aziz (2023) is the story of how one man’s daring rescue of his friend and brother-in-arms turned into a multi-organizational effort that has resulted in rescuing over 17,000 allies from Afghanistan. 

Who should read Saving Aziz?

  • Anyone interested in Afghanistan history
  • Military history buffs
  • People in need of an inspiring story of the goodness in humanity

70
Wars Books: The Mosquito Bowl by Buzz Bissinger

The Mosquito Bowl

Buzz Bissinger
A Game of Life and Death in World War II
4.3 (11 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Mosquito Bowl about?

The Mosquito Bowl (2022) tells the story of American football stars going to war and playing one more game when they get there. It details a nation divided by bigotry but united by sport and a common enemy.

Who should read The Mosquito Bowl?

  • History buffs
  • World War II aficionados
  • College football fans

71
Wars Books: The Pope at War by David I. Kertzer

The Pope at War

David I. Kertzer
The Secret History of Pius XII, Mussolini, and Hitler
4.4 (224 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Pope at War about?

The Pope at War (2022) follows the first years of Eugenio Pacelli’s papacy. Based on documents released by the Vatican in 2020, the book reveals the never-before-told story of the pope’s secret negotiations with Hitler.

Who should read The Pope at War?

  • World War II history buffs
  • Students of Catholic history
  • Anyone interested in why good people do bad things

72
Wars Books: War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

War and Peace

Leo Tolstoy
4.2 (182 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's War and Peace about?

War and Peace (1869) is a novel that follows the lives of several aristocratic families during the French invasion of Russia and the Napoleonic Wars. It explores themes of love, war, politics, and the human condition, and is considered one of the great works of literature.

Who should read War and Peace?

  • Curious minds craving timeless wisdom
  • Eager explorers of Russia’s literary landscapes
  • Time travelers fond of the Napoleonic era

73
Wars Books: Saved by Benjamin Hall

Saved

Benjamin Hall
A War Reporter’s Mission to Make It Home
4.1 (116 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Saved about?

Saved (2023) is the gripping and timely account of a war correspondent’s near-fatal brush with combat in Ukraine in March of 2022 – and the extraordinary effort to save his life and bring him home.

Who should read Saved?

  • News hounds looking for an inside scoop on current events
  • Thrill-seekers who love a fast-paced story of escape against the odds
  • Anyone curious about the lived experience of those who deliver the nightly news

74
Wars Books: Raising Men by Eric Davis

Raising Men

Eric Davis
From Fathers to Sons—Life Lessons from Navy SEAL Training
4.3 (67 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Raising Men about?

Raising Men (2016) is a powerful exploration of life-changing military lessons, emphasizing the importance of boldness, accountability, and bonding. Via real-life stories from Navy SEALs, this captivating narrative will teach you how to build strong relationships with your son and raise him with discipline, leadership, and grace.

Who should read Raising Men?

  • Expectant fathers
  • Distant Dads
  • Military patriarchs

75
Wars Books: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games

Suzanne Collins
4.8 (48 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Hunger Games about?

The Hunger Games (2008) is the first volume of the popular YA fantasy trilogy. In the post-apocalyptic future state of Panem, teenagers participate in a brutal yearly game show where they compete against each other in a deadly obstacle arena. When her sister is drafted for the games, 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her place – not realizing she’ll end up fighting for something bigger than mere survival.

Who should read The Hunger Games?

  • Sci-fi fans and fantasy aficionados
  • Readers who love strong female characters
  • Fans of The Hunger Games movies with Jennifer Lawrence

76
Wars Books: The Wager by David Grann

The Wager

David Grann
A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder
4.4 (109 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Wager about?

The Wager (2023) recounts the unbelievable-but-true story of the doomed adventure taken by those aboard the HMS Wager. This Royal Navy ship was meant to sail the world and plunder Spanish treasure, but in 1741 it was shipwrecked while trying to sail around Cape Horn. This is the story of how a crew of hundreds dwindled to just a handful of survivors.

Who should read The Wager?

  • Fans of classic seafaring tales like Moby Dick and Mutiny on the Bounty
  • People who love death-defying stories of heroic endurance
  • Those interested in historical mysteries and conspiracies

77
Wars Books: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief

Markus Zusak
4.5 (177 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Book Thief about?

