Best War Novels Fiction


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While a terrible, wretched thing war is that society’s very worst breakdown, actually but it’s nonetheless compelling. From battle come stories of bravery and heroism, cowardice and pain, friendships that run deeper than blood, and hatred so visceral it almost belies human emotion. Thus it’s little surprise that many of the simplest novels are set during times of military conflict.

Whether inspired by the firsthand experience of the author or imagined by a fertile mind, great wartime novels plunge their reader into the action and the age. Sharing with us not only plot and character but also giving us a far better sense of what it must wish to get over such trying times. And when successful, good war books should inspire its reader toward a love of peace, not belligerence.

Here are 10 war novels fiction set in all-too-real wars that any lover of literature should attack with alacrity.

1. Best War Novels Fiction-War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy:


Much of this epic tome isn’t set in the conflict in the least. But don’t worry, even the “peace” parts of War and Peace are plenty enjoyable. During Russia’s epic struggles against Napoleon’s forces within the early 19th century. The scenes Tolstoy sets have a number of the best moments ever wrought on paper.

You see during this novel heroism but even have myriad samples of the utter stupidity of warfare. Sometimes Tolstoy manages to entwine these two aspects masterfully. Like when Prince Andrey Bolkonsky rises after an injury and charges back to battle with a mighty “Hurrah!” initially, your heart surges, and you charge alongside him. Still, in seconds you’re thinking: “Actually … what the hell are you doing?”

2. Best War Novels Fiction-The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane:

Crane was born half a decade after the war end and die without quite making it to age 40. But you’d never know either of these things from reading The Red Badge of Courage. Crane creates scenes of battle so realistic you’d think they drew from experience. In his protagonist, Henry Fleming, Crane creates a personality so real and nuanced you’d think the author had lived more years to experience the complexity that comes with being human so fully. Fleming considers himself a coward for having fled a battlefield. But we see a person who reflects much of ourselves in him.

3. Best War Novels Fiction-All Quiet On the Western Front by Erich Remarque:


If you didn’t read this book in high school, read it now. Though about 300 pages in its paperback edition, you’ll charge through the book in only a couple of sessions. While not a tough read, it’s not a simple ready, either. The fear, senselessness, and dislocation from reality establish here feel real because they are; Remarque was a German soldier who did indeed fight on the Western Front during war I and who would later continue, during a decidedly interesting life, to renounce war. He fled Germany within the run-up to WWII and would even have his German citizenship revoked by the Nazis.

4. Best War Novels Fiction-Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks:

If you don’t get enough WWI action from All Quiet on the Western Front, crack open Birdsong next. Much of the book is about love and its many complications. But WWI is at the guts of the novel. And its many unflinching scenes of death and suffering will stick with you well after you’ve turned the last page. Very much like with Stephen Crane’s war writing, you’ll be impress that Faulks was born after WWI and had no firsthand experience therein. (In fact, he was born after WWII.)

5. Best War Novels Fiction-For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway:

Ernest Hemingway saw action within the First war. Through the Spanish war, the setting for his masterpiece, which experience shows in a method in particular else: The fighting here, as in his other many novels and short stories, isn’t pretty. It’s not glorious. It’s muddy and erratic and typically useless, with neither side gaining much ground but with men (and women) dying nonetheless. At its heart, For Whom the Bell Tolls is the maximum amount of romance as a war story, but so essential to the present book is that the immensity of the Spanish war that the 2 aspects are inseparable.

6. Best War Novels Fiction-The Time in Between by Maria Duenas:


This novel is 600-plus pages long but manages to be a quick read because of how quickly the story moves. That story centers on a woman named Sira, whom we meet at 12 and follow as she briskly reaches adulthood just at the outset of the Spanish war, which prompts her to go away from her native Iberia and start a journey that winds through the remainder of the 1930s and right into WWII, a conflict during which she takes on a potentiality deadly role as a spy for the Allies. With the maximum amount of work of art as a war novel, the story does a fine job of painting the scenery of two of the 20th century’s worst conflicts.

7. Best War Novels Fiction-A Pale View of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro:

Kazuo Ishiguro won the Nobel prize for Literature, and you’ll rest assure that his writing is superlative. This novel is really set in London after war II. Still, the most character’s many recollections of the war because it ravaged Japan plunge us back to that carnage, again and again, and with a decidedly new point of view for many readers: The protagonist here may be a Japanese woman, a far cry from the American fighting man through which we usually see WWII within the Pacific.

8. Best War Novels Fiction-The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien:


Before he was creating celebrate literature about the Vietnam War, Tim O’Brien was a soldier fighting within the Vietnam War, and his experience shows. This book, a set of interwoven short stories that tell a bigger cohesive narrative, features writing that’s sometimes strip right down to the fundamentals, sometimes lyrical. O’Brien can convey the complexities of a soldier’s emotions in describing an easy white pebble and may tell us all we’d like to understand. A few certain characters supported the items in his pockets and pack literally, the items carried.

10.Best War Novels Fiction-The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini:

This sometimes touching, sometimes searing novel reminds us that the important victims in warfare are the people that never took up arms in the first place: The civilians. And among the noncombatants, it’s the youngsters who are usually affected the foremost. This recent classic tells of the woes wrought in Afghanistan by the Soviet invasion in 1979, the fallout of which remains with us today. It’s a coming aged story with a rustic backdrop falling apart amidst what would convince be a forever war.

11.Best War Novels Fiction-The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers:


Kevin Powers served within us Army in Iraq in 2004 and 2005, and if you remember your recent history, those were about the worst and most challenging years you’ll serve. His experience handling a machine gun in and around towns like Mosul provided him ample source material for this powerful modern war novel, during which we see several soldiers ground down by the strain, fatigue, death, and constant fear that plagued them.

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