Category Archives: WWII

Book Review: “The Girls Who Stepped Out of Line: Untold Stories of the Women Who Changed the Course of World War II”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Mari K. Eder published the book “The Girls Who Stepped Out of Line: Untold Stories of the Women Who Changed the Course of World War II” in 2021. It was released a few days ago. This is the first publication by retired US Army major general Eder.

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’. 

The book tells the stories of women who rose to extraordinary levels. Each met the challenges of what was happening around them in WWII. Most I had never heard of before. They served in many different ways. One was a journalist. Some helped Jews escape from Nazi Germany. Another was a young girl held in a Japanese POW camp in China. Several served in an official capacity – OSS, SOE, WASP, WAVE, WAC, or Nurse. 

Each chapter of this book tells the story of a different exceptional woman. Most but not all are women from the US. This book will appeal to those interested in WWII. It will also serve as an inspiration to young girls.

I enjoyed the 6.5+ hours I spent reading this 400-page WWII history. The book did not just dwell on the women’s WWII experiences. Their later lives and accomplishments are also discussed. In the later chapters, I did begin to feel that the book was getting a little repetitive. It is a very readable history. Perhaps a few chapters should have been left out and those expanded into a second book along the same lines. I give this book 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.

Sign up for a Challenge!

I have visited many military museums around the world. One of the best is the National WWII Museum in New Orleans, USA. I was pleasantly surprised when I received an email about their WWII challenges. These are virtual run/walk challenges. These Challenges are a unique, virtual opportunity to honor our WWII veterans. They will let you explore the stories of two WWII journeys: Liberty Road and Pacific Theater.

The challenge began July 4 and runs through October 10. There are five different challenges you can choose to participate in:

  • Operation Pacific Theater: 72-mile Challenge from Pearl Harbor to Midway Island
  • Operation Pacific Theater: 717-mile Challenge which continues from Midway Island to Tokyo Bay
  • Operation Liberty Road: The 100-mile Challenge through France. This takes you from Saint-Mere-Eglise in the Normandy region to St. Malo in the Brittany region.
  • Operation Liberty Road: 712-mile Challenge. This challenge continues on to Bastogne, Belgium from St. Malo. Bastogne was liberated on September 10, 1944. It was an important Allied strong point during the Battle of Bulge.
  • Freedom 5K

The cost for the first four options is $50 per person. The 5K is just $35. Registration for all five events is open through July 31. If you start now you still have plenty of time to finish before the October 10 finish. My wife, my son, and I all signed up a few days after the challenge began. We all selected Operation Liberty Road: The 100-mile Challenge. We each have accumulated over 30 miles so far. With a little more than 10 weeks left you can easily achieve one of the race goals. 

Sign up to support the museum and give yourself some exercise goals!

You can register using my unique referral link. You can read more about this event on the museum’s website.  https://runsignup.com/Race/LA/NewOrleans/WWII


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 550 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: “George Jellicoe: SAS and SBS Commander”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Nicholas Jellicoe published the book “George Jellicoe: SAS and SBS Commander” in 2021. This is Mr. Jellicoe’s second book. 

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 ‘R’ because it contains scenes of violence. The book tells the story of George Jellicoe and both the Special Air Service (SAS) and Special Boat Service (SBS).

While this is in part a biography of George Jellicoe, it also addresses the creation of both the SAS and SBS. The book covers a lot about the struggle for those units to survive. Jellicoe was an important figure in those organizations. Included are details of many of the North African missions taken on during the early years of WWII. A great deal of attention is also given to the battle for the Greek Islands.

Jellicoe was an essential founding member of the special service organizations. When the war ended, he was involved with the liberation of Greece. He also found himself having to deal with the communist resistance forces there. 

Jellicoe enjoyed a very successful military career during the war. Post-war he joined the Foreign Office. This led him into the world of intelligence and espionage. After he left the Foreign Office he was successful for a while in British politics. Jellicoe was active in and found a leadership role in many public organizations. He enjoyed a very full and eventful life. 

