Tag Archives: Non-Fiction

Review of “From Holmes to Sherlock”

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Book Reviews – “From Holmes to Sherlock” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Mattias Boström (http://www.mattiasbostrom.se). Mr. Boström has published two books, both dealing with Sherlock Holmes.

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’. This book gives a brief (about the first 1/3) biography of Arthur Conan Doyle focusing mostly on his publications around Sherlock Holmes. After Doyle’s death, it pickes up the many activities of the Doyle estate as they (his children) try to control the intellectual property both to maximize their profit, but also to see that the material is treated in a respectable way.

The last part of the book deals with the Holmes legacy after the Doyle children have passed. Here we hear about the discussion and effort that went into the Robert Downey Holmes movies, the BBC Sherlock series as well as the Elementary program on US TV. Many plays, movies, TV programs and novels are touch upon over the 140 or so period of years covered by the book.

I enjoyed the 12.5 hours I spent reading this 608 page non-fiction book. While it is non-fiction it reads well keeping you far more engaged than most publications of this kind. I have read all of the original Holmes stores written by Doyle, as well as a few by other authors. Not to mention the many movies I have seen over the years. i learned a lot about both the real Arthur Conan Doyle as well as the character of Sherlock Holmes. This is certainly a book I would recommend to anyone interested the either. I think the cover art is a good choice. 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).

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Review of “4th Rock from the Sun”

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Book Reviews – “4th Rock from the Sun” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Nicky Jenner (http://www.nickyjenner.com). This is Ms. Jenner’s 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 novel as ‘G’. The book covers all things about and related to the planet Mars.

While there is some scientific data, most of the book deals with side stores related to Mars. I feel like it just rambles on about topics associated with Mars.

Sigh . . . I had higher expectations for this book. I read about 20%, but at that point I just had to give up on it. I won’t call a Rule of 50 on it, but it just isn’t a book of interesest to me. I think there will be many who like this book, but I am not one of them.

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

Review of “MacArthur’s Spies”

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Book Reviews – MacArthur’s Spies” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Peter  Elsner. Mr. Elsner has published five 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 ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story takes place mostly in the Philippines during the years just before and during World War II.

While several people are mentioned, the most prominent figure is Claire Phillips, a singer and Manilla nightclub owner. Some of the others include Colonel John Boone who led a group of guerrillas. There is “Chick” Parsons a business man and US Navy officer who claimed to be a Panamanian diplomat to escape the Philippines with his family. Soon after he was on MacArthur’s staff in Australia coordinating guerrilla activities in the Philippines.

This books describes activities of US citizens in the Philippines during the war, as well as several Filipinos. These individuals, mostly civilians, gathered information on the Japanese military, gathered then smuggled supplies to prisoners of war and carried out guerrilla warfare. Their actions were a part of World War II I knew little about before hand.

I found this book to be very interesting. I enjoyed the 9+ hours I spent reading this 362 page non-fiction history. I found it surprising what these and others were able to accomplish under the noses of the occupying Japanese military. The cover art is OK. 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 “Battle of Arnhem: Snapshots of War”

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Book ReviewsWWII – “Battle of Arnhem: Snapshots of War” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Victor Gregg. Mr. Gregg has published 7 works.

I received an ARC of this short story through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this short story as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story tells of how the author went from being a rifleman to a paratrooper during World War II. Tales of his actions during operation Market Garden are included.

I thought that this was an interesting hour read of World War II History. The cover art gives a World War II feel to the story. I give this short story a 4 out of 5.

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

The Home Front

WWII – If you are an Audible user and you are interested in history, particularly the World War II period, you might be interested in “The Home Front: Life in America During World War II“. This audio series is normally $24.95, but currently this 8 hour and 12 minute series can be downloaded for free. The description:

Free for a limited time. Narrated by award-winning actor Martin Sheen, The Home Front: Life in America During World War II takes listeners into the lives of Americans at home who supported the war effort and sustained the country during wartime. The war brought immediate, life-changing shifts; from the rationing of butter, to an explosion of war-related jobs, to mixed-signals about the role of women in society. Feel what living in the United States was like for everyday people during this disruptive and uncertain period of American history in the newest Audible Original series.

