Tag Archives: History

Review of “The Berlin Affair”

51NWuUUzS0L

Book ReviewsWWIIWWII Timeline – “The Berlin affair” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by David Boyle. Mr. Boyle has 12 publications. This is the first in his “Xanthe Schneider Enigma thriller” series.

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. The story is set in England and Germany during 1940. The primary character is the young American woman Xanthe Schneider.

Schneider is recruited by British intelligence to travel to German in the guise of an American reporter. She is to determine if Ralph Lancing-Price, a former British government minister, is still a patriot to England or a traitor.

She finds more in Germany than she bargains for: Information about the secret German ‘Enigma’ coding device is revealed to her; She develops a romantic relationship with Lancing-Price; and Germany begins to mobilize its armies.

I thought the 3+ hours I spent reading this 121 page World War II spy thriller was interesting. This wasn’t a very compelling read. The story seemed to just amble along. I think it would have been better if it had been expanded into a full novel. The cover art is OK, but not very closely related to the story. I give this novella a 3.5 (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).

Advertisements

Remembering D-Day 2018

WWII – WWII Timeline – 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 “Darkest Hour” recently on the long flight home from Singapore. Not D-Day but certainly an interesting look at the war. I will watch “The Longest Day“,  “Saving Private Ryan” and the “Band of Brothers” series over the next couple of weeks.

74 years have past since D-Day and a shrinking number 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 the film, “Dunkirk” come out last year. I think that there are WWII period films in production that will depict the Battle of Britain and one with Tom Hanks as a destroyer Captain. With 2019 being the 75th anniversary, I suspect we will see a lot more in the media looking back at this important date in our 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 year, but that has now been delayed. 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.

Locally in Austin, Texas there is the Texas State Military Forces Museum that covers that period in history as well, though it is not nearly as large.

Review of “The DeValera Deception

51cwz4pP0DL

Book Reviews – “The DeValera Deception” eBook was published in 2018 (the original paper edition was published in 2010) and was written by Michael McMenamin and Patrick McMenamin (http://www.winstonchurchillthrillers.com). Mr. McMenamin has published seven novels and this is the first in their “Winston Churchill 1930s Thriller” series.

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 Situations. The story is set across North America in 1929.

Winston Churchill is traveling across Canada and the US. The Prime Minister, Ramsay MacDonald, asks him to discretely approach President Herbert Hoover to get assistance in stopping the sale of arms to the IRA. While a team of SIS agents is dispatched to investigate, Churchill decides to rely on his own resources. He recruits his goddaughter, Mattie McGary, who is a reporter for the Hearst newspapers and Bourke Cockran a lawyer and son of one of Churchill’s former mentors.

While Cockran develops a strong love interest in McGary, he also mistrusts her and Hearst. The two are able to discover quite a bit about the IRA plot, but they find themselves in dangerous situations time and again. Cockran is distracted by the presence in the US of the IRA agent responsible for the death of his first wife. He struggles to keep his focus on the arms deal instead of seeking revenge.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 9.5 hours I spent reading this 415 page period thriller. I liked the characters of Cockran and McGary, as well as the real historical figures that the authors have woven into the story. I like the cover art selected for the novel. 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 “Prisoner in the Castle”

51L8G4KqlDL

Book ReviewsWorld War IIWorld War II Timeline – “Prisoner in the Castle” eBook was published in 2018 (August) and was written by Susan Elia MacNeal (http://www.susaneliamacneal.com). Ms. MacNeal has published eight novels in her ‘Maggie Hope Mystery’ series. This is the eighth in the series.

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 in Scotland during World War II. The primary character is Maggie Hope, a former British spy.

Hope has been sent to a castle on a remote Scottish island because she has become aware of the plans for D-Day. She and a hand full of others from the intelligence community are there to set out the war where they cannot reveal sensitive information that they have come across.

Soon after a new resident arrives, members of their small community begin to die. At first, the deaths seem like accidents, but before long it is obvious that there is a killer amongst them. Not only are they living with a killer, but the evidence indicates that there is a German spy on the island after Allied secrets.

I really enjoyed the 8 hours I spent reading this 320 page World War II-era mystery/thriller. While this is one of a series, it reads well as a stand-alone novel. I liked the characters in the novel. I would like to go back and read earlier novels in the series, and I will certainly be looking for future additions. I like the cover art. 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 “Voices from the Second World War: Stories of War as Told to Children of Today”

51IZlT95K3L._SX394_BO1,204,203,200_

Book ReviewsWWIIWWII Timeline – “Voices from the Second World War: Stories of War as Told to Children of Today” eBook was published in 2018.

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. The book is a collection of very short (mostly 2-3 pages each) stories about World War II experiences shared with today’s children. Views are recorded from the military and civilians, Allied and Axis. The accounts give a very different look at World War II and the lives of those who lived through it.

