Book Review: “Churchill, Master and Commander: Winston Churchill at War 1895–1945”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author & historian Anthony Tucker-Jones https://www.atuckerjones.com published the book Churchill, Master and Commander: Winston Churchill at War 1895–1945 at the end of November 2021. He has published more than 50 military history books.

I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this book as ‘G’. As the title implies, Winston Churchill is the focus of this book.

The author dedicates the first few chapters to Churchill’s military and journalist career during the late 19th century. He saw service in India, Sudan, and South Africa. Much of what he wrote as a journalist irritated the military. He also had difficulty refraining from slipping into a military role when serving as a journalist.

He struggled with his political career at first. He was eventually was elected as an MP and served in different government positions. He was appointed as First Lord of the Admiralty before WWI. He ended up with much of the blame for the failed ANZAC campaign at Gallipoli on his shoulders.

He was in and out of office from 1917 until he was finally asked to form a government as Prime Minister in 1939 after Germany had invaded Poland and Norway. He led the British Empire through WWII until just after victory in Europe.

I enjoyed the 12+ hours I spent reading this 510-page biography and WWII history. Churchill was undoubtedly a charismatic leader. Many credit him with stirring the British people to resist the Nazis’ onslaught. He was the Prime Minister and also filled the position of Minister of Defense, which he had created. This gave him a large influence over the British conduct of the war. His interference in military matters was not always appreciated by the British or the Americans. While he and President Roosevelt generally got along well, Churchill’s desire to save the British Empire was upsetting.

To Churchill’s credit, he recognized the Nazi threat early and spoke out against it. While he saw Stalin and the Russians as an ally to win the war, He did not trust them. He feared they would eventually become an enemy. The author does a good job of looking at Churchill from every angle. While the book is about Churchill, there is a good narrative documenting what is happening in the world around him. I like the selected cover art. If you are interested in the history of WWII you will enjoy this book. I rate the book as a 4 out of 5.

Further information:

  1. Book Churchill’s Flawed Decisions: Errors in Office of The Greatest Briton
  2. Podcast The History of World War II Podcast Episodes 81–86, 88–99, 102–106, 119

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

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If you have an interest in the WWII era of history, you may find these three pages of interest. 

  • The “World War II Resources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 560 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, and other sources with information on the World War II era in history.
  • The “World War II Timeline” page expands almost daily and shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.
  • The About WWII page is a collection of links to posts that I have made over the years that are relevant to WWII.

Book Review: “One of Churchill’s Own: The Memoirs of Battle of Britain Ace John Greenwood”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author John Greenwood published the book One of Churchill’s Own: The Memoirs of Battle of Britain Ace John Greenwood today. He wrote it for his family in the 90s and they have allowed it to be published.

I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this book as ‘PG’. This book is the autobiography of WWII RAF pilot John Greenwood.

The first three chapters follow Greenwood’s early life. It then covers his pilot training and participation in the Battle of Britain. An unusual part of his career is the six months he served as a Hurricane catapult pilot with Atlantic convoys. After serving in the European Theater, Greenwood was transferred to India/Burma. He finally returned to England in December of 1947. After a brief stay, he immigrated to Australia.

I enjoyed the 3.5+ hours I spent reading this 186-page WWII autobiography and history. Memoirs like this written during or shortly after the war are very informative. They usually do not contain the political spin often found in later works. As was the case with many of the young men serving in the military, much of Greenwood’s spare time was spent drinking and chasing women. He also talks quite a lot about the various shenanigans that he and his comrades were involved in. I like the chosen cover art. I rate this book as a 3.5 (rounded up to a 4) out of 5

Suggested further information:

  1. Book Battle of Britain, 1940
  2. Book Bader’s Big Wing Controversy: Duxford 1940
  3. Book Big Week: The Biggest Air Battle of World War II
  4. Book How the RAF and USAAF Beat the Luftwaffe

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

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If you have an interest in the WWII era of history, you may find these three pages of interest. 

  • The “World War II Resources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 560 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, and other sources with information on the World War II era in history.
  • The “World War II Timeline” page expands almost daily and shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.
  • The About WWII page is a collection of links to posts that I have made over the years that are relevant to WWII.

Book Review: “Exceptional Point”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Gillian Andrews published the novel Exceptional Point in 2020. This is the third book in her ‘Interstellar Enforcement Agency’ series. She has published nearly a dozen novels.

I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this book as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of violence. The story is set in the far future. The primary character is Starship Captain Ryler Mallivan Bell.

Bell and the crew of the starship Nivala are once again pursuing their previous crew mate Bull Cunningham. He and Ramesh Chandrayanan are up to no good again, still trying to create wormholes. Both Cunningham and Chandrayanan are expecting the Interstellar Enforcement Agency to attempt to intercede. They have a less than warm welcome awaiting them.

