Tag Archives: History

Trailer for “Dunkirk”

TrailersWWII – Between May 26 and June 4, 1940, during the early days of World War II, the British Expeditionary Force was surrounded in France. They had come to the mainland to stope Hitler, instead, they and their French and Belgian allies were overrun. They retreated towards the port of Dunkirk near the border with Belgium.

Germany had sought to surround them and force them to surrender. They fought on and over the eight days of the Dunkirk evacuation more than 338,000 men were able to make their escape to the UK. The rescue flotilla was made up of over 800 boats – both military and civilian – that risked the wrath of the German Army and Luftwaffe to bring the men home.

This movie. which opens July 21. tells the story of the evacuation. From what little this trailer shows, this looks like it might be a pretty good movie about World War II.

Review of “Malta Victory”

51pA5hac33L

Book Reviews – “Malta Victory” eBook was published in 2016 (the original paper edition was published in 1980) and was written by Robert Jackson. Mr. Jackson published more than 50 books. This is the fourth in his “Yeoman” 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 ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set on the island of Malta in the Eastern Mediterranean during 1942, The primary character is Sergeant Pilot George Yeoman.

Yeoman is assigned to an RAF Spitfire squadron on the island of Malta. The British are resisting heavy bombardment and attack by both German and Italian aircraft. Yeoman and the other RAF pilots struggle to survive as they are severely out numbered by enemy aircraft. He adds to his count of aircraft shot down, but suffers from the loss of friends and poor living conditions.

The only thing holding off a German invasion is the lack of total air superiority over the island. The question is will the British be able to hold on long enough to keep the Axis powers from invading.

I enjoyed the 5+ hours I spent reading this 160 page World War II novel. I have read several Jackson novels now and this is much like the others – a little history mixed with fictional tales of his characters. The cover art is reasonable, showing Spitfires ready for takeoff. 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 “Target Tobruk”

51HC0mm4piL

Book reviewsWWII – “Target Tobruk” eBook was published in 2016 (the original paper version was first published in 1979) and was written by Robert Jackson. Mr. Jackson has published over 50 books. This is the third novel in his “Yeoman “ 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. The story is set in North Africa and on Crete during 1941. The primary character is Sergeant Pilot George Yeoman.

The British are desperately fighting the German and Italian forces in North Africa. Yeoman gets assigned to Tobruk, which is essentially under siege by the Germans. He witnesses a lot of combat, though not all in the skies. He is also sent to Crete to help defend against invading Germans. The British are forced out of Crete and hundreds flee on a variety of Royal Navy vessels. Not all of which make it to the relatively safety of Egypt.Yeoman does his extraordinary flying, but finds himself having to bail out of his faltering aircraft yet again.

I enjoyed the not quite 4 hours I spent reading this 160 page WWII novel. I have read a handful of books by Jackson and found them all to be interesting. In this case you get an image of the war as seen by those fighting in North Africa. The cover art is OK, but since this is a book about Hurricanes, I think a combat photo of a fighter would have been better. 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).

Celebrating Alan Turing

WWII – This video was produced in 2012 to celebrate the 100th birthday of Alan Turing. Turing is a well known and accomplished Mathematician. He was also an early contributor to the field that we now call Computer Science. He invented the ‘Turing Machine‘ in 1936. The Turing Machine is an abstract machine that reads and writes symbols on an infinite tape.  Turing also played a key role in the rapidly developing fields of Artificial Intelligence and modern electronic computers.

However Turing is probably best known to the world at large for his work during World War II. He, and the other scientists in the Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park in Britain, took on the German Enigma Machine. They were successful at breaking the coded messages that it produced allowing the Allies to gather much critical intelligence.

According to Professor Jack Copeland of the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, “Thanks to Turing and his fellow codebreakers, much of this information [coded messages] ended up in allied hands – sometimes within an hour or two of it being transmitted.” It is estimated that the code breaking effort, while unknown to the world for nearly 30 years after the war, is credited with shortening the war in Europe by as much as two years and saving over 14 million lives.

