Category Archives: WWII

Review of “SBS in world War II”

51GxYL8UamL

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).

Review of “The Judas Battalion”

51AlnUaLF1L

Book ReviewsWWII – “The Judas Battalion” eBook was published in 2017 (original paper edition published in 1983) and was written by Peter MacAlan. Mr. MacAlan published seven novels.

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 is set during 1944. The primary character is Charlie Collins, a British soldier.

The Germans have formed an SS unit, the Britisches Freikorps, made up of British POWs. The Germans plan to use the unit to build tension between the British and the Russians. To highlight their existence, Hitler plans to use the unit as a special honor guard at his birthday celebration.

The British see this as an opportunity to kill Hitler and shorten the war. They find Collins in jail doing time for mutiny. He is only 4 months into a twelve year sentence and he has a bleak outlook for the future. He is approached with a wild plan to get him into Germany and into the British SS unit.

Collins takes the assignment even though it sounds like a suicide mission. He is completely on his own and goes though one misadventure after another in his attempt to reach Germany and find his way into the SS unit. Along the way the meets and falls in love with a German woman who is part of the growing resistance within Germany.

Will Collins be able to carry out his assignation mission? Will he be able to escape Germany and take the woman he has fallen in love with to safety?

I enjoyed the 7 hours I spent reading this 303 page World War II Fiction novel. Even though it was published more than 30 years ago, it still reads well. The characters were interesting and they plot had a few twists along the way. The cover art is OK. 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).

Book Review of “A Blind Goddess”

51h4lDwCq8L._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_

Book ReviewsWWII – “A Blind Goddess” eBook was published in 2014 and was written by James R. Benn. Mr. Benn has published 10 novels all in the “Billy Boyle WWII Mystery” series, with this being the 8th in the series.

I purchased this novel and read it on my Nook reader. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in World War II England. The primary character is Captain Billy Boyle, a former Boston Detective. Now Boyle is on General Eisenhower’s staff, handling investigations and special projects that need careful processing.

Boyle is sent to investigate the death of British citizen found outside a small hotel. He is involved, ostensibly, because a US Army Sergeant is romantically involved with the daughter of the owners. Boyle finds though that there is much that has not been revealed to him about the situation.

Boyle also had a side investigation of his own when a former friend from Boston comes to him. One of his crew members has been arrested for a murder he says he didn’t commit. This is complicated because the friend is serving in an all black unit and there are racial issues to be considered. Then Boyle is drawn into the search for a local girl who has disappeared.

Are these three separate crimes or are they somehow connected?

I thoroughly enjoyed the 8+ hours I spent reading this 336 page Mystery set in World War II. While this one had little to actually connect it to the War other than the time period, the US military presence in England is a major factor in the story. I liked the plot and how Benn has woven into his story many facts from the period. The cover art is OK as it relates to one part of the story. 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).

Review of “The Jersey Brothers”

51Z0DVEdCbL._SY346_

Book ReviewsWWII –  “The Jersey Brothers” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Sally Mott Freeman. This is Ms. Freeman’s only 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 and Mature Language. This true story takes place during the years of World War II. It tells of three brothers who all served in the US Navy.

The two older brothers, Benny and Bill, were Annapolis graduates and both served on-board ships in the Pacific as well as in Washington D.C. during the war. The youngest of the brothers, Barton, was a new Ensign who had been posted to Manilla as a supply officer just prior to the Japanese attack on Perl Harbor.

The book goes through the experiences of all three. The part of the story for Bill and Benny tell of their combat experiences as well as an inside look at the politics behind the scenes. Bill was stationed in the White House a few years and knew president Roosevelt and the government principals, then joined an Admiral’s staff in the Pacific. Benny was a gunnery officer on the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise for a few years, then returned to Washington D.C.

Barton underwent years as a POW, being moved from camp to camp and suffering under horrible conditions. Both Benny and Bill used all the contacts they had trying to find their brother. Barton, and hundreds of other prisoners, suffered greatly in the Japanese POW camps.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 14 hours I spent reading this 608 page Non-Fiction World War II account. The author is a the niece of young Barton. She spent about 10 years researching before she was able to write this account. While basically a biography of the three brothers, it reads much like a novel. The heroic action by many is cited. The political infighting within the US military which impacted the war effort is also revealed. The cover art is OK as much of the story involves US Navy invasions of Japanese held islands in the Pacific. If you are interested in this period of history, you will enjoy this book. 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).

Review of “Tail Gunner Takes Over”

513GmlKsPiL

Book ReviewsWWII – “Tail Gunner Takes Over” eBook was published in 2016 (original paper edition was published in 1945) and was written by Sqd. Ldr. Richard Rivaz DFC. Mr. Rivaz published two 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 story is set in the UK and Canada during World War II. The primary character is the author.

This is the journal kept by Rivaz. In his first book, Tail Gunner, Rivaz talks about his first few years in the war as the gunner on a bomber. In this book he tells of his experiences after he was chosen to go to flight school and become a pilot. Some of that training took place in the UK, but the bulk of his pilot training took place in Canada. It gives a very different look at World War II and how the civilians took the war effort in stride.

