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War Fiction


New Member
Anyone know any good war fiction books? After reading The Things They Carried I'm in the need for some good war books. I have Slaughterhouse Five and I just ordered Johnny Got His Gun, are there any good ones anyone can suggest? :)


Active Member
Our current book of the month, Small Island, is set during World War II. Or, to specify further, are you wanting men with guns killing each other on the battlefield?

Kazuo Ishiguro's first three novels, A Pale View of Hills, An Artist of the Floating World, and The Remains of the Day all have WW2 as their backdrop, though not their focus.


New Member
"A Long, Long Way" by Sebastian Barry is set in the First World War and provides a very human account of life in and around the trenches. The main character is Irish and the book also provides some historical context to Ireland at that time.

lenny nero

New Member
Check out The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski, a harrowing tale of a young boy's survival in eastern Europe during WWII. For a good fiction read set in Vietnam, try Going after Cacciato, about an American soldier who decides to quit the war and walk to Paris from Vietnam.


New Member
CattiGuen said:
I guess any 20th century war would be cool.

I hope you were being deliberately ironic there. War - c20th or otherwise - is not 'cool'

If you would know about the war at sea in WWII, read Monsarrat's 'The Cruel Sea'. A fine film as well, one of the very best film adaptations of a novel.

If you would know about the bomber campaign against Germany in WWII, read Len Deighton's 'Bomber'.

If you would know about army life during WWII, read the 'Sword of Honour' trilogy by Evelyn Waugh.

WWI? 'Goodbye to all that', Robert Graves' autobiography. Or Siegfried Sassoon's 'Memoirs of an Infantry Officer' (or better still, read all three volumes, 'The Complete Memoirs of George Sherston')


New Member
good war books

CattiGuen said:
Anyone know any good war fiction books? After reading The Things They Carried I'm in the need for some good war books. I have Slaughterhouse Five and I just ordered Johnny Got His Gun, are there any good ones anyone can suggest? :)
Gates of fire by Steven Pressfield it's about the battle of Thermopalyae BRILLIANT !! ancient greece period;)


Well-Known Member
PhilW said:
WWI? 'Goodbye to all that', Robert Graves' autobiography.

I just bought this book, its at the almost top of my TBR stack. Love Robert Graves I, Claudius and Claudius the God, the first of which btw is up for BOTM for April.


New Member
Ian McEwan's Atonement is partly set during the Dunkirk retreat of the Second World War, and has some very touching descriptions of what it was like for young women working as nurses in London in those years.

Saul Bellow's Dangling Man touches upon WW2 as well.

John Steinbeck's The Moon is Down deals with the occupation of a Scandinavian country during WW2. Steinbeck also has a collection of journalism from his experiences among US and British troops as a WW2 war correspondent called Once There was a War.

Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms or For Whom the Bell Tolls deal very much with war.

Jean-Paul Sartre has a few novels and screenplays that touch upon the subject of war, and Albert Camus has all his interesting editorials from the resistance.

That should get you started I guess.


unit pride A Novel


Check out UNIT PRIDE on amazon.com. It is a great novel based on the Korean War. Read the reviews. It was written by my Father and has just been republished for its 25th anniversary. Don't just take my word though check out the reviews!

Idril Silmaure

New Member
I would recommend 'Catch-22' if you want something satirical and energetic...or if you're interested in a woman's view of war you could try Vera Brittain's 'Testament of Youth'. Although it's hard to get hold of, the memoirs of Helen Thomas is also very interesting. Or for something more modern you could try Colby Buzzell, who kept a diary of the Iraq war online and has now published a book based on this.

Real Great Idea

New Member
I really liked the fictional book "Hollocaust", by Gerald Greene. It is told from two points of view; one of a Jewish concentration camp survivor, and one of an S.S. guard. An excellent read!


New Member
Foremost, I recommend Going After Cacciato, as its written by Tim O' Brien, and you seem to like his work. Secondly, I'd recommend my favorite novel, Catch-22, an amazing work that captures the absurdity of war perfectly while satirizing bureaucracy. Also, try Meditations in Green by Stephen Wright, one of the most underappreciated writers of the last half century.

For WWII, you might want to look into the work of Primo Levi or Elie Wiesel, although their work concentrates on the Holocaust and not the actual war.

A lot of my favorite works use war as a backdrop:
Try Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut, which features a German propagandist as the narrator, or One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel García Márquez, which shows the effects of guerilla warfare on a South American community (and one man in particular). Oh, and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle features some especially harrowing scenes involving the Manchurian conflict with China.

Finally, good choice with Slaughterhouse-Five. Despite its horrors (or, rather, because of them), I think war has spawned some of the greatest literature. Hope this has helped.


New Member
For a more personal, outside the battlefield, and the general effects of war on civillians, The Diary of Anne Frank seems an essential choice but also some personal favourites would be Goodnight Mister Tom and Johnny and the bomb- Terry Pratchet for a more lighter approach.

However I have just finished reading War and Peace-Leo Tolstoy and recomend this firstly and lastly if you really want a war book that will give you the full panorama and depth. It is complete with grilling descriptions of the battle fields, the history and characters of war leaders, the personal experience of the writter and ordinary civilian and character exposure.

read it, read it, read it!


New Member
I would suggest "Goodbye to all that" - Robert Grave's autobiography. It's not fiction but the prose is remarkable. His memory and attention to detail puts you straight into the trenches with him. It aslo introduces you to Siegfried Sassoon who has, in my opinion, written some of the most moving war poetry.