Tag Archives: Military

Book Review: “The Girls Who Stepped Out of Line: Untold Stories of the Women Who Changed the Course of World War II”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Mari K. Eder published the book “The Girls Who Stepped Out of Line: Untold Stories of the Women Who Changed the Course of World War II” in 2021. It was released a few days ago. This is the first publication by retired US Army major general Eder.

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 women who rose to extraordinary levels. Each met the challenges of what was happening around them in WWII. Most I had never heard of before. They served in many different ways. One was a journalist. Some helped Jews escape from Nazi Germany. Another was a young girl held in a Japanese POW camp in China. Several served in an official capacity – OSS, SOE, WASP, WAVE, WAC, or Nurse. 

Each chapter of this book tells the story of a different exceptional woman. Most but not all are women from the US. This book will appeal to those interested in WWII. It will also serve as an inspiration to young girls.

I enjoyed the 6.5+ hours I spent reading this 400-page WWII history. The book did not just dwell on the women’s WWII experiences. Their later lives and accomplishments are also discussed. In the later chapters, I did begin to feel that the book was getting a little repetitive. It is a very readable history. Perhaps a few chapters should have been left out and those expanded into a second book along the same lines. I give this book 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 have an interest 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 560 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: “George Jellicoe: SAS and SBS Commander”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Nicholas Jellicoe published the book “George Jellicoe: SAS and SBS Commander” in 2021. This is Mr. Jellicoe’s second book. 

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 ‘R’ because it contains scenes of violence. The book tells the story of George Jellicoe and both the Special Air Service (SAS) and Special Boat Service (SBS).

While this is in part a biography of George Jellicoe, it also addresses the creation of both the SAS and SBS. The book covers a lot about the struggle for those units to survive. Jellicoe was an important figure in those organizations. Included are details of many of the North African missions taken on during the early years of WWII. A great deal of attention is also given to the battle for the Greek Islands.

Jellicoe was an essential founding member of the special service organizations. When the war ended, he was involved with the liberation of Greece. He also found himself having to deal with the communist resistance forces there. 

Jellicoe enjoyed a very successful military career during the war. Post-war he joined the Foreign Office. This led him into the world of intelligence and espionage. After he left the Foreign Office he was successful for a while in British politics. Jellicoe was active in and found a leadership role in many public organizations. He enjoyed a very full and eventful life. 

I enjoyed the 12.5 hours I spent reading this 336-page WWII history. This book is a bit of an amalgamation. It tells of the life of George Jellicoe. It is also is a history of the early days of the SAS/SBS and those who served there. I have had the opportunity to read other books about the SAS and SBS. This one complements those by adding details about some of their operations. The book is an academic look at Jellicoe, the SAS, and the SBS. It includes many details and references. The names of several of those involved with the organizations are included. This made the book a little tedious to read. It also seemed to ramble a little in the storytelling. The last few chapters of the book deal with Jellicoe’s post-war career. I like the chosen cover art. I give this book 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 have an interest 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 550 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: “Normandy ’44: D-Day and the Epic 77-Day Battle for France”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author and historian James Holland (https://www.griffonmerlin.com/) published the book Normandy ’44: D-Day and the Epic 77-Day Battle for France in 2019. Mr. Holland has published more than a dozen non-fiction books as well as nine novels. 

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 ‘R’ because it contains scenes of violence. The book gives a detailed history of D-Day in 1944 and the ensuing battle for Normandy. 

This book begins with preparations for D-Day. If follows several individuals over the course of the battle. As you would expect the book includes the stories of Americans, British, and Canadians. In addition, there are tales of both French and Germans as well. Most of the personal accounts are of soldiers in combat, but it also includes the experience of a nurse too.  

The book goes into the planning and training in preparation for D-Day. It also covers the logistics of supporting the invasion forces. It is long and filled with many details. That said it is also very readable. D-Day occurred more than 75 years ago, yet Holland makes reading history as exciting as a thriller.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 20+ hours I spent reading this 805-page WWII history. This is the second book of Holland’s that I have read. The other was Big Week: The Biggest Air Battle of World War II. I enjoyed them both and I look forward to reading some of his other works. In particular, I enjoyed reading some of Holland’s perspectives on the battle. I like the chosen cover art. I give this book a 5 out of 5.

Besides his books, Holland is the co-host of the “We Have Ways of Making You Talk” podcast. This show features Holland and comedian Al Murray. They discuss anything and everything related to WWII. It is one of the many podcasts I follow and I recommend it.

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


If you have an interest 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 550 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 Hitler Years: Triumph, 1933-1939”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author and historian Frank McDonough (http://proffrankmcdonough.com) published the book “The Hitler Years: Triumph, 1933-1939” in 2021. Professor McDonough has published more than a dozen 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 ‘PG. The book covers the period between 1933 and 1939. Adolf Hitler ascends during this period becoming the undisputed leader of Nazi Germany.

The book was an interesting read. It covers the politics and intrigue that went on in 1930s Germany. It follows Hitler as he is appointed Chancellor then as he is named the Fürher. Hitler was brutal to those that opposed him. Many opponents were arrested, beaten, or sent to the camps. Some just disappeared.

Hitler won over the population by creating jobs and stimulating the economy. He and the Nazis used the common sentiment against the Jews. Many felt the Jews were responsible for WWI and for the economic situation. He first drove them out of their positions then gathered them for the camps. Hitler was a clever politician during these early years. He used threats and political arrangements to achieve his goals. He used political maneuvering to bully and intimidate various powers of Europe.

I enjoyed the 16 hours I spent reading this 496-page history. While this book was very academic and full of details, it was also very readable. There was far more political maneuvering during these years than I had realized. I do like the chosen 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 have an interest 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 540 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.

Texas Military Forces Museum – Hands On History 2021

{see my other TMFM related posts) – As restrictions are being relaxed following COVID-19 the Texas Military Forces Museum is once again able to host events. The first was the living history presentation of the Vietnam War on Memorial Day. The next event will be the annual Hands On History night.

While the museum is located on Camp Mabry, it is open to the public. A valid, unexpired form of identification with a picture must be presented to enter the post. Admission to the Museum is free. Those wanting early access at this event will pay $5. That would put you early in line to access the vehicles and talk to the living history crew. Here are detailed directions on how to get to the museum. 

Hands On History 2019

As the name implies many of the exhibits that normally can only be viewed will be available to touch. There will also be a contingent of the living history group on hand to show off their kit and answer questions. I had the opportunity to attend the last Hands On History night in 2019. I really enjoyed the evening. 

Hands On History 2019

If you are interested in history this is a unique opportunity to get closer to it.

Book Review: Abandoned World War II Aircraft, Tanks and Warships

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Chris McNab published the book “Abandoned World War II Aircraft, Tanks and Warships” in 2021. He has published dozens of books on the military.

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 contains over 200 photos with captions. The photos are of the current existing remains of WWII. Some photos are of fortifications. Other photos are of the remains of WWII aircraft, vehicles, and ships. Each chapter of the book is a different geographic region.

I enjoyed the 1.5+ hours I spent reading this 224-page WWII history. The book contains some very good photos. There were several fortifications shown that I had not heard of. Both Axis and Allied relics are depicted. It is amazing what can still be found if you are willing to work a little to get to it. I give this book a 4.4 (rounded down 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 have an interest 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 540 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 Second World War Tank Crisis: The Fall and Rise of British Armour 1919–1945”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Dick Taylor will publish the book “The Second World War Tank Crisis: The Fall and Rise of British Armour 1919–1945” in 2021 (June 15). Mr. Taylor has published nearly 20 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 goes into the history go British tanks and why they were so poor at the beginning of WWII. Production of British armor consistently had to take a second seat to aircraft.

The book lays out the technical details of its tanks. Tanks, especially good tanks, are costly. Britain had to make tough decisions on spending. Finances and manufacturing capacity had a heavy impact on tank design and production. Companies without much experience building armor often received contracts.

Tanks designed from WWI forward were analyzed. The evolution of the various designs is described. British manufacturers were too concerned with meeting production goals. They often sacrificed quality for quantity. Improvements, even when identified, were difficult to apply. Production could not be interrupted. It was not until late in the war that the British began to produce good tanks.

I enjoyed the 9+ hours I spent reading this 240-page WWII history. The book was very interesting. It was also very dry and academic making it a bit difficult to read I do like the chosen cover art. I give this book 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 have an interest 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 540 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.

Living Military History Memorial Day 2021

The Texas Military forces Museum will be open this Memorial Day weekend. The Living History unit will present Vietnam War reenactments on both Saturday and Sunday. Admission to the performance and the museum is free. Enter Camp Mabry through the 35th Street entrance (see Directions page for more details). A photo ID is required of all guests entering the Camp.

The Museum contains 45,000 sq. ft. of exhibits inside, and dozens of armored vehicles, artillery pieces, and aircraft on the grounds.

Book Review”Days of Steel Rain: The Epic Story of a WWII Vengeance Ship in the Year of the Kamikaze”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author Brent E. Jones published the book “Days of Steel Rain: The Epic Story of a WWII Vengeance Ship in the Year of the Kamikaze” in 2021. This is his first book. 

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’ because it contains some scenes of violence. The book tells the story of the light cruiser USS Astoria during the last year of WWII. 

The Astoria was a ‘vengeance ship’. The original USS Astoria (CS-34) had also been a cruiser. She was launched in December of 1933 and commissioned on April 28, 1934. She sank on August 9, 1942, after seeing action during the Battle of Savo Island. The USS Astoria (CL-90), the subject of this book, was launched on March 6, 1943, and commissioned on May 17, 1944. She was a vengeance ship because she was named after a prior ship lost in battle to the Japanese. 

The book tells the story of CL-90. It describes the background of her construction and the corresponding difficulties. The book first follows her shakedown cruise to the vicinity of Bermuda. Soon after she began operations with the Pacific Fleet. Most of Astoria’s war experience was as a carrier escort. 

U.S. Navy Captain George Dyer commanded the Astoria. He had to build the crew from what he was given. He had a few experience sailers, but most were fresh out of training or the rejects of other ships. In the months between commissioning and the end of the war, they became a tight and ready crew. It was at Okinawa where they faced their greatest challenge. It was there they faced their greatest challenge from the Japanese Kamikazes. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the 11.5+ hours I spent reading this 401-page WWII naval history. The author does a good job of working excerpts from crew written letters and journals into the story. I had never heard of using spotter planes for air-sea rescue until reading this book. Cruisers and battleships carried catapult-launched amphibious planes. The Astoria’s pilots made many a rescue. Captain Dyer faced more challenges than I would have expected. The demands of assembling and training up his crew were greater than I would have thought for 1944. I like the chosen 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).



If you have an interest 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 530 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: “An American Unsung: Based On Actual Events In the Life of My Friend, Dayton Edie, American Hero”

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Authors Harold Ray Finley, Jr. and Carol Greer published the book “An American Unsung: Based On Actual Events In the Life of My Friend, Dayton Edie, American Hero” in 2019. This is their only publication. 

I received a copy of this book from one of the authors in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this book as ‘G’. The book tells the story of the life of Dayton Edie. 

While the book includes part of his early life, most of it focuses on his WWII and later experiences. He served in combat in both WWII and the Korean War. Because of his language skills, part of his WWII-era career was with the OSS. After the war, he performed covert missions behind the iron curtain. He left the US Army after serving 20 years. 

I enjoyed the 3+ hours I spent reading this 248-page biography. This is not one long tale, but a series of short glimpses at Edie’s life and exploits. The book is relatively short and very readable. The story is quite remarkable. Based on this biography, he should have received far more recognition for his service. His obituary and page on tankdestroyer.net substantiate his military service. The cover art is very simple but appropriate for a biography. I give this book 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 have an interest 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 530 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.