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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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