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13 Must-Read World War II Books For The Dedicated History Buffs

With over 70 million fatalities and conservative cost estimates in the trillions of dollars, WW2 is a potent reminder of the feeble nature of peace. Explore the war through alternative viewpoints and recounts backed by copious amount of research in these edge-of-your-seat World War II books.

Good triumphed over evil in 1945, just over two decades after the end of the Great War. Still, with the world continually teetering on the brink of yet another world war, it is probably a good idea for the printing press to never stop presenting the innumerable experiences that occurred during the deadliest conflict in human history.

Diverse aspects of the war have been researched pedantically since the guns went silent. But the scope of the conflict and pervasiveness of its impact has continued to birth newer compiled, never-before-told experiences and accounts over the years. Brilliantly written and achieving critical acclaim, scroll on for the best World War 2 books to expand your understanding of the war.

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#1 September Hope by John C. McManus

The story of Operation Market Garden, the Allies attempt to carve a route to Germany via the Netherlands, is well known to World War II buffs, but it’s typically been discussed from the point of view of the British, who led the campaign. Many know the story mainly from the movie A Bridge Too Far. In September Hope, McManus tells the story of the American troops. A meticulously researched book, it draws on interviews with U.S. soldiers from that campaign and from letters, diaries and other first-hand source materials.

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Contributor: Andrew Careaga from Missouri S&T

#2 The Dead and Those About to Die by John C. McManus

With everything that has been written about the D-Day invasion of Normandy, France, you’d think there would be no stone left to turn over. In this book, McManus focuses on the First Infantry Division (nicknamed the “Big Red One”) and its role in securing Omaha Beach. Another great narrative brimming with personality, and based on outstanding research, including interviews with veterans who survived the Big Red One’s grueling 19-hour landing on Omaha Beach.

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Contributor: Andrew Careaga from Missouri S&T

#5 Lawyers Without Rights by Simone Lawig-Winters

The book is about the rule of law and how one government - the Third Reich in Germany - systematically undermined fair and just law through humiliation, degradation and legislation leading to expulsion of Jewish lawyers and jurists from the legal profession. Lawyers Without Rights tragically portrays what can happen when the just rule of law disappears -- replaced by an arbitrary rule by law that sweeps aside the rights and dignity of selected populations.

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Contributor: Ashley Alfirevic from ABA Publishing

#6 The Jersey Brothers by Sally Mott Freeman

It's the gripping, real-life story of three brothers who each end up in the middle of three of the most crucial moments of World War II. Decades later, the author — daughter of one of the brothers — launches 10 years of research to find out what exactly happened to one of them, and to reconstruct and tell the brothers' epic war and family story.

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Contributor: Janika Carey from Sweet Briar College

#8 Enemy at the Gates by William Craig

Enemy at the Gates details one of the bloodiest battles ever fought, taking the lives of close to two million people. Craig spent years researching this epic encounter before writing his bestselling novel. The battle of Stalingrad is considered to be the turning point of the War and the beginning of the end for Hitler and the Reich.

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Contributor: Caleb Backe from Maple Holistics

#10 Strategy and Compromise by Samuel Eliot Morison

It is only 120 pages long but it is the most effective overview of World War II tactics one might ever read. It is a brief summary of the high level decisions made by America and Great Britain during the war. I would recommend it as a brief companion piece of reading before taking the deep dive into any of the many heavier World War II histories.

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Contributor: Stuart Shiffman from Bookreporter

#11 Hitler and Stalin by Alan Bullock

It starts with the childhood of Hitler and Stalin, painting a picture of how they were molded into the terrifying adults they became. You will feel you are behind the scenes, watching the secrets plays of both actors, their motivations and outcomes, learning at a deep level all that pushed the WW2 machine forward. 

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Contributor: Greg Shepard from Emily's Maids

#12 Hitler and the Habsburgs by James Longo

Author James Longo uses the stunning story of Hitler’s hateful campaign against the sons of Archduke Franz Ferdinand (the first two Austrians sent to the Dachau concentration camp) as a lens through which readers see the rise of the Third Reich and Nazi abhorrence of multi-cultural and multi-ethnic nations. Unlike other WWII accounts, Longo has spent time interviewing descendants of the Habsburg family to bring this narrative full circle. 

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Contributor: Alexandra Israel from Diversion Books

#13 Big Week by James Holland

It shows how Hitler's ego actually caused consternation among his top brass. With collaborative ideas among the allies, they were able to take fewer soldiers with better strategy to combat the abundant Nazi armies during one big week. This book is about the week the tides of the war changed in favor of the Allies. 

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Contributor: GJ dePillis

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Written by Taegan Lion