Category Archives: Non-Fiction

Book Review: “Retribution: The Soviet Reconquest of Central Ukraine, 1943”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Prit Buttar published the book “Retribution: The Soviet Reconquest of Central Ukraine, 1943” in 2019. He has published nine 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’.

By 1943 the Nazi hope of defeating Russia was over. This book tells of the struggle between the German Army Group South and the Russian Army. Throughout 1943, the Wehrmacht was slowly but steadily pushed back towards the West.

There was a lot of intense fighting all across Ukraine. Battles had earlier been waged towards the East as the German forces first advanced. Now, the front was headed in the other direction. Many towns and villages felt the impact of war once again. Many in Ukraine had welcomed the Germans when they first came in 1941. By 1943 they were solidly on the side of the Russians.

The German commanders had to face the onslaught of the Russian Army, the bitter winter, and Hitler’s often unreasonable orders. By this point, most Germans knew they were going to fail on the Eastern Front. Both supplies and morale had begun to dwindle. The Russian Army was no longer the easy prey they had faced in 1941.

I enjoyed the 21 hours I spent reading this 497-page WWII history. This is one of those histories that are a bit difficult to read. The book is full of details but a challenge. Because of the similar unit identifications, I sometimes became confused about which side I was reading about. I also had to keep a map handy as I read to understand where the action was taking place. I like the chosen cover art. I rate this book as a 3.8 (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 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: “A War of Empires: Japan, India, Burma & Britain: 1941–45”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author & historian Robert Lyman published the book “A War of Empires: Japan, India, Burma & Britain: 1941–45” this past week. He has published nine 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’.

In 1941 & 1942 the British and Indian forces in Burma were repeatedly defeated by the Japanese. They were ultimately pushed entirely out of the country into India. The Commonwealth forces gradually rebuilt themselves and began offensive operations against the Japanese. These forces weathered the Japanese drive on India in early 1944. The British and Commonwealth forces not only stopped them but began to drive them back to the East.

The book delves a little into the politics of the region during the period. The British, Chinese, and US were all allies, but they did not always have common goals. While the expansionism of Japan was well known, the British in Burma did little to prepare a defense. Many of the political and military leaders were out of their depth when confronted by the aggressive and experienced Japanese.

Many in India were already arguing for independence before the war. The war facilitated the economic and political growth of India. Even with the growing unrest, the all-volunteer Indian Army fought fiercely at the side of the British.

I enjoyed the 23+ hours I spent reading this 771-page WWII history. This is one of those rare history books that are very readable. I have read a couple of other accounts of the war in Burma, but I consider this to be the best so far. It provides a comprehensive look at this often ignored theater of operations. While the cover art looks like an old used book, I think that it is appropriate. 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).

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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: “WW II POWs in America and Abroad: Astounding Facts about the Imprisonment of Military and Civilians During the War”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Gary Slaughter http://www.garyslaughter.com published the book “WW II POWs in America and Abroad: Astounding Facts about the Imprisonment of Military and Civilians During the War” in 2021. This is his eighth publication and was released just last week.

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’.

During WWII many prisoners were taken by the Allies. Needing a place to safely hold them until the end of the war, many were sent to the US. Over the years of the war around 5,000 Japanese, 51,000 Italians, and nearly 380,000 Germans were interred in the US. Construction of 135 camps in the US and another 40 in Canada took place to hold the POWs. Some hotels and resorts held prisoners as well.

For the most part, few of the POWs attempted to escape. The enlisted were employed on farms, food processing plants, and other non-war work. They earned wages from their work and often made friends with those around the camps. The POWs were even allowed to earn college course credit while interred.

Camps were also built to house Japanese, Germans, and Italians here at the outbreak of war. Some were foreign nationals but many were US citizens. POWs at camps in the US were treated well. That was not always the case for Americans or other Allies held by the Axis powers. Many were prosecuted after the war in the War Crime Trials.

