Tag Archives: Non-Fiction

Book Review: “Fighting the People’s War: The British and Commonwealth Armies and the Second World War”

51AnvApa5TL

(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Fighting the People’s War: The British and Commonwealth Armies and the Second World War” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Jonathan Fennell. This is Mr. Fennell’s second published book.

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 covers the British and Commonwealth Armies in both theaters during the course of World War II.

Considerable time is spent with the British, Canadian, South African, Australian, New Zealand, and Indian forces. While the book is full of numbers and facts, it is very readable, though long. I was surprised to see repeated references to the sick numbers and censor reports. The censors made monthly reports of the general feelings and attitudes of the soldiers in their letters to friends and loved ones back home. These reports were able to provide the higher echelons of the army with feedback on the morale of their troops.

I had not known about the manpower resource problems, that is a reluctance to volunteer for overseas duty, that plagued the Commonwealth military. Nor had I been aware of the growing shortage of replacements for the British in Europe following the D-Day invasion. I can see why the story of WWII told D-Day forward is mostly an American story.

I found the 25.5 hours I spent reading this 966-page history very interesting. I like the chosen cover art. I give this novel 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 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 320 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 Darkest Year: The American Home Front 1941-1942”

51gg03vAjfL

(See all of my Book Reviews as well as my other WWII related posts) – “The Darkest Year: The American Home Front 1941-1942” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Willaim K. Klingaman. Mr. Klingaman has published more than 10 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 is the story of Americans on the home front in the year following the attack on Perl Harbor. While some of the military engagements are mentioned, the book focuses on what was going on at home.

How did we deal with shortages and rationing? How was the shift from a peacetime economy to full war material production handled? How did these early days of the war affect life in the US?

I enjoyed the 11.5+ hours I spent reading this 371-page non-fiction account of life in 1942 America. While non-fiction, this book was easy to read. It brought out several things I had not been aware of. So many mistakes were made by the military and the administration. I like the selected cover art. 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).


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

The  World War II Sources” page is a collection of more than 310 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 shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.

Book Review: “Hitler’s Last Plot”

51MJXbEFsfL

(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Hitler’s Last Plot” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Ian Sayer (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ian_Sayer) & Jeremy Dronfield (http://jeremydronfield.com/).  Mr. Sayer has published six books. Mr. Dronfield has published 10 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 Europe beginning in April of 1945. This is a dramatized account of what actually transpired.

Europe had been invaded in June of 1944. The Allied forces were closing in on Germany. The US and British from the west and South, Russians from the east. Hitler initiated a last-ditch plan. There were several high profile people in German concentration camps. He ordered the SS to take those 139 prisoners from the camps. The plan is to use them as hostages and execute them if the Reich falls.

This book tells the story of those prisoners and their journey through Germany, Austria, and Italy. They were constantly under threat of Allied air attack and were at risk from the SS troops that had them in custody. Their fate was in the hands of the fanatic SS on one hand and more rational Germans on the other. The prisoners were also helped along by partisans and finally rescued by US forces in the days after the official surrender.

I enjoyed the 8 hours I spent reading this 327-page account from WWII. I had not heard about this incident before, so it was an interesting read. I was amazed by how much a few Germans assisted the prisoners, and at how lenient their SS captors were towards them.  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).


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

The  World War II Sources” page is a collection of more than 300 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 shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.

Book Review: “D-Day Girls: The Spies Who Armed the Resistance, Sabotaged the Nazis, and Helped Win World War II”

51EcriZbMML

(See all of my Book Reviews) – “D-Day Girls: The Spies Who Armed the Resistance, Sabotaged the Nazis, and Helped Win World War II” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Sarah Rose (https://sarahrose.com). Ms. Rose has published two 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 a few scenes of Violence. The story is set in World War II beginning in July of 1942.

While the book focuses on three women who were members of the British Special Operations Executive (SOE), it also tells the broader story of the Resistance in occupied France. The women that are focused on are Andrée Borrel, Odette Sansom (the recent book “Code Name: Lise: The True Story of the Woman Who Became WWII’s Most Highly Decorated Spy” goes into more details of her exploits), and Lise de Baissac. The author draws on recently de­classified files, diaries, and oral histories to tell their story.

I enjoyed the 9.5 hours I spent reading this 372-page history. The scope of the book goes beyond the limits implied in the title in that it talks about the broader resistance efforts, not just the three women. I did feel that the book was slow and tedious at times.  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 two pages of mine of interest. 

The  World War II Sources” page is a collection of more than 290 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 shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.

Book Review: “Lions of the Desert”

51vAjv3IhgL

(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Lions of the Desert” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Samuel Marquis (http://samuelmarquisbooks.com). Mr. Marquis has published ten novels. This is the fourth in his “World War Two” 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 in North Africa during the early years of World War II. While David Sterling, the founder of the British Special Air Service (SAS) is a major character, there are others as well: German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, Egyptian belly dancer Hekmat Fahmy, head of British Field Security Major A.W. Sansom, German spy Johannes Eppler, and U.S. military attaché Colonel Bonner Fellers.

This dramatized historical novel describes how the SAS was formed and outlines some of the action that they saw in North Africa. There is also the story of the German spies that infiltrated Cairo and how Sansom pursued them. You also find that the Germans had broken the code used by Colonel Fellers as he made his daily reports back to Washington. This gave Rommel and incredible insight into what the British were doing.

I enjoyed the 16.5 hours I spent reading this 562-page story of action in North Africa. I was a little disappointed that this was dramatized history. I had hoped it was more straight non-fiction. I did find that the novel gave a different outlook on the war in Africa. The chosen cover art is OK. I give this novel a 3.6 (rounded up to 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 two pages of mine of interest. 

The  World War II Sources” page is a collection of more than 250 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 shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.

Book Review:”Air Apaches”

4172aZgNm7L.jpg

Book Reviews – WWII –  “Air Apaches” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Jay A. Stout (https://www.jayastout.com). Mr. Stout has published more than 10 books on military aviation.

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 Vionence. The story is set in the South Pacific during World War II, starting in 1943 and continuing thru the end of the war. The book did not focus on one set of men, but covered the entire 345th Bomb Group. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the nearly 12 hours I spent reading this 432-page history of World War II. I learned a lot about the B-25 bomber which the 345th flew more as a fighter bomber. With the large number of .50 caliber machine guns, it proved to be a formidable gunship. I 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 are interested in the WWII era of history, you may find these two pages of mine of interest. 

The  World War II Sources” page is a collection of more than 210 links to museums, websites, Facebook pages, and Twitter feeds with information on the World War II era in history.

The “World War II Timeline” page shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.

Book Review: “Code Name: Lise: The True Story of the Woman Who Became WWII’s Most Highly Decorated Spy”

41vCDhbCBRL

Book Reviews – “Code Name: Lise: The True Story of the Woman Who Became WWII’s Most Highly Decorated Spy” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Larry Loftis (https://www.larryloftis.com). This is Mr. Loftis’ 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 novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in the UK and France during World War II. The primary character is Brit Odette Sansom.

Sansom has spent much of her youth in France and is fluent in the language. She joins the SOE in 1942 and is landed in occupied France. She participates in several successful missions before she is captured by German secret police sergeant, Hugo Bleicher. Sansom, along with her commanding officer and future husband Captain Peter Churchill, are tortured by the Gestapo, yet neither reveals anything of importance to the Germans.

They both would have likely died at the hands of the Germans, but Churchill, though no relation to the British Prime Minister, was able to use his last name to aid in their survival. Bleicher performed his duty in catching Sansom and Churchill but took no joy in how they were subsequently treated.

I enjoyed the nearly 9 hours I spent reading this 385-page biography. This book gives a different look at the resistance efforts within France and what those captured by the Germans were subject to. It was an easy to read biography that reads more like a novel.  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 two pages of interest. 