Review of “Hurricane Squadron”

512qxuzi6GL

Book ReviewsWWII – “Hurricane Squadron” eBook was published in 2016 (original paper edition was published in 1984) and was written by Robert Jackson (https://www.fantasticfiction.com/j/robert-jackson/). Mr. Jackson has published over 50 books. This is the first novel in his “Yeoman “ 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 ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in France during 1940 as the German Army invades the country at the outbreak of World War II. The primary character is Sergeant Pilot George Yeoman.

Yeoman is sent to France as a replacement to a Hurricane fighter unit stationed in norther France. The story tells of his exploits on air missions against the Germans. It also tells of his adventures after being shot down twice. The novel gives a historical view of this tumultuous and dangerous time in our history.

I enjoyed the 3.5 hours I spent reading this 144 page WWII Fiction novel. I already have read a few of the later novels in the series and enjoyed them as well. I liked the character of Yeoman as well as the look into the history of the period that the novel provides. The cover art is a reasonable choice for this novel. 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 First Victory”

51BAgCeDqyL

Book ReviewWWII – “The First Victory” eBook was published in 2016 and was written by Andrew Stewart. Mr. Stewart has published 8 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 East Africa during the period 1939-42. This is the non-fiction account of the defeat of the Italians by the British in East Africa.

As expected for Non-Fiction, this book is full of names, dates and facts. Some chapters have more than 100 footnote references. The last 26% of the book is reference material. I thought that the 9+ hours I spent reading this 328 page book were interesting, but dry. I have read quite a bit about the history of WWII, but never this aspect of it. The cover art is reasonable for the topic. I give this book 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).

Review of “The Intruders”

51IgtGe8y3L

Book ReviewsWWII – “The Intruders” eBook was published in 2016 (the original paper edition was published in 1998) and was written by Robert Jackson. Mr. Jackson published has published over 50 books. This one is from his “Ken Armstrong” 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 in England during World War II. The primary character is RAF Squadron Leader Ken Armstrong.

It is 1940 and the war is still in its first year. The Germans are threatening invasion and the Luftwaffe is making an all out assault on the RAF to gain air superiority. Armstrong is chosen to lead a new squadron that will target German air bases in occupied Europe and act as night fighters against the German bombers pounding the UK.

The efforts of many RAF pilots, fictional and real, are told. Several dog fights between RAF and Luftwaffe aircraft are described.

I enjoyed the 6.5 hours I spent reading this 161 page novel. I have read several other of Jackson’s books and have enjoyed them all. This is a combination of history and fiction describing much of the “Battle for Britain” that was being waged in the air. It was a little dry in places, but is still enjoyed it. The cover art is reasonable as it shows a Hawker Hurricane, one of the aircraft Armstrong and his squadron flew. 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 “John F. Kennedy and PT-109”

5128+I6tGeL._SY346_

Book ReviewsWWII – “John F. Kennedy and PT-109” eBook was published in 2016 (the original paper edition was published in 1962) and was written by Richard Tregaskis (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Tregaskis). Mr. Tregaskis published over a dozen 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 several different islands of the South Pacific during World War II.

This non-fiction novella tells about the growth of the use of PT Boats during the war years, as well as the exploits of then Navy Lieutenant John F. Kennedy.

It tells about the harrowing experience that Kennedy and the crew went through after their boat, PT=109, was cut in half by a Japanese destroyer. Kennedy let the survivors to safety, then set about to contact the US Navy to get them rescued.

I thought that this 2.5 hour read of 99 pages was interesting. I have read other accounts of the incident, but always enjoy histories of the War era. The cover art is reasonable. I give this novella a 4 out of 5.

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

Review of “Special Boat Squadron”

61WxHZWhC-L

Book ReviewWWII – “Special Boat Squadron” eBook was published in 2016 (original paper edition in 1983) and was written by Barrie Pitt. Mr. Pitt published eight 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 throughout the Mediterranean during the years of World War II.

This book tells how the British Special Boat Squadron was formed and details many of the actions that it undertook. As expected with a Non-Fiction History book, there are many names and dates of those involved in various missions.

I like reading history, especially the World War II period. I found this book to be interesting, though a little on the dry side. I found the 6.5 hours spent with this 240 page book interesting. The cover art does give the impression of the harsh conditions that the members of SBS units suffered during the war. 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).