Category Archives: Non-Fiction

Podcast: “World War II Nation”

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Podcasts – WWII – I listen to many different podcasts and I am very interested in the World War II period of our history. One of the podcasts that I began following a short time ago is from World War II Nation. The most recent episode I have listened to is “Part One: Talking Operation Husky – The Allied Invasion of Sicily 1943” which was released in August of 2018. This is a site that looks at WWII from a British perspective. As they say on their website:

Join us on a journey into the past & present as we set out to explore the history of WW2.

Our travels take us from the Homefront to the battlefields of Europe and beyond.

Travel with us as we revisit historical locations, track down wartime relics, pick the brains of veterans and historians and pay our deepest respects to the greatest generation; as we set out to try and keep this period of history alive for future generations to learn from.

We are not historians and do not pretend to be so, we just have a great passion for WW2 history and are determined to learn as much as we can about this time in history and share our experiences with you, the WW2 Community.

If you are interested in the WWII period of history you may find this podcast very informative. Unlike many podcasts, the WWII Nation episodes come out on an irregular schedule. If you subscribe to this podcast you will not be flooded with episodes, in fact, they have only posted 13 episodes so far since they began in February of 2016.


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

The  World War II Sources” page is a collection of more than 200 links to museums, websites, Facebook pages, and Twitter feeds (including WWII Nation) with information on the World War II era in history.

The “World War II Timeline” page shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.

Book Review: “Dutch Girl: Audrey Hepburn and World War II”

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Book Reviews – “Dutch Girl: Audrey Hepburn and World War II” eBook was published in 2019 (April) and was written by Robert Matzen (https://robertmatzen.com). Mr. Matzen has published three 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 about the mostly early life of actress Audry Hepburn paying special attention to the years 1940-45 when she lived in the occupied Netherlands.

This book gives an entirely different look at Hepburn. Much is told of her life as an eleven to sixteen-year-old in the German-occupied Netherlands. Then in 1944, the life of she and her family take a turn for the worst when the Allies undertake Operation Market Garden. They were living in Arnhem and were in the middle of days of battle between Allied and Nazi forces.

The months, nearly 200 days, following Market Garden were not much better as they had to survive in damaged housing and with almost no food until they were finally liberated by the Allies on April 16, 1945.

I enjoyed the 8 hours I spent reading this 400-page biography. I thought that this was an interesting story of survival by a young girl who developed into an international movie star. I found it interesting that Hepburn was such an enthusiastic and talented ballet dancer before and during the early years of the war. I like the chosen cover art. 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 two pages of interest. 

The  World War II Sources” page is a collection of more than 270 links to museums, websites, Facebook pages, and Twitter feeds with information on the World War II era in history.

The “World War II Timeline” page shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.

Book Review: “Invisible Heros of World War II”

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Book Reviews – “Invisible Heros of World War II” Book was published in 2019 (May) and was written by Jerry Borrowman. Mr. Borrowman has published a mix of 20 fiction and non-fiction 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 story is set in the years of World War II in both the European and Pacific Theaters.

This is really a collection of short stories about those who generally did not receive the recognition they deserved for their contributions to the War effort. Each of the ten chapters focuses on a different individual or group. Some I had heard of before, but most I had not. This book gives a very different look at those who served in WWII, whether in the military or a civilian contributing to the cause.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 4.5 hours I spent reading this 208-page WWII non-fiction book. I liked the approach taken with this book. The in-depth personal stories were very good. I like the chosen artwork for the cover. 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 two pages of interest. 

The  World War II Sources” page is a collection of more than 190 links to museums, websites, Facebook pages, and Twitter feeds with information on the World War II era in history.

The “World War II Timeline” page shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.

Book Review: “The Official Raspberry Pi Beginner’s Guide”

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Book Reviews – Raspberry Pi – “The Official Raspberry Pi Beginner’s Guide” book was published in 2018 and was written by Gareth Halfacree (https://freelance.halfacree.co.uk). Mr. Halfacree has published more than 20 non-fiction technical books.

I downloaded a free PDF copy of the book from Raspberry Pi organization. I first posted about the availability of the book back in December. A paperback copy can also be purchased through Amazon for $18.62. I found that the PDF was easily readable on my iPad and worked well for me.

I thought that this was a well-written book. It will be particularly good for younger Pi enthusiasts, though I found it adult friendly. It gives a good introduction to the Raspberry Pi and provides very detailed ‘how-to’ instructions on programming the Pi with either the Python (my preference) or the graphical Scratch languages. Given this 244-page book and one of the many Raspberry Pi started kits available a student of any age can have his or her Pi running in no time. I give this book a 5 out of 5.

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

Book Review: “Hitler’s Secret Weapons of Mass Destruction: The Nazi Plan for Final Victory”

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Book ReviewsWWII – “Hitler’s Secret Weapons of Mass Destruction: The Nazi Plan for Final Victory” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Michael Fitzgerald.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this book as ‘G’. This book talks about the various projects undertaken by the German Third Reich to create weapons that would turn the tide of World War II.

The first part of the book addressed aircraft, rockets, and armored vehicles that were either developed or which had been designed. Then some of the more far-fetched research efforts were addressed including “flying saucers”, unusual aircraft, and working atomic weapons.

I thought that the 6 hours I spent reading this 240-page non-fiction book were interesting. While many of the projects discussed were ones I had heard of elsewhere, there were several that, to me, left the non-fiction and crept into the realm of conspiracy theory and pure fiction. The selected cover art is well chosen. I give this novel a 2.5 (rounded up to a 3) out of 5.

