Tag Archives: History

Nostalgic look at 1980s computing

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I came across the article “The joys of 1980s home computing” today and thought it was worth sharing. The article describes an exhibit at the National Museum of Computing at Bletchely Park in the UK. The exhibit looks at the evolution of home computing in the UK. Among the items on display:

  • Sinclair ZX80
  • Sinclair ZX Spectrum
  • Acorn Atom
  • Atom Portfolio
  • Amstrad
  • Jupiter ACE
  • Grundy Newbrain

Few of us in the States had access to these machines, but it is interesting to see them on display. I do recall seeing advertisements for some of these back in the day.

Book Review: “City of London at War 1939–45”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “City of London at War 1939–45” eBook was published in 2020 (June) and was written by Stephen Wynn (http://www.stephenwynn.co.uk/). Mr. Wynn has published nearly 40 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 gives many details of life in London during WWII. 

London was certainly going to be a target for the German Luftwaffe. The book documents the results of the German air raids. Lists of casualties are given for some of the more devastating attacks. There is particular focus to the eight months of Blitz between September 1940 and May 1941. Stories of individuals who survived the bombings are told. 

I enjoyed the 2.5+ hours I spent reading this 224-page history. I did enjoy reading about the trials and tribulations of Londoners. The long lists of casualties was something that I found myself just skimming over. I do like the chosen cover art. I give this novel a 3.6 (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 interested in the WWII era of history, you may find these three pages of interest. 

  • The “World War II Sources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 350 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: “Last Witnesses”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Last Witnesses” eBook was published in 2019 (originally published in 1985) and was written by Svetlana Alexievich (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svetlana_Alexievich). Ms. Alexievich has written at least 6 books and is a Nobel Laureate in Literature. 

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 is a collection of memories from children (primarily from the Ukraine) who lived through the Eastern Front of WWII. 

I found the 5+ hours I spent reading this 298-page oral history of WWII interesting. Unfortunately, after the first few dozen memories, I found them very repetitive. I like the chosen cover art. I give this book a 3.5 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 three pages of interest. 

  • The “World War II Sources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 340 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.

Music of WWII: “Bless ‘Em All”

(See my other Music related posts) – The lyrics of “Bless ‘Em All” are credited to Fred Godfrey to music composed by Robert Kewley in 1917, though there is some question about that. It was first recorded by George Formby, Jr. in 1940.

The lyrics have gone through a few iterations, with some being less acceptable to the public than others. It was popular with British and Commonwealth troops during WWII.


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

  • The “World War II Sources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 340 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.

Towards 10000 Hours of WWII Study

I have been interested in WWII since I was a child. Since I retired, visited the National WWII Museum, and became a Docent at the Texas Military Forces Museum my interest in the WWII era has intensified. I am now reading a lot of WWII non-fiction and listening to three separate podcasts dedicated to WWII. 

We have all heard the saying that it takes 10000 hours to master a field [1]. I decided that I would begin to track the hours I spent learning about WWII. With the podcasts I listened to this afternoon I have just crossed the 500 hour mark. That puts me at about 5% of the way to “Mastery”. 

Of course there are several who say that 10000 hours alone is not enough, and others who qualify it as 10000 hours of deliberate practice [2,3,4], it still seems to be a worthwhile goal and what I think will be an interesting journey. 

When you listen to podcasts that are only about an hour long each and read the many history books about the war it takes a long time to accumulate hours. Even taking the World War II course at Hillsdale College only added about 20 hours to the total. 

I will keep up my studies on WWII and report from time time on my progress. Needless to say accumulating 10000 hours is a timely process. 

References

  1. The idea that 10000 hours gives you mastery on a subject comes from the book “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell in 2008. 
  2. The 10,000-Hour Rule Was Wrong, According to the People Who Wrote the Original Study
  3. COMPLEXITY AND THE TEN-THOUSAND-HOUR RULE
  4. How to Become Great at Anything: The Truth Behind The 10,000-Hour Rule

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

  • The “World War II Sources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 340 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: “Secret Soldiers: How the U.S. Twenty-Third Special Troops Fooled the Nazis”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Secret Soldiers: How the U.S. Twenty-Third Special Troops Fooled the Nazis” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Paul B. Janeczko (https://www.paulbjaneczko.com). Mr. Janeczko 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 novel as ‘G’. The book tells the story of the Twenty-Third Headquarters Special Troop unit of the US Army in WWII. 

This group, also known as the Ghost Army, were used in Europe to deceive and mislead the German Army. This was an unusual collection of artists, actors and engineers who used sound, camouflage, radio traffic, and play acting to make the Germans see what wasn’t really there. 

