Recommended Reading
Found in the Annenberg Library

Historical Fiction

American Wars
World Wars
World Conflicts

American Wars - Civil War


Cold Mountain, Charles Frazier
“This monumental novel is set at the end of the Civil War and follows the journey of a wounded Confederate soldier named Inman as he returns home. Interwoven is the story of Ada, the woman he loves.” Library Journal

Johnny Reb (series): the common soldier of the Confederacy, Bell Irvin Wiley
Wiley offers a rare but complete portrait of the ordinary soldier of the Confederacy during the Civil War.

Killer Angels, Michael Shaara
This is the Pulitzer Prize winning novel about the civil war.

Life of Billy Yank: the common soldier of the Union, Bell Irvin Wiley
The Life of Billy Yank is a frank, intimate, and warm study of the Union soldier by one of the most prolific and revered of all Civil War historians.


World Wars - WWI


Ali and Nino, Kurban Said
Ali and Nino has been hailed as one of the enduring romantic novels of the century.. "Ali Khan is an Islamic boy from Azerbaijan with his ancestors' passion for the desert and warrior legends, but his lover Nino, a beautiful Christian girl from Georgia, is the child with a more European sensibility. The lovers spend their days in Baku on the edge of the Caspian sea. But it is here in a city where Orient and Occident collide, that they are inevitably caught up in the events of the First World War and the Russian Revolution. Both must confront the divided world that surrounds them as well as their own deepest needs.

Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
Set before and during the Great War, Birdsong captures the drama of that era on both a national and a personal scale. It is the story of Stephen Wraysford, a young Englishman who journeys to France on business in 1910 and becomes so entangled in a passionate clandestine love affair that he never returns home. … Stephen finds a place and an intense camaraderie in this tortuous world, and through his eyes Faulks reveals not only the unspeakable carnage of WWI but the unexpected love and loyalty that took place in the fields of France a mere two generations ago.

Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway
The best American novel to emerge from World War I, A Farewell to Arms is the unforgettable story of an American ambulance driver on the Italian front and his passion for a beautiful English nurse.

World Wars - WWII

  With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa
by Eugene B. Sledge

Based on notes he kept on slips of paper tucked secretly away in his Bible, Eugene Sledge has written a devastingly powerful memoir of his experience fighting in the South Pacific during WWII.

Catch 22, Joseph Heller
Catch-22 moves back and forth from hilarity to horror. It is outrageously funny and strangely affecting. It is totally original. It is the story of World War II flier John Yossarian who decides that his only mission each time he goes up is to return—alive!

Chosen, Chaim Potok
[The Chosen] is the now-classic story of two fathers and two sons and the pressures on all of them to pursue the religion they share in the way that is best suited to each.

Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis DeBernieres
Heartbreaking, beautiful and deeply moving, de Bernieres's extraordinary novel is based on a historic episode: the Nazis' occupation of the sleepy Greek island of Cephallonia and their slaughter of thousands of occupying Italian troops who turned against fascism in solidarity with the native Greeks.

English Patient, Michael Ondaatje
In a brilliantly original novel, four people come together in a deserted Italian villa during the final moments of World War II: a young American nurse and her horribly burned English patient, an American soldier of fortune, and an Indian soldier in the British army. Their stories of the past and of the present weave a spellbinding tapestry of how lives are caught and changed by the circumstances of war.

In Pale Battalions, Robert Goddard
Goddard has created a compelling, highly entertaining novel of deception, betrayal and family intrigue. From a brooding country estate harboring a dark and twisted secret to the killing fields of Flanders, Goddard unveils a spellbinding tale set in World War II England.

Reader, Bernhard Schlink
Set in postwar Germany, The Reader is a provocative, morally challenging, and deeply moving novel about a young boy's erotic awakening in a clandestine love affair with a mysterious older woman. Then, one day, years later, as a law student observing a trial in Germany, Michael recognizes his former lover on the stand, accused of a hideous crime. And as he watches Hanna refuse to defend herself against the charges, Michael gradually realizes that she may be guarding a secret more shameful than murder.

Slatterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut
Billy Pilgrim, Vonnegut's shattered survivor of the Dresden bombing, relives his life over and over again under the gaze of aliens; he comes at last to some understanding of the human comedy. The basis of George Roy's great 1972 film and perhaps the signature student's novel in the 1960's embracing protest and the absurdity of war.

A Separate Peace, John Knowles
Knowles' classic story of two friends at boarding school during World War II--one of the most starkly moving parables ever written about the dark forces that brood over the tortured world of adolescence--has been a consistent seller for more than 20 years.

Stones from the River, Ursula Hegi
Trudi Montag, the town librarian, feels dissociated from society because she is a dwarf. In her role as librarian, Trudi meticulously archives secrets, stories, and history, all of which become her source of power when the townspeople allow Jews to be mistreated during World War II.

World Conflicts - Korean Conflict


The Marines of Autumn: a novel of the Korean War, James Brady
The Marines of Autumn is a stunning, shattering novel of war illuminated only by courage, determination, and Marine Corps discipline.


World Conflicts - Vietnam War


In Country, Bobbi Mason
The best-selling novel and deeply affecting story of a young girl who comes to terms with her father's death in Vietnam two decades earlier.

Runner, Cynthia Voight
It was the 1960s, the time of the Vietnam War. "Bullet" Tillerman, the school track star, had to decide if he would go to fight or stay on the family farm. Bullet's father, who had already driven Bullet's older brother and sister out of the house, made impossible demands on him. And his mother seemed to have lost the will to resist the old man. Meanwhile, at school, a black student joined the track team, forcing Bullet to question his own prejudices. But nothing would keep him from running. Nothing.