I enjoyed the 12.5 hours I spent reading this 336-page WWII history. This book is a bit of an amalgamation. It tells of the life of George Jellicoe. It is also is a history of the early days of the SAS/SBS and those who served there. I have had the opportunity to read other books about the SAS and SBS. This one complements those by adding details about some of their operations. The book is an academic look at Jellicoe, the SAS, and the SBS. It includes many details and references. The names of several of those involved with the organizations are included. This made the book a little tedious to read. It also seemed to ramble a little in the storytelling. The last few chapters of the book deal with Jellicoe’s post-war career. I like the chosen cover art. I give this book 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 550 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: “Agents of Influence: A British Campaign, a Canadian Spy, and the Secret Plot to Bring America into World War II”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Henry Hemming (http://henryhemming.com) published the book “Agents of Influence: A British Campaign, a Canadian Spy, and the Secret Plot to Bring America into World War II” in 2019. Mr. Hemming 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 book as ‘G’. The story begins as WWII breaks out in Europe. 

In the late 30s, there were strong antiwar and isolationist sentiments in the US. This persisted well after the Nazis invaded Poland. One of the most vocal in these feelings was the air hero and personality, Charles Lindberg. Both Germany and the UK began propaganda efforts to sway the US.  

This book is the story of Canadian William ‘Bill’ Stephenson. Germany was pressing its attack on the UK. Churchill and the government came to believe that their only hope was to bring the US into the war as an ally. MI6 recruited Stephenson and sent him to New York. He became head of the station there. His mission was to sway US public opinion in favor of joining the British.  

Stephenson built up a large organization in New York. He brought in workers from both Canada and the UK. An early mission was to sway the 1940 election. They took extreme measures to see President Roosevelt reelected for a third term. There was also a lot of behind-the-scenes work to expedite the Lend-Lease Act. The MI6 office worked to see William J. ‘Bill’ Donovan named as the US Coordinator of Information (COI) in 1941. This agency evolved during the war into the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and after the war into the CIA.

The US had no centralized intelligence organization. The British believed that one was needed and helped to organize the young agency. The Stephenson organization spent most of its efforts towards changing American opinions. This involved overcoming the isolationist attitude. Promoting an interventionist policy was critical to the survival of the UK. 

I enjoyed the 8.5+ hours I spent reading this 401-page WWII era history. Until I read this book I had no idea the extent that the British and Germans had gone to in WWII to sway US public opinion. Recent allegations of foreign government involvement in elections are nothing new. The author also brings up a few very interesting but unsubstantiated conspiracy theories. While the book is full of detail, it remains very readable. I like the selected cover art. I give this book 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 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 550 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: “Children of the Resistance – Volume 1 – Opening Moves”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Vincent Dugomier published the graphic novel “Children of the Resistance – Volume 1 – Opening Moves” in 2019. This is the first of six in his Children of the Resistance series. He has produced several graphic novels. Vincent

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 publisher suggests this publication for a 9+ audience. The story is set in 1940 France. The main characters are the two young French boys François and Eusèbe. 

François lives in the village of Pontain-L’Écluse. François cannot believe how the adults have accepted the German occupation. He enlists his friend Eusèbe to unite their families and neighbors against the Germans. 

I enjoyed the hour I spent reading this 60-page graphic novel of the French Resistance. I don’t read many graphic novels. This is only the third that I have reviewed. True stories from WWII inspire the story. The two barely teen resistance fighters do not accomplish great acts of sabotage. Their resistance is mischief targeted at the Germans. Though if caught they would have been severely reprimanded, even shot. They do succeed in changing village opinions about the occupation. I like the chosen cover art. I give this graphic 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 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 550 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: “Normandy ’44: D-Day and the Epic 77-Day Battle for France”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author and historian James Holland (https://www.griffonmerlin.com/) published the book Normandy ’44: D-Day and the Epic 77-Day Battle for France in 2019. Mr. Holland has published more than a dozen non-fiction books as well as nine novels. 

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 ‘R’ because it contains scenes of violence. The book gives a detailed history of D-Day in 1944 and the ensuing battle for Normandy. 

This book begins with preparations for D-Day. If follows several individuals over the course of the battle. As you would expect the book includes the stories of Americans, British, and Canadians. In addition, there are tales of both French and Germans as well. Most of the personal accounts are of soldiers in combat, but it also includes the experience of a nurse too.  

The book goes into the planning and training in preparation for D-Day. It also covers the logistics of supporting the invasion forces. It is long and filled with many details. That said it is also very readable. D-Day occurred more than 75 years ago, yet Holland makes reading history as exciting as a thriller.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 20+ hours I spent reading this 805-page WWII history. This is the second book of Holland’s that I have read. The other was Big Week: The Biggest Air Battle of World War II. I enjoyed them both and I look forward to reading some of his other works. In particular, I enjoyed reading some of Holland’s perspectives on the battle. I like the chosen cover art. I give this book a 5 out of 5.

Besides his books, Holland is the co-host of the “We Have Ways of Making You Talk” podcast. This show features Holland and comedian Al Murray. They discuss anything and everything related to WWII. It is one of the many podcasts I follow and I recommend it.

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 550 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 Hollywood Spy”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Susan Elia MacNeal published the novel “The Hollywood Spy” in 2021. Ms. MacNeal has published 10 novels and two non-fiction books. This is the 10th novel in her ‘Maggie Hope Mystery’ series. The novel went on sale on July 6. I had the opportunity to interview Ms. MacNeal earlier this year. You can read the interview here

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 a few scenes of violence and mature language. The story is set in 1943 Los Angeles, CA. The primary character is Maggie Hope. 

Ms. Hope has already enjoyed quite an unusual career. She has dropped behind German lines as an SOE agent. She has also helped both MI5 and Scotland Yard with investigations. She has now traveled to California to aid her friend and former fiancé, RAF officer John Sterling. The body of a young woman, Gloria Hutton, was found floating in the swimming pool of the Garden of Allah Hotel. Stirling had been engaged to her. He asked for Hope’s help because of concerns that the death was not an accident. 

Hope arrives on the scene with her friend Sarah Sanderson. Sanderson has gone to Hollywood to dance in a movie. She, Hope, and Stirling are friends from London. Hope does not waste any time and begins asking questions and digging into Hutton’s death. She had hoped for assistance from the local police, but they are not proving helpful. Not only is there the mystery to solve, but Hollywood, like much of the country during the summer of 1943 is tense. The concern for the war is only part of it. 

Racial tension and confrontations have appeared across the country. Groups like the Ku Klux Klan continue to stir up trouble in the LA area. Compounding the situation are strong Nazi sympathies even after months at war. Ms. Hope must determine on her own if the death of Hutton was an accident. Only then can she begin to investigate who killed her and why. 

I enjoyed the 8+ hours I spent reading this 368-page WWII era mystery. I have read three of the Maggie Hope mysteries and I enjoyed them all. Ms. MacNeal has done a wonderful job of mixing historical facts into her fiction [Follow Ms. Hope on Twitter for daily posts about the war]. She has also been able to find a way for Maggie Hope to run into several celebrities of the age. These mystery/thriller novels are enjoyable, though not books to keep you on the edge of your seat. I do like the chosen cover art. It is eye-catching and portrays the glitz of 40s Hollywood. I give this novel 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 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 550 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 Hitler Years: Triumph, 1933-1939”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author and historian Frank McDonough (http://proffrankmcdonough.com) published the book “The Hitler Years: Triumph, 1933-1939” in 2021. Professor McDonough has published more than 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 ‘PG. The book covers the period between 1933 and 1939. Adolf Hitler ascends during this period becoming the undisputed leader of Nazi Germany.

The book was an interesting read. It covers the politics and intrigue that went on in 1930s Germany. It follows Hitler as he is appointed Chancellor then as he is named the Fürher. Hitler was brutal to those that opposed him. Many opponents were arrested, beaten, or sent to the camps. Some just disappeared.

Hitler won over the population by creating jobs and stimulating the economy. He and the Nazis used the common sentiment against the Jews. Many felt the Jews were responsible for WWI and for the economic situation. He first drove them out of their positions then gathered them for the camps. Hitler was a clever politician during these early years. He used threats and political arrangements to achieve his goals. He used political maneuvering to bully and intimidate various powers of Europe.