Many in the US Army did not like the idea of using tricks to fool the Germans. However, after the British successfully used subterfuge on the Germans in North Africa and proponents of the idea, including US Navy Lieutenant Douglas Fairbanks Jr (the noted actor) were able to sell the idea to the upper echelons of the Army, the unit was approved. The unit was quickly pulled together, trained, and sailed for England in early 1944. 

The unit took part in more than 20 battlefield deceptions and the unit was kept secret for more than 40 years after WWII ended. The 23rd had three different methods of deception: visual, sonic and radio. Because of their need for the Germans to generally see and or hear them, they operated very close to the front lines and suffered a few casualties. 

I enjoyed the 5.5 hours I spent reading this 305-page history of the WWII era. I had listened a few months ago to a Missed in History Class podcast  episode about the Ghost Army. This book goes into much more detail about those in the unit and their operations. I 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 are interested in the WWII era of history, you may find these three pages of interest. 

  • The “World War II Sources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 340 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.

Mathematics Applied to the Battle of Britain

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I came across the article “Mathematicians put famous Battle of Britain ‘what if’ scenarios to the test” earlier today. That article references a paper in which mathematical researchers from the University of York report their findings. They used modern modeling techniques to do “what if” exploration of the Battle of Britain.

They used a   called “weighted bootstrapping” to explore other outcomes of the battle. Among the outcomes, the study suggests that an earlier start by the Germans and a focused targeting of airfields might have given the Germans a distinct  advantage.


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

  • The “World War II Sources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 340 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 True Story of the Great Escape: Stalag Luft III, March 1944”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “The True Story of the Great Escape: Stalag Luft III, March 1944” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Jonathan F. Vance (http://www.jonathanvance.com/). Mr. Vance has published ten 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 book tells the ‘true’ story of the “Great Escape”.

Contrary to the popular movie “The Great Escape” almost all of those involved in the actual escape were British or Commonwealth air crew. This book gives the background of each of the major figures that were involved in the escape. It also details the efforts to dig the tunnels used in the escape. Those that escaped are followed and their journey documented. 

I enjoyed the 13.5 hours I spent reading this 392-page history from WWII. I found this book interesting, but it was a bit dry. 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).


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

  • The “World War II Sources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 340 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 Sky Above Us”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “The Sky Above” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Sarah Sundin (https://www.sarahsundin.com). Ms. Sundin has published a dozen Drama/Romance novels with the stories taking place during WWII. This is the second of her “Sunrise at Normandy” 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 ‘G’. The story is set primarily in England in 1944. The primary characters are Red Cross volunteer Violet Lindstrom and US Army fighter pilot Lt. Adler Paxton. 

Paxton has fled from home because of a dispute with his family. Eventually he enlists in the Army. Lindstrom wants to be a Missionary and serve in Africa like her aunt. She goes to England with the Red Cross expecting to help children, but is posted to a US Air base. Neither wants to find a relationship, but they are drawn together. 

Paxton flies many dangerous missions, engaging German aircraft and loosing close friends. Lindstrom is in charge of the Red Cross Aeroclub at the airfield where the 357th, Paxton’s unit, is based. She faces not only the ongoing relationship with Paxton, but the responsibility of running the Aeroclub.

I enjoyed the 7.5+ hours I spent reading this 383-page christian romance. This book is pretty far outside my normal reading scope. I added it to my reading list because I follow Ms. Sundin on Twitter. She  Tweets nearly daily about WWII and I wanted to give her novel a chance. It was well written with bits about WWII history injected here and there in the novel. I doubt I will read any further of her novels as Romance is not my genre, but if you do like romance, then I would certainly recommend her writing. I like the chosen cover art. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

Further book reviews I have written can be accessed at https://johnpurvis.wordpress.com/blog/. 

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 three pages of interest. 

  • The “World War II Sources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 340 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: “Atlantic Nightmare: The longest military campaign in World War II “

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Atlantic Nightmare: The longest military campaign in World War II ” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Richard Freeman. Mr. Freeman has published more than a dozen books. 

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘G’. The is the story of the battle for the Atlantic that was waged between the Allies and Axis powers during WWII.

This is a detailed look of the principal actions in the Atlantic. This does not talk much about specific people, but gives a high-level view of each battle. The time period stretches from the beginning of the war in September 1939 until the surrender in May of 1945. More than 2000 days. A lot of focus is placed on the German U-Boats and their role. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the 8.5+ hours I spent reading this 382-page WWII history. While many of the battles I had read about before, I think that this book gives a very good overview of the important sea battles of the European Theater. I like the selected 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).


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

  • The “World War II Sources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 340 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.