Category Archives: History

Podcast – Tech Stuff


Podcasts – I have been listening to the Tech Stuff podcast for some time now. This podcast is a production from How Stuff Works. The show describes itself as:

TechStuff is a show about technology. And it’s not just how technology works. Join host Jonathan Strickland as he explores the people behind the tech, the companies that market it and how technology affects our lives and culture.

While these episodes do not generally dive very deep into tech, they do a great job of giving a broad background to the topic being covered. I particularly like the episodes that look back at the history of some of the companies in tech. If you are interested in technology, these may be podcasts you will want to listen to. If you like them, subscribe via iTunes.


Review of “The Steel Fist”


Book Reviews – “The Steel Fist” eBook was published in 2014 (original paper edition was published in 1984) and was written by Richard Townshend Bickers ( Mr. Bickers published more than 45 novels and a dozen non-fiction books.

I received an ARC of this novel through in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Situations. The story is set during World War II. The story follows British Officer Taggert as he fights the Germans during the early months of World War II. He is part of the British Expeditionary Force who have been dispatched to France in 1940 to help fortify the Maginot Line. He has more than once scrape with the Germans and finally must evacuate France with the lucky others from Dunkirk.

Once back in England, he is volunteers for a new fighting force, the Commandos. He and his men go through extensive training and raid France to harass the Germans.

I enjoyed the 3.5 hours I spent reading this 178 page novel of World War II. Even though it was written more than 30 years ago, it still reads well. I have read quite a few of Bicker’s novels and have enjoyed them all. While the cover art depicts World War II, I am not sure it relates well to the story. I give this novel a 4.5 (rounded up to a 5) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (

Women and Computers in WWII – Intermission Story (22)

WWII – I read this a while back and have been meaning to reblog it. I thought it gave an interesting look back in history. It is a good, though quick, look at how women used computing to aid in World War II.

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Women with the ENIAC computer

Before the invention of electronic computers, “computer” was a job description, not a machine. Both men and women were employed as computers, but women were more prominent in the field. This was a matter of practicality more than equality. Women were hired because there was a large pool of women with training in mathematics, but they could be hired for much less money than men with comparable training. Despite this bias, some women overcame their inferior status and contributed to the invention of the first electronic computers.

In 1942, just after the United States entered World War II, hundreds of women were employed around the country as computers. Their job consisted of using mechanical desk calculators to solve long lists of equations. The results of these calculations were compiled into tables and published for use on the battlefields by gunnery officers. The tables allowed soldiers…

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Trailer for “Hurricane”

TrailersWWII – The movie “Hurricane” expected in theaters sometime in 2019, tells the story of 303 Squadron founded in august of 1940 and which defended the UK against the Germans in the early days of World War II. The 303 was made up of Polish pilots who had fled their homeland after the German invasion in 1939. The synopsis from IMDB:

Hurricane (Squadron 303) is the story of a group of brave Poles who fought in the skies over England in WW2, not just to keep Great Britain free from the Nazis, but also to keep alive the very idea of their own country, which had existed in its modern form for barely twenty years before it was crushed between the opposing jaws of Germany and Russia. Equipped with the almost-obsolete Hurricane and (with some initial reluctance) given RAF blue uniforms, while they fought, Poland lived.

These pilots had to learn to fly more modern aircraft, the Hawker Hurricane from which the movie received its name. The hurricane was an exceptional aircraft credited with more than 60% of the arial combat victories during the Battle for Britain. The Polish pilots also had to survive against the German Luftwaffe and overcome prejudices within the British air corp. These “bloody Poles’ became the best scoring RAF squadron during the Battle for Britain with the highest ration of enemy aircraft destroyed against their own losses. They flew more than 1000 combat sorties in 1940 and more than 2000 in 1941. They were credited with destroying 126 German aircraft during the Battle of Britain.

I am looking forward to seeing this movie when ever it make it into the theaters.


Review of “Destination Casablanca”


Book ReviewsWWII – “Destination Casablanca” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Meredith Hindley ( Ms. Hindley is a Historian living in Washington, D.C. This is her first book.

I received an ARC of this book through in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this book as ‘G’. The book tells the story of Casablanca from just prior to the onset of World War II until shortly after the war ends.

This is an historical look at the the major figures in Casablanca during this period. Many fled from the Germans as they engulfed Europe, and found themselves stranded in Casablanca. The French had mixed sentiments. They wanted to insure their continued hold on Casablanca and North African assets, while throwing off the control of the Germans. Many French leaders, particularly military, felt the need to maintain the honor of their word to the Vichy French government.

The Allied invasion of North Africa brought many of these issues into focus, with several French military leaders siding with the Allies, but opposing them because of their commitments to the Vichy government. This led to a few days of very bitter fighting between US and French forces.

