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message 1: by Dana (new)

Dana (danarohinsky) | 56 comments I'd like some recommendations for World War II novels. I really like the sweeping melodrama type (think Herman Wouk) or a complicated spy story (like Where Eagles Dare).

I prefer books that are character-driven, but not a character study. There must be plot! And I do prefer more dialogue to description.

Obviously the tone would be serious. I like books that are atmospheric, but I don't like to get too bogged down in the details. And I always want a little romance.

I don't like:
Ken Follett: unsatisfying characterizations and silly plots
Night Soldiers by Alan Furst: I just remember being bored (not very helpful, I know!)


message 2: by Pulkit (new)

Pulkit (pkpkpk) You should definitely try The Book Thief It's character-driven, like you want, and there's a little (very little) romance, too, with a lot of dialogs and a great plot. And it has unique narration as it is narrated from death's point of view.


message 3: by Gary (new)

Gary Maybe look at The Thin Red Line by James Jones, or Guadacanal Diary by Richard Tregaskis.


message 4: by Christine (new)

Christine (chrisarrow) I haven't read the following two, though I do own a copy of both. I think the first one is more to what you want.

The Invisible Bridge

The Kindly Ones.

I used The True Story of Hansel and Gretel in class and students really liked it. Too short to be sweeping, but it does have romance.

The Memory Man is really good, though the WW II section is memroies.

Also good is The Tiger Claw which is a fiction account of Noor Khan (an SOE member) in occupied France.

A Thread of Grace is extremely good.


message 5: by Flannery, html whiz (new)

Flannery (flannabanana) | 63 comments Mod
Just adding some links--don't mind me:)
The Thin Red Line
Guadalcanal Diary


message 6: by Mir (new)

Mir | 189 comments If you also like alternate history, Bitter Seeds and Fatherland would fit the bill.


message 7: by Dana (last edited Feb 18, 2011 03:04PM) (new)

Dana (danarohinsky) | 56 comments Thanks for the recommendations!

Pulkit, I'll check it out!

Gary, is the Thin Red Line more character-driven or more about combat?

Chris, what did you like about the books you mentioned?

Miriam, thanks for the suggestions, though I'm not really into alternate history. What did you like about them?


message 8: by Christine (new)

Christine (chrisarrow) What I liked about The True Story of Hansel and Gretel was the inversion and use of the fairy tale. I also liked the interwoven threads- Russian fighters, Jewish escapees, Poles under the control of Germans- an aspect that gets lost sometimes.

The Memory Man is a far more emotional story. In many ways, it is gut wrenching. It deals with a man who returns to his birthplace long after he was forced to leave during WW II. What it is, is a mediation on how we define ourselves and how memory plays into that. It makes you think.

The Tiger Claw I liked not only because of its heroine, but because of the plot which dealt with personal struggle, family struggle, and war all at once.

As for A Thread of Grace because it took place in Italy and had intersting characters.


message 9: by karen, future RA queen (new)

karen (karenbrissette) | 1315 comments Mod
you may certainly borrow the book thief from me, unless you think it will have too much whimsy...


message 10: by Tatiana (new)

Tatiana (tatiana_g) I think you will enjoy The Bronze Horseman. Very melodramatic, heavy on romance, set in WII Russia. Not my cup of tea personally, but many of my friends simply adore this book.


message 11: by Dana (new)

Dana (danarohinsky) | 56 comments i just read greg's review of the book thief and he mentioned literary tricks and called it "cutesy"....maybe it's not for me.


message 12: by Dana (new)

Dana (danarohinsky) | 56 comments Tatiana, thanks for the suggestion. I read your review and I think I might also be annoyed by all the stuff you mentioned. It sounds a little overwrought!


message 13: by Dana (new)

Dana (danarohinsky) | 56 comments Thanks Chris! The Tiger Claw sounds particularly interesting.


message 14: by Tatiana (new)

Tatiana (tatiana_g) Dana wrote: "Tatiana, thanks for the suggestion. I read your review and I think I might also be annoyed by all the stuff you mentioned. It sounds a little overwrought!"

