I’m a voracious reader, and when I’m interested in learning more about a topic, I always turn to a book. That is especially true with history, because the breadth of history books out there is quite impressive. Recently, I’ve been thinking about all of the major wars that the United States has been involved in, and how some of them are far more discussed than others. In the spirit of spreading the information far and wide and encouraging voracious readers everyone, here are some of the best books about, or set during, every major war in American History.

While I love a good nonfiction account of war and think the records and insight from those involved are fascinating, but I also enjoy reading fiction books set during those wars. Fiction books allow a different insight into what life was like for everyone during the war, not just the soldiers. War-based fiction written after the fact also allows us as modern readers to understand different interpretations of the events of the war. They track how feelings towards the war have changed as time as passed. This is especially important in books about recent wars which have evoked a variety of different feelings in the decades following.

Here are two of the best books on every major war in American history, from the Revolutionary War to the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and every war in between.

Revolutionary War

1776 by David McCullough

Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes

War of 1812

Unshackling America: How the War of 1812 Truly Ended the American Revolution

City of Glory by Beverly Swerling

Mexican-American War

A Wicked War: Polk, Clay, Lincoln, and the 1846 US Invasion of Mexico by Amy Greenberg

The Dead March: A History of the Mexican-American War by Peter Guardino

Spanish-American War

Empire by Default: The Spanish-American War and the Dawn of the American Century

The Spanish War: An American Epic 1898 by GJA O’Toole

World War I

The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman

World War II

The Last Fighter Pilot: The True Story of The Final Combat Mission of World War II by Jerry Yellin

Korean War

K-9 Korea: The Untold Story of America’s War Dogs in the Korean War by J. Rachel Reed

This Kind of War: The Classic Military History of the Korean War by TR Fehrenbach

Vietnam War

The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

The Vietnam War: An Intimate History by Geoffrey Ward and Ken Burns

Gulf War

The Forever War by Dexter Filkins

Jarhead: A Marine’s Chronicle of the Gulf War and Other Battles

Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

American Sniper by Chris Kyle

The Mirror Test: America at War in Iraq and Afghanistan by J. Kael Weston

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Aryssa D
FFL Cabinet Member