William T. Vollmann

William T. Vollmann is an American novelist, journalist, war correspondent, short story writer, and essayist. He is known for his sprawling narratives that address themes such as poverty, violence, and history. Vollmann has received the National Book Award for Fiction for his novel 'Europe Central' and is also known for his seven-volume series 'Rising Up and Rising Down,' which explores the moral calculus of violence. His work is characterized by extensive research, a deep moral concern, and a unique, sometimes experimental, literary style.


This list of books are ONLY the books that have been ranked on the lists that are aggregated on this site. This is not a comprehensive list of all books by this author.

  1. 1. Europe Central

    The novel explores the moral decisions made by individuals during the most challenging circumstances, specifically focusing on the Eastern Front during World War II. It presents a series of interconnected stories revolving around key historical figures and events, such as the siege of Leningrad, the Soviet invasion of Germany, and the lives of famous composers and artists during this period. The book delves into the complexities of love, betrayal, sacrifice, and survival in the face of totalitarian regimes and war, highlighting the individual's struggle against the overwhelming forces of history.

  2. 2. The Royal Family

    "The Royal Family" is a complex and sprawling novel that delves into the seedy underbelly of San Francisco's Tenderloin district, exploring themes of obsession, redemption, and the nature of love. The narrative follows a private investigator who becomes fixated on the search for the Queen of the Prostitutes after the death of his brother. His quest leads him into a dark world filled with destitute characters, from drug addicts to sex workers, each struggling with their own demons. The book is a gritty, often harrowing examination of the fringes of society and the human connections that can be found within its depths.

  3. 3. The Rifles

    "The Rifles" is a historical novel that intertwines two tales of exploration in the Arctic. One story follows a 19th-century British naval officer, Sir John Franklin, on his ill-fated expedition to find the Northwest Passage, which ultimately results in his crew's death from starvation, cold, and cannibalism. The other narrative is about a late 20th-century man who becomes obsessed with Franklin's story and travels to the Arctic himself, experiencing the harsh realities of life in the far North. The book explores themes of obsession, colonialism, and the harshness of Arctic life.

  4. 4. You Bright and Risen Angels

    This novel is an epic tale that combines elements of science fiction, postmodernism, and satire. The story follows a group of revolutionary insects in their battle against humanity, with the narrative weaving in and out of the past, present, and future. The book also explores themes of love, war, and the struggle for power, all while offering a critique of modern society and technology.