I enjoyed the 3.5+ hours I spent reading this 271-page WWII history. I had known of the camps in the US, but I learned a lot from this book. For a history book, this was an easy read. The book offers the opportunity to learn about a different perspective of WWII. The chosen cover art is bleak but appropriate. I rate this book as a 3.8 (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 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: “Aircraft of World War II: 300 of the World’s Greatest Aircraft 1939-1945”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Chris Chant published the book “Aircraft of World War II: 300 of the World’s Greatest Aircraft 1939–1945” today. Mr. Chant has published well over 100 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’.

The book devotes a page to each of the 300 different aircraft covered. The page has a color drawing of the aircraft and a table with aircraft specifications. There is also a paragraph describing the plane’s history. The description covers a little of the development and the principal versions of the aircraft. The roles the plane played, and the production numbers are also generally included. The book covers aircraft from Japan, Germany, the US, UK, Australia, France, Russia, Italy, Netherlands, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Yugoslavia, and Sweden.

I enjoyed the 5+ hours I spent reading this 320-page WWII aviation history. Many f the aircraft I was familiar with, but there were several that were new to me. A few were developed in the 1920s and saw only brief action in WWII. I would have liked to have seen more than a single paragraph on each plane. 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).

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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: “Arnhem: Ten Days in The Cauldron”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author & historian Iain Ballantyne http://iainballantyne.com published the book “Arnhem: Ten Days in The Cauldron” in 2019. Mr. Ballantyne has published a dozen 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 ‘R’ because it contains scenes of violence.

This book details the events in Arnhem, Netherlands, from 17 September thru 25 September 1944. This was the daring Operation Market Garden that was to end the war. The British 1st Airborne Division was tasked with capturing the bridge over the Rhine at Arnhem. It became known as the Bridge Too Far when they were unable to capture and hold the bridge.

This book begins with a look at the D-Day airborne operations. Operation Market Garden was an even larger drop that on D-Day. The book gives a day-by-day description of the airborne drop around Arnhem and their battle with German forces.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 7 hours I spent reading this 375-page WWII history. I have read other accounts of Markey Garden and the Battle for Arnhem. This is by far the most detailed. I like the chosen cover art. I rate this book as 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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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: “The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors: The Extraordinary World War II Story of the U.S. Navy’s Finest Hour”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author & historian James D. Hornfischer has just today published the book “The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors: The Extraordinary World War II Story of the U.S. Navy’s Finest Hour”. Mr. Hornfischer has published a dozen books. This is the graphic novel version of his book by the same name.

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

The book tells the story of the U.S. Navy’s engagement with the Japanese Navy, known as the Battle off Samar. The battle occurred in October of 1944 as U.S. forces began landing on Leyte in the Philippine Islands. The Japanese had lured the US Third Fleet away from Leyte and the vulnerable beachhead. When the Japanese moved to attack Leyte with the 23 ships Center Force only Taffy 3 stood in their way.

Task Unit 77.4.3, Taffy 3, was formed from the U.S. Seventh Fleet. It was made up of just 13 ships. Three Destroyers, Four Destroyer Escorts, and Escort Aircraft Carriers. It was a lightweight unit to stand in the way of the Japanese. The Center Force was led by one of the most powerful battleships in the world, the Yamato.

I enjoyed the 1+ hours I spent reading this 208-page graphic novel. The book was very engaging and the graphics were well done. It makes me want to read the full book. I like the selected cover art. I rate this book as a 4 out of 5.

Further Reading

  1. Days of Steel Rain: The Epic Story of a WWII Vengeance Ship in the Year of the Kamikaze
  2. Tidal Wave From Leyte Gulf to Tokyo Bay
  3. Morning Star, Midnight Sun
  4. Storm Over Leyte: The Philippine Invasion and the Destruction of the Japanese Army

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: “Hunt the Bismarck: The pursuit of Germany’s most famous battleship”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author & historian Angus Konstam http://www.anguskonstam.com published the book “Hunt the Bismarck: The pursuit of Germany’s most famous battleship” in 2019. He has published more than 50 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’.

