Tag Archives: History

Book Review: “SAS and Special Forces in World War II”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Michael E Haskew published the novel “SAS and Special Forces in World War II” in 2021. It may also appear as “Special Forces in WWII”. Mr. Haskew has published nearly 30 books on military history.


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 various special military forces deployed in WWII. This includes both Allied and Axis powers. Each chapter focuses on those forces from a particular country. The coverage is a high-level overview of each unit’s activities.


I enjoyed the 6 hours I spent reading this 192-page WWII history. Most of the units I had read about before. A few were new to me. Some units included did not, in my mind, qualify as a ‘special force’. The book does have many photos and some good maps. I like the selected 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).



If you are interested 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 510 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.

USA, Alabama, Mobile – USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park

I had read about and seen the Alabama Battleship Memorial when I have driven by in the past. This time through Mobile we planned to stop and visit the site. The Memorial Park is located at 2703 Battleship Parkway
Mobile, Alabama 36602
.

The park is a large site. The Battleship Alabama is open for self-guided tours as is the submarine USS Drum. Both are veterans of WWII.

There are three tours on the Alabama. Two below deck and one above. The two below were well marked and easy to follow, though there were a couple of steep stairs. Many signs are posted to explain what you are seeing. The deck tour was more difficult to follow and leads up many stairs.

The Drum tour takes you through the forward torpedo room all the way through the ship and out the rear torpedo room. The entrance and exit is via a stairway instead of a ladder. The walk through the ship is fairly easy as long as you are not claustrophobic and can manage to step through the watertight doors.

On the grounds are a hanger with various aircraft and a gift shop. Outside can be found aircraft, military vehicles, and small ships on display. Exhibits cover a wide range of history. Among the larger displays are a B-52 and an SR-71. Some are currently undergoing restoration. I would have liked to spend more time looking at the outdoor exhibits, but the day we visited the Museum it was cold with a stiff breeze.

If you are in the Mobile area and have a few hours to spare (we were there at least 3 hours) this is a good place to visit.

If you are interested 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 510 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.

See my other Food & Location related posts

Book Review: “Codebreaker Girls: A Secret Life at Bletchley Park”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Jan Slimming published the book “Codebreaker Girls: A Secret Life at Bletchley Park” in 2021 (March). This is Ms. Slimming’s first publication and focuses on her mother.


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 is the story of Daisy Lawrence and her experiences at Bletchley Park during WWII.


The story begins before the war and gives background information on Lawrence. The focus then shifts to her wartime experiences. It finishes up with the troubles Lawrence had after the war. She had to sign the Official Secrets Act to work at Bletchley. The restrictions placed upon her proved to be detrimental to her mental health.


Lawrence had become engaged early in the war. Some of the book follows the plight of her fiancee after he became a POW after the fall of Singapore. The later part of the book tells of her life in the years after the war.


While I enjoyed the 9.5+ hours I spent reading this 352-page WWII history. I have read and listened to podcasts about Bletchley Park. This book gave more everyday details than the other sources. I like the selected cover art. I give this book a 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 Resources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 510 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: “Covert Radio Agents, 1939–1945: Signals From Behind Enemy Lines”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author David Hebditch published the book “Covert Radio Agents, 1939–1945: Signals From Behind Enemy Lines” in 2021 (April). Mr. Hebditch has published three 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’. The book tells the stories of several covert radio agents acting behind enemy lines in WWII. Most served in the European Theater of Operations, but a few are from the Pacific.


Included is a chapter that provides many details on the equipment used. Details of the procedures are also included. Allied agents followed strict rules to send and encrypt their messages. The German radio direction finding units had their own rules to follow.


I enjoyed the 8.5 hours I spent reading this 320-page WWII history. I had read about some of the activities before, but this book certainly contained a lot of new material. I found the technical details towards the end of the book to be particularly interesting. You will find this book of special interest if you are researching SOE & OSS activities during the war. I do like the chosen cover art. I give this book 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).


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 500 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 Resistance in Western Europe, 1940–1945 (European Perspectives: A Series in Social Thought and Cultural Criticism)”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Olivier Wieviorka published the book “The Resistance in Western Europe, 1940–1945 (European Perspectives: A Series in Social Thought and Cultural Criticism)” in 2019.


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 tells the story of the various resistance organizations in Western Europe during WWII. It also covers how the Allies dealt with them.
The book covers the resistance movements in Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, and Italy. It does not focus so much on the activities of the resistance units. It mostly looks at the political and administrative aspects.


I enjoyed the 16+ hours I spent reading this 447-page history. This was a very long read! It comes across as a very academic work. This also means that it was a bit of a struggle to read. I found that I could only dedicate 60-90 minutes at a time to it. This is perfect if you want to know more about what went on behind the scene. The cover art is OK but does not seem to portray the book content well. I give this book 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).

– – – –

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 500 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.

