World War II -- fiction

Swing by Rupert Holmes

Swing, by Rupert Holmes

Rupert Holmes’ Swing has more than a touch of noir—and its own soundtrack. Set in San Francisco in 1940, vagabond jazz musician Ray Sherwood has been made a very interesting proposition. A beautiful, young Berkley music student wants him in a most peculiar way. She’s won an international contest for composers, and her piece needs to premiere at the Golden Gate Exposition in just a few weeks. What she needs from Ray are his talents to orchestrate her music for many instruments. Ray is enchanted by Gail’s breezy joie de vivre and her snappy patter even as his own troubled past makes him hesitate. But the tenor veers from sweet romance to dangerous liaison when a lovely woman plunges to her death mere feet from the happy couple, changing this composition’s theme from serenade to police siren.

Walter's Purple Heart

By Catherine Ryan Hyde

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Michael Steeb is an aimless twenty-one-year-old pot farmer living a day-to-day existence in an unfinished farmhouse in central California in the 1980s. He has no real plans or interests--until the day he connects with the memories of a life that seems to belong to someone else, that of a young American soldier killed in World War II.
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Blackout and All Clear by Connie Willis

Blackout and All Clear by Connie Willis

One sign of a good book is that you come to the last page and want to start all over again. Connie Willis’s Blackout and All Clear – which should really be read straight through as one – made me wish for leisurely hours in a hammock, where I could go back and savor every plot twist, every character and every word.

In 2060 Oxford, historians have figured out how to travel back in time, allowing them to conduct first-hand research on everything from St. Paul to the French Revolution. Blackout begins with three of these historians dropped into England during the Blitz: Michael is planning to take part in the Dunkirk evacuation, Merope is in a country house taking care of evacuee children, and Polly has a job in a London department store. Each has come equipped with background information (such as when and where bombs exploded) and enough money, clothes and background knowledge to blend in with the “contemps.” But their scheduled returns go awry, and all three find themselves stuck in the past.

The End of Baseball

By Peter Schilling, Jr.

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Hungry for a pennant, young Veeck jettisons the team's white players and secretly recruits the legendary stars of the Negro Leagues, fielding a club that will go down in baseball annals as one of the greatest ever to play the game. Here are the behind-the-scenes adventures that bring this dream to reality, and a cast of characters only history's pen could create: the players themselves-the tragic Josh Gibson, the remarkable but self-centered Satchel Paige, the Cuban wonder Martin Dihigo, the veteran stalwarts Cool Papa Bell, Willie Wells, and Buck Leonard, and the rising stars Roy Campanella, Artie Wilson, and Dave Barnhill--plus Walter Winchell, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, and J. Edgar Hoover!

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Oh, Johnny

By Jim Lehrer

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A talented athlete, Johnny Wrigley firmly believes that someday he will play major league baseball. But on the way to his dreams, Johnny life takes a detour when as a newly-minted Marine, he finds love on a brief stop in Wichita.

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The Jewel in the Crown

By Paul Scott

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The first volume in Paul Scott's historical tour-de-force, the Raj Quartet, opens in 1942 as the British fear both Japanese invasion and Indian demands for self-rule. In the Mayapore gardens, Daphne Manners, daughter of the provincial governor, leaves her Indian lover, who will soon be arrested for her alleged rape.
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The End of the Affair

By Graham Greene

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The novelist Maurice Bendrix's love affair with his friend's wife, Sarah, had begun in London during the Blitz. One day, inexplicably and without warning, Sarah had broken off the relationship. It seemed impossible that there could be a rival for her heart. Yet two years later, driven by obsessive jealousy and grief, Bendrix sends Parkis, a private detective, to follow Sarah and find out the truth.

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Charms for the Easy Life

By Kaye Gibbons

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"A family without men, the Birches live gloriously offbeat lives in the lush, green backwoods of North Carolina. Radiant, headstrong Sophia and her shy, brilliant daughter, Margaret, possess powerful charms to ward off loneliness, despair, and the human misery that often beats a path to their door. And they are protected by the eccentric wisdom and muscular love of the remarkable matriarch Charlie Kate, a solid, uncompromising, self-taught healer who treats everything from boils to broken bones to broken hearts.

 

"Sophia, Margaret, and Charlie Kate find strength in a time when women almost always depended on men, and their bond deepens as each one experiences love and loss during World War II."

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The Madonnas of Leningrad

By Debra Dean

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"An elderly Russian woman now living in America, Marina cannot hold on to fresh memories...yet her distant past is miraculously preserved in her mind's eye…carrying her back to the terrible fall of 1941, when she was a tour guide at the Hermitage Museum and the German army's approach signaled the beginning of what would be a long, torturous siege on the city."

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The Screwtape Letters

By C.S. Lewis

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A "Positively Diabolical" Correspondence

"My dear Wormwood,"
So begins this product of C.S. Lewis's wickedly funny imagination, a correspondence between two devils, Screwtape and his young nephew, Wormwood. As the senior fiend advises his young apprentice in leading humanity astray, Lewis delves into questions about good and evil, temptation, repentance, and grace, offering knowledge and guidance to all who are trying to live good Christian lives.

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