Most have heard of the WWII pursuit and sinking of the German battleship Bismarck. While I have read this story before, this is the most detailed version I have seen. The book begins with a brief history of the German navy. It then goes into the efforts of the German capital ships during the war. After that, there is a detailed history of the Bismarck, followed by its encounters with the Royal Navy. The book ends with the sinking of the Bismarck.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 8+ hours I spent reading this 229-page WWII history. Unlike so many history books, this one is very readable. Even though it is history, the author makes it read more like a thriller novel. I recommend this book for anyone interested in the WWII Battle of the Atlantic. I like the chosen cover art. I rate this book as a 5 out of 5.

Related Information

  1. Book The War for the Seas: A Maritime History of World War II
  2. Book U-Boat: The German Submarine Campaign and the Allied Counter Attack 1939–1945
  3. Book Bismark: 24 Hours to Doom
  4. WW2 Podcast #113 – Sighted Sub, Sank Same

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: “Agent Jack: The True Story of MI5’s Secret Nazi Hunter”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Robert Hutton https://www.roberthutton.co.uk published the book “Agent Jack: The True Story of MI5’s Secret Nazi Hunter” in 2019. This is his third book and first novel.

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 the story of Eric Roberts and his career with MI-5 during WWII.

Roberts was a bank clerk when he was recruited by MI-5 to identify fascists and communists in Britain. At first, he was only working in the evenings for MI-5. Eventually, he became a full-time agent. He had the ability to make people trust him. Later he pretended to be a Gestapo agent hiding in England trying to build a network of Nazi supporters.

The British government feared that they would have to deal wit a German fifth column. This threat was the stimulus for most of Roberts’ later undercover work. He was able to find some in Britain with clear Nazi sentiments. He never found the organized covert support for Germany that the British government feared.

I enjoyed the 10.5+ hours I spent reading this 323-page WWII history. This was a part of WWII history I had not come across before. The real adventures of Roberts read more like fiction than history. The way the author wrote this book made it very readable. It was like reading a novel instead of a history book. I do 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).


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: “MacArthur’s Air Force: American Airpower over the Pacific and the Far East, 1941–51”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author and Historian Bill Yenne https://www.billyenne.com published the book “MacArthur’s Air Force: American Airpower over the Pacific and the Far East, 1941–51” in 2019. Mr. Yenne has published more than three dozen books, including both fiction and non-fiction.

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 begins with a brief history of Douglas MacArthur. The book chronicles the actions of the US Army Air Force that were under his control. He had Air Force units under his command from the beginning of WWII through the occupation of Japan and the Korean War. Most of the book focuses on the 5th Air Force and its efforts against the Japanese.

I enjoyed the 11 hours I spent reading this 445-page WWII history. This is the second book by Yenne that I have read. About a year ago I read his Aces: True Stories of Victory and Valor in the Skies of World War II. It was another enjoyable book. This book gives a bit of a different look at the Pacific war. It is full of details but a very readable history. It shows a more positive side of MacArthur than most of the books I have read. I like the chosen cover art. I rate this book as a 4.3 (rounded down to a 4) out of 5.

Related:

  1. Race of Aces: WWII’s Elite Airmen and the Epic Battle to Become the Master of the Sky

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: “World War II”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Pith Schure https://pithschure.ampbk.com published the book “World War II” in 2019. Mr. Schure has published six 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’.

The book is a compilation of memories from several people who lived through WWII. Primary among them are the author and his father.

I spent an hour browsing through this 193-page WWII history. The book is very short. The first 25% was not bad as it did focus on the war. After that the stories seemed to drift all over the place though from the war period. It was not an easy book to read. I like the cover art though it is not really tied to the content of the book. I rate this book as a 2 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.