The Book Thief (2006) is a story about a young girl living in Nazi Germany who makes her way in the world by stealing books. With Death as the narrator, it follows her coming of age in the most difficult of times and places. 

Who should read The Book Thief?

  • Fans of historical fiction
  • Lovers of tales full of emotion and humanity
  • Seekers of literary thrills

78
Wars Books: American Prometheus by Kai Bird & Martin J Sherwin

American Prometheus

Kai Bird & Martin J Sherwin
The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer
4.3 (200 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's American Prometheus about?

American Prometheus (2005) captures Oppenheimer’s life in a way that echoes Prometheus’s audacity in gifting fire. From atomic breakthroughs to ethical entanglements, this is a nuclear narrative of epic proportions.

Who should read American Prometheus?

  • Quantum physics enthusiasts
  • Nuclear nerds with noble notions
  • History buffs seeking backstories

79
Wars Books: Unbroken Bonds of Battle by Johnny Joey Jones

Unbroken Bonds of Battle

Johnny Joey Jones
A Book of Heroism, Patriotism, and Friendship
4.0 (89 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Unbroken Bonds of Battle about?

Unbroken Bonds of Battle (2023) is a collection of stories from 11 US veterans. They tell us what drove them to military service, their experience of being on the front lines, and the profound lessons they’ve learned about life, loss, and friendship.

Who should read Unbroken Bonds of Battle?

  • Military veterans 
  • Individuals considering military service 
  • Those interested in war history 

80
Wars Books: Destined for War by Graham Allison

Destined for War

Graham Allison
Can America and China Escape Thucydides's Trap?
4.2 (125 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Destined for War about?

Destined for War (2017) applies ancient military thinking to a very contemporary conflict: the power struggle between the established power of the US, and the rising power of China. It uncovers how this dynamic has led to conflict in past centuries, and spells out what the US and China must do in the future to avoid all-out war.

Who should read Destined for War?

  • News junkies who want a deeper understanding of the US’s relationship with China
  • Those interested in how ancient political theory can be applied to contemporary conflicts
  • Those new to world politics who are curious about the current power struggle between China and the US

81
Wars Books: Becoming FDR by Jonathan Darman

Becoming FDR

Jonathan Darman
The Personal Crisis That Made a President
4.3 (115 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Becoming FDR about?

Becoming FDR (2022) tells the remarkable story of the personal health crisis and recovery that transformed Franklin D. Roosevelt from a self-centered, pampered golden boy to the mature, empathetic President who would go on to lead a nation through the darkest days of The Great Depression and the second World War. 

Who should read Becoming FDR?

  • History buffs looking for the inside story on one of America’s defining presidents
  • Political minds curious about the personalities that shaped the twentieth century
  • Anyone curious about how crisis and adversity can shape character

82
Wars Books: A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea by Melissa Fleming

A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea

Melissa Fleming
One Refugee's Incredible Story of Love, Loss, and Survival
4.6 (7 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea about?

A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea (2017) introduces you to Doaa Al Zamel, a young Syrian girl whose world turns upside down after the eruption of her country's civil war. Embarking on a perilous journey to Europe for safety and a better future, she confronts challenges that test her limits. 

Who should read A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea?

  • Anyone wanting to empathize with the experiences of refugees
  • Activists and advocates for humanitarian causes
  • Seekers of profound stories of human resilience

83
Wars Books: A Rumor of War by Philip Caputo

A Rumor of War

Philip Caputo
The Classic Vietnam Memoir

What's A Rumor of War about?

A Rumor of War is a powerful memoir that chronicles Philip Caputo's experiences as a young Marine during the early years of the Vietnam War. Through vivid and honest storytelling, Caputo provides a firsthand account of the brutality and confusion of war, as well as the emotional and psychological toll it takes on those involved. This book offers a unique perspective on the realities of combat and the lasting impact it has on individuals and society.

Who should read A Rumor of War?

  • Readers interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the experiences of soldiers during the Vietnam War
  • Those seeking a thought-provoking exploration of the psychological and emotional impact of war
  • People who appreciate nuanced and reflective narratives that challenge conventional perspectives

84
Wars Books: A Woman in Berlin by Marta Hillers

A Woman in Berlin

Marta Hillers
Eight Weeks in the Conquered City

What's A Woman in Berlin about?

