The defining event of the 1940s was, undoubtedly, World War II. These books offer insights into the lives, struggles, and triumphs of various people who lived through the war, both in the United States and abroad.

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

“On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared–Lt. Louis Zamperini. Captured by the Japanese and driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor.” – Provided by Publisher

Available Formats: Book, e-Book, e-Audiobook


Victory: World War II in Real Time from Associated Press

Victory commemorates the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII: May 8, 1945, VE Day; August 14, VJ Day; and September 2, the formal signing of the instrument of surrender. This stunning book covers the war through contemporary Associated Press coverage of 40-45 key events, plus human-interest accounts. The stories and photographs are presented chronologically so that readers of today can experience the scope of the war in the same way people of that era learned of the events. From Germany’s invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, to Japan’s ceremonial signing of surrender aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945, each event is vividly brought to life through images and text from the original articles; historian Alan Axelrod provides insightful introductory text for each chapter.” – Provided by Publisher

Available Formats: Book

Church of Spies : the Pope’s Secret War Against Hitler by Mark Riebling

“History has accused wartime pontiff Pius the Twelfth of complicity in the Holocaust and dubbed him “Hitler’s Pope.” Riebling shows that, in reality, Pius ran the world’s largest church, smallest state, and oldest spy service. Skimming from church charities to pay covert couriers, and surreptitiously tape-recording meetings with top Nazis, Pius sent birthday cards to Hitler– while secretly plotting to kill him. Fearing that overt protest would impede his covert actions, he muted his public response to Nazi crimes.” – Provided by Publisher

Available Formats: Book, e-Book

GI Brides : the Wartime Girls Who Crossed the Atlantic for Love by Duncan Barrett

“Worn down by years of war and hardship, girls like Sylvia, Margaret, and Gwendolyn were thrilled when American GI’s arrived in Britain with their exotic accents, handsome uniforms and aura of Hollywood glamor. Others, like Rae, who distrusted the Yanks, were eventually won over by their easy charm. So when VE Day finally came, for the 70,000 women who’d become GI brides, it was tinged with sadness–it meant leaving their homeland behind to follow their husbands across the Atlantic. And the long voyage was just the beginning of an even bigger journey. Adapting to a new culture thousands of miles from home, often with a man they barely knew, was difficult-but these women survived the Blitz and could cope with anything. GI BRIDES shares the sweeping, compelling, and moving true stories of four women who gave up everything and crossed an ocean for love.” – Provided by Publisher

Available Formats: Book, e-Book, e-Audiobook

Paper Bullets : Two Artists Who Risked Their Lives to Defy the Nazis by Jeffrey Jackson

“The true story of an audacious resistance campaign undertaken by an unlikely pair: two French women–Lucy Schwob and Suzanne Malherbe –who drew on their skills as Parisian avant-garde artists to write and distribute wicked insults against Hitler and calls to desert, a PSYOPs tactic known as ‘paper bullets,’ designed to demoralize Nazi troops occupying their adopted home of Jersey in the British Channel Islands.” – Provided by Publisher

Available Formats: Book, e-Book


Three Ordinary Girls : the Remarkable Story of Three Dutch Teenagers Who Became Spies, Saboteurs, Nazi Assassins–and WWII Heroes by Tim Brady


“The astonishing true story of three fearless female resisters during WWII whose youth and innocence belied their extraordinary daring in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands. It also made them the underground’s most invaluable commodity. Recruited as teenagers, Hannie Schaft, and Dutch sisters Truus and Freddie Oversteegen fulfilled their harrowing missions as spies, saboteurs, and Nazi assassins with remarkable courage, but their stories have remained largely unknown…until now.” – Publisher’s description

Available Formats: Book, e-Book, e-Audiobook

The Diary of a Young Girl: the Definitive Edition by Anne Frank


“Compelling and candid, this diary introduced the world to a girl filled with the emotional concerns of a typical teenager, but living in stifling and terrifying circumstances… This definitive edition, featuring a new translation, is the diary as Anne Frank wrote it, containing entries about her burgeoning sexuality and confrontations with her mother that were cut from previous editions. Frank’s diary is among the most enduring documents of the twentieth century.” – Provided by Publisher

Available Formats: Book, e-Book, e-Audiobook


The Eagles of Heart Mountain : a True Story of Football, Incarceration, and Resistance in World War II America by Bradford Pearson


“A painstakingly researched account details the tragic and triumphant story of the Eagles, a high school football team from Cody, Wyoming’s World War II Japanese-American incarceration camp.” – Provided by Publisher

Available Formats: Book, Audiobook



Night by Elie Wiesel


Night is Elie Wiesel’s masterpiece, a candid, horrific, and deeply poignant autobiographical account of his survival as a teenager in the Nazi death camps. This new translation by Marion Wiesel, Elie’s wife and frequent translator, presents this seminal memoir in the language and spirit truest to the author’s original intent. And in a substantive new preface, Elie reflects on the enduring importance of Night and his lifelong, passionate dedication to ensuring that the world never forgets man’s capacity for inhumanity to man. Night offers much more than a litany of the daily terrors, everyday perversions, and rampant sadism at Auschwitz and Buchenwald; it also eloquently addresses many of the philosophical as well as personal questions implicit in any serious consideration of what the Holocaust was, what it meant, and what its legacy is and will be.” – Provided by Publisher

Available Formats: Book, Audiobook, e-Audiobook

The Splendid and the Vile : a Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz by Erik Larson


“The #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Devil in the White City and Dead Wake delivers a fresh and compelling portrait of Winston Churchill and London during the Blitz. On Winston Churchill’s first day as prime minister, Hitler invaded Holland and Belgium. Poland and Czechoslovakia had already fallen, and the Dunkirk evacuation was just two weeks away. For the next twelve months, Hitler would wage a relentless bombing campaign, killing 45,000 Britons. It was up to Churchill to hold the country together and persuade President Franklin Roosevelt that Britain was a worthy ally-and willing to fight to the end. In The Splendid and the Vile, Erik Larson shows, in cinematic detail, how Churchill taught the British people “the art of being fearless.” It is a story of political brinkmanship, but it’s also an intimate domestic drama set against the backdrop of Churchill’s prime-ministerial country home, Chequers; his wartime retreat, Ditchley, where he and his entourage go when the moon is brightest and the bombing threat is highest; and of course 10 Downing Street in London. Drawing on diaries, original archival documents, and once-secret intelligence reports-some released only recently-Larson provides a new lens on London’s darkest year through the day-to-day experience of Churchill and his family: his wife, Clementine; their youngest daughter, Mary, who chafes against her parents’ wartime protectiveness; their son, Randolph, and his beautiful, unhappy wife, Pamela; Pamela’s illicit lover, a dashing American emissary; and the cadre of close advisers who comprised Churchill’s “Secret Circle,” including his lovestruck private secretary, John Colville; newspaper baron Lord Beaverbrook; and the Rasputin-like Frederick Lindemann. The Splendid and the Vile takes readers out of today’s political dysfunction and back to a time of true leadership, when-in the face of unrelenting horror-Churchill’s eloquence, courage, and perseverance bound a country, and a family, together.” – Provided by Publisher

Available Formats: Book, Audiobook, e-Book, e-Audiobook

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