One of his ten best books on war, as told to the Observer in 2010:
Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky, 2004Read about the other books on the list.
Wars are too often perceived simply as successions of campaigns and battles. Most are better examined in the Tolstoyan fashion, as vast human upheavals which inflict suffering on millions who are obliged to serve as hapless victims rather than as active belligerents. Némirovsky's (above) saga of the French civilian experience in the second world war remained uncompleted because she died in Auschwitz in 1942. But these two parts, addressing the collapse of 1940 and the travails of a village under occupation in 1941, display an extraordinary human sensitivity.
Suite Française also appears among David Lodge's five best books about social class and Howard Bloch's five best books about France.
Also see Max Hastings's five best eyewitness battlefield accounts.