A Woman in Berlin is a powerful memoir that chronicles the author's experiences as a woman living in Berlin during World War II. Through her firsthand account, Marta Hillers provides a unique perspective on the hardships and resilience of the women in war-torn Germany. This gripping and honest book offers a glimpse into the untold stories of survival and strength during a dark period in history.

Who should read A Woman in Berlin?

  • Anyone interested in personal experiences from World War II
  • Readers looking for a firsthand account of life during wartime
  • People who want to gain a deeper understanding of history through personal narratives

85
Wars Books: Facing the Mountain by Daniel James Brown

Facing the Mountain

Daniel James Brown

What's Facing the Mountain about?

Facing the Mountain tells the incredible true story of Japanese American soldiers who fought for the United States during World War II, while their families were unjustly imprisoned in internment camps. Through extensive research and interviews, Daniel James Brown brings to light the bravery and resilience of these men as they navigate both the battlefield and the discrimination they face at home. It is a gripping and inspiring account of a lesser-known chapter in American history.

Who should read Facing the Mountain?

  • History enthusiasts interested in World War II and Japanese-American internment
  • Readers seeking stories of resilience, courage, and overcoming injustice
  • Those curious about lesser-known stories of heroism during wartime

86
Wars Books: Flags of Our Fathers by James D. Bradley

Flags of Our Fathers

James D. Bradley

What's Flags of Our Fathers about?

Flags of Our Fathers is a non-fiction book that tells the story of the six men who raised the American flag at the Battle of Iwo Jima during World War II. Written by James D. Bradley, the son of one of the flag raisers, the book explores the lives of these men before, during, and after the war, and examines the impact of the iconic photograph that captured this moment in history. It offers a unique perspective on the true meaning of heroism and the complexities of war.

Who should read Flags of Our Fathers?

  • History enthusiasts who want to delve into the stories behind iconic events
  • Readers interested in World War II and the experiences of soldiers on the frontlines
  • Those looking for a thought-provoking exploration of heroism, patriotism, and the power of imagery

87
Wars Books: Storm of Steel by Ernst Jünger

Storm of Steel

Ernst Jünger

What's Storm of Steel about?

Published in 1920, "Storm of Steel" is a memoir by German soldier Ernst Jünger, recounting his experiences during World War I. Jünger provides a firsthand account of the brutal and chaotic nature of trench warfare, offering a unique perspective on the realities of combat and the psychological effects it had on the soldiers. The book is a gripping and unflinching portrayal of the horrors of war.

Who should read Storm of Steel?

  • History buffs and World War I enthusiasts
  • Those interested in firsthand accounts of war experiences
  • Readers seeking a deep and honest exploration of the human condition during times of conflict

88
Wars Books: The Cat I Never Named by Amra Sabic-El-Rayess

The Cat I Never Named

Amra Sabic-El-Rayess
A True Story of Love, War, and Survival

What's The Cat I Never Named about?

The Cat I Never Named is a powerful memoir by Amra Sabic-El-Rayess that chronicles her experience growing up in war-torn Bosnia. Amidst the chaos and destruction, a stray cat becomes her unlikely companion, offering comfort and a sense of normalcy in an otherwise terrifying reality. This poignant and inspiring story explores the resilience of the human spirit and the unbreakable bond between a girl and her feline friend.

Who should read The Cat I Never Named?

  • Readers interested in personal stories of resilience and survival
  • Individuals seeking to gain insight into the effects of war and conflict on ordinary people
  • People who want to understand the power of education and determination to overcome adversity

89
Wars Books: War Without Mercy by John W. Dower

War Without Mercy

John W. Dower
Race and Power in the Pacific War

What's War Without Mercy about?

"War Without Mercy" by John W. Dower explores the racial and cultural dimensions of the Pacific War during World War II. Through extensive research and analysis, the book examines how deeply ingrained racial stereotypes and prejudices influenced the conduct of the war and shaped the attitudes of both the Allied and Axis powers. It offers a thought-provoking perspective on the brutal and unforgiving nature of war.

Who should read War Without Mercy?

  • History enthusiasts who want to learn about the racial dynamics of World War II
  • Students and scholars studying the impact of propaganda on war
  • Individuals interested in understanding the cultural and psychological roots of wartime atrocities

90
Wars Books: We Die Alone by David Howarth

We Die Alone

David Howarth
A WWII Epic of Escape and Endurance

What's We Die Alone about?

