Tag Archives: Non-Fiction

Book Review: “The Great Desert Escape: How the Flight of 25 German Prisoners of War Sparked One of the Largest Manhunts in American History”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “The Great Desert Escape: How the Flight of 25 German Prisoners of War Sparked One of the Largest Manhunts in American History” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Keith Warren Lloyd (https://keithwarrenlloyd.com). This is Mr. Lloyd’s first 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 story is set in 1944.

Some captured German military personnel were being held in prisoner of war camps in the US. One of those camps was at Papago Park just outside of Phoenix, AZ. Several of the prisoners worked for months to dig a tunnel 6 feet deep and 178 feet long. The tunnel was finished in December 1944 and 25 prisoners escaped into the Arizona desert.

The story of those who escaped is told as well as that of those hunting for them.

I enjoyed the 5.5 hours I spent reading this 288-page history. I had read before of German POWs being held in the US, but this is the first account I have read giving more details. I thought that this book gave an interesting view of life in the German POW camp and a glimpse of the ‘home front’. It read well for a non-fiction book. 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 330 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 Hidden Places of WWII”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “The Hidden Places of World War II: The Extraordinary Sites Where History Was Made During the War That Saved Civilization” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Jerome M. O’Connor (https://historyarticles.com).

I received an ARC of this non-fiction book through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘G’. The book looks at events of historical significance that are often overlooked. There are many relics still remaining of the War. This is not ‘a’ story but a collection of short articles.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 10 hours I spent reading this 360-page non-fiction book about WWII. I discovered several new bits of information reading this book. 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 330 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: “Madame Fourcade’s Secret War: The Daring Young Woman Who Led France’s Largest Spy Network Against Hitler”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Madame Fourcade’s Secret War: The Daring Young Woman Who Led France’s Largest Spy Network Against Hitler” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Lynne Olson (http://www.lynneolson.com). Ms. Olson has published seven books.

I received an ARC of this book 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.

This is the story of thirty-one-year-old Marie-Madeleine Fourcade. This young French woman became the only woman to lead a resistance unit in occupied France. She sent away her children to live with friends so that she could direct one of the most effective espionage rings operating in France. Her unit knows as Alliance, operated until well after D-Day.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 10.5 hours I spent reading this 421-page biography and history. I thought this was an interesting story of WWII French resistance. I like the selected cover art. I give this book a 4.2 (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 330 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: “Escape from Paris”

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See all of my Book Reviews) – “Escape from Paris” eBook was published in 2019 (October) and was written by Stephen Harding (http://stephenhardingbooks.com/index.html). Mr. Harding has published four 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 story is set in German-occupied France. While on a bombing raid, a B-17 is shot down on July 14, 1943. This story tells how they are rescued by the French, hidden from the Germans, and eventually smuggled out of France.

The crew makes repeated attempts to leave France, but they are blocked again and again. Along the way one of the American flyers falls in love with the young daughter of a family hiding him in Paris.

I enjoyed the 7 hours I spent reading this 288-page non-fiction story. I enjoyed this look at the French resistance at work in German-occupied France. I like the cover art chosen. 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 three pages of interest. 

The  World War II Sources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 330 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: “Fighting the People’s War: The British and Commonwealth Armies and the Second World War”

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(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”

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(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”

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(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”

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(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”

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(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”

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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.