Category Archives: History

Review of “Remember, Remember”

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Book Reviews – “Remember, Remember” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Anna Elliott (http://www.annaelliottbooks.com) 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 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 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 (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

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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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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”

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Book Reviews – “Found in Time” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by J. K. Kelly (http://jkkelly.com). This is Mr. Kelly’s first 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 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 (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

 

Review of “Airborne”

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Book ReviewsWWII –  “Airborne” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Robert Radcliffe (http://www.christopherlittle.net/authors/robert-mawson-aka-robert-radcliffe/). This is the seventh novel published by Mr. Mason(Radcliffe).

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 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 (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Review of “The Valkyrie Directive”

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Book ReviewsWWII – “The Valkyrie Directive” eBook was published in 2017 (original paper edition was published in 1987) and was written by Peter Berresford Ellis under the pseudonym of Peter MacAlan (https://www.fantasticfiction.com/m/peter-macalan/). He is also know under Peter Tremayne. Mr. Ellis published more than 90 books under those names.

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 the early years of World War II – 1940.

Germany has just invaded Norway and there is a accomplished surgeon, Dr Didrik Stenersen, in Oslo that is wanted in London to treat a critical patient. A small team made up of the Doctor’s niece who had been studying in England, a Norwegian who had recently escaped from Norway ahead of the Germans and a British Doctor in London who had worked with Stenersen are chosen for the mission.

The three are quickly recruited and parachuted into Norway. They must come up with some kind of a plan to contact Stenersen and his surgical team, then sneak them out of the country and back to England. They have to evade the German Army and the Gestapo. They must also be wary of German sympathizers within the Norwegian population.

I thought that this was an interesting read of just under 6 hours for this 294 page World War II Thriller. I have not read much before about the war in Norway. I thought that the characters were well developed and I liked the plot. This novel is a bit unusual in that one character does not truly stand out as the primary. I do not think much of the cover art. Something relating more to the snow and ice of Norway would have been better. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

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

“Close Assault 1944” at Camp Mabry

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I was able to visit the Texas Military Forces Museum today on the grounds of Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas. I went there to see the World War II re-enactment performed by their “G Company” volunteers. Their “Close Assault 1944” program (lots of good photos in that link) re-enacts a typical engagement between US and German forces during World War II.

 

For today’s (and yesterday’s) Veterans Day weekend re-enactments, 36 volunteers (see bottom photo above) outfitted as either US or German military participated in the show. Prior to their skirmish, the weapons used by both groups were described and demonstrated.

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The “G Company” website page description:

G Company is the officially recognized living history detachment of the Texas Military Forces and Texas National Guard.  Members of the company are volunteers of the Texas Military Forces Museum located at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas.  The unit supports the museum and the Texas Military Forces by hosting and participating in the annual Muster Day event at Camp Mabry — a celebration and commemoration of all Texas military history which brings together reenacting units, historians and military vehicle collectors from the Texas Revolution through the Vietnam War.  A World War II battle reenactment is always a major part of Muster Day, however, G Company places great emphasis on creating realistic displays to help educate the public about the day to day life and realities for the front line soldier in World War II. In addition to Muster Day, G Company also stages “Close Assault 1944” on Memorial Day weekend and the weekend closest to Veterans Day each year.

If you are interested in military history, you should plan a visit to the museum. If you can, plan on attending one of their re-enactments. I know I will be looking forward to joining them again for Muster Day in April of 2018.

It is Veterans Day Once Again

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Today is Veterans Day in the US. November 11 is the day chosen to annually honor our military veterans. The day originated as Armistice Day in 1919 in recognition of the first anniversary of the end of World War I. It became an annual observance in 1926 by resolution of Congress, then a national holiday in 1938. The name of the day was changed from Armistice Day to Veterans Day in 1954.

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Many have fought and died over the years to defend the US. Make time today to thank those that have made the sacrifice. While Memorial Day (the 4th Monday in May) honors those who died in service of their country, today is a recognition of all who have served.

