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A Reading List on the Subject of War

War_Is_A_Force_cover As our  Adult Reading Challenge: Books & Bingo program continues over the next 6 months, I’ll be sharing several different reading lists  based on our Bingo card categories. All of the lists were compiled by Mill Valley Public Library staff.

So let’s get to it! Below, I present to you, a reading list on war.  [Feel free to leave a comment with any books you think we missed. And don’t forget–if you’d like to join the challenge, all you need to do is register with the library reference desk and pick up your Bingo card!]

~Ali B.

War (Fiction and Non)

MVPL, 2013

*Please note—this is not meant to be an exhaustive list, it is merely a sampling of literature on the subject of war.


  • War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning by Chris Hedges (non-fiction)
  • The Art of War by Sun Tzu (non-fiction)

Particular Wars/Conflicts in Chronological Order:

Trojan War:

  • The Iliad by Homer (fiction)
  • The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (fiction)

The Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC):

  • The History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides (non-fiction)

The Wars of Alexander the Great (336-323 BC):

  • The Landmark Arrian: the Campaigns of Alexander the Great by Arrian (non-fiction)

Battle of Agincourt, France (1415):

  • Agincourt by Bernard Cornwell (fiction)

The Revolutionary War (1775-1783):

  • The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation: the Pox Party by M.T. Anderson (fiction)
  • 1776 by David McCullough (non-fiction)
  • Manituana by Wu Ming (fiction)
  • Washington’s Spies: the Story of America’s First Spy Ring by Alexander Rose (non-fiction)

Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815):

  • Sharpe’s Tiger by Bernard Cornwell (fiction)
  • Lieutenant Hornblower by C.S. Forester (fiction)
  • War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (fiction)

The American Civil War (1861-1865):

  • A Stillness at Appomattox by Bruce Catton (non-fiction)
  • The March by E.L. Doctorow (fiction)
  • Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier (fiction)
  • Battle Cry of Freedom: the Civil War Era by John M. McPherson (non-fiction)
  • The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara (non-fiction)

World War I (1914-1918):

  • Regeneration by Pat Barker (fiction)
  • The Great War and Modern Memory by Paul Fussell (non-fiction)
  • The Good Soldier: Schweik by Jaroslav Hasek (fiction)
  • The First World War by John Keegan (non-fiction)
  • All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque (fiction)
  • Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo (fiction)
  • The Guns of August by Barbara W. Tuchman (non-fiction)

World War II (1939-1945):

  • Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose (non-fiction)
  • The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang (non-fiction)
  • The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank (non-fiction)
  • Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (fiction)
  • Hiroshima by John Hersey (non-fiction)
  • An Interrupted Life by Etty Hillesum (non-fiction)
  • When the Elephants Dance by Tess Uriza Holthe (fiction)
  • From Here to Eternity by James Jones (fiction)
  • Operation Mincemeat by Ben Macintyre (non-fiction)
  • Code Talker by Chester Nez (non-fiction)
  • The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer (fiction)
  • Life: an Exploded Diagram by Mal Peet (fiction)
  • The Longest Day: June 6th, 1944 by Cornelius Ryan (non-fiction)
  • Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr (fiction)
  • Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (fiction)
  • Night by Elie Wiesel (non-fiction)
  • The Winds of War by Herman Wouk (fiction)
  • The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak (fiction)

Algerian War for Independence (1945-1962):

  • Children of the New World by Djebar (fiction)

Korean War (1950-1953):

  • The Korean War: a History by Bruce Cummings (non-fiction)
  • The Coldest War: America and the Korean War by David Halberstam (non-fiction)
  • War Trash by Ha Jin (fiction)
  • The Surrendered by Chang-Rae Lee (fiction)
  • Colder than Hell: a Marine Rifle Company at Chosin Reservoir by Joseph Owen (non-fiction)
  • From Pusan to Panmunjom by Pak Sun Yup (non-fiction)

Vietnam War (1955-1975):

  • Bloods: an Oral History of the Vietnam War by Black Veterans (non-fiction)
  • Tree of Smoke by Dennis Johnson (fiction)
  • Anatomy of a War: Vietnam, the United States, and the Modern Historical Experience by Gabriel Kolko (non-fiction)
  • Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes (fiction)
  • The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien (fiction)

Cambodian “Killing Fields” (1975-1979):

  • In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner (fiction)

Yugoslav Wars (1991-1995):

  • The Cellist of Sarajevo by Stephen Galloway (fiction)
  • Shards by Ismet Prcic (fiction)

Civil War of Sierra Leone (1991-2002):

  • A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah (non-fiction)

War in Somalia (1991-present):

  • Black Hawk Down: a Story of Modern War by Mark Bowden (non-fiction)

Rwandan Genocide (1991):

  • Running the Rift by Naomi Benaron (fiction)

Wars in Chechnya (1994-1996, 1999-2005):

  • A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra (fiction)

War in Afghanistan (2001-present):

  • The Watch by Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya (fiction)
  • War by Sebastian Junger (non-fiction)
  • Where Men Win Glory: the Odyssey of Pat Tillman by Jon Krakauer (non-fiction)

War in Uganda (1980s-2010) (book takes place in 2002):

  • War Brothers: the Graphic Novel by Sharon E. McKay and Daniel Lafrance (graphic novel)

Iraq War (2003-2011):

  • Fobbit by David Abrams (fiction)
  • The Long Walk: a Story of War and the Life that Follows by Brian Castner (non-fiction)
  • The Forever War by Dexter Filkins (non-fiction)
  • The Good Soldiers by David Finkel (non-fiction)
  • Billy Lynns Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain (fiction)
  • Endgame: the Inside Story of the Struggle for Iraq, from George W. Bush to Barack Obama by Michael Gordon and Bernard E. Trainor (non-fiction)
  • The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers (fiction)
  • Fiasco: the American Military Adventure in Iraq by Thomas E. Ricks (non-fiction)


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