3 books about WWII from different perspectives than what you learned in History Class

One of my favorite genres of books is historical fiction because I love the idea of pulling from great events from our past to create compelling and relatable stories for today. Each of these books takes place over the 1930s-40s and shows the turmoil that so many people had to go through, no matter who they were or what they did for a living.

  1. 1. City of Girls-Elizabeth Gilbert

    I laughed out loud, cried out loud, visible cringed and 100% got turned on reading this book. It is all about a woman who moves to NYC in the early 1940’s to work at a little theater that her aunt owns. She makes costumes for the shows and learns the hardships and joys of life in a truly relatable, bold, and intriguing way. She talks about fashion, friendship, and sex in a very candid way, her relationship to WWII is somewhat detached but, in the end, affects her just as much as anyone of that time period.

  2. 2. China Dolls-Lisa See

    It took a long time for America to acknowledge the abusive and racist things that we put Asian immigrants through during WWII. (And nowadays for that matter) This book acknowledges and follows the struggle of a young Chinese woman who wants to be a famous dancer in California. It touches very specifically on the relationship between Japanese and Chinese American people and how they were pitted against each other, and how they were often mistaken for each other due to ignorance and intolerance. The ending of this book wasn’t exactly a happy one, but it was realistic and showed how deeply the war affected people even long after it ended.  

  3. 3. Girls of the Atomic City-Denise Kiernan 

    Unlike the other two books, this one is based off a completely true bunch of stories…that barely anyone knew about until long after WWII had ended. In 1942, Oak Ridge TN was erected to serve the secret and soul purpose of creating the Manhattan Project. Thousands of women were shipped across the country at the vague promise of being paid and housed well, though they had no idea what they would be doing. These women were nurses, chemists, statisticians, janitors, secretaries, and everything in between. They were doing their duty to help their country, though very few had any real idea how they were helping. Each story is a memoir from a real woman who lived and worked in the original Oak Ridge during WWII, it was fascinating to learn about an entire piece of history that existed under Americans’ noses without them knowing until the bombs were dropped in Japan.