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Wartime Novels?

(77 Posts)
tethersend Thu 21-Mar-13 23:49:53

Set in Germany?

Or England?

Or anywhere?

Have just finished the good-in-parts-but-overall-grindingly-disappointing Dominion by C J Sansom and it's left me wanting something better. Have had a bash at Fatherland by Robert Harris, but it's not really doing it for me either.

Has anyone read anything good which would fit my apparently narrow field of interest?

SorrelForbes Fri 22-Mar-13 10:21:29

RFAW is a love story but its definitely not fluffy. Very much of its time, themes of duty, bravery etc mixed in with guilt, love, sacrifice.

SorrelForbes Fri 22-Mar-13 10:22:26


Francagoestohollywood Fri 22-Mar-13 10:31:50

I third Suite Francaise

Try if you can find a tranlation of Joseph Roth's novels (i don't mean stephen but joseph!). Not only are they true masterpieces of the xx literature, but give you a good insight of the collapse of the austrian empire in ww1.

Kurt Vonnegut Slaughterhouse five, of course.

Not sure whether Elsa Morante has ever been translated into English, but her "la Storia" is a superb novel about Italy, fascism, desperation and ww2.

Francagoestohollywood Fri 22-Mar-13 10:32:30

I enjoyed the nightwatch, but was underwhelmed by Birdsong.

nettie Fri 22-Mar-13 10:37:34

La's Orchestra Saves the World by Alexander McCall Smith, might be a bit fluffy for compared to others though.

MrsDeVere Fri 22-Mar-13 10:43:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsDeVere Fri 22-Mar-13 10:45:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ThePigOfHappiness Fri 22-Mar-13 10:59:09

Oh yes suite francaise!
Birdsong was ok on tv but the book was really lovely.
It's being produced on stage in Dublin soon, going to check it out and try to convert my friend to Sebastian Faulks

ThePigOfHappiness Fri 22-Mar-13 10:59:22

Didn't rate atonement by the way

MiddleAgeMiddleEngland Fri 22-Mar-13 11:33:53

nettie I don't think La's Orchestra is exactly fluffy. Quite a quick and easy read, but has some themes about identity and loyalty. I love the way the ending moves on to the Cuban missile crisis and they all gather for peace again.

For children's books, I agree with the suggestion of When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit. Adolphus Tips is very good, the ending has me in tears each time. I also love Carrie's War.

ThePigOfHappiness Fri 22-Mar-13 11:36:42

Oh, The boy in the striped pyjamas and Goodnight Mr Tom for more kids ones that are still readable as an adult.

Ilovemyteddy Fri 22-Mar-13 11:46:39

Another children's book is The Silver Sword by Ian Serralier which had a profound effect on me as a child. And Blitzcat by Robert Westall is fantastic.

tethersend Fri 22-Mar-13 11:50:51

Have read Goodnight Mr. Tom, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and Judith Kerr's trilogy. Loved Judith Kerr, hated TBITSP, and Mr. Tom was ok.

Google list is getting longer! Thanks again smile

Cremolafoam Fri 22-Mar-13 12:11:44

Stasiland by Anna Funder is a well researched book about the Cold War

The Reader - Bernhard Schlink

My Enemy's Cradle by Sara Young
( about The Lebensborn Project)

Vienna by Eva Menasse ( about German Jewish refugees )

DuchessofMalfi Fri 22-Mar-13 12:20:46

There's a children's book - Carrie's War by Nina Bawden, about evacuated children sent to Wales. I read it as a child and loved it, but I think it's one of those books that could be re-read as an adult for nostalgia grin

Also, The Welsh Girl by Peter Ho Davies. A little odd, but set in WWII. Didn't really understand why the bit about Rudolph Hess was in there, but nevertheless is an ok read.

Schindler's Ark by Thomas Kenneally. Excellent novel (but based very closely on fact).

Lilymaid Fri 22-Mar-13 12:26:48

"I got very confused by Birdsong"
You aren't the only one MrsDeVere! I get thoroughly confused between what was in Birdsong, the Pat Barker books and Robert Graves (Goodbye to all That) and Siegfried Sassoon (Memoirs of an Infantry Officer).

JeanBodel Fri 22-Mar-13 12:28:07

HMS Ullysses by Alistair McClean.

Takver Fri 22-Mar-13 12:28:30

Not a novel, but have you read Testament of Experience, by Vera Brittain?

Interesting because although I think many of us would disagree with the political stance she takes (pacifist) obviously it is a result of her experiences in WW1. I'd definitely recommend it.

Badvoc Fri 22-Mar-13 12:34:23

Enigma is good.
How about the girl at the lion dor

MrsDeVere Fri 22-Mar-13 12:35:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsDeVere Fri 22-Mar-13 12:37:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Lilymaid Fri 22-Mar-13 12:40:52

Another plug for the Cazalets - four volumes of easy to read literary fiction set just before and during WWII.

Cremolafoam Fri 22-Mar-13 12:52:47

Just remembered The Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell.

Ilovemyteddy Fri 22-Mar-13 13:08:57

Oh and how could I have forgotten HHhH by Laurent Binet which is my favourite read of the year so far. It's based on the true story of the assassination attempt on Heydrich in Czechoslovakia and is wonderful.

Thewhingingdefective Fri 22-Mar-13 13:13:55

Private Peaceful - Michael Morpurgo
All Quiet on the Western Front - Erich Maria Remarque

Both WW1

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