The  World War II Sources” page is a collection of more than 200 links to museums, websites, Facebook pages, and Twitter feeds with information on the World War II era in history.

The “World War II Timeline” page shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.

Podcast: “World War II Nation”

WW2N-PODCAST-ICON-350px

Podcasts – WWII – I listen to many different podcasts and I am very interested in the World War II period of our history. One of the podcasts that I began following a short time ago is from World War II Nation. The most recent episode I have listened to is “Part One: Talking Operation Husky – The Allied Invasion of Sicily 1943” which was released in August of 2018. This is a site that looks at WWII from a British perspective. As they say on their website:

Join us on a journey into the past & present as we set out to explore the history of WW2.

Our travels take us from the Homefront to the battlefields of Europe and beyond.

Travel with us as we revisit historical locations, track down wartime relics, pick the brains of veterans and historians and pay our deepest respects to the greatest generation; as we set out to try and keep this period of history alive for future generations to learn from.

We are not historians and do not pretend to be so, we just have a great passion for WW2 history and are determined to learn as much as we can about this time in history and share our experiences with you, the WW2 Community.

If you are interested in the WWII period of history you may find this podcast very informative. Unlike many podcasts, the WWII Nation episodes come out on an irregular schedule. If you subscribe to this podcast you will not be flooded with episodes, in fact, they have only posted 13 episodes so far since they began in February of 2016.


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

The  World War II Sources” page is a collection of more than 200 links to museums, websites, Facebook pages, and Twitter feeds (including WWII Nation) with information on the World War II era in history.

The “World War II Timeline” page shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.

Book Review: “Dutch Girl: Audrey Hepburn and World War II”

410STipjV6L._SY346_

Book Reviews – “Dutch Girl: Audrey Hepburn and World War II” eBook was published in 2019 (April) and was written by Robert Matzen (https://robertmatzen.com). Mr. Matzen 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 novel as ‘G’. The book tells about the mostly early life of actress Audry Hepburn paying special attention to the years 1940-45 when she lived in the occupied Netherlands.

This book gives an entirely different look at Hepburn. Much is told of her life as an eleven to sixteen-year-old in the German-occupied Netherlands. Then in 1944, the life of she and her family take a turn for the worst when the Allies undertake Operation Market Garden. They were living in Arnhem and were in the middle of days of battle between Allied and Nazi forces.

The months, nearly 200 days, following Market Garden were not much better as they had to survive in damaged housing and with almost no food until they were finally liberated by the Allies on April 16, 1945.

I enjoyed the 8 hours I spent reading this 400-page biography. I thought that this was an interesting story of survival by a young girl who developed into an international movie star. I found it interesting that Hepburn was such an enthusiastic and talented ballet dancer before and during the early years of the war. I like the chosen cover art. 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).


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

The  World War II Sources” page is a collection of more than 270 links to museums, websites, Facebook pages, and Twitter feeds with information on the World War II era in history.

The “World War II Timeline” page shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.

Book Review: “Invisible Heros of World War II”

51EnhGvYA1L._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_

Book Reviews – “Invisible Heros of World War II” Book was published in 2019 (May) and was written by Jerry Borrowman. Mr. Borrowman has published a mix of 20 fiction and 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. The story is set in the years of World War II in both the European and Pacific Theaters.

This is really a collection of short stories about those who generally did not receive the recognition they deserved for their contributions to the War effort. Each of the ten chapters focuses on a different individual or group. Some I had heard of before, but most I had not. This book gives a very different look at those who served in WWII, whether in the military or a civilian contributing to the cause.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 4.5 hours I spent reading this 208-page WWII non-fiction book. I liked the approach taken with this book. The in-depth personal stories were very good. I like the chosen artwork for the cover. I give this novel 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 are interested in the WWII era of history, you may find these two pages of interest. 

The  World War II Sources” page is a collection of more than 190 links to museums, websites, Facebook pages, and Twitter feeds with information on the World War II era in history.

The “World War II Timeline” page shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.