We Die Alone is a gripping true story of survival and resilience. Set during World War II, it follows the incredible journey of Jan Baalsrud, a Norwegian resistance fighter who becomes stranded in the Arctic wilderness after a failed mission. Facing extreme conditions and relentless pursuit by the Nazis, Baalsrud must rely on his wits and the help of brave locals to escape certain death. This book is a testament to the strength of the human spirit in the face of adversity.

Who should read We Die Alone?

  • Readers interested in true stories of survival against all odds
  • History enthusiasts looking to learn about lesser-known World War II events
  • Individuals seeking inspiration and motivation from tales of extraordinary bravery and resilience

91
Wars Books: With the Old Breed by E.B. Sledge

With the Old Breed

E.B. Sledge
At Peleliu and Okinawa

What's With the Old Breed about?

With the Old Breed is a powerful memoir that offers a firsthand account of the brutal realities of war. Written by E.B. Sledge, a Marine who fought in the Pacific theater during World War II, the book provides a raw and honest portrayal of the intense combat and the bonds formed among soldiers. It offers a unique perspective on the war and serves as a tribute to the courage and sacrifice of those who served.

Who should read With the Old Breed?

  • Fans of historical non-fiction
  • Readers interested in first-hand accounts of war
  • Those who want to gain a deeper understanding of the experiences of World War II soldiers

92
Wars Books: Fearless by Eric Blehm

Fearless

Eric Blehm
The Undaunted Courage and Ultimate Sacrifice of Navy SEAL Team SIX Operator Adam Brown

What's Fearless about?

Fearless tells the incredible true story of Navy SEAL Team Six member Adam Brown. Despite facing numerous challenges and setbacks, Brown's unwavering determination and courage allowed him to overcome his personal demons and become a fearless warrior. This inspiring book highlights the power of resilience and the human spirit.

Who should read Fearless?

  • Individuals seeking inspiration and motivation to overcome challenges and fears
  • Readers who enjoy true stories of resilience, bravery, and determination
  • Anyone interested in learning about the power of the human spirit and the importance of perseverance

93
Wars Books: God Grew Tired of Us by John Bul Dau

God Grew Tired of Us

John Bul Dau
A Memoir

What's God Grew Tired of Us about?

This book tells the incredible true story of John Bul Dau and other Lost Boys of Sudan who fled their war-torn country and embarked on a perilous journey to find safety and a better life. It offers a firsthand account of their resilience, determination, and the challenges they faced as they sought refuge in the United States. It is a powerful and inspiring tale of survival and the strength of the human spirit.

Who should read God Grew Tired of Us?

  • Those who are interested in the experiences and resilience of Sudanese refugees
  • Readers who want to gain insights into the challenges and triumphs of being a displaced person
  • Individuals who enjoy memoirs that offer a unique perspective on war, survival, and hope

94
Wars Books: How Dare the Sun Rise by Sandra Uwiringiyimana

How Dare the Sun Rise

Sandra Uwiringiyimana
Memoirs of a War Child

What's How Dare the Sun Rise about?

This memoir tells the powerful and inspiring story of Sandra Uwiringiyimana, a young girl who survived a massacre in her home country of Congo and eventually resettled in the United States as a refugee. Through her courageous journey, she sheds light on the harsh realities of war and the resilience of the human spirit. It is a testament to the strength and determination of those who dare to rise above adversity.

Who should read How Dare the Sun Rise?

  • Individuals interested in stories of resilience and overcoming adversity
  • Readers seeking to gain insight into the experience of being a refugee
  • Those wanting to explore the strength of the human spirit in challenging circumstances

95
Wars Books: In My Hands by Irene Opdyke

In My Hands

Irene Opdyke

What's In My Hands about?

In this gripping memoir, Irene Opdyke recounts her experiences as a young Polish woman who becomes a housekeeper for a high-ranking Nazi officer during World War II. Risking her own life, she uses her position to secretly aid Jewish prisoners, ultimately saving the lives of many. "In My Hands" is a powerful testament to the strength of the human spirit and the extraordinary acts of bravery in the face of unimaginable evil.

Who should read In My Hands?

  • Individuals who are interested in World War II history
  • Readers who enjoy inspiring true stories of resilience and heroism
  • People who want to learn about the power of kindness and compassion in the face of adversity

96
Wars Books: Mercy by Cathal J. Nolan

Mercy

Cathal J. Nolan
Humanity in Warfare

What's Mercy about?