I enjoyed the 8.5 hours I spent reading this 358-page science fiction novel. This is the third novel of the Interstellar Enforcement Agency series I have read The others were Termination Shock and Interdicted Space). I have enjoyed all three. I like the chosen cover art. I rate this book as a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Book Review: “Agent in Berlin”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Alex Gerlis http://alexgerlis.com published the book Agent in Berlin in early November. He has published nine novels, with this being the first in his Wolf Pack Spies series.

I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this book as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of violence, mature language, and adult situations.

Barnaby Allen leaves the world of horse racing and joins MI6. With a bit of training and a natural talent for people, he assembles a network of spies in Germany. Some join because they are appalled at the Nazis. Others must be encouraged through blackmail. A few do not even realize they are revealing secrets to the British.

It is slow work with the need to trust prospective agents only after they have proven themselves. The primary agents are an odd assortment. An American journalist. The gay Jewish horse race enthusiast. An officer in the Luftwaffe. A Japanese diplomat. The wife of a dedicated SS officer.

The intelligence they turn up is first-rate. Living constantly under the threat of the Gestapo takes its toll. The British are sure that a war with Germany is coming. They begin to build their network of agents as early as 1935. As the Nazis gain more power, the information gathered is more important than ever. But the risks grow as well. Many agents do not survive.

I enjoyed the 10 hours I spent reading this 411-page WWII spy thriller. This is the third novel by Gerlis that I have read (The others are Prince of Spies and Ring of Spies). I have enjoyed each and every one of them! This novel shares some characters from his ‘Richard Prince’ series. Gerlis’ novels remind me of those written by Helen MacInnesLadislas Farago, and Alistair MacLean. I like the cover art selected for the novel. I rate this book as a 5 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

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If you have an interest in the WWII era of history, you may find these three pages of interest. 

  • The “World War II Resources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 560 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, and other sources with information on the World War II era in history.
  • The “World War II Timeline” page expands almost daily and shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.
  • The About WWII page is a collection of links to posts that I have made over the years that are relevant to WWII.

Book Review: “Conversations with Einstein: A Fictional Dialogue Based on Biographical Facts”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Carlos I. Calle published the book “Conversations with Einstein: A Fictional Dialogue Based on Biographical Facts” in 2020. He has published several academic papers and five science books for the general public.

I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this book as ‘G’.

The book is composed of two distinct parts. First is a brief biography of Albert Einstein. The second part constitutes a ‘conversation’ with Einstein. Questions are posed to Einstein, and then answers are formed from his writings or talks that he gave.

I enjoyed the 2+ hours I spent reading this 129-page biography and science history. The book, though quite short, gives an interesting view of Einstein. The author uses the conversation with Einstein to explain in everyday language, some of his famous theories. I like the chosen cover art. I rate this book as a 4.4 (rounded down to a 4) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Book Review: “The Great Hunt”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Robert Jordan published the novel “The Great Hunt” in 1990. This is the second book in the ‘The Wheel of Time’ series. He published more than 20 novels during his writing career.

I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this book as ‘R’ as it contains scenes of violence.

The story of the three young men who are ta’veren and the three girls training to be Aes Sedai continues. Now they are hunting for the Horn of Valere that will enable them to recall the hero’s of a prior age for the final battle. The identity of the Dragon Reborn emerges.

The Seanchan, invaders from the West across the sea, capture some of the adventurers. Those must escape and the Seanchan defeated.

I enjoyed the 26.5 hours I spent listening to this 658-page fantasy. It was as good this time as it was reading it the first time. I rate this novel as a 5 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Free SciFi and Fantasy novels

If you are a reader of Science Fiction and/or Fantasy novels, this offer may interest you!.

For the next 10 days or so Book Funnel has 60 novels listed that are available for free download. Just visit their web page and browse through the list.

The only one I have read on the list is Dark Nebula Contact by Sean Willson. It was an enjoyable read.

Book Review: “StuG III Brigade 191, 1940–1945: The Buffalo Brigade in Action in the Balkans, Greece and from Moscow to Kursk and Sevastopol”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Bruno Bork published the book “StuG III Brigade 191, 1940–1945: The Buffalo Brigade in Action in the Balkans, Greece and from Moscow to Kursk and Sevastopol” at the end of November.

I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this book as ‘R’ because of scenes of violence.

This book tells the story of Brigade 191, the ‘Buffalo Brigade’. This was an independent unit of the Wehrmacht assigned where they were most needed. The 191 manned the Sturmgeschütz III (StuG III) assault gun. While the StuG was based upon the Panzer III chassis, the StuGs were part of the Artillery and not the Panzers.

The unit participated in the invasion of Russia in 1941, then later that year saw action in Greece. They were part of the advance through Ukraine to the outskirts of Moscow. In 1942 they saw heavy action across Voronezh, Kursk, the Caucasus, and Kuban. As the Russians advanced towards the West beginning in 1943, the 191 saw action on the Kertsch Peninsula and the Crimea. They retreated through the Balkans and finally surrendered to US forces in Austria in May of 1945.