I thought that this was an interesting 7 hour read of this 320 page non-fiction book. I learned a few things while reading. I had never heard of the Land Girls. I did find that the stories began to get a little repetitive. I think that Young Adults would be interested in these accounts, but would have a difficult time reading the book cover-to-cover. I can see where teachers would want to share selections with their classes when the World War II era was being covered in history. I liked the 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).

Review of “The Flying Tigers”

51ap5PYpL9L._SY346_

Book ReviewsWWIIWWII Timeline – “The Flying Tigers” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Sam Kleiner. This is Mr. Kleiner’s 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 ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story begins just before World War II and lasts until just after it ends. While the primary character is US Army Colonel Claire L. Chennault leader of the Flying Tigers, there are many others whose story is told.

China had been at war with Japan for years and it was suffering. The Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek and his wife approached Chennault in the late 30’s to leave the US and form up a volunteer group to train Chinese pilots. This group eventually evolved into what is now known as the Flying Tigers (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_Tigers), an all-volunteer combat fighter group. They got their name from the from the shark face painted on the nose of the P-40 fighters that the group flew. This group was recruited before Perl Harbor but flew their first combat mission only a few days later on December 20, 1941. The Flying Tigers did not last long, being disbanded in July of 1942, but it had a significant role in the early months of the war.

While this is not the first book on the Flying Tigers that I have read, I did enjoy the 7+ hours I spent reading this 304 page history. I liked the deep backgrounds that were given on many of the important personalities. I like the 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).

Japan, Tokyo – Sony Archives

When looking for someplace within walking distance of my hotel I came across the Sony Archives. The small museum is located at 6-6-39 Kitashinagawa, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo. The archive collection is managed by Sony, is free and is open to the public, but it does require a reservation ( +81 (0) 3-5448-4455 ).

Sony was founded in the wake of world War II in the fall of 1946. The Sony Archives is not large. You can easily browse through it in about an hour. Many products are on display, including the prototype electric rice cooker that was their first product.

If you are interested in more history of Sony, the Podcast Tech Stuff had a series of three episodes (November 2, 9, & 16 of 2017) that give a good background story. You can find them on the iTunes site.

I would not recommend going out of your way to visit the Archives, but if you are in the area and have a little free time it is an interesting walk through elecronics history.


See my other Food & Location articles


 

Review of “Morning Star, Midnight Sun”

51NZgWpJ5NL._SY346_

Book ReviewsWWII – “Morning Star, Midnight Sun” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Jeffrey Cox. Mr. Cox has published two non-fiction books on 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 book tells the story of the first campaign in the Pacific Theater by the Allies – the invasion of Guadalcanal. The story documents the many mistakes made by both sides during the conflict and emphasizes how important communications is.

I enjoyed the 16 hours I spent reading this 466 page World War II history. I found this book gave me a better understanding of what went on during this first campaign in the Pacific. Given the challenges that faced US forces, I am amazed that the invasion was successful. The book is a little dry and is filled with the numerous names of military personnel and ships on both sides of the conflict. 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).

Review of “Lady Death”

61q1QO78xIL._SY346_

Book Reviews – “Lady Death” eBook was published in 2018 (I believe that a Russian version was published much earlier, but I have not been able to determine when) and was written in Russian by Lyudmila Pavlichenko. The English version was revised by Martin Pegler. Mr. Pegler had published 16 non-fiction books, all of which deal with the history of firearms.

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 years of World War II at various locations on the Eastern front. It is told from the perspective of the autobiography author, Lyudmila Pavlichenko.

Pavlichenko was the most successful Russian female sniper of World War II with 309 confirmed kills. Some believe her actual total was closer to 500. This is her story, beginning with her as a girl before the war, then covering her exploits during the war and a little of her life afterward. No doubt her academic training as a historian helped immensely with her autobiography.

Her story is filled with a great deal of loyalty to and patriotism for Soviet Russia. I thought that this was a very interesting look at World War II. The Easter European Front is not one I have read a great deal about. Her story is remarkable. Her time with first lady Eleanor Roosevelt while touring the US was very interesting. For a historical autobiography, this read well. 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).

Podcast – 99% Invisible

170x170bb

Podcasts – As I have mentioned a few times, I listen to a lot of podcasts. One of the more recent additions to my playlist is “99% Invisible“. I like podcasts that delve into the unusual history of things, and this one fills the bill. As they say on their website:

99% Invisible is about all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about — the unnoticed architecture and design that shape our world. With over 250 million downloads, 99% Invisible is one of the most popular podcasts on iTunes and is available on RadioPublic, via RSS and through other apps.

Episodes of the show can range anywhere from about 20 to 45 minutes in length. This might be a great little podcast to add to your playlist.