Mercy is a thought-provoking exploration of the concept of mercy in war. Drawing on historical examples and contemporary conflicts, Cathal J. Nolan challenges our understanding of mercy and its role in shaping the conduct of warfare. This book offers a compelling argument for reevaluating our moral and ethical considerations in times of war.

Who should read Mercy?

  • Readers looking to understand the complexities of war and its impact on humanity
  • History enthusiasts interested in learning about lesser-known events and perspectives
  • Individuals curious about the moral and ethical aspects of conflict and forgiveness

97
Wars Books: Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T.E. Lawrence

Seven Pillars of Wisdom

T.E. Lawrence
A Triumph

What's Seven Pillars of Wisdom about?

This autobiographical account by T.E. Lawrence, also known as Lawrence of Arabia, chronicles his experiences and role in the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire during World War I. It offers a unique perspective on the complexities of war, the Arab world, and the struggle for independence. Lawrence provides detailed insights into the political and military strategies employed, as well as the cultural and social dynamics at play in the region. It is a captivating and thought-provoking read.

Who should read Seven Pillars of Wisdom?

  • History buffs
  • Readers interested in the experiences of T.E. Lawrence
  • Those looking to gain insight into the Arab Revolt during World War I

98
Wars Books: So Far from God by John S.D. Eisenhower

So Far from God

John S.D. Eisenhower
The U.S. War With Mexico, 1846-1848

What's So Far from God about?

So Far from God is a historical account of the American military involvement in the Pacific theater during World War II. Written by John S.D. Eisenhower, the book provides a detailed analysis of the strategies, battles, and key figures that shaped the outcome of the war in the Pacific. It offers a comprehensive and insightful perspective on this significant chapter in history.

Who should read So Far from God?

  • Anyone interested in historical events and World War II
  • Readers who want to gain insights into the life and presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • People who enjoy reading biographies and learning about influential figures in history

99
Wars Books: The Girl in the Picture by Denise Chong

The Girl in the Picture

Denise Chong
The Story of Kim Phuc, the Photograph, and the Vietnam War

What's The Girl in the Picture about?

This book tells the captivating story of a young girl named Kim Phuc, who became known as the "Napalm Girl" after a photograph of her fleeing a napalm attack during the Vietnam War became iconic. Through interviews and research, Denise Chong delves into Kim's life before and after the photograph was taken, exploring the impact of war on individuals and the power of images to shape our understanding of history. It is a poignant and thought-provoking account of one girl's resilience and the far-reaching consequences of war.

Who should read The Girl in the Picture?

  • Individuals interested in history
  • Readers curious about the Vietnam War and its effects
  • People who enjoy reading inspiring stories about resilience and human strength

100
Wars Books: The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell

The Last Kingdom

Bernard Cornwell

What's The Last Kingdom about?

The Last Kingdom (2004) is a historical novel by Bernard Cornwell that takes place during the early 10th century. It follows the story of Uhtred of Bebbanburg, a Saxon nobleman who is captured by the Danes and raised as one of their own. The book delves into the political and military struggles between the Saxons and the Danes, as Uhtred finds himself torn between his loyalty to his birth country and the people who raised him.

Who should read The Last Kingdom?

  • History enthusiasts who are curious about the Viking invasion of England
  • Fans of historical fiction with vivid descriptions of battle and political intrigue
  • Readers who enjoy following the journey of a complex and charismatic protagonist

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 FAQs 

What's the best Wars book to read?

While choosing just one book about a topic is always tough, many people regard Man, the State and War as the ultimate read on Wars.

What are the Top 10 Wars books?

Blinkist curators have picked the following:
  • Man, the State and War by Kenneth N. Waltz
  • Brave New War by John Robb
  • Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
  • The Sleepwalkers by Christopher Clark
  • ISIS by Michael Weiss and Hassan Hassan
  • Bloodlands by Timothy Snyder
  • The True Believer by Eric Hoffer
  • Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
  • Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick
  • World Order by Henry Kissinger

Who are the top Wars book authors?

When it comes to Wars, these are the authors who stand out as some of the most influential:
  • Kenneth N. Waltz
  • John Robb
  • Viktor Frankl
  • Christopher Clark
  • Michael Weiss and Hassan Hassan