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Printed Books

Collections Online
Search the Printed Books Database on Collections Online

Online access to an extensive catalogue of books and journals, also a remote enquiry and appointment service via MyList.

A unique national reference library on twentieth century conflict involving Britain and Commonwealth countries. We offer an international range of unit histories, technical manuals, biographies, autobiographies, and publications on the economic, social and cultural aspects of war.

The Collections

Among the library's wartime collections are aerial propaganda leaflets, prisoner of war material, maps, newspapers, civilian and service journals - including trench journals - and pamphlets such as those issued by the War Office and the Ministry of Information. The Second World War Ministry of Information pamphlets include many produced to encourage and inform civilians on such subjects as Make do and Mend, Eve in Overalls, Fire over London and Schools in Wartime.

Western Front map
The principal strengths of the map collection lie in its First and Second World War holdings - particularly the First World War trench maps - although more recent conflicts such as those in the Falklands and Gulf and the NATO/UN peacekeeping operations in Bosnia are also represented. British military mapping makes up the bulk of the collection, but substantial quantities of German material from the Second World War, including detailed Luftwaffe target maps of the UK, are also held.
First World War Women's Work collection

WW1 munitionettes
One of the founding sub-committees of the Museum was the Women's Work Sub-committee. Its distinguished members set about collecting all types of material and assembled an archive of records, statistics, personal accounts and printed ephemera on the expansion of the role of women in the services and on the home front.
More about the Printed Books collection

Recommended Reading lists - a constantly updated list on a range of subjects

Frequently asked questions - why were British soldiers known as Tommies? And exactly what role did the horse chestnut tree play in the First World War?  Answers to these questions, and more.

Family History at the Imperial War Museum - information on researching your family history.

To buy from our range of books and pamphlets online visit our Online Shop at

If you are unable to find what you want on Collections Online please contact us: Contact Details and Visitor Information for visitors to Printed Books

Virtual Tour - Reading Room
[mov] Virtual Tour - Reading Room (175 Kb)
360' virtual tour of the IWM London Reading Room