Ok, Dana, let me just say, out of all the people in my group, pretty much only I gave it such a low rating, the rest of them thought it was one the best books EVER! That's why I try not to discourage people from reading it.


message 15: by Kinga (new)

Kinga | 19 comments Hello,

I would recommend King Rat. It is one of my favourite books about WWII. It takes place in a prison camp. I normally like a little bit of romance here and there and even though this didn't have any I couldn't put it down. I always recommend it to people who don't read to get them to read. And it always works. But is also praised by sophisticated readers of literary fiction.

Also, feel free to read anything by Polish authors. All they ever write about is WWII :/


message 16: by karen, future RA queen (new)

karen (karenbrissette) | 1315 comments Mod
i was on the verge of recommending War Crimes for the Home to you, because i loved it and half of it takes place during WWII, but i was refreshing my memory with the goodreads.com write-up, and well... let's just say not everyone gets to keep all of their limbs. but for the rest of you who don't mind a little amputation between friends, it is a good one - like "what if Atonement were funny and dirty??" it would be this book.


message 17: by Lori (new)

Lori | 4 comments The Zookeeper's Wife is based, I think, on real events and people.

If you ever want to move into nonfiction two I liked that were people based, instead of historocal fact upon fact are:
title
The Bielski Brothers: The True Story of Three Men Who Defied the Nazis, Built a Village in the Forest, and Saved 1,200 Jews

and
Eva'a Story
(her mother ended up marrying Anne Frank's father after the war)


message 18: by Gary (new)

Gary Dana wrote: "Thanks for the recommendations!

Pulkit, I'll check it out!

Gary, is the Thin Red Line more character-driven or more about combat?

Chris, what did you like about the books you mentioned?
..."


Chris wrote: "I haven't read the following two, though I do own a copy of both. I think the first one is more to what you want.

The Invisible Bridge

The Kindly Ones.

I use..."


Chris wrote: "I haven't read the following two, though I do own a copy of both. I think the first one is more to what you want.

The Invisible Bridge

The Kindly Ones.

I use..."


The Thin Red Line is more character driven, but with a good amount of combat.
Guadacanal Diary was written by a reporter who was embedded with a company.


message 19: by Dana (new)

Dana (danarohinsky) | 56 comments Thanks for the suggestions!


message 20: by Brian R. (new)

Brian R. Mcdonald I second the recommendation of King Rat. I loved it when I first read it, long before I discovered any other Clavells.


message 21: by Dana (new)

Dana (danarohinsky) | 56 comments To those of you recommending King Rat -- I tried to read Shogun and didn't like it. I hated the main character and wasn't crazy about the writing. Are the books similar?


message 22: by Brian R. (new)

Brian R. Mcdonald Not at all similar, and if the character and/or subject matter are what turned you off then I might still suggest giving KR a try. However, if Clavell's writing style wasn't to your taste, then I can't say I remember KR in enough detail to say whether that objection would carry over.


message 23: by Kinga (new)

Kinga | 19 comments Apparently King Rat is the only thing that Clavell wrote that is of any quality.
Someone wrote a good review of that on here but I can't remember who and now I really have to go to bed!!


message 24: by Brian R. (new)

Brian R. Mcdonald I suspect that most Clavell fans would think rather the reverse. King Rat is the lowest rated on GR of his major works [second lowest if one counts [book:Gai-Jin|42929] and while it was quite popular it was certainly not the monster hit that Tai-Pan and Shogun were.


message 25: by Kinga (new)

Kinga | 19 comments I suspect that if Dan Brown wrote anything close to literary fiction no one of his fans would like that either.


message 26: by Brian R. (new)

Brian R. Mcdonald Probably true, but I don't really buy the comparison. Clavell's Asian Saga novels may not be fine literature, but they are certainly far more than potboilers; and King Rat, his earliest and least polished effort, is probably the least literary among them.


message 27: by Mariel (new)

Mariel (fuchsiagroan) A Song for Summer This is a girly book about life in Austria before and during the war. There is romance, characters... maybe too much plot towards the end. It was almost a perfect book, until the too much plot happened.


message 28: by karen, future RA queen (new)

karen (karenbrissette) | 1315 comments Mod
this book came in today:

Any Survivors?: A Lost Novel of World War Two. while it doesn't quite look like your cup of tea, the fact that it is written by freud's son is pretty awesome, no? the first chapter is called "lights out!"

including the exclamation point. i think you have to read it.


message 29: by Dana (new)