I found the 13.5 hours spent reading this 465 page history interesting. As most non-fiction histories, this was a little dry, but it was interesting enough to keep me reading. I certainly learned much about the Allied invasion of North Africa and the political entanglement they suffered through with the French. The cover art is OK. I give this book a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (


World War II Allied Aircraft Nose Art

World War II – I have seen World War II nose art depicted in film and photos for many years. This YouTube video gives a great overview of what and why nose art became so popular. I had of course seen the pin-up nose art many times, but I was not aware that there was so much nose art connected to Disney cartoon characters.

In fact, it is mentioned in the video above that during the war Disney had five artists dedicated to producing nose art free to the military. It is also pointed out in the video that the average age of those flying and servicing the aircraft was about 22, sometimes they were even younger. Thus they had a very real connection to the Disney cartoon characters.


Review of “Remember, Remember”


Book Reviews – “Remember, Remember” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Anna Elliott ( and Charles Veley. Ms. Elliott has published 17 novels and Mr. Veley over a dozen. This is the fourth book in their “Sherlock Holmes and Lucy James Mystery” series.

I received an ARC of this novel through 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 Victorian are of the original Sherlock Holmes. The primary characters are Sherlock Holmes and the young American woman Lucy James.

James wakes up outside the British Museum without any memories of who she is, but with a sore bump on her head. She begins to search for her identity and she soon finds herself being pursued by people she doesn’t know. She does seem to have a feeling about the name Sherlock Holmes. The mystery quickly grows beyond her identity as she is drawn into an effort to identify German spies that have infiltrated the British government.

I really enjoyed the 5.5 hours I spend reading this Sherlock Holmes mystery. The story was well crafted and fits into the original story line of the Holmes mysteries. I liked the characters as well as the plot. It almost had the feel of two separate story lines in one book, one dealing with James’ amnesia and the other with the german spies. The novel cover art is OK. I give this novel a 4.5 (rounded up to a 5) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (


The World of Sci-fi during WWII – Intermission Story (29)

WWII – I thought that this was an interesting look at Science Fiction during the years of World War II.

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Alex Schomburg artwork

The goings-on at the home front!!

The first Golden Age of Science Fiction—often recognized in the United States as the period from 1938 to 1946—was an era during which the science fiction genre gained wide public attention and many classic science fiction stories were published. In the history of science fiction, the Golden Age follows the “pulp era” of the 1920s and 1930s, and precedes New Wave science fiction of the 1960s and 1970s. The 1950s are a transitional period in this scheme.

One leading influence on the creation of the Golden age was John W. Campbell, who became legendary in the genre as an editor and publisher of science fiction magazines, including Astounding Science Fiction, to the point where Isaac Asimov stated that “…in the 1940s, (Campbell) dominated the field to the point where to many seemed all of science fiction.” Under Campbell’s editorship, science fiction developed more realism and psychological depth to characterization. The focus…

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Review of “Found in Time”


Book Reviews – “Found in Time” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by J. K. Kelly ( This is Mr. Kelly’s first novel.

I received an ARC of this novel through in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Language. The story is based on today, but the team travels to various places and times on their missions. The primary character is US Marine Major JJ Jackson.

Jackson has been a covert operator for some time, but is now asked to lead a new, even more secret unit. The unit’s mission is to test out a time travel device, then to eventually use it to fight the terrorists they have been confronted with. Their missions back in time are filled with danger and they meet several historical figures. Their most severe challenge comes from an unexpected quarter.

I really enjoyed the 8 hours I spent reading this science fiction thriller. It does have a bit of a religious twist. I liked the characters developed in the novel, and the plot. I did have a feeling in the first half or so that it was a collection of short stories stitched together. I do hope that there are more books to follow with the same characters. The cover art is OK, but I don’t think that it relates well to the story. I give this novel a 4.5 (rounded up to a 5) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (



Review of “Airborne”


Book ReviewsWWII –  “Airborne” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Robert Radcliffe ( This is the seventh novel published by Mr. Mason(Radcliffe).

I received an ARC of this novel through in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Language. The story is set throughout Europe during World war II. The two primary characters are British Army Medical Officer Captain Daniel Garland and Theo Trickey, a young and heavily injured paratrooper.

The story begins with the risky Operation Market Garden, the airborne invasion that the Allies hope will bring a quick end to the war. The attack fails and thousands are killed, wounded or captured. Among the captured are both Garland and Trickey. The story follows these two and jumps back to their experiences prior to the Battle of Arnhem.

I thought this was an interesting 8+ hour read of 285 pages for this World War II era novel. I liked the characters in the story, and the plot was different. Not so much combat experiences, but what went on with the characters before and after Arnhem. The story did jump around a bit and I thought ended rather abruptly. The cover art is reasonable. I give this novel a 3.7 (rounded up to a 4) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (