Tag Archives: Military

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.

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Review of “The Flying Tigers”

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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).

Review of “Morning Star, Midnight Sun”

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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 “Points of Impact”

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Book Reviews – “Points of Impact” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Marko Kloos (http://www.markokloos.com). Mr. Kloos has published six novels in his “The Frontlines” series. This is the 6th in that 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 the far future. Humanity has expanded into the stars, but now they are struggling against the alien “Lankies”. The primary character is Andrew Grayson.

Grayson is part of the crew of the first of a new generation of warships designed to specifically combat the Lanky advances. While on their shakedown cruise, the ship is directed to a colony on a distant moon that is under Lanky attack. Will the new weapons be enough to stem the Lanky incursion?

I thoroughly enjoyed the 8+ hours I spent reading this 297 page military science fiction tale. I have read three of the novels in this series now and have enjoyed all of them. I like the characters and the world created for this series. the cover art is OK, but I would have preferred something displaying combat with the Lankies. 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 “The Last Squadron”

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Book Reviews – “The Last Squadron” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Dan Jayson. This is Mr. Jayson’s first novel.

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 Europe in the near future. The primary character is Air Force Captain Natasha Kavolsky.

A war has been brewing for some time along ethnic and religious lines – the Allied Forces against The Brotherhood. As the multinational Allied 9th Mountain Squadron heads for some much needed R & R in a plane flown by Kavolsky, the war suddenly intensifies. Communications is disrupted and the plane is shot down somewhere over a remote area of Norway.

The survivors struggle in the severe winter. As they slowly make their way to civilization they encounter Brotherhood troops and must battle their way south. Kavolsky slowly transitions from pilot to one of the leading officers of the Squadron. The Brotherhood has surprised the Allied Forces with advanced technology, nuclear weapons, and biological weapons. The Brotherhood has escalated the war and is now trying to “cleanse the Earth” of all Allied Forces and their civilian populations.

The squadron must overcome many obstacles in this post-apocalypse world if it wants to survive. The casualties mount up as the Squadron travels through Europe. A base is established by those that remain in France. There they make a stand against a much larger Brotherhood force.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 11 hours I spent reading this 480 page military thriller. I liked the many characters that the story includes. I also liked seeing the military technology which the author predicts for 15 or so years in our future. While Kavolsky is the primary character, there are many others that have significant roles in the story, many of which do not survive to the end. I liked this more realistic attrition of characters. I can easily see sequels to this story and if they appear I will be interested in reading them. The cover art is OK, but I think something could have been chosen to better represent 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 Steel Fist”

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Book Reviews – “The Steel Fist” eBook was published in 2014 (original paper edition was published in 1984) and was written by Richard Townshend Bickers (https://www.fantasticfiction.com/b/richard-townshend-bickers/). Mr. Bickers published more than 45 novels and a dozen non-fiction 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 ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Situations. The story is set during World War II. The story follows British Officer Taggert as he fights the Germans during the early months of World War II. He is part of the British Expeditionary Force who have been dispatched to France in 1940 to help fortify the Maginot Line. He has more than once scrape with the Germans and finally must evacuate France with the lucky others from Dunkirk.

Once back in England, he is volunteers for a new fighting force, the Commandos. He and his men go through extensive training and raid France to harass the Germans.

I enjoyed the 3.5 hours I spent reading this 178 page novel of World War II. Even though it was written more than 30 years ago, it still reads well. I have read quite a few of Bicker’s novels and have enjoyed them all. While the cover art depicts World War II, I am not sure it relates well to the story. 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 “Destination Casablanca”

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Book ReviewsWWII – “Destination Casablanca” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Meredith Hindley (https://meredithhindley.com). Ms. Hindley is a Historian living in Washington, D.C. This is her first book.

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 tells the story of Casablanca from just prior to the onset of World War II until shortly after the war ends.

This is an historical look at the the major figures in Casablanca during this period. Many fled from the Germans as they engulfed Europe, and found themselves stranded in Casablanca. The French had mixed sentiments. They wanted to insure their continued hold on Casablanca and North African assets, while throwing off the control of the Germans. Many French leaders, particularly military, felt the need to maintain the honor of their word to the Vichy French government.

The Allied invasion of North Africa brought many of these issues into focus, with several French military leaders siding with the Allies, but opposing them because of their commitments to the Vichy government. This led to a few days of very bitter fighting between US and French forces.

I found the 13.5 hours spent reading this 465 page history interesting. As most non-fiction histories, this was a little dry, but it was interesting enough to keep me reading. I certainly learned much about the Allied invasion of North Africa and the political entanglement they suffered through with the French. The cover art is OK. 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).

Review of “The White Ghost”

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Book Reviews – “The White ghost” eBook was published in 2015 and was written by James R. Benn (http://www.jamesrbenn.com). Mr. Benn has published twelve novels in his “Billy Boyle Mysteries” series. This is the tenth novel in that series.

I purchased this novel through the Barnes & Noble on-line store and read it on the Nook App on my iPad. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set during the late summer of 1943. The primary characters are Lieutenants Billy Boyle and Piotr ‘Kaz’ Kazimierz.

Just starting on a well deserved leave (this occurs between books three and four of the series), Boyle and Kazimierz receive orders to meet someone in Casablanca. The meeting turns out to be with Joe Kennedy Jr. The Boyle family had a history with the Kennedy’s back in Boston. Now young Jack Kennedy had gotten his PT boat sunk from under him and, while convalescing, had gotten implicated in a murder. Knowing Boyle’s position on Eisenhower’s staff, Ambassador Kennedy pulls strings getting Boyle and Kazimierz temporarily assigned to the murder investigation.

The two fly nearly half way around the world to the Solomon Islands from Morocco. Boyle and Kazimierz begin to dig into the evidence surrounding the murder. Before long they have other bodies on their hands that seem tied to the same killer. The Solomons are near the front lines in the Pacific, so Boyle and Kazimierz must evade dangerous encounters with the Japanese as their investigation progresses.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 10 hours I spent reading this 353 page World War II Mystery. I have read the first ten books in this series and have enjoyed each and every one. I like the plot, mixing mystery with the drama of World War II. I like the way too that Benn mixes well known characters from the period into his novels. I think that the cover art is well chosen. 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).

World War II Allied Aircraft Nose Art

World War II – I have seen World War II nose art depicted in film and photos for many years. This YouTube video gives a great overview of what and why nose art became so popular. I had of course seen the pin-up nose art many times, but I was not aware that there was so much nose art connected to Disney cartoon characters.

In fact, it is mentioned in the video above that during the war Disney had five artists dedicated to producing nose art free to the military. It is also pointed out in the video that the average age of those flying and servicing the aircraft was about 22, sometimes they were even younger. Thus they had a very real connection to the Disney cartoon characters.

Review of “Force Multipliers Being What They Are”

Short Stories – The science fiction/military short story “Force Multipliers Being What They Are” was written by Travis S. Taylor (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Travis_S._Taylor) and is available on the Baen Books website. Mr. Taylor has published 10 novels as well as scientific non-fiction.

I liked this short look at a US Army unit going after terrorists using the latest in technology as “force multipliers”. Unfortunately (at least to me) the story is short, only taking 25 minutes to read. I would have enjoyed reading more in the universe the story is set in. If you like military science fiction you will find this interesting.