I thought that the just shy of 6 hours I spent reading this World War II Non-Fiction book was interesting. I had read his first book earlier. The cover art is a reasonable choice for the book. 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 “Death’s Door”

51pII6T-tZL._SY346_

Book Reviews – “Death’s Door” eBook was published in 2012 and was written by James R. Benn (http://www.jamesrbenn.com). Mr. Benn has published 10 novels in his “Billy Boyle World War II Mystery” series. This is the seventh book in the series.

I purchased this novel through Barnes & Nobles for the Nook reader. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in and around Vatican City during 1944. The primary character is Billy Boyle, an American Army Lieutenant.

Rome is occupied by the German army, but the Vatican City has not been invaded. An American monsignor living in the Vatican is murdered. Boyle, along with his sidekick, Polish Baron Lieutenant Piotr “Kaz” Kazimierz, are smuggled into the Vatican under orders to find the murderer. This is a windfall for Boyle, as his girlfriend, Diana Seaton, who had been undercover for the British as a nun at the Vatican, has been arrested. Boyle sees the assignment as an opportunity to rescue her, as well as solve the murder.

Boyle finds the Vatican to be far more complicated than his time as a Catholic alter boy prepared him for. There are many different factions within the Vatican. Not all support the liberation by the Allies. Boyle also finds himself confronted by German agents and old adversaries .

I thoroughly enjoyed the 10+ hours I spent reading this World War II Mystery. I have now read the first seven books in the series and have enjoyed them all. I like the characters of Boyle and Kaz, as well as the other continuing characters in the series. The cover art does give the impression of intrigue between the church and Germany. 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).

A Look at D-Day, June 6, 1944

WWII – I wish I had seen this back on June 6 so that I could have posted it then, but I only became aware of it today. While this is on YouTube, it is a compilation of slides, both of text and photos, telling the story of the D-Day invasion.

To quote the YouTube posting:

The Normandy landings (codenamed Operation Neptune) were the landing operations on Tuesday, 6 June 1944 (termed D-Day) of the Allied invasion of Normandy in Operation Overlord during World War II. The largest seaborne invasion in history, the operation began the liberation of German-occupied northwestern Europe from Nazi control, and contributed to the Allied victory on the Western Front.

On D-Day, the Allies landed around 156,000 troops in Normandy. The American forces landed numbered 73,000: 23,250 on Utah Beach, 34,250 on Omaha Beach, and 15,500 airborne troops. In the British and Canadian sector, 83,115 troops were landed: 24,970 on Gold Beach, 21,400 on Juno Beach, 28,845 on Sword Beach, and 7900 airborne troops.

11,590 aircraft were available to support the landings. On D-Day, Allied aircraft flew 14,674 sorties, and 127 were lost.

In the airborne landings on both flanks of the beaches, 2,395 aircraft and 867 gliders of the RAF and USAAF were used on D-Day.

Operation Neptune involved huge naval forces, including 6,939 vessels: 1,213 naval combat ships, 4,126 landing ships and landing craft, 736 ancillary craft and 864 merchant vessels. Some 195,700 personnel were assigned to Operation Neptune: 52,889 US, 112,824 British, and 4,988 from other Allied countries.

By the end of 11 June (D + 5), 326,547 troops, 54,186 vehicles and 104,428 tons of supplies had been landed on the beaches.

Review of “Churchill’s Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare”

51jM0U09eQL

Book Reviews – “Churchill’s Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Giles Milton (http://www.gilesmilton.com). Mr. Milton has published nearly a dozen books, both historical and novels.

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 is told beginning just before World War II through it’s conclusion. Most of the stories are of events in the UK, but there are other events depicted as well.

As Nazi Germany was beginning to rise in power, a handful of British saw the need to develop new tools to wage war against the Nazi’s. Once Europe had been overrun, unconventional weapons and techniques were needed to fight a guerrilla war. This book is the story of their efforts.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 9.5 hours I spent reading this Non-Fiction account of World War II ingenuity. I was surprised at all this ‘skunk shop’ was able to develop, with so little infrastructure and resources. I was also surprised at how much resistance they met with from the established military. Had it not been for Churchill backing these renegades, history might have turned out much differently. 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).

Remembering D-Day

51uH5xbzNzL._SY445_   91pqRsnGJZL._SY445_

WWII – It is that time of year again when I make an effort to see some of the movies that depict D-Day, June 6, 1944 or that period in history. I watched “The Longest Day” last night and I am watching “Saving Private Ryan” tonight. I’ll probably start on the “Band of Brothers” series tomorrow.

Nearly 75 years have past since D-Day and few are left today that experienced it. I’m surprised as how many of today’s youth do not even understand the significance of June 6 or December 7. I am glad to see that a new film, “Dunkirk” depicting how nearly 400,000 surrounded British, Canadian, Belgian and French escaped from France in 1940, will be premiering this summer. I think it will help bring attention to those critical years (1939-1945) in history.

I have an interest in history, particular of that period. I had hoped to visit the “National World War II Museum” in New Orleans again this weekend, but that has now been delayed a few months. I have been there twice now but I am ready to visit again. They have done a superb job of telling the story of both the European and Pacific Theaters in World War II.