Category Archives: Non-Fiction

Book Review: “Last Witnesses”

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(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.

Book Review: “Secret Soldiers: How the U.S. Twenty-Third Special Troops Fooled the Nazis”

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(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.

Book Review: “The True Story of the Great Escape: Stalag Luft III, March 1944”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “The True Story of the Great Escape: Stalag Luft III, March 1944” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Jonathan F. Vance (http://www.jonathanvance.com/). Mr. Vance has published ten 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 ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The book tells the ‘true’ story of the “Great Escape”.

Contrary to the popular movie “The Great Escape” almost all of those involved in the actual escape were British or Commonwealth air crew. This book gives the background of each of the major figures that were involved in the escape. It also details the efforts to dig the tunnels used in the escape. Those that escaped are followed and their journey documented. 

I enjoyed the 13.5 hours I spent reading this 392-page history from WWII. I found this book interesting, but it was a bit dry. I like the chosen cover art. 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).


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: “Atlantic Nightmare: The longest military campaign in World War II “

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Atlantic Nightmare: The longest military campaign in World War II ” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Richard Freeman. Mr. Freeman has published more than a dozen books. 

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘G’. The is the story of the battle for the Atlantic that was waged between the Allies and Axis powers during WWII.

This is a detailed look of the principal actions in the Atlantic. This does not talk much about specific people, but gives a high-level view of each battle. The time period stretches from the beginning of the war in September 1939 until the surrender in May of 1945. More than 2000 days. A lot of focus is placed on the German U-Boats and their role. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the 8.5+ hours I spent reading this 382-page WWII history. While many of the battles I had read about before, I think that this book gives a very good overview of the important sea battles of the European Theater. I like the selected cover art. 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).


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: “World War II Battle by Battle”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “World War II Battle by Battle” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Nikolai Bogdanovic. Mr. Bogdanovic has published a few books and has been the editor or translator on many more. 

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 covers the major battles fought in World War II. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the 4+ hours I spent reading this 128-page history. While the book was interesting, it was very dry and a bit hard to read. I thought that it did give a good overview of the major battles of WWII. I like the selected cover art. I give this novel 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 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: “Ian Fleming and SOE’s Operation POSTMASTER: The Top Secret Story Behind 007”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Ian Fleming and SOE’s Operation POSTMASTER: The Top Secret Story Behind 007” eBook was published in 2012 and was written by Brian Gordon Lett (http://www.brianlettauthor.com). Mr. Lett has published six books, all dealing with the history of WWII.

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 story told takes place in 1941 and early 1942.

The primary goal of the book is to tell of the story of how the Special Operations Executive (SOE) planned and carried out Operation Postmaster. This was an operation executed by the British SOE on the Spanish island of Fernando Po, now known as Bioko, off West Africa in the Gulf of Guinea. A highly trained group of British agents were sent into Fernando Po to sink or capture two Axis vessels in the harbor. Their actions had to be deniable by the British as Fernando Po was part of neutral Spain.

Ian Fleming, who later went on to write the James Bond series of novels, was serving in British Naval Intelligence at the time of this operation. This book ties Fleming to the SOE operation and speculates on how the heroes of that action contributed to the character of James Bond.

I enjoyed the 10 hours I spent reading this 240-page history. I found this book interesting just on the SOE operation, but the additional connection to the future James Bond was also enjoyable. I read all of Flemings novels when I was a teenager. I like the chosen cover art. 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).


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: “Soldier, Sailor, Frogman, Spy, Airman, Gangster, Kill or Die: How the Allies Won on D-Day”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Soldier, Sailor, Frogman, Spy, Airman, Gangster, Kill or Die: How the Allies Won on D-Day” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Giles Milton (http://www.gilesmilton.com). Mr. Milton has published a dozen non-fiction history 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 ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The book tells the story of D-Day in June of 1944.

The book includes scenes that remind me of the opening shots from the “Saving Private Ryan” movie which visualizes the brutality of the D-Day landing. There are also scenes in the book that were depicted in one of my favorite WWII movies “The Longest Day”. This book is a collection of stories of different people on both sides and their actions on June 6.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 13.5 hours I spent reading this 512-page history book. I found this book to be very interesting with a mix of stories I have heard before and new material. This is the second book of Milton’s that I have read (the other being “Churchill’s Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare“) and I have enjoyed them both. I will be keeping an eye out for anything he writes in the future. I like the selected cover art and I recommend this book to any interested in WWII. I give this novel a 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.

Book Review: “The Great Desert Escape: How the Flight of 25 German Prisoners of War Sparked One of the Largest Manhunts in American History”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “The Great Desert Escape: How the Flight of 25 German Prisoners of War Sparked One of the Largest Manhunts in American History” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Keith Warren Lloyd (https://keithwarrenlloyd.com). This is Mr. Lloyd’s first published book.

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 story is set in 1944.

Some captured German military personnel were being held in prisoner of war camps in the US. One of those camps was at Papago Park just outside of Phoenix, AZ. Several of the prisoners worked for months to dig a tunnel 6 feet deep and 178 feet long. The tunnel was finished in December 1944 and 25 prisoners escaped into the Arizona desert.

The story of those who escaped is told as well as that of those hunting for them.

I enjoyed the 5.5 hours I spent reading this 288-page history. I had read before of German POWs being held in the US, but this is the first account I have read giving more details. I thought that this book gave an interesting view of life in the German POW camp and a glimpse of the ‘home front’. It read well for a non-fiction book. I like the selected cover art. 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).


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 330 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 Hidden Places of WWII”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “The Hidden Places of World War II: The Extraordinary Sites Where History Was Made During the War That Saved Civilization” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Jerome M. O’Connor (https://historyarticles.com).

I received an ARC of this non-fiction book through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘G’. The book looks at events of historical significance that are often overlooked. There are many relics still remaining of the War. This is not ‘a’ story but a collection of short articles.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 10 hours I spent reading this 360-page non-fiction book about WWII. I discovered several new bits of information reading this book. I like the selected cover art. I give this novel 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).


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 330 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: “Madame Fourcade’s Secret War: The Daring Young Woman Who Led France’s Largest Spy Network Against Hitler”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Madame Fourcade’s Secret War: The Daring Young Woman Who Led France’s Largest Spy Network Against Hitler” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Lynne Olson (http://www.lynneolson.com). Ms. Olson has published seven books.

I received an ARC of this book 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.

This is the story of thirty-one-year-old Marie-Madeleine Fourcade. This young French woman became the only woman to lead a resistance unit in occupied France. She sent away her children to live with friends so that she could direct one of the most effective espionage rings operating in France. Her unit knows as Alliance, operated until well after D-Day.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 10.5 hours I spent reading this 421-page biography and history. I thought this was an interesting story of WWII French resistance. I like the selected cover art. I give this book a 4.2 (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).


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 330 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.