The Telegraph’s Best War and History Books

Saturday, December 20th, 2014

The Telegraph selects the best war and history books ever written, starting with some obvious classics:

The next selection, 1066 & All That — subtitled “A Memorable History of England, comprising all the parts you can remember, including 103 Good Things, 5 Bad Kings and 2 Genuine Dates” — seems exceedingly English, in a good way.

Whenever I see All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque, on a list like this, I immediately think of how Storm of Steel, by Ernst Jünger, rarely makes such lists. The story I’d always heard was that All Quiet was acceptably anti-war, while Storm was too pro-war — but now that I’ve read Storm, I’m not sure I’d call it pro-war at all. It simply feels like a sincere war memoir — although I’ve also heard that different editions had very different tones.

Legion of the Damned, on the other hand, sounds like a very different book from the others on the list:

Written in highly suspicious circumstances by a highly suspicious author (or perhaps his wife, or editor) this is the first in a series of novels that became cartoonish, yet for all that it packs immense power, describing the misadventures of a group of German soldiers on the Eastern Front.

I got a chuckle out of how the Telegraph included the cover for the Warhammer 40k novel of the same name.

Anyway, enjoy the whole list.


  1. David Foster says:

    I’ll put in a plug for Remarque’s later novel, The Road Back — not a war story, exactly, but a post-war story with occasional flashbacks. I reviewed it here.

Leave a Reply