Second World War Books for Adults

The Second World War is one of the most important wars in history and its impact is still felt across the world up to this day. Our Second World War books cover every part of the conflict, from the countries and locations involved to stories of the individuals who fought on the front lines or on home ground. Plus, we have Holocaust books that give insight into the most horrific part of this brutal war. So, take a look through our WW2 books to see what you can learn about this fascinating part of British and world history.

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1. The Freedom Trials: Escaping Hitler

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Monty Halls

Monty Halls' incredible book is a companion to the Channel 4 series and tells the stories of those who fled Nazi Germany and the difficult routes they took. Monty focuses on the British, Commonwealth and American soldiers that travelled across Europe and the members of the resistance who, despite the dangers that faced them, kept the routes open. Informed by interviews from survivors, extensive research and his own experiences walking the trials, Monty's book is a compelling glimpse into a terrifying part of history.



2. Defending the Rock

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Nicholas Rankin

An often overlooked topic in the history of the Second World War is how Gibraltar managed to hold off attacks and keep the 25 miles of tunnels hidden under the ground a secret. Despite being in a vulnerable position, Gibraltar's location was utilised in 1942 by US General Eisenhower when he organised an invasion of North Africa. Discover the vital role Gibraltar played in helping the Allies to victory in the Second World War.


3. The Holocaust

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Laurence Rees

Laurence Rees has been interviewing survivors and perpetrators of the Holocaust for 25 years with the aim of finding out what happened during one of the darkest moments in history and why. This book combines these eye witness accounts with research and detailed information on the history of the Holocaust and how it impacted the whole of Europe. This book truly is a powerful glance into the shocking truths of the Holocaust.





4. Imperial War Museum's History Collection - 3 Books

Imperial War Museum's History Collection - 3 Books - Collection - 9781471162497
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Each of the books in this collection from the Imperial War Museum focuses on a different part of the First and Second World Wars. A Prayer for Gallipoli tells the story of the chaplain, Kenneth Best, who worked in pastoral care with the soldiers on the frontline of World War One. In The Secret History of the Blitz, the attention is on those who were not in the centre of the fighting but were facing the forces of the war on their home turfs. D-Day to Victory uses the diaries of a British tank commander to show what the end of the war was like for those that were at the centre of it. If you have a big interest in military history, this collection gives you plenty of reading material to keep you busy.


5. The Secret War

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Sir Max Hastings

In this unusual look into the history of the Second World War, Max Hastings explores the espionage and secret intelligence work that went on behind the scenes to in order for the Allies to secure their victory. Focusing on the people who worked tirelessly on all sides of the war, this book is a fascinating account of espionage across the world, from Britain to Germany to the Soviet Union and more. This book is an excellent glimpse into the spies, codes and guerrillas that worked in secret during the biggest war the world has seen.




6. Britain's War

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Daniel Todman

This book focuses on the lead-up to and beginnings of World War Two in Britain, starting in 1937 with the coronation of George VI and ending in December 1941. Daniel Todman tells the story of the effect the declaration of war had on the people of Britain and how every individual had their lives completely changed forever. This book provides an interesting snapshot into a country on the brink of war and how a whole nation stands to attention when that war begins.


7. Mapping the Second World War

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Peter Chasseaud

Published in association with the Imperial War Museums, this fascinating map book by Peter Chasseaud is the perfect visual guide to the landscapes of war. The book has 150 maps from all over the world documenting where and how the war was fought, including the locations of key battles. Plus, these maps are taken from a range of sources, including newspapers, propaganda and more to give a full insight into the way the war was presented and how it was really fought.




 

For more riveting war reads, take a look at our full selection of Second World War books.