Tag Archives: Non-Fiction

Book Review: Commando: Memoirs of a Fighting Commando In World War Two

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – Author John Durnford-Slater published the book “Commando: Memoirs of a Fighting Commando In World War Two” in 2020. The original paper edition was first published in 2002.

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 scenes of violence. This is the story of the British Number 3 Commando Unit in WWII.

The book tells of the unit’s creation, early training, and significant missions. Even though it was first published nearly 20 years ago, it reads well. Brigadier John Durnford-Slater gives a first-person account. He chose the troops in No. 3 Commando, directed their training, and led them in battle.

Some of the Stories he tells sounds more like a Fraternity instead of an elite military unit. One of his statements stood out for me. He said of a Headquarters Staff, “Whether sweeping the floor, controlling the battle, or dying, they did their job well.”

I thought that the 7.5+ hours I spent reading this 222-page WWII history were interesting. The British had their own way of organizing and leading men. I think that the chosen cover art is a little bland. I give this novel 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).

Book Review: “Night of the Bayonets: The Texel Uprising and Hitler’s Revenge, April–May 1945”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – Author Eric Lee (http://www.ericlee.info) published the book “Night of the Bayonets: The Texel Uprising and Hitler’s Revenge, April–May 1945” in 2020. This is Mr. Lee’s third publication.

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 scenes of Violence. The book focuses on the events transpiring in April and May of 1945 on the Dutch island of Texel.

The Russians “recruited” men from the countries they controlled to join the Red Army. Among those were men from Georgia, which was then part of the Soviet Union. Many of these men were captured by the Germans. Their condition in POW camps was brutal. The Germans offered some the opportunity to ‘volunteer’. They would form the Georgian Legion of the Wermacht. Many chose that over starvation.

This is the story of one Battalion of the Georgian Legion. The 822 Eastern Battalion. The 822 had seen service elsewhere, but they were posted to the Dutch island of Texel in January of 1945. They had an easy time there having very few confrontations with the Allies. They got along relatively well with both their German officers and the local Dutch civilians.

In April of 1945 word came down of a transfer of many of the 822 back to the mainland. From there they would move to the front lines to oppose the advancing Allies. The Georgians saw this as a death sentence and chose to revolt instead.

Early on the morning of Friday, April 6, the Georgian troops rose up against the Germans. They killed around 400 Germans posted to the island. The Georgians made initial headway in taking the island. They chose not to take any German prisoners.

Before long the Germans sent in reinforcements and the tide of battle turned. The Germans took the same approach to the Georgians, killing all they could find. The Germans aggressively pursued the Georgians on the island. Their efforts cause substantial damage and casualties to the Dutch. Of the 800 men in the Georgian 822, only 228 survived.

The Georgians did work with the Dutch resistance. The people on the island looked at their mutiny as their own liberation. Many of the Dutch helped to hide Georgian soldiers from the Germans. The war in Europe ended on May 8, 1945. The battle between the Georgians and Germans did not end until May 20. It only ended when Canadian troops arrived on the island.

The Dutch celebrate May 4th every year as National Remembrance Day. On Texel, ceremonies are held at the Georgian Military Cemetery on the island.

I thought that the 7+ hours I spent reading this history book were interesting. This was another book that I had never come across before. It does a very good job of giving a deep background. It also offered a good follow up as to what happened in the years following WWII. I am glad that I finished reading this book yesterday. I am fortunate to be able to post this review on the 75th Dutch National Remembrance Day. I like the chosen 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 390 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: “America Invades: How We’ve Invaded or been Militarily Involved with almost Every Country on Earth”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – Author Christopher Kelly (https://americainvades.com/) published the book “America Invades: How We’ve Invaded or been Militarily Involved with almost Every Country on Earth” in 2015. Mr. Kelly has published four books.

I met the author at the “Battleground 1863” event at the Texas Military Forces Museum a few months ago. He had a table set up in the museum with his books on display. He offered me a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I categorize this book as ‘G’.

As the title implies, this book looks at the military involvement of the US in the countries of the world. As it turns out, the US has invaded or fought in 84 of the 194 countries of the world. It has had some sort of military involvement with 191 of the countries.

For some countries, the entry is half a page. A few will go as long as three pages. This is a book that can be easily read in small time chunks. I found it very interesting to see where the US military or covert operations have been active. In particular, I found the WWII involvement of interest. If you are interested in any period of military history, you will find this book of interest.

I thought that the 12.5 hours I spent reading this 416-page history book were interesting. I like the selected 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).

Book Review: “Code Wars: How ‘Ultra’ and ‘Magic’ Led to Allied Victory”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – Author John Jackson published the novel “Code Wars: How ‘Ultra’ and ‘Magic’ Led to Allied Victory” in 2011.

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 code-breaking efforts of Bletchley Park during WWII.

The book tells how Signals Intelligence developed in the UK. It relates the impact of ULTRA messages on the major confrontations with the Germans. It also tells a little about US code-breaking efforts. In particular, it tells about their success with breaking the Japanese ‘Magic’ code.

I have read other accounts of the success of Bletchley Park. This one gives far more details about the Signals Intelligence process. It also details how the code machines worked.

I enjoyed the 8+ hours I spent reading this 224-page history of WWII code-breaking. I liked this book, but it was a little on the dry side. It is the best ‘inside look’ at Bletchley I have so far come across. I like the cover art. I give this novel 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 390 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 Uprising in Second World War England: Mutiny in the Duchy”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – Author Kate Werran published the book “An American Uprising in Second World War England: Mutiny in the Duchy” in 2020 (July). This is Ms. Werran’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 book as ‘PG’. This is the story of a group of African American soldiers stationed near Launceston, Cornwall, UK. I have seen minor references to this, but this is the first full account I have read of the incident.

