As most of you know, I completed my World War Two novel tentatively titled So Others May Live in November. In the nick of time, as it turned out, as I ended up in the hospital for six days over Thanksgiving Break. If you are new to this blog, I wrote a whole series of posts called Reaping the Whirlwind which details the writing process and you may read an excerpt from said novel here, but be warned, it is graphic. Anyway, I thought I’d give you a list of some of the sources I utilized during the writing of said novel. This is not an exhaustive list by any means and I’m leaving some stuff out, but here is your World War Two reading list, particularly relating to the air war and the German Civil Defense system.
These are general World War Two histories.
Burleigh, The Third Reich: A New History
Allen, The Nazi Seizure of Power
Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich
Hastings, Armageddon: The End of the War in Europe
Weitz, Weimar Germany: Promise and Tragedy
The Air War and It’s Impact
Knell, To Destroy a City
Friedrich, The Fire
Hastings, Bomber Command
Crayling, Among the Dead Cities
Wilson, Bomber Boys
Wilson, Men of Air
Lowe, Inferno: The Fiery Destruction of Hamburg
Middlebrook, The Berlin Raids
Everitt & Middlebrook, The Bomber Command War Diaries
Wartime Berlin/German Home Front
Read & Fischer, The Fall of Berlin
Beck, Under the Bombs: The German Home Front 1942-1945
Grunberger, The Twelve Year Reich
Johnson, What We Knew
Moorhouse, Berlin At War
Mayer & Evans, They Thought They Were Free
Selby, A Serial Killer in Nazi Berlin
Since the firefighter character spent time in the Germany Army before being returned to his pre-war occupation due to wounds, it was important to bone up on German military attitudes, etc.
Neitzel & Welzer, Soldaten
Koscherrek, Blood Red Snow
Bellamy, Absolute War
Reese, A Stranger to Myself
Cooper, The German Army 1933-1945
Sajer, The Forgotten Soldier
Gaskin, The Blitz
Gardiner, The Blitz: The British Under Attack
Longmate. How We Lived Then
Todman, Britain’s War
Ingham, Fire and Water: The London Firefighter’s Blitz, 1940-42
Why novels for research? There are a couple of reasons. First, from a professional standpoint, they teach be about plotting, creating characters, etc. Second, they often include historical nuggets that I can follow up on in non-fiction books.
Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front
Remarque, A Time to Love and a Time to Die
Bird, London’s Burning
Gillham, City of Women
Thankfully I was able to view several pieces of film footage shot of German firefighters during the war, including a “how to put out an incendiary fire” video. In addition, there are tons of documentaries on YouTube about the London Blitz, life in Nazi Germany, the Bomber War, etc. Far too many to list here, but I probably watched 50-60 hours worth of them and took notes.
In graduate school, I had the opportunity to interview some individuals who had worked in the German Civil Defense system during the war, either with the Luftschutz or as auxiliary firefighters/rescue workers. My notes from those conversations helped me craft a logical response from the Berlin fire brigade to air raids. Or at least I hope it did.
I also made use of some maps of wartime London and Berlin to help give me a handy reference when dealing with directions, etc.
Again, this list is not comprehensive. My World War Two library alone includes 500 volumes (it totals a little over 2,000 when you add all the other books). If any of you are interested in this subject, the list above provides a good place to start.