 

Review of “The Book Thieves”

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Book Reviews – “The Book Thieves” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Anders Rudell and Henning Koch (https://henningkoch.com). This is Mr. Rudell’s first book and Mr. Koch’s third.

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’. This book spans the period from the rise of the Nazi party in per-war Germany until many years after it has ended.

The story tells of the confiscation and burning of many books as the Nazis rise to power. Many of the the books confiscated found their way into the collections of many within the Nazi party.

Once the war was over, these books began to surface and an effort was put into place to trace the owners and return volumes to their original owners or their descendants.

I read only a little of this book before I set it aside. I did not want to call a Rule of 50 on it as it contains a lot of very interesting information, just not interesting to me. The cover art is well chosen for the book. For general reading I would say this is a 2, but for those interested in this topic I would say it is at least a 4. 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).

In-depth Crytography Book Available for FREE!

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As I have mentioned before, I routinely listen to the Security Now podcast. In episode #600 Steve Gibson talked about the book “A Graduate Course in Applied Cryptography“. This book is being compiled by noted Cyber Security researchers Stanford University Professor Dan Boney and New York University Professor Victor Shoup.

While the book is still in development, you can download the most recent version (December 9, 2016 version 0.3) as  PDF file. The book provides high level overviews of many cryptography subject areas, as well as a deep-dive into the technology. As the authors say in their Preface:

A beginning reader can read though the book to learn how cryptographic systems work and why they are secure. Every security theorem in the book is followed by a proof idea that explains at a high level why the scheme is secure. On a first read one can skip over the detailed proofs without losing continuity. A beginning reader may also skip over the mathematical details sections that explore nuances of certain definitions.

An advanced reader may enjoy reading the detailed proofs to learn how to do proofs in cryptog- raphy. At the end of every chapter you will find many exercises that explore additional aspects of the material covered in the chapter. Some exercises rehearse what was learned, but many exercises expand on the material and discuss topics not covered in the chapter.

If you are interested in computer security, you may want to add this 710 page book to add to your library.


See my other Cyber Security articles


 

Review of “Bismarck: 24 Hours to Doom”

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Book ReviewsWorld War II – “Bismark: 24 Hours to Doom” eBook was published in 2016 and was written by Iain Ballantyne (http://iainballantyne.com). Mr. Ballantyne has published 9 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’. This book documents the last 24 hours of actions by the British Navy as they close in on the German battleship Bismarck and sink her.

The book contains first hand accounts gathered by the author of sailors and aviators involved in finding, tracking and finally sinking the Bismarck.

I thought that the 2+ hours I spent reading this World War II History were interesting. The cover art with a head-on shot of the Bismarck seems appropriate. 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).

Review of “SBS in world War II”

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Book Reviews – “The SBS in World War II” eBook was published in 2017 (Original paper edition was published in 1983) and was written by G. B. Courtney. Mr. Courtney published two book about 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 story covers the second world war.

This is a non-fiction book giving the history of the Special Boat Service over the course of the war, covering not only the European Theatre, but also operations in the Pacific. This is very much a book of history with many people named and with short commentary on various operations. I found the motto for the unit to be rather unique: ‘Excreta Tauri Astutos Frustrantur’ (‘Bullshit Baffles Brains’).

Those in this unit operated primarily from submarine or motor launch slipping ashore silently in two man fold-up canoes, carrying out a mission behind enemy lines, then paddling back to their ride.

I enjoyed the 6.5 hours I spent reading this 225 Non-Fiction History. It was a little dry but it did give a different perspective on the British war effort during World War II. I’m not sure whay they picked a landing craft for the cover art. That was not what the SBS typically used. 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).

Does This Suit Come in White?

Science Fiction is becoming reality again with this new combat suit developed by Russia. It includes a powered exoskeleton, ballistic armor and a heads-up display in the helmet. Still just a concept, it may be deployed in the next few years.

Certainly equipment like this will take real Earth bound soldiers of the near future into the realms previously occupied by the Spartans of Halo and the Storm Troopers of Star Wars.