Dana (danarohinsky) | 56 comments i'm glad you gave the link for the book -- it's so informative.


message 30: by karen, future RA queen (new)

karen (karenbrissette) | 1315 comments Mod
hahhaha i didn't notice that at work... let me see what i can do.


message 31: by karen, future RA queen (new)

karen (karenbrissette) | 1315 comments Mod
happy now, you pill??


message 32: by Dana (new)

Dana (danarohinsky) | 56 comments thanks karen! now the question is: should this book have stayed lost?


message 33: by karen, future RA queen (new)

karen (karenbrissette) | 1315 comments Mod
we won't know until you read it.


message 34: by Dana (new)

Dana (danarohinsky) | 56 comments and i do love exclamation points.


message 35: by karen, future RA queen (new)

karen (karenbrissette) | 1315 comments Mod
don't let the group down!!


message 36: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Some WWII books:

The Naked and the Dead - I think of this as the prototype for the sweeping melodrama type
The Thin Red Line
The Great World: A novel


message 37: by Emily (last edited Apr 01, 2011 02:26AM) (new)

Emily (emduck) | 16 comments City of Thieves by David Benioff - fictionalized version of his grandfather's actual experience during the Siege of Leningrad. Absolutely amazing and beautifully told.


message 38: by karen, future RA queen (new)

karen (karenbrissette) | 1315 comments Mod
have you read Homer Hickam??

he has a whole WWII series, the last of which just came in as a bargain book. he is being compared to your beloved wouk. the reviews seem to indicate they don't necessarily need to be read in order.

i have The Far Reaches set aside for you here...


message 39: by Emily (new)

Emily (emduck) | 16 comments Karen,
Thanks SO much for the suggestion, I've not tried Homer, and will do so asap!
Emily


message 40: by Dana (new)

Dana (danarohinsky) | 56 comments Thanks Karen! I'll check it out!


message 41: by mark (new)

mark monday (happy-end-of-the-world) it has already been mentioned, but i think The Thin Red Line is a must-read. one of my all-time favorites.


message 42: by karen, future RA queen (new)

karen (karenbrissette) | 1315 comments Mod
what about these, danaaaaa?


message 43: by Dana (new)

Dana (danarohinsky) | 56 comments I have a couple but I haven't read them. I'm terrible!


message 44: by karen, future RA queen (new)

karen (karenbrissette) | 1315 comments Mod
you are! and with your new eyes and everything!

it's cool, dana. you have a lot going on.


message 45: by Dana (new)

Dana (danarohinsky) | 56 comments Tell me about it! So much, ahem, "online reading."


message 46: by Inez (last edited Oct 13, 2011 03:25AM) (new)

Inez Quijano (inezquijano) | 2 comments Dana wrote: "i just read greg's review of the book thief and he mentioned literary tricks and called it "cutesy"....maybe it's not for me."

The Book Thief is actually YA. And more about books than the war itself, I'd say. Still a really good book though.

I'd also recommend Night.


message 47: by karen, future RA queen (new)

karen (karenbrissette) | 1315 comments Mod
bump


message 48: by peg (last edited Oct 29, 2011 09:14PM) (new)

peg (mcicutti) | 79 comments Kiana Davenport's, "The Song of the Exile" is an amazing novel that takes place in Hawaii during WWII. It is a family saga and offers a unique perspective from the native Hawaiian point of view. In addition to being a great story with multi-dimensional characters,Davenport's prose virtually sings. It's one of the few books that I have read two,maybe three, times.


message 49: by Karen (new)

Karen | 6 comments I recommended Small Island for historical fiction in another thread. It isn't 100% focused on the war but it looks at the history of Jamaican soldiers in the British Army and in Britain in general and also the British soldiers who were sent to India and then were used to put down rebellions. A decent amount of it takes place in Jamaica and blitz era London but it is very character driven.


message 50: by Tuck (new)

Tuck | 184 comments great recommendations, i notice invisible bridge is there, as it should be, being the best novel of 2010, and from a little known corner of wwii atrocity. also "thread of grace" is fantastic novel of italy in wwii. i would add "resistance" taking place in wales in wwii. a stunning novel of what the women of wales are capable of, when the nazis come calling.

The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer
A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell
Resistance A Novel by Owen Sheers


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