16 Best Books About War Update 05/2022

Books About War

Conflict is a natural component of the human condition. Throughout human history, we’ve been willing to kill and maim each other in order to acquire what we desire. However, over the ages, society has been able to construct and enforce social rules that protect us from the worst parts of ourselves. War is the one situation in which we are permitted to be as vicious and evil as we are capable of being without repercussions.

It’s not so much a morbid fascination with violence as a need to better understand ourselves, what we’re capable of, and what the price of indulging in the most base elements of ourselves truly is that drives the popularity of novels, articles, and reports on war. Civilians have a duty to grasp the greater philosophical implications of the human toll of war, even if they cannot bear it personally. Many, if not all, of the books on our list of the best war books achieve this purpose, according to us. Whether you want to learn more about ancient Greek strategy and battles as described by Homer, or you want to gain a deeper knowledge of the war that we’ve been fighting for the past 16 years, the books listed below are worth checking out.



David McCullough, a well-known historian in the United States, tells the human side of the struggle for freedom from British rule. George Washington, Queen Victoria, and the British Royal family’s generals, as well as their own decisions, are given equal attention.

A Rumor of War

The country of Vietnam got off to a slow start. It slowly creeped up on the American people over the course of several years until it became too large to overlook. As a member of the first ground combat unit in the country to be deployed in 1965, Phillip Caputo returned home damaged, bewildered, and emotionally drained. In his book, “The Things Men Do and the Things Battle Dos to Men,” he describes “the things that men do in war and the things that war does to men.”

All Quiet on the Western Front

Disillusionment with military and government leadership in the United States may be traced back to the Vietnam War for many people. During World War I, the same thing had happened to Germany. Erich Maria Remarque’s novel is one of the best depictions of pessimism and loss in the trenches of the First World War.

The Art of War

Even Colin Powell and Bill Belichick have proclaimed their devotion to this 2,500-year-old treatise written by Sun Tzu. “The Art of War” It’s less about what it’s like to be in the trenches, and more about how to prevail in a fight.

The Big Two-Hearted River

The Big Two-Hearted River

For Whom the Bell Tolls and A Farewell to Arms are the two most popular war novels on the internet. A lesser-known short tale rather than a well-known novel is what we were going for, even though both are excellent. A Big Two-Hearted River by Ernest Hemingway isn’t about combat or the horrors of war, but about the aftermath. The film tells the narrative of a soldier returning from World War I with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (though at the time there was no such term). The only thing he knows how to do is go fishing on his own. This is classic Hemingway writing at its finest, condensed into a short, snappy, and memorable piece.

The Campaigns of Alexander

Alexander the great was one of the best military geniuses that had lived. In this story, written four hundred years after Alexander’s tragic death at the age of 32, the commander Arrian describes not just his ability to quash rebellions and conquer enormous swaths of land but how he inspired so many warriors to follow him.


Catch-22 is one of the best books ever written, and it’s not only a wonderful military tale. It follows Yossarian, a WWII bombardier who is caught in the bureaucratic insanity of his own army. His superiors keep increasing the amount of sorties a guy must fly in order to meet his or her military obligations. In spite of their efforts to claim insanity, the military deems Yossarian and others sane and able to fly planes since they don’t want to. It’s a must-read for everyone interested in American literature.

The Civil War: A Narrative

Even though the American Civil War ended more than a century ago, its effects can still be felt today. Shelby Foote’s depiction of America’s most costly conflict offers light on both the minutiae of how each battle was fought and the ideas and politics that nearly tore our country apart.

The Diary of A Young Girl

The Diary of A Young Girl

More than only the soldiers are affected by war. Conflict often eats innocent men, women, and children, as well as entire families. In spite of Nazi Germany’s homicidal cruelty, Anne Frank’s essays about sheltering in an office in Amsterdam have remained relevant to the present day. With Frank’s writings, we gain a deeper appreciation for what was lost when the Nazis exterminated almost six million Jews during World War II.

The Face of War

Martha Gellhorn is a legend among war correspondents. Ernest Hemingway objected to her reporting on World War II, but she stayed on the front lines in Europe and witnessed America invade the continent over her husband’s objections (and the fact that she did not have proper credentials). In her latter years, she covered wars in Vietnam, the Middle East, and South America until finally retiring at the age of 80. In this collection of her writings, she is at her finest, crafting prose that is both sharp and full of genuine emotion.

The Forever War

This may be one of the most important stories of our country’s efforts to combat international terrorism. ” An narrative by Dexter Filkins, a journalist who covered the aftermath of 9/11 and both Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts, this book is a riveting read. When reading The Forever War, the reader is compelled to think about war as a whole, rather than just our current conflict.

Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World

If you’re interested in learning more about Genghis Khan and how he was able to exert so much influence, this book by Jack Weatherford is for you. At the same time, he examines how Khan’s kingdom altered the world by gaining control of an area larger than anything the Romans had ever controlled.

Goodbye to All That

In addition to changing European politics, WWI had a profound effect on English society. Autobiography by Robert Graves chronicles these transformations from the ground up, following Graves from his tough upbringing and school life to the brutality of the battlefront and the subsequent dissatisfied marriage. It’s a sad tale, but the author tells it with such clarity that it’s difficult to put down.

Gravity’s Rainbow

Gravity’s Rainbow

A literary fiction that takes place in Europe at the end of WWII. As the story begins, an American soldier has an unusual encounter with Nazi V-2 rockets, and he sets out on a mission to find out why. In 1974, Gravity’s Rainbow was selected for consideration by the Pulitzer Prize jury, but the board deemed it ‘obscene’, among other reasons. As despite their vote of no confidence, many consider it one of the greatest books ever written.

The Guns of August

This century’s first world war is not only important historically, but it is also one of the most complicated. In the Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Guns of August, author David McCullough recounts the turbulent first month of World War I, beginning with Edward VII’s death. A must-read for everyone interested in learning more about one of the world’s most defining battles.

History of the Peloponnesian War

Even though it’s difficult to tell where historical fact ends and fiction begins in ancient Greek narratives, Thucydides’ account of the Peloponnesian War may be one of the most accurate ever recounted. When the Athenian General (who some refer to as the “Father of History,” as we now call it) accepted this proposal, he did it in the most objective manner possible. Contemporary readers can acquire first-hand reports of speeches, battles and even Athenian economy conditions thanks to these books. “

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