The book is authored by members of the unit and relies heavily on their unit war diary. It covers five years of combat, mostly against Russian troops. The story is told at a high level without a lot of details of battles fought.

I enjoyed the 11+ hours I spent reading this 368-page WWII history. I found this telling from a German perspective very interesting. Several photos taken during the deployment of the 191st are included in the book. I like the cover art. I rate this book as a 3.8 out of 5.

Further Information:

  1. Book Marching from Defeat: Surviving the Collapse of the German Army in the Soviet Union, 1944
  2. Book Stalingrad: Hitler’s Biggest Gamble October 1942
  3. Book Retribution: The Soviet Reconquest of Central Ukraine, 1943
  4. Book Last Witnesses – WWII childhood memories from Eastern Europe
  5. Book Eyewitness to Wehrmacht Atrocities on the Eastern Front: A German Soldier’s Memoir of War and Captivity

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).


If you have an interest in the WWII era of history, you may find these three pages of interest. 

  • The “World War II Resources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 560 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, and other sources with information on the World War II era in history.
  • The “World War II Timeline” page expands almost daily and shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.
  • The About WWII page is a collection of links to posts that I have made over the years that are relevant to WWII.

Book Review: “Our Trespasses”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Michael Cordell https://michaeljcordell.com published the novel “Our Trespasses” in October of 2021. This is his second novel. Read my interview with the author.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this book as ‘R’ as it contains scenes of violence and mature language. The main character of the novel is Matthew Davis.

Davis is flipping burgers in a New York diner when he has a psychic flash. He had always had a close connection to his twin brother, Jake. This time he knows his brother has died a violent death. Surprisingly, death does not break the psychic link to his brother. He continues to receive messages from Jake in the afterlife.

Davis travels to his hometown of Hatchett in remote Nebraska for the funeral. He also hopes to find out what happened to his brother. He is mistaken for Jake more than once, and Jake had enemies. Jake had developed into an evil man after Davis left. Davis also encounters an old flame he had left behind 10 years earlier when he moved on.

Now Davis has more to deal with than what and who he left behind. He must find a way to sever the connection with Jake. The torments of Hell are using the psychic connection to break through to our world.

I enjoyed the 6+ hours I spent reading this 247-page mystery and thriller. With the paranormal angle, the novel reminds me of one of Dean Koontz’s works. The cover art is a bit dismal, but relates to the novel. I rate this book as a 4.4 (rounded down to a 4) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Book Review: “Eyewitness to Wehrmacht Atrocities on the Eastern Front: A German Soldier’s Memoir of War and Captivity”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Luis Raffeiner published the book “Eyewitness to Wehrmacht Atrocities on the Eastern Front: A German Soldier’s Memoir of War and Captivity” at the end of November.

I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this book as ‘R’ due to scenes of violence. This book is the author’s memoir.

The book begins with a brief history of Raffeiner’s early life. He was born and grew up in the South Tyrol region of Northern Italy. He was called up for the Alpini, the Italian Mountain Infantry, in 1938. He goes on to describe his early days in the military and the training he went through.

South Tyrol borders Austria in Northern Italy. Many in the region are of German extraction. In 1939 shortly after the beginning of the war, those from South Tyrol were given the option of becoming Germans. Raffeiner chose this option and left the Italian Army for the Wehrmacht. The book goes on to cover his service with the German Army on the Eastern Front.

Raffeiner was trained as a mechanic and served in an Assault Gun unit. He participated in the invasion of Russia in 1941 and was eventually captured by the Russians. He mentions atrocities carried out by both the German and Russian military. After serving time as a POW, he eventually returned to South Tyrol. Many photos Raffeiner took are included in the book.

I enjoyed the 5 hours I spent reading this 198-page WWII history. I enjoy reading first-hand accounts such as this. I am more interested in the Western Front of the European Theater, but it is enlightening to read about the war in the East. I like the chosen cover art. I rate this book as a 3.8 (rounded up to a 4) out of 5.

Further Information on the Eastern Front:

  1. Book Marching from Defeat: Surviving the Collapse of the German Army in the Soviet Union, 1944
  2. Book Stalingrad: Hitler’s Biggest Gamble October 1942
  3. Book Retribution: The Soviet Reconquest of Central Ukraine, 1943
  4. Book Last Witnesses – WWII childhood memories from Eastern Europe

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).


If you have an interest in the WWII era of history, you may find these three pages of interest. 

  • The “World War II Resources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 560 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, and other sources with information on the World War II era in history.
  • The “World War II Timeline” page expands almost daily and shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.
  • The About WWII page is a collection of links to posts that I have made over the years that are relevant to WWII.