If you’re looking for engaging, fast paced, gripping Audiobooks, these Excellent World War II Audiobooks are right up your alley!
I like to read, but for me, Audiobooks are an entirely different experience. I can listen to books on Audio that I could never read (like anything by Sophie Kinsella). There are also books that I started on Audio but I just couldn’t get into them until I switched to a hard copy book (like Rules of Civility).
There are, of course, some books that are good both ways – audio and hard copy. But listening, at least for me, is not the same as reading.
After a lot of trial and error (I have nearly 100 audiobooks in my Audible.com library and I’ve borrowed many more through Libby and Overdrive), I’ve finally figured out what makes an Audiobook work for me.
- It can’t be too complicated. I tried to listen to The Luminaries and I was lost the whole time (but the hard copy was great!). This means that a lot of YA and Middle Grade books work really well for me on Audio because I can follow easily.
- It has to be engaging and fast paced. I need to be really interested in what’s going to happen next or I’ll switch to a podcast or just tune out and start daydreaming.
- The narrator makes all the difference. If I don’t like the narration, it really doesn’t matter what the book is about, I won’t be able to pay attention. On the other hand, if Edward Herrman is narrating Unbroken, I will be completely rapt for all 14 hours.
- I don’t like sex and language in an audiobook. I don’t want to be scrambling to shut off my phone when the kids walk in the room. Plus, it’s too hard to skip on audio if there’s a scene I don’t want to hear in detail – especially if I’m sitting in the waiting room at the dentist. You know?
If an audiobook falls within this criteria, then I’m much more likely to have an enjoyable listening experience.
7 Excellent World War II Audiobooks
All 7 of these World War II Audiobooks meet my criteria. I know there are approximately a billion World War II books out there, but these 7 are the ones I can guarantee will be a really great audiobook experience. There’s a mix of middle grade books, YA books, as well as Adult Fiction and Non-Fiction. They’re all great!
Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen
This is brand new YA World War II Fiction and it is stellar. It’s a little dark, even for WWII, but it’s the very definition of gripping.
After her mother is shot at a checkpoint, Sarah, a young Jewish girl, becomes an undercover spy at an elite German boarding school for the daughters of high ranking Nazi officials. You’ll bite your nails all the way through this one, but you’ll have a really hard time turning it off.
Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner
I loved listening to this one! It kept me sitting in parking lots and driveways a lot longer than necessary so I could listen to just one more chapter.
Set in 1940’s England, the book focuses on the blitz bombings in London. Emma Downtree and her sister are tragically separated during one of these bombings and this changes the entire trajectory of Emma’s life. There’s an engaging love story, family secrets, and plenty of good story telling.
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth E. Wein
This is the best! You’ll want to listen closely because there are some clues dropped throughout the book, but I didn’t find it too complicated for audio.
It’s 1943 and a British plane carrying two young women crashes in Nazi occupied France. One is captured by the Gestapo and one isn’t. I don’t want to say much more than that because I’d hate to spoil any of the surprises. It’s so captivating!
Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan
This is a beautiful audio book. It begins with a fairytale-like story about an enchanted harmonica, then the story shifts to three young people in the World War II era. What makes this historical fiction audio book especially magical is that music is such a big part of the story and the audio book version weaves that music in and makes the story really come to life.
I should note, however, that I was disappointed by the ending. It felt too tidy and wrapped up too quickly. But even with that small disappointment, the rest of the book was so good that I’d still recommend it. In short, I wasn’t sorry I’d listened to all 10 hours.
Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse
This book is the perfect blend of mystery and history. It’s set in 1943 Nazi occupied Amsterdam and follows a young woman selling goods on the black market. When she accidentally gets involved in a plot to hide a Jewish teenager, the story gets very interesting. I thought it was very well done!
Ghost Soldiers: The Epic Account of World War II’s Greatest Rescue Mission by Hampton Sides
Have I ever mentioned that I once went to lunch with Hampton Sides? We had hamburgers at Frontier over on old Route 66 in Albuquerque. I will take any excuse to mention that lunch, but that’s not why I included Ghost Soldiers here. It’s really a fantastic book!
You’re probably at least a little bit familiar with the Bataan Death March but this Non-Fiction book is the true story of a daring rescue mission to liberate 513 prisoners from a POW camp in the Philippines in 1945. It’s like listening to a minute by minute narration of the bravest and craziest rescue mission. You’ll be on the edge of your seat!
Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk
This is a really wonderful middle grade book. It’s set in a small rural community in Pennsylvania in 1943. The War is a backdrop to a smaller scene of bullying and cruelty that requires heroics and bravery from a young kid. In many ways it reminded me of To Kill a Mockingbird. And while it is a middle grade book written for children, it’s the kind of writing that adults will enjoy.
This audiobook sucked me right in and I think I listened to all 7 hours in about 2 days.
What did I miss? Are there any other great World War II Audiobooks that you’ve listened to?
Leave a Reply