A war is not one story, but many.
Here are some novels that view the war through many eyes, reflecting the diverse experiences of civilians and soldiers around the world whose lives were drawn into the Second World War.
- The Cloud Atlas by Liam Callanan
When Louis Belk is deployed to Alaska to head off and diffuse a barrage of dreaded Japanese balloon bombs, he could not have imagined the strange, haunting freight drifting towards him across an ocean of air.
- The Great Fire by Shirley Hazzard
As the world stumbles blinking into the light of peace, Aldred Leith feels the chill of war’s long shadow as he surveys a devastated Japan, wondering how human warmth and dignity can flare forth from the ashes.
- When the Elephants Dance by Tess Uriza Holtze
Rival empires clash over their island home, while the Karangalan family huddles in their Manila cellar, seeking sanity in folktales and sayings such as “When the elephants dance, the chickens must be careful.”
- The Thin Red Line by James Jones
Drawn into the brutal crucible of war on Guadalcanal, the men of Charlie Company confront the awe of existence itself, and the terror of its passing. Jones also wrote From Here to Eternity.
- The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
American boys are sent into the nightmarish maelstrom of jungle war, subjected to indignities of rank that cruelly reflect their role in society and their fragile place in existence itself.
- Tales of the South Pacific by James Michener
These linked short stories depict the adventures and misadventures of a diverse cast of ordinary Americans in extraordinary times, doing battle with the enemy and with their preconceptions.
- The Caprices by Sabina Murray
These nine vivid stories highlight the moments of decision and cruel bargains, the pathos, grim reality, and hidden wellsprings of humor and dignity in a war as vast and unfathomable as the Pacific Ocean.
- The Winds of War / War and Remembrance by Herman Wouk
The Henry family finds themselves involved in the entire course of the struggle from Pearl Harbor to Hiroshima, and their experiences illustrate the dire effects of the war upon the lives of a whole generation.