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More World War II Classics

Book Collection

This collection features six more harrowing and inspiring works of World War II literature. In his novel The Stalin Front, Gert Ledig offers a gruesome masterpiece of war literature that depicts the ruthless and relentless violence on the bloody battlefields of the Eastern Front. Victor Serge’s visionary Unforgiving Years, meanwhile, is the story of a Soviet secret agent who breaks with the party—written by a communist revolutionary who was an outspoken critic of Stalin and himself forced into exile.

Hailed by the Guardian as “one of the most extraordinary books you will ever read,” Friedrich Reck’s Diary of a Man in Despair is a remarkable secret record of Nazi atrocity by an unlikely critic: a conservative German aristocrat who ultimately died at Dachau in 1945 after a charge of “insulting the German currency.” The Greek resistance fighter George Psychoundakis started writing his memoir The Cretan Runner while behind bars on a mistaken charge of desertion. It tells the tale of his time as a runner and messenger for British officer and famed travel writer Patrick Leigh Fermor during the Nazi occupation of Crete.

The Gallery, by the former serviceman John Horne Burns, is a poignant novel of an American soldier stationed in Italy. An uncommonly candid portrait of disenchantment with American exceptionalism as well as of gay life in the military, it found admirers in Gore Vidal, Joseph Heller, and Ernest Hemingway. Another tale of the American presence in a battered Naples, The Skin draws on Curzio Malaparte’s own work as a liaison officer. Sardonic, cunning, and brutal, it’s never quite clear where Malaparte’s loyalties—or moral judgments—lie.