Category Archives: WWII

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).

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USA, Texas, Austin – Texas Military Forces Museum

The Texas Military Forces Museum is located in Building 6 on Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas. The street address of Camp Mabry is 2200 West 35th Street. A photo I.D. for all adults is required for entry onto Camp Mabry. In addition, Camp Mabry regulations require motorcycle riders to wear long pants, a long sleeve shirt, and a motorcycle helmet. The museum is always free and is open 10AM to 4PM Tuesday thru Sunday.

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I like history museums and particularly those that cover the period 1939-1945, the years of World War II. I had seen the sign at Camp Mabry while driving down MoPac many times for the Texas Military Forces Museum. Finally on September 17 of this year I was motivated by Austin Museum Day to visit the museum.

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While this isn’t a huge museum (at only 45,000-square feet it is a fraction in size of the National World War II Museum in New Orleans), I was impressed with it’s size and the extent of it’s collection. As the name implies, the museum covers all periods of Texas military history from the war of independence with Mexico, the US Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and todays War against Terrorism. The largest portion of the collection is focused on the action by Texas units during World War II. The museum has been open since November 14, 1992.

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The museum holds several vehicles from the World War II era. Mostly US, but also a few German vehicles. Some of these they take out of the museum and use during reenactments conducted a couple of times each year on the grounds of Camp Mabry.

 

They also have some well done dioramas from several periods, though I think my favorite is the one depicting a down in France shortly after D-Day. Amazingly this detailed display was built by Gilbert High School students of Gilbert, Arizona.

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Leaving the building itself, there is a static display of armor and artillery around the building. Mostly from World War II, but a few more modern as well. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit. I wish I had made the time to explore the museum earlier.

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I am hoping that I can return on Armistice Day (November 11, 2017) weekend when they host one of the re-enactments “Close Assault 1944“. The re-enactment is presented by “Company G”, this is a “hard core” LIVING HISTORY group. Their principle aim is to find out what it was like to be on the front lines and in camps during America’s greatest conflicts – the War Between the States, World War I, World War II and Vietnam – while educating and commemoration along the way. The event is free and there is plenty of free parking.

If you like history, particularly military history, you will want to visit this museum.


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Review of “Operation Armageddon”

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Book Reviews – “Operation Armageddon” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Richard Freeman. Mr. Freeman has published 17 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 and Mature Language. The story takes place in 1943 Europe. The primary characters are Royal Navy Lieutenant Commander James Bosanquet and French resistance leader Marie Le Faucheur.

The war is beginning to turn for the Nazis. Their army at Stalingrad is in danger of being surrounded and the Allies will soon invade North Africa. Hitler himself comes up with a daring plan to strike a blow against the Allies with a submarine loaded with 250 tons of explosives.

Faucheur in Cap d’Enfer, France comes across information about the U-boat in her job at the German naval base. Bosanquet, working for British Naval Intelligence, is dropped behind German lines to take action against the threat. Working together with Faucheur, Bosanquet comes up with a plan to at least delay the sailing of the U-boat.

As with most plans, things fall apart quickly and their attack is thwarted with many injured or killed. The U-boat sails and it becomes a race to see if it can be found and stopped before the Germans can strike their ‘Armageddon’ blow against the Allies.

I enjoyed the 6.5 hours I spent on this 258 page World War II thriller. The main characters were a bit bungling in their jobs, but that is more realistic than the ‘James Bond’ like heroes we normally read about. The cover art is reasonable given that a German U-boat is central to the story. 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).

 

Review of “Battle of Arnhem: Snapshots of War”

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Book ReviewsWWII – “Battle of Arnhem: Snapshots of War” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Victor Gregg. Mr. Gregg has published 7 works.

I received an ARC of this short story through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this short story as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story tells of how the author went from being a rifleman to a paratrooper during World War II. Tales of his actions during operation Market Garden are included.

I thought that this was an interesting hour read of World War II History. The cover art gives a World War II feel to the story. I give this short story a 4 out of 5.

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

The Home Front

WWII – If you are an Audible user and you are interested in history, particularly the World War II period, you might be interested in “The Home Front: Life in America During World War II“. This audio series is normally $24.95, but currently this 8 hour and 12 minute series can be downloaded for free. The description:

Free for a limited time. Narrated by award-winning actor Martin Sheen, The Home Front: Life in America During World War II takes listeners into the lives of Americans at home who supported the war effort and sustained the country during wartime. The war brought immediate, life-changing shifts; from the rationing of butter, to an explosion of war-related jobs, to mixed-signals about the role of women in society. Feel what living in the United States was like for everyday people during this disruptive and uncertain period of American history in the newest Audible Original series.

 

Review of “The Book Thieves”

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Book Reviews – “The Book Thieves” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Anders Rudell and Henning Koch (https://henningkoch.com). This is Mr. Rudell’s first book and Mr. Koch’s third.

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 spans the period from the rise of the Nazi party in per-war Germany until many years after it has ended.

The story tells of the confiscation and burning of many books as the Nazis rise to power. Many of the the books confiscated found their way into the collections of many within the Nazi party.

Once the war was over, these books began to surface and an effort was put into place to trace the owners and return volumes to their original owners or their descendants.

I read only a little of this book before I set it aside. I did not want to call a Rule of 50 on it as it contains a lot of very interesting information, just not interesting to me. The cover art is well chosen for the book. For general reading I would say this is a 2, but for those interested in this topic I would say it is at least a 4. 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).

Review of “Bismarck: 24 Hours to Doom”

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Book ReviewsWorld War II – “Bismark: 24 Hours to Doom” eBook was published in 2016 and was written by Iain Ballantyne (http://iainballantyne.com). Mr. Ballantyne 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 book as ‘G’. This book documents the last 24 hours of actions by the British Navy as they close in on the German battleship Bismarck and sink her.

The book contains first hand accounts gathered by the author of sailors and aviators involved in finding, tracking and finally sinking the Bismarck.

I thought that the 2+ hours I spent reading this World War II History were interesting. The cover art with a head-on shot of the Bismarck seems appropriate. 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).

macOS New App Release – Sudden Strike 4

Product Announcements – Following on from the successful launch of Sudden Strike 4 on Windows, Linux and PlayStation(R)4, Kalypso Media of Hamburg, Germany has released its new WW2 strategy title on the Mac App Store, marking the beloved strategy series’ debut on the platform.

Developed as a fully-fledged series entry and not a remake or reboot, Sudden Strike 4 sends you off on three extensive campaigns set amongst the battlefields of World War II. Commanding the British and American, German or Soviet armies, you will lead over 100 different units into battle, including the German Heinkel He111 bomber, the Russian T-34 tank, the British Hawker Typhoon fighter plane and even the notorious German Panzerkampfwagen VI “Tiger”.

In a first for the Sudden Strike series, you can now choose from one of nine individual commanders, such as George Patton or Bernard Montgomery, whose unique military doctrines unlock valuable command and combat abilities for your troops. Prove your tactical expertise in over 20 demanding single player scenarios, the challenge-focused skirmish mode, and the competitive multiplayer mode. A new reward system awards the player for clever play with skill points and bonus unlockable content.

Sudden Strike 4 offers countless ways to vanquish your opponents. Exploit the weak spots of tanks, set up an ambush, occupy buildings with infantry and snipers, out manoeuvre the enemy with clever positioning or unleash devastating air support. How you approach each mission is up to you!

Sudden Strike 4 is available now worldwide for Mac on the Mac App Store for $44.99 and Steam.

Review of “The Last Nazi”

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Book Reviews – “The Last Nazi” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Andrew Turpin. This is Mr. Turpin’s first novel.

I received an ARC of this novel from the author in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story begins in World War II Europe, but then fast forwards to today. The primary character is former CIA officer and war crimes investigator Joe Johnson.

Johnson hears of a train hidden by the Nazis during the last days of the war. He also discovers evidence of blackmail and a tie to an American campaigning for President. This puts him on the trail of a German SS officer now living in South America who is still being sought for war crimes.

Johnson’s investigation is not without danger and obstruction. The Nazis still are organized and are a threat to Johnson. He also finds that not all intelligence agencies are interested in the SS officer being brought to justice.

I very much enjoyed the 11 hours I spent reading this 482 page Mystery Thriller. I liked the character of Johnson as well as the two women who help him in his investigations and seem to lay the ground for future romantic entanglement. The cover art is well chosen, depicting an SS officer, but with an unknown face. I look forward to reading the next novel in this series. 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 “SBS in world War II”

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Book Reviews – “The SBS in World War II” eBook was published in 2017 (Original paper edition was published in 1983) and was written by G. B. Courtney. Mr. Courtney published two book about World War II.

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 covers the second world war.

This is a non-fiction book giving the history of the Special Boat Service over the course of the war, covering not only the European Theatre, but also operations in the Pacific. This is very much a book of history with many people named and with short commentary on various operations. I found the motto for the unit to be rather unique: ‘Excreta Tauri Astutos Frustrantur’ (‘Bullshit Baffles Brains’).

Those in this unit operated primarily from submarine or motor launch slipping ashore silently in two man fold-up canoes, carrying out a mission behind enemy lines, then paddling back to their ride.

I enjoyed the 6.5 hours I spent reading this 225 Non-Fiction History. It was a little dry but it did give a different perspective on the British war effort during World War II. I’m not sure whay they picked a landing craft for the cover art. That was not what the SBS typically used. 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).