10 Books About World War 2 History You Probably Haven’t Heard Of

World War II: it’s one of the most frequent subjects of books, films, and television ever, and yet almost eight decades later, we still haven’t heard about everything that went on. It would be impossible, really. The world population in 1940 was estimated to be around 2.3 billion people. A large percentage of those people were affected by the war, and many of them are still alive today to share their stories.

Many people know a lot of the general history of WWII, but it’s the smaller, lesser-known events that can really shock and amaze readers. Here are 10 books that cover such events, and share breathtaking, unbelievable stories of courage and strength.



Engineers of Victory: The Problem Solvers Who Turned The Tide in the Second World War by Paul Kennedy

Kennedy, one of the most renowned historians today, discusses how the Allied victory was orchestrated largely in part by ordinary soldiers, scientists, engineers, and businessmen. He examines inventions, innovations, and information that helped win the war.


Monte Cassino: The Hardest-Fought Battle of World War II by Matthew Parker

This amazing book details a difficult subject: the often-unmentioned bloodiest battle of World War II. It was Europe’s largest land battle, in which 350,000 soldiers lost their lives in the fighting. Parker compiled his information from interviews with four hundred survivors.


Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal by Ben Macintyre

One of the most bonkers true stories about World War II, this is the story of Eddie Chapman, a British con man who avoided imprisonment by becoming a double agent, and who helped collect invaluable information that helped thwart the Nazis.


A Life in Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Missing Agents of WWII by Sarah Helm

And last, but not least, the real-life cloak-and-dagger story of Vera Atkins, one of Britain’s premiere secret agents during World War II. Head of the French section of the British Special Operations Executive, Vera Atkins recruited, trained, and mentored special operatives, and after the war, Atkins embarked on a search for twelve of the women spies who had gone missing in action. (This story is the inspiration for Pam Janoff’s novel The Lost Girls of Paris.)



Liberty Hardy is a Book Riot senior contributing editor, co-host of All the Books, a Book of the Month judge, and above all else, a ravenous reader. She resides in Maine with her cats, Millay, Farrokh, and Zevon. You can see pictures of her cats and book hauls on Twitter @MissLiberty and Instagram @franzencomesalive.