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


If you are a student of the World War II era in history, you may find my pages “World War II Sources” (a collection of museums, websites, Facebook pages, and Twitter feeds with information on the World War II era in history) and “World War II Timeline” of interest.

Book Review: “A Divided Life”

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Book Reviews – “A Divided Life” eBook was published in 2018 (the original paper edition was published in 1988) and was written by Robert Cecil. Mr. Cecil has published several non-fiction books.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘G’. The story focuses on the years from before World War II (1935) until 1951. It is a biography of the life of British Diplomat and Russian Spy Donald Maclean.

The book covers his life and tells of his efforts and his betrayals. The book is very dry and somewhat difficult to read. It does get better after the first chapter or so. You can easily tell that it was written in the 80s.

I thought that the 8+ hours I spent reading this 347-page biography were interesting. I like the cover art. I give this book a 3.4 (rounded down to a 3) out of 5.

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

Book Review: “The Last Saturday of October”

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Book Reviews – “The Last Saturday of October” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Douglas Gilbert. This is Mr. Gilbert’s first publication.

I received a copy of this novel from the author in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘G’. The story is dramatized non-fiction.

This is an inside look at how close the US and Russia came to nuclear war during the Cuban Missle Crisis. In 1962 the US had discovered Soviet nuclear missile sites in Cuba. The US set a fleet to stop shipping headed into Cuba that might be carrying nuclear weapons.

Captain Vasili Arkhipov is given the mission to take his submarine brigade to Cuba. They are carrying nuclear-tipped torpedoes. He had already survived a nuclear disaster at sea on another submarine and was suffering from what we now know as PTSD. His vessel and crew were being chased by a large antisubmarine force of the US. He was being pushed ever closer to having to use his nuclear weapons.

I enjoyed the 6 hours I spent reading this 238-page non-fiction book that reads like a thriller. I think that Gilbert did a good job of taking history and making it readable and exciting. I like the chosen 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).

Book Review: “Burma: The Forgotten War”

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Book Reviews – “Burma: The Forgotten War” eBook was published in 2018 (original paper edition published in 2004) and was written by Jon Latimer. Mr. Latimer published several non-fiction 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 covers the years of World War II detailing actions taken in what was then Burma (now known a Myanmar).

Most of what I have read regarding World War II has been either centered on the European Theater or the Pacific Theater and focused on the forces of the US. Most of the Burma campaigns were centered around British or Commonwealth ground forces, though the US played a major role in the air engagements.

I thought that the 16.5+ hours I spent reading this 961-page history were interesting. The page count seems high, but the last third of the book was citations of reference. Certainly, there was a lot of information presented that I had not known about before. Some history books are presented in a very readable fashion. I have reviewed a few of those in the past. This was not one of those books.

This was very dry. It is filled with names, dates, and locations. The fact that the locations are for places I had never heard of did not help. Also, I found that the numerical military unit references used for both British and Japanese units was very confusing. I also felt that the book was very choppy, jumping back and forth in time.

If you are researching military efforts in Burma during WWII, you will find this a very useful book. It does a good job of conveying the misery that troops of both sides had to endure for most of the Burma war efforts.  The perspective presented on the war and especially the Commonwealth troops engaged in it very British. The chosen cover art is OK. I give this novel a 3 out of 5 based on general readability.

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


If you are a student of the World War II era in history, you may find my pages “World War II Sources” (a collection of museums, websites, Facebook pages, and Twitter feeds with information on the World War II era in history) and “World War II Timeline” of interest.

Book Review: “Ian Fleming and Operation Golden Eye”

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Book Reviews – “Ian Fleming and Operation Golden Eye” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Mark Simmons. Mr. Simmons has published a dozen 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’. This is the true story of novelist Ian Fleming and the work he did during World War II for British Intelligence to keep Spain from entering the war as an ally to Germany.

While the focus is on how Spain was convinced to stay out of the war, many of the exploits of Fleming and other intelligence agents are shown to be the basis for his later fictional intelligence agent, James Bond. I was a fan of Fleming’s Bond novels and found this background information a bonus to the World War II era history. This non-fiction book goes into great detail as to the efforts of the British to keep Spain neutral.

I enjoyed the 7.5 hours I spent reading this 256-page non-fiction account of World War II intrigue. I thought it was a little chaotic at the beginning and jumped around a bit. As with many non-fiction historical books, there were many names, places, and dates mentioned. Despite this, I still feel that it was a very readable book. This is one aspect of World War II that I had not previously known much about. I like the chosen 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 a student of the World War II era in history, you may find my pages “World War II Sources” (a collection of museums, websites, Facebook pages, and Twitter feeds with information on the World War II era in history) and “World War II Timeline” of interest.

Book Review: “Weird War 2”

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Book ReviewsWWII – “Wierd War 2” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Richard Denham. Mr. Denham has published seven 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 some scenes of Violence. The book is a collection of short (one to two page) non-fiction stories about World War II.

I spent an interesting 5 hours reading this 176-page book of strange non-fiction tales. I was hoping for more of the unusual. Unfortunately, I had heard most of the stories collected in this book before. This might be a good book for someone just getting interested in that period, particularly for a young adult because of the short story structure. The cover art is a good choice for this book. I give this book a 3.4 (rounded down to a 3) out of 5.

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


If you are a student of the World War II era in history, you may find my pages “World War II Sources” (a collection of museums, websites, Facebook pages, and Twitter feeds with information on the World War II era in history) and “World War II Timeline” of interest.