Looking for a book about WW2 from the Axis POV

I just saw Schindler’s List recently and I think it’s really different to see things from the opposite perspective; what the war was about, why some people were looked upon differently, and things like that.

Can anyone suggest a good book about WW2 from the German viewpoint?

How many books do you want to read? I’ll suggest a few for starters.

My personal favorite is The Forgotten Soldier by Guy Sajer.

Another is In Deadly Combat. Its interesting, if a bit dry in places. My brother likes it better than Sajer’s

If you prefer naval action then there’s always Iron Coffins

Which became the film Das Boot

How about some from a Japanese viewpoint?

No, it’s not the source of the movie. The source is Das Boot by Lothar-Gunther Buchheim.

Another interesting author is H.H. Kirst whose many of his military novels are set during WWII, generally around a moral dilemna.

Or you can try Cross of Iron by Willi Heinrich.

If you want a book showing what the hard-core Nazis said about it, try The Good Old Days.

Some German authors in this list: http://www.amazon.com/Greatest-World-War-Two-Books/lm/3MRM9XL0L3F8A

A couple books from the Pacific War:

"Japanese Destroyer Captain: Pearl Harbor, Guadalcanal, Midway - The Great Naval Battles As Seen Through Japanese Eyes ", by Tameichi Hara.

“Battleship Musashi: The Making and Sinking of the World’s Biggest Battleship”, by Akira Yoshimura, Vincent Murphy.

“Midway: The Battle that Doomed Japan, the Japanese Navy’s Story”, by Mitsuo Fuchida.

Edit: I WAG there might be fewer authors or reference material translated from Japanese into English, as apposed to German -> English.

I’ll second Hans Helmut Kirst (mentioned by detop above. I’m a pretty big fan of his style. I’ve read Officer Factory and The Fox of Maulen and seen the 1960s movie adaptation of Night of the Generals (Peter O’Toole and Omar Sharif star in very different roles from Lawrence of Arabia worth seeking out).

Kirst’s main theme is how a moral man copes with a completely immoral situation/nation. As such the combat itself is not the focus, although the Night of the Generals movie does have some scenes set during the Warsaw Ghetto uprising and the liberation of Paris.

Personally the Fox of Maulen works best for me a great tale of one East Prussian village’s experience from the rise of the Nazis to the end of the War with some very memorable characters.

Not a book, but the movie Stalingrad is about the battle of Stalingrad from a common German soldier’s perspective.

I just read some of the reviews on your link. Yeah, definitely a book that should be read, but I have a bad enough opinion of human nature already, so I probably shouldn’t. This bit from the Publisher’s weekly review really got me (spoilered for those who would prefer to be able to sleep without nightmares tonight):

A member of a unit that killed 33,771 Jews in the Ukranian Babi Yar ravine boasts: “It’s almost impossible to imagine what nerves of steel it took to carry out that dirty work down there.” Of the annihilation of thousands of Jews in White Russia, a commander says, “The action rid me of unneccessary mouths to feed.” And wagging its tail for the camera is Franz’s dog, which on numerous occasions was set upon Jews to bite off their genitals.

Another nomination for the Japanese POV is Samurai! by Saburo Sakai (with Martin Caidin and Fred Saito), considered by some the highest-scoring Japanese fighter pilot to survive the war. (Whether he merits that title or not, anyone who can fly almost five hours back to base while half blind and paralyzed on one side has my vote for the balls o’ steel award.)

Inside the Third Reich?

Wow, thanks for all the responses. (I love Dopers!) Looks like I have a bit of reading to do.

The novel of Night of the Generals is very good :- it has a lot of very dark humour that I don’t think really made it into the film version (although to be fair to the film version, I reread the novel recently, and in every scene with General Tanz I saw and heard Peter O’Toole in my head).

I’ll third the HH Kirst recommendation generally.

If it’s non fiction you want, there are always the various memoirs from the combattants (I don’t have time to provide links, but I hope the information provided will be sufficient) :
Hans-Ulrich Rudel : Stuka Pilot by the Stuka tank-killer aces of aces (and unreconstructed Nazi)
Heinz Guderian : Panzer Leader, by the father of blitzkrieg
Erich von Manstein : [i|Lost Victories*, by its most able practitioner
F.W. von Mellenthin’s : [i|Panzer Battles*, if you want to read from someone who was involved everywhere (from France '40 to Germany '45, with side trips to Africa and Russia)

And an interesting one on the Pacific War : John Toland’s The Rising Sun, as told from the Japanese point of view.

While technically not about Axis soldiers, I’d recommend The Unknown Soldier by Väinö Linna. It’s about a Finnish heavy machine gun company during the Continuation war.