Though African Americans served in WWII, they were, for the most part, segregated. They were often subject to various forms of abuse. The 581st Ordnance Ammunition Company was no exception.

Men of the 581st had gone into the small town of Launceston on Sunday, September 26, 1943, to visit some of the local pubs. There was a confrontation with white soldiers. Some men of the 581st retreated to their camp and armed themselves. Returning to Launceston, there was a confrontation with Military Police. MPs were injured after the men of the 581st fired shots during the confrontation. The incident resulted in 14 of the 581st soldiers being Court Martialed.

I thought that the 7.5+ hours I spent reading this 256-page history were interesting. The book paints a picture of the local situation. Many Brits are hostile towards the white Americans because of their attitude. Brits find the African American soldiers much friendlier and more courteous. The Brits do not understand or approve of the segregation they see with US troops. Much of the book covers the trial. The impression you are left with is that the defendants were poorly represented. I like the chosen cover art. I give this book a 3.7 (rounded up to 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 370 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: “Drawing D – Day: An Artist’s Journey Through War”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – Author Ugo Giannini published the book “Drawing D – Day: An Artist’s Journey Through War” in 2013. This was his only 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’. This is the story of Ugo Giannini and his wartime experiences.

Giannini was an artist. He was part of a Military Police unit landed at Normandy on D-Day. Only 6 of his platoon of 37 made it ashore. He used his artistic abilities to make drawings on D-Day and throughout the war. Included in this book are some of these drawings. Most of the book consists of letters Giannin wrote to his girlfriend and family.

Most of his letters reflect his dark feelings about the war. While he was never wounded, many around him are killed or wounded.

I thought that the 5+ hours I spent reading this 196-page non-fiction book. The included drawings were good, but there were fewer than I expected. For me, the many letters became tiresome to read as they repeated his depression. I do like the selected cover art. I give this book a 3 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 370 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.

WWII Documentaries Available On-Line for Free

If you or your students, kids, adults are looking for things to do to stay occupied, please know ALL our World War II films are available to watch for free on your computer, tablet or smart phone @WWIIFoundation 2020-03-20 at 9.32.34 AM

I saw a tweet from @WWIIFoundation a short time ago that I thought was worth sharing. It said:

If you or your students, kids, adults are looking for things to do to stay occupied, please know ALL our World War II films are available to watch for free on your computer, tablet or smartphone.

If you visit their website (https://wwiifoundation.org/) you will find nearly 30 documentary videos covering WWII. This website offers something to fill some of the time while we are confined at home and to learn more about WWII.


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 360 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: “Children Against Hitler: The Young Resistance Heroes of the Second World War”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Children Against Hitler: The Young Resistance Heroes of the Second World War” will be published in 2020 (July) and was written by Monica Porter (https://monicaporter.co.uk). Ms. Porter has published six 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 Violence. The book tells the stories of children across occupied Europe who lived through WWII. 

The children depicted in the book grew up across  a range of social classes. Their ages stretch from 6 to 18 and they come from France, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Belorussia, Poland, and Holland. The book is a collection of short stories about these children. All of these stories tell of work with the Resistance against the Nazis. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the 4.5 hours I spent reading this 184-page history.  I have read much about WWII, but this is the first book I have read that deals with it just from the viewpoint of the children. The book provides a very different view of the war. Many of these brave kids found themselves alone, yet they took it upon themselves to carry on and to risk their lives as part of the Resistance. I like the selected 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 360 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: “Hitler’s Housewives: German Women on the Home Front

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Hitler’s Housewives: German Women on the Home Front” was published in 2020 (May) and was written by Tim Heath. Mr. Heath has published nearly a dozen books and novels. 

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 Situations, and Mature Language. This book tells the story of several young German women. It follows them from Hitler’s rise to power until Germany is defeated in May 1945.

Hitler was welcomed as he rose to power. Changes the Nazi party put into place benefited the common worker and Germany was prospering. Women were a large portion of his voter base that put him into power. They saw the Nazis as stabilizing the country. Soon though their outlook began to change, but by then it was too late. The strict control of the Nazis prevented any from speaking out or asking questions without punishment. 

The book describes the hardships the women experienced. All of the women are in their twenties or younger. Some were wealthy at the beginning of the war, others were barely making ends meet. The first year or so of the war caused them little discomfort, but as the war progressed there were shortages, the loss of loved ones, and the Allied bombing to contend with. Their lives were drastically altered by the war. 

I enjoyed the 6.5 hours I spent reading this 232-page history. This was a different look at WWII. Not many books I have read have dealt with the war from the Axis civilian point of view. The story is a combination of author narrative, interviews, and letters. Not only are the memories of the “housewives” presented, but often memories from their children are included. If you are interested in the human impact of WWII, you will find this book of interest. I like the selected 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 three pages of interest. 

  • The “World War II Sources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 360 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: “Britain 1940: The Decisive Year on the Home Front”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Britain 1940: The Decisive Year on the Home Front” was published in 2020 (July) and was written by Anton Rippon. Mr. Rippon has published several 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 book relates the experiences of those who lived in 1940 Britain.

It doesn’t look at the combat of the time but at the more everyday aspects of life. One chapter addressed the objections to conscription. Another with sporting events carried out in wartime. Other chapters dealt with women in the workforce, labor unrest, the Home Guard, and the internment of foreign nationals. A longer look was taken at the blitz and how that impacted the civilians. Opportunities appeared that let some shine as heroes. Others used air raids and the resulting destruction as an excuse for crime. 

I enjoyed the 7 hours I spent reading this 240-page history. This was a bit of a dry read as there were a lot of facts and numbers. There were many things though that I learned from the book. It does give a different view that is common to that first full year of the war. I like the selected cover art. I give this novel a 3.9 (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 360 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.