All posts by John Purvis

Review of “Region 6: What if the Allies had lost?”

51B0djWb8oL

(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Region 6: What if the Allies had lost?” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Ian Krender. Mr. Krender has published two novels. 

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence, Mature Situations, and Mature Language. The story is set in an alternate history where Germany won WWII. 

The two primary characters are Thomas and Stephen. Thomas has grown up in Region 6, what we know as the UK. He is part of the working class and has experienced first hand the ruthlessness of the Nazi occupiers. Stephen has led a privileged life in Region 6 since her father is part of the Gestapo. He has followed in those footsteps and joined the Gestapo himself. 

Thomas has joined the resistance movement. Stephen is sent in as a spy to make friends with Thomas and find out more about what the resistance is planning. Stephen though is disillusioned by what he learns. That, and a growing relationship with Thomas persuades him to help the resistance. 

I found the 5.5 hours I spent reading this 272-page alternate history interesting. I generally like alternative history novels and almost anything dealing with WWII. When I selected this novel I did not realize there was a significant LGBTQ component to the story. I came close to just ditching the book with a Rule of 50 at the 66% mark. As far as the resistance thread to the plot goes, that seemed realistic, but the end of the novel was less believable. The cover art is reflective of the story. I give this novel a 3.8 (up to a 4) out of 5.

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

Nostalgic look at 1980s computing

zx80

I came across the article “The joys of 1980s home computing” today and thought it was worth sharing. The article describes an exhibit at the National Museum of Computing at Bletchely Park in the UK. The exhibit looks at the evolution of home computing in the UK. Among the items on display:

  • Sinclair ZX80
  • Sinclair ZX Spectrum
  • Acorn Atom
  • Atom Portfolio
  • Amstrad
  • Jupiter ACE
  • Grundy Newbrain

Few of us in the States had access to these machines, but it is interesting to see them on display. I do recall seeing advertisements for some of these back in the day.

Book Review: “City of London at War 1939–45”

51JbcReMabL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_-2

(See all of my Book Reviews) – “City of London at War 1939–45” eBook was published in 2020 (June) and was written by Stephen Wynn (http://www.stephenwynn.co.uk/). Mr. Wynn has published nearly 40 books. 

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘G’. The book gives many details of life in London during WWII. 

London was certainly going to be a target for the German Luftwaffe. The book documents the results of the German air raids. Lists of casualties are given for some of the more devastating attacks. There is particular focus to the eight months of Blitz between September 1940 and May 1941. Stories of individuals who survived the bombings are told. 

I enjoyed the 2.5+ hours I spent reading this 224-page history. I did enjoy reading about the trials and tribulations of Londoners. The long lists of casualties was something that I found myself just skimming over. I do like the chosen cover art. I give this novel a 3.6 (rounded up to a 4) out of 5.

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


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

  • The “World War II Sources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 350 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: “Layover”

410I7q9QzuL

(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Layover” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by David Bell (https://davidbellnovels.com). This is Mr. Bell’s ninth novel. 

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in the US. The primary character is Joshua Fields. 

Fields is flying all the time for his job. While waiting for his connection he meets the lovely Morgan. They have a drink together and seem to connect, but then she leaves him to make her flight. Fields is infatuated with the girl and disrupts his plans to follow her. But when he approaches her on the flight, she acts if he is a stranger. 

She at one moment is pushing him away or running from him, while in the next is jumping into bed with him. Her erratic behavior continues as he discovers that Morgan is sought by the police. 

Fields is strongly drawn to her, but her actions leave him wondering about her. The more he learns about her the more he questions how much truth there is in what she has told him. 

I thought the nearly 7 hours I spent reading this 414-page mystery were interesting. I liked the overall plot. The ‘mystery’ felt very weak to me. Almost more about relationships and finding the way in your life. The cover art is OK. I give this novel a 3 out of 5.

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

Product Review: Anker Powerwave Stand

51TOq-ij-7L._SL1500_

(See my other Product Reviews) – I had problems with the Qi charging pad (W-18 Thunder Plus Fast Charging Wireless Charger) I originally bought and used with my iPhone 8 so I looked on Amazon and found the Anker Powerwave Stand. I have been using it now for a couple of months and I am very happy with it. 

The phone sits on the stand and easily aligns with the magnetic coil for consistent charging. It has dual coils that allow for either landscape or portrait orientation on the stand. The stand is capable of “Quick Charge” for Samsung phones, but I only use the Standard Charge Mode with my iPhone 8. I can even leave the Otterbox case on my phone and it works well with it. 

If you are looking for a Qi charger for you smartphone, I can recommend this one. 

Pros

  1. Qi Certified
  2. Less than $20 on Amazon ($18.99 the day I write this review)
  3. Works with phone in landscape or portrait orientation

Cons

  1. Fast charging on iPhone is not supported
  2. Uses a USB Micro-A connector for power input 
  3. Only a 3 ft USB cable is provided
  4. You must provide a 5V 2A power source

Book Review: “Last Witnesses”

51qdfSllNYL

(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Last Witnesses” eBook was published in 2019 (originally published in 1985) and was written by Svetlana Alexievich (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svetlana_Alexievich). Ms. Alexievich has written at least 6 books and is a Nobel Laureate in Literature. 