I enjoyed the 16 hours I spent reading this 496-page history. While this book was very academic and full of details, it was also very readable. There was far more political maneuvering during these years than I had realized. I do 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).


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 540 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: “Hellhound, Take Me Home”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Stu Lane published the novel “Hellhound, Take Me Home” in 2019. This is his first publication. 

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, mature language, and mature situations. Much of the story is set in Australia, but some of it takes place elsewhere in Asia. The story spans from 1942 to the end of the war. There are three primary characters. Ken Hazel of the Australian Army, his wife Ann, and Japanese soldier Hito Egami.

Early in 1942, Hazel travels with the Australian Army to Singapore. They are there to help defend the island. Shortly after he arrives the Japanese take the island and he becomes a POW. He is held there for months before being shipped to Japan to work as a slave laborer.

The Australian Army captured Egami and he was held in a POW camp in Australia. He escapes from the camp and wanders the desolate bush. Ann Hazel and her son come upon Egami and they hide him in their home for a while. She begins to fear their efforts are starting to unravel. At about the same time she comes up with a crazy and dangerous scheme to both get Egami home and her husband back.  

Egami had received letters from home while a POW. Ann had received letters from her husband. From those Ann learns that Egami’s brother is a guard at the camp where her husband is being held. A nurse shortage in Guam is the final catalyst for her plan. She volunteers and heads for Guam with Egami in tow disguised as a burn patient. The first leg of the trip is dangerous enough. They must make their way by ship to Guam. Once there she has to find a way for Egami to stow away on a plane headed to Japan. The journey is filled with one peril after another. She is not sure if they will survive the trip let alone be able to maintain the charade.

If this all isn’t enough, after so many months living close to Ann, Egami has begun to develop feelings for her. While she still loves her husband, she has become fond of Egami as well. With the outrageous course they are pursuing, she may lose both of them.

I thought that the 6+ hours I spent reading this 306-page thriller were interesting. While the plot was a bit outlandish, that is not that unusual for a thriller. Some details included in the story though are simply wrong. For instance, in Chapter 25 the POWs in Japan make a ‘tiny transistor radio’ to listen to war news. While POWs were sometimes able to make a radio, it couldn’t have been a transistor radio. The first working transistor was not made until 1947. I find the cover art a little odd. The plane looks vaguely like a B-29, which does factor into the plot. I have no idea though what the image waving his arms means. I give this novel 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 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 540 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: “Albert Speer – Escaping the Gallows: Secret Conversations with Hitler’s Top Nazi”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author and historian Adrian Greaves published the book “Albert Speer – Escaping the Gallows: Secret Conversations with Hitler’s Top Nazi” in 2021. Mr. Greaves has authored or co-authored more than a dozen books. This latest book has just been released. 

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 tells the story of Albert Speer, Hitler’s Architect and the German Minister of Armaments. 

The book goes through Speer’s early life and the growth of the Nazi party. It sheds a different light on Speer. The author was a newly commissioned British Army Lieutenant when he met Speer. Greaves’ first assignment in 1961 was as one of the Guard Commanders at Spandau prison. He served three years in that post. While serving there Greaves became acquainted with Speer sharing many long conversations. The book is a combination of those conversations and other historical data. 

At one time Adolf Hitler considered Speer a close confidant. Speer had joined the Nazi party in 1931. He became Hitler’s favorite architect. He was later appointed as Minister of Armaments in 1942. He had somewhat fallen out of favor by the end of the war. The leading figures of Nazi Germany were tried at Nuremberg after the war. Unlike the others, Speer escaped execution earning only a 20-year sentence. He maintained his innocence of war crimes. He claimed that he had known nothing about the Holocaust and other atrocities 

Speer repeated these claims to the author and throughout the rest of his life. Speer was released from Spandau in 1966 having served his full 20-year sentence. In the years after his release, he wrote three books. Two were autobiographical books while the other was about Himmler and the SS. After Speer’s death in 1981 evidence began to surface linking Speer to the Holocaust.

I enjoyed the 6 hours I spent reading this 192-page WWII history. I had of course heard about Speer, but I learned a great deal more about him from this book. He appears to have been very smart and cunning. The story rambles along at times, but I found it interesting. I do 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 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 540 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.