Rare and Collectible Books about World Wars

Battle of Britain planes

With the 4th of July around the corner, we thought we would highlight history this week. As some of the weightiest, most traumatic events in history, world wars leave considerable effects on society — effects that evidence themselves in everything from music to literature to the workforce. So it’s no surprise that there have been many books written about and against the backdrop of these enormous historical events. What are some rare and collectible books about world wars? Here are a few examples available at Alibris:

  1. Across the River and into the Trees by Ernest Hemingway (hardcover, first edition, published 1950): A first-edition, hardcover copy of this classic war story from Ernest Hemingway is such a rare find, it sells for tens of thousands of dollars.
  2. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway (hardcover, first edition, published 1929): Any time you find a first-edition copy of this Hemingway classic, grab it — and the cleaner the book’s condition, the better. Copies in good condition can go for as much as $20,000.Catch 22 by Joseph Heller cover
  3. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (hardcover, first edition, published 1961): Readers have been enjoying this Heller classic for decades, but first-edition copies in good condition are very rare. They’re so rare, in fact, they can retail for $15,000.
  4. Crusade in Europe by Dwight Eisenhower (first edition, illustrated, numbered, signed copy): What makes copies of Eisenhower’s war story so valuable is when they are numbered. There were 1,426 deluxe numbered copies signed by the author, and any of them are rare finds.
  5. The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer (first edition, signed, published 1948): Here’sanother example of a classic book being very valuable when it’s a first edition and signed. It’s especially rare to locate copies in good condition with minimal damage.Closing the Ring by Winston Churchill cover
  6. Closing the Ring by Winston Churchill (signed, hardcover, published 1951): A signed, hardcover copy of Churchill’s book about the Allies’ drive to victory between June 1943 and July 1944 is a very rare find, especially because of the hard-to-find signature of one of history’s most famous British politicians.
  7. Slightly Out of Focus by Robert Capa (hardcover, signed, first edition, published 1947): A good copy of this Capa photojournalism book is not easy to come across; even more so when it’s been inscribed by the author.
  8. Brave Men by Ernie Pyle (first edition, signed, hardcover, published 1944): A first-edition copy of this Pyle war story is made more valuable because of its signed inscription by the author, written to Hollywood actor Jack Reilly on January 1, 1945.