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The book is a collection of memories from children (primarily from the Ukraine) who lived through the Eastern Front of WWII. 

I found the 5+ hours I spent reading this 298-page oral history of WWII interesting. Unfortunately, after the first few dozen memories, I found them very repetitive. I like the chosen cover art. I give this book a 3.5 out of 5.

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


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

  • The “World War II Sources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 340 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.

Music of WWII: “Bless ‘Em All”

(See my other Music related posts) – The lyrics of “Bless ‘Em All” are credited to Fred Godfrey to music composed by Robert Kewley in 1917, though there is some question about that. It was first recorded by George Formby, Jr. in 1940.

The lyrics have gone through a few iterations, with some being less acceptable to the public than others. It was popular with British and Commonwealth troops during WWII.


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

  • The “World War II Sources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 340 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: “Tangle’s Game”

51IMxx-wpAL

(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Tangle’s Game” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Stewart Hotston (https://stewarthotston.com/). This is Mr. Hotston’s third novel.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in a near future. The primary character is Amanda Back. 

Back gets swept up into something she didn’t see coming. A former boyfriend sent her information that many want and are willing to go to any length to obtain. She sets off to find out what the information is. 

I was disappointed with the 2.5 hours I spent reading this 235-page science fiction thriller. It took me only 2.5 hours as I simply called a Rule of 50 at that point and put the novel down. I don’t do that very often, but I just couldn’t get involved with this novel. To me, it seemed chaotic with a lot of political preaching. The cover art is an interesting choice. I give this novel a 2 out of 5.

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

Towards 10000 Hours of WWII Study

I have been interested in WWII since I was a child. Since I retired, visited the National WWII Museum, and became a Docent at the Texas Military Forces Museum my interest in the WWII era has intensified. I am now reading a lot of WWII non-fiction and listening to three separate podcasts dedicated to WWII. 

We have all heard the saying that it takes 10000 hours to master a field [1]. I decided that I would begin to track the hours I spent learning about WWII. With the podcasts I listened to this afternoon I have just crossed the 500 hour mark. That puts me at about 5% of the way to “Mastery”. 

Of course there are several who say that 10000 hours alone is not enough, and others who qualify it as 10000 hours of deliberate practice [2,3,4], it still seems to be a worthwhile goal and what I think will be an interesting journey. 

When you listen to podcasts that are only about an hour long each and read the many history books about the war it takes a long time to accumulate hours. Even taking the World War II course at Hillsdale College only added about 20 hours to the total. 

I will keep up my studies on WWII and report from time time on my progress. Needless to say accumulating 10000 hours is a timely process. 

References

  1. The idea that 10000 hours gives you mastery on a subject comes from the book “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell in 2008. 
  2. The 10,000-Hour Rule Was Wrong, According to the People Who Wrote the Original Study
  3. COMPLEXITY AND THE TEN-THOUSAND-HOUR RULE
  4. How to Become Great at Anything: The Truth Behind The 10,000-Hour Rule

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

  • The “World War II Sources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 340 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: “Secret Soldiers: How the U.S. Twenty-Third Special Troops Fooled the Nazis”

51u9CmRzLvL

(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Secret Soldiers: How the U.S. Twenty-Third Special Troops Fooled the Nazis” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Paul B. Janeczko (https://www.paulbjaneczko.com). Mr. Janeczko has published 9 books. 

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘G’. The book tells the story of the Twenty-Third Headquarters Special Troop unit of the US Army in WWII. 

This group, also known as the Ghost Army, were used in Europe to deceive and mislead the German Army. This was an unusual collection of artists, actors and engineers who used sound, camouflage, radio traffic, and play acting to make the Germans see what wasn’t really there. 

Many in the US Army did not like the idea of using tricks to fool the Germans. However, after the British successfully used subterfuge on the Germans in North Africa and proponents of the idea, including US Navy Lieutenant Douglas Fairbanks Jr (the noted actor) were able to sell the idea to the upper echelons of the Army, the unit was approved. The unit was quickly pulled together, trained, and sailed for England in early 1944. 

The unit took part in more than 20 battlefield deceptions and the unit was kept secret for more than 40 years after WWII ended. The 23rd had three different methods of deception: visual, sonic and radio. Because of their need for the Germans to generally see and or hear them, they operated very close to the front lines and suffered a few casualties. 

I enjoyed the 5.5 hours I spent reading this 305-page history of the WWII era. I had listened a few months ago to a Missed in History Class podcast  episode about the Ghost Army. This book goes into much more detail about those in the unit and their operations. I like the selected cover art. I give this book a 4 out of 5. 

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


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

  • The “World War II Sources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 340 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.