World War II Survival

Tales of suffering, endurance, and inspiration amidst a global conflict.



We Die Alone

By David Howarth


Jan Baalsrud was part of a Norwegian commando team ambushed in the Arctic by Nazi forces. The only survivor, he set out across the tundra with the Germans in pursuit. David Howarth—himself a former spymaster in the war—expertly tells the story of Baalsrud's desperate flight, and the heroic villagers who became his allies and saviors.




Unbroken: A WWII Story of Survival,
Resilience, and Redemption

By Laura Hillenbrand


Hillenbrand, the author of the bestselling Seabiscuit, unearths the larger-than-life story of a young lieutenant and former Olympian whose plane goes down in the middle of the Pacific Ocean while on a rescue mission in 1943. Leaping sharks, a tiny raft, and starvation all frame the tale of Louis Zamperini's ordeal, and a life that proves extraordinary in many ways.



In Harm's Way: The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis
and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors

By Doug Stanton


America's worst naval disaster at sea left 300 men immediately dead and three times that number cast into the Pacific for nearly five days. When they were accidentally discovered, only 321 remained. A half-century after the catastrophe, Stanton uses freshly available documents and extensive interviews with survivors to answer the many questions left in its wake.



Ghost Soldiers: The Epic Account of
World War II's Greatest Rescue Mission

By Hampton Sides


Imprisoned for three years in a hellish POW camp in the Philippines, more than 500 American and British survivors of the Bataan Death March clung to life in some of the most grueling conditions imaginable. Sides, a columnist for Outside magazine, matches their harrowing story with a blow-by-blow account of how 121 elite Army soldiers marched 30 miles behind enemy lines to rescue them.



The Longest Winter: The Battle of the Bulge and the
Epic Story of WWII's Most Decorated Platoon

By Alex Kershaw


Eighteen American men held off the brunt of Hitler's army during the Battle of the Bulge before being taken prisoner. The platoon would then discover that the horrors of combat paled in comparison to the trials awaiting them as POWs. It was only by banding together ever more tightly that this group—who became the most highly-decorated unit of the war—would ensure that each soldier made it home.


April 19: "What you see first, after the starting gun's crack, is a column of bobbing runners, thousands of them, surging downhill..."

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

And women too.  Luminaries from Colin Firth to Nick Cave and Jonathan Franzen chose the poems that bring them to tears, and the result is a stunning collection of poignant verse from writers like Auden, Whitman, Bishop, Larkin, Neruda and many others.  Warning: choking-up hazard.

The King of Pain

Trapped beneath his entertainment system, reality TV mastermind Rick Salter reflects on his life and tries to piece together the events of the previous evening. Seth Kaufman’s romp is an outrageous meditation on pain and entertainment in a deranged world in which the two are often interchangeable.

The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.