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November has been declared “Veterans and Family Month”. To find out information on activities near you refer to the Veterans and Family Month Calendar 2017.

If you are in the New Orleans, Louisiana area, visit the National World War II Museum there. It does a great job of telling the story of the second World War. If you are in the Central Texas Area, you might want to visit the Texas Military Forces Museum in Austin on the grounds of camp Mabry.

Review of “Soldier, Sail North”

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Book Reviews – “Soldier, Sail North” eBook was published in 2017 (original paper edition published in 1956) and was written by James Pattinson (https://www.fantasticfiction.com/p/james-pattinson/). Mr. Pattinson published over 100 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 ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set during World War II aboard a cargo ship taking supplies from England to the Russians.

This is the story of the nine soldiers, Maritime Royal Artillery men, who have been assigned to man the anti-aircraft guns and defend the ship. The plan is for the ship to sail from Liverpool to Murmansk, then back to England. The German air force and navy harass them all the way. The men must endure the arctic conditions, the constant strain from enemy attacks and their own demons.

I thought that this 6.5+ hour read of 224 pages was interesting. I had not heard of the Maritime Royal Artillery before. This was far from one of my favorite World War II era novels. The focus was far more on what the men were going through, than on the war. The cover art is OK, but in my mind should have contained more ice. 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).

Review of “From Holmes to Sherlock”

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Book Reviews – “From Holmes to Sherlock” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Mattias Boström (http://www.mattiasbostrom.se). Mr. Boström has published two books, both dealing with Sherlock Holmes.

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’. This book gives a brief (about the first 1/3) biography of Arthur Conan Doyle focusing mostly on his publications around Sherlock Holmes. After Doyle’s death, it pickes up the many activities of the Doyle estate as they (his children) try to control the intellectual property both to maximize their profit, but also to see that the material is treated in a respectable way.

The last part of the book deals with the Holmes legacy after the Doyle children have passed. Here we hear about the discussion and effort that went into the Robert Downey Holmes movies, the BBC Sherlock series as well as the Elementary program on US TV. Many plays, movies, TV programs and novels are touch upon over the 140 or so period of years covered by the book.

I enjoyed the 12.5 hours I spent reading this 608 page non-fiction book. While it is non-fiction it reads well keeping you far more engaged than most publications of this kind. I have read all of the original Holmes stores written by Doyle, as well as a few by other authors. Not to mention the many movies I have seen over the years. i learned a lot about both the real Arthur Conan Doyle as well as the character of Sherlock Holmes. This is certainly a book I would recommend to anyone interested the either. I think the cover art is a good choice. 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).

Review of “The Rest is Silence”

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Book Reviews – “The Rest is Silence” ebook was published in 2014 and was written by James R. Benn (http://www.jamesrbenn.com). Mr. Benn has published twelve novels, all in the “Billy Boyle WWII Mystery” series. This is the 9th novel in that series.

I purchased this novel from the Barnes & Noble (Nook) bookstore. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in World War II England, just weeks before the Allied invasion of France. US Army Captain Billy Boyle is the primary character.

An unidentified corpse washes ashore on a beach being used for secret rehearsals of the D-Day invasion. Boyle is sent to find out who the dead man is, more importantly to determine that he was not a German spy observing the secret activities.

Boyle and his friend and associate Lieutenant Piotr “Kaz” Kazimierz stay at the estate of an old friend of Kazimierz which is located near where the body was found. The family they are staying with seem to have their own secrets and intrigues going on.

On top of their investigation hundreds of US military are killed during a German attack white they are practicing for the invasion. “Operation Tiger” (depicted in the story) was a real life disaster for the Allies while preparing for D-Day.

I thoroughly enjoyed the nearly 10 hours I spent reading this 336 page World War II Mystery. I have read all nine of the novels up to this point and I have thoroughly enjoyed them all. I like the characters that author Benn has created in Boyle and Kazimierz. I also like how he weaves real history into his stories. The cover art is a good selection. I give this novel a 4.5 (rounded up to a 5) out of 5.

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