Watch this Brief Daily Taste of WWII on – “1940 this Day in World War Two”

I subscribe to many Podcasts on the WWII period. This is a little different from those in that it is a brief (45-90 second) daily video clip showing the events for that day in 1940. Currently there are more than 440 episodes available on YouTube.

These along with many other WWII related videos, have been uploaded by The View From The Turret. You can subscribe to his YouTube channel or follow him on Twitter https://twitter.com/MilHist_Shane.

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 490 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: “I Somehow Survived: Eyewitness Accounts from World War II”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Klaus G Förg published the book “I Somehow Survived: Eyewitness Accounts from World War II” in 2020 (November). Mr. Förg has published several books though most are only available in German.


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 ‘PG’. The book contains the stories of five who survived WWII.


Four of the people covered are men who served in the German military. The fifth is the story of a Norwegian woman who married one of the invading Germans. The accounts are first hand and come from interviews conducted by the author.


I thought that the 4.5 hours I spent reading this 192-page wartime history were interesting. Most accounts I have read of WWII are written from the Allied perspective. This book gives a different point of view. The cover art is OK. I give this book a 4 out of 5.


You can access more of my book reviews on my Blog ( 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 490 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.

Podcast Series: “Fighting Through from Dunkirk to Hamburg”

(See my other Podcast related posts) – I listen to a lot of podcasts while driving, working in the yard, or just setting and relaxing. Lately I have subscribed to several podcasts that are dedicated to WWII history. One of these is the “Fighting Through from Dunkirk to Hamburg” podcast.

These podcasts have been created by Paul Cheall, the son and editor of his late father Bill Cheall’s second world war memoirs. More than 60 episodes of this podcast have been released so far. He says on his website:

Since Dad’s WWII memoirs were published by Pen and Sword, I’ve been in contact with the families of several of his former comrades. The amazing amount of original, unpublished WW2 material I’ve been sent inspired me to produce a podcast to share with the whole world what these brave men, women and boys went through. I’ve got letters home, anecdotes, memoirs, battles, photographs, interviews with veterans … the lot. All blended into an engaging edge of the seat offering. There’s comedy, drama, poignancy and tragedy in abundance.

And the collection of material continues to expand, gradually extending beyond Dad’s immediate circle to other wars and spheres of battle, such as the brutal WWI battle of Gallipoli.

I began listening to the podcast with episode 1 which was published April 11, 2013. I have most recently finished #24. Episodes range from about 30 up to 90 minutes in length. I’m a couple of years behind, but I am catching up rapidly. The primary focus is on the British Army infantry unit the Green Howards Regiment, but he covers material from a variety of sources.

The stories told on this podcast deal with the war in a personal way. I have enjoyed listening to this podcast. Not surprising, the podcast has gathered more than 150 5-star ratings on Apple Podcasts. If you are interested in WWII history, you will enjoy this podcast.




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 490 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: “I Flew for the Fuhrer: Memoirs of the Third Reich’s Pilot”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Heinz Knocke published the book “I Flew for the Fuhrer: Memoirs of the Third Reich’s Pilot” in 2012 (the original version of the book appeared in 1954). This is Mr. Knocke’s only publication.


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 tells the story of Luftwaffe pilot Heinz Knocke.


Knocke’s story begins in 1935. The book relates his experiences during the war from his diary. As a fighter pilot, he was credited with more than 50 aerial victories. He survived the war, in part due to wounds suffered during the final months that grounded him.


Knocke flew more than two thousand missions during the war. He ended his wartime Luftwaffe career as the commanding officer of a fighter wing.


I found the 6+ hours I spent reading this 236-page memoir from WWII very interesting. I have only come across a few books in English written from the Axis point of view. They give a different perspective on the War. I think that the chosen cover art is a little dull. 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 490 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: “Aces: True Stories of Victory and Valor in the Skies of World War II”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Bill Yenne (https://www.billyenne.com) published the book “Aces: True Stories of Victory and Valor in the Skies of World War II” in 2020. Mr. Yenne has published more than three dozen novels and non-fiction 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 book comprehensively covers the top ace pilots in the Axis air forces as well as in the Allied air forces.


Only a few pages are dedicated to each pilot, but there are a large number of aces covered. The book looks at the major powers – the US, British, German, Russian, Italian, and Japanese. It also mentions those from the smaller countries who were top aces. The aces from Finland (The winter War) are included as well. There is even a small section covering Russian women who qualified as aces. The book contains many vintage photos of the pilots and their fighters.


I thought that the 8.5 hours I spent reading this 240-page WWII history were interesting. I had read of some of these pilots before, but this book included many I had not been aware of. It is surprising how many pilots qualified as an Ace (Generally, 5 planes confirmed shot down). I was amazed at the total number of planes some of these pilots had shot down. I like the cover art. I give this book a 4 out of 5.


You can access more of my book reviews on my Blog ( 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 490 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.