World War II -- fiction

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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The Caine Mutiny: A Novel of World War II

By Herman Wouk

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Herman Wouk's boldly dramatic, brilliantly entertaining novel of life--and mutiny--on a Navy warship in the Pacific theater was immediately embraced, upon its original publication in 1951, as one of the first serious works of American fiction to grapple with the moral complexities and the human consequences of World War II. The novel inspired the now-classic film, starring Humphrey Bogart, as well as a hugely successful Broadway play.

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From Here to Eternity

By James Jones

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First published in 1951, From Here to Eternity brought author James Jones immediate fame and won him a National Book Award. The novel tells the story of the life of American soldiers stationed at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii in the months before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Jones accurately captured the isolation and boredom of the military personnel in a close-knit Army barracks, combining social and military history with the drama of the personal lives of its main characters - an enlisted man and a neglected officer's wife, and a prostitute and a military outcast. The novel was translated into a powerful film in 1953. Although the film toned down the raw sexuality and violence of Jones' novel, it captured the essence of the book and featured outstanding performances by Deborah Kerr, Burt Lancaster, Donna Reed, Montgomery Clift and Frank Sinatra.

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27

By William Diehl

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As the world trembles with the approach of World War II, a woman dies at the hands of Hitler's henchmen. Her murder forever changes her lover, Francis Scott Keegan, a relentless anti-Nazi mercenary, who becomes locked in a desperate cat-and-mouse game with the Third Reich's perfect spy, a man of a thousand faces. In an arena that encompasses presidents and gangsters, spies and sirens, the deadly present and the dark past, Keegan pursues his elusive quarry into the cutting edge of world events--and into the secret inner workings of a terrifying mission known only as "27."

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Five Quarters of the Orange

By Joanne Harris

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From the bestselling author of Chocolat comes a sensual literary concoction of tragedy, secrets, and the relationship between a daughter and her mother. Returning to the small Loire village of her childhood to run a cafe, Framboise Dartigen soon finds that hidden among her mother's recipes are clues that will lead her to the truth of long ago.

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Empire of the Sun

By J. G. Ballard

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This autobiographical novel tells the story of Jim the choir boy, the pampered child of a wealthy English couple living in Shanghai as the Japanese army begins the invasion of China. Separated from his parents Jim is interned with other Europeans and Americans and receives little help or sympathy from the adults around him. It is a harrowing tale made into a wonderful film by Steven Spielberg. The haunting sound of the boys choir on the film's soundtrack is a perfect symbol of the author's lost childhood.

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Letters from Home

By Kristina McMorris

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In 1944 Chicago, Liz Stephens reluctantly agrees to ghostwrite a letter to soldier Morgan McClain, who is stationed overseas, for her friend Betty and becomes torn by her feelings for a man who doesn't know her true identity.

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Everything Is Illuminated

By Jonathan Safran Foer

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In the summer after his junior year of college, a writer--also named Jonathan Safran Foer--journeys to the farmlands of eastern Europe. Armed with only a yellowing photograph, he sets out to find the woman who, he has been told, saved his grandfather from the Nazis.

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Catch-22

By Joseph Heller

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"At the heart of Catch-22 resides the incomparable, malingering bombardier, Yossarian, a hero endlessly inventive in his schemes to save his skin from the horrible chances of war. His efforts are perfectly understandable because as he furiously scrambles, thousands of people he hasn't even met are trying to kill him. His problem is Colonel Cathcart, who keeps raising the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service.

"Yet if Yossarian makes any attempts to excuse himself from the perilous missions that he is committed to flying, he is trapped by the Great Loyalty Oath Crusade, the hilariously sinister bureaucratic rule from which the book takes its title: a man is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions, but if he makes the necessary formal request to be relieved of such missions, the very act of making the request proves that he is sane and therefore ineligible to be relieved."

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