Tag Archives: Non-Fiction

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.

Review of “The Jersey Brothers”

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Book ReviewsWWII –  “The Jersey Brothers” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Sally Mott Freeman. This is Ms. Freeman’s 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 ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Language. This true story takes place during the years of World War II. It tells of three brothers who all served in the US Navy.

The two older brothers, Benny and Bill, were Annapolis graduates and both served on-board ships in the Pacific as well as in Washington D.C. during the war. The youngest of the brothers, Barton, was a new Ensign who had been posted to Manilla as a supply officer just prior to the Japanese attack on Perl Harbor.

The book goes through the experiences of all three. The part of the story for Bill and Benny tell of their combat experiences as well as an inside look at the politics behind the scenes. Bill was stationed in the White House a few years and knew president Roosevelt and the government principals, then joined an Admiral’s staff in the Pacific. Benny was a gunnery officer on the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise for a few years, then returned to Washington D.C.

Barton underwent years as a POW, being moved from camp to camp and suffering under horrible conditions. Both Benny and Bill used all the contacts they had trying to find their brother. Barton, and hundreds of other prisoners, suffered greatly in the Japanese POW camps.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 14 hours I spent reading this 608 page Non-Fiction World War II account. The author is a the niece of young Barton. She spent about 10 years researching before she was able to write this account. While basically a biography of the three brothers, it reads much like a novel. The heroic action by many is cited. The political infighting within the US military which impacted the war effort is also revealed. The cover art is OK as much of the story involves US Navy invasions of Japanese held islands in the Pacific. If you are interested in this period of history, you will enjoy this book. 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).

Review of “Tail Gunner Takes Over”

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Book ReviewsWWII – “Tail Gunner Takes Over” eBook was published in 2016 (original paper edition was published in 1945) and was written by Sqd. Ldr. Richard Rivaz DFC. Mr. Rivaz 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 scenes of Violence. The story is set in the UK and Canada during World War II. The primary character is the author.

This is the journal kept by Rivaz. In his first book, Tail Gunner, Rivaz talks about his first few years in the war as the gunner on a bomber. In this book he tells of his experiences after he was chosen to go to flight school and become a pilot. Some of that training took place in the UK, but the bulk of his pilot training took place in Canada. It gives a very different look at World War II and how the civilians took the war effort in stride.

I thought that the just shy of 6 hours I spent reading this World War II Non-Fiction book was interesting. I had read his first book earlier. The cover art is a reasonable choice for the book. 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).

A Look at D-Day, June 6, 1944

WWII – I wish I had seen this back on June 6 so that I could have posted it then, but I only became aware of it today. While this is on YouTube, it is a compilation of slides, both of text and photos, telling the story of the D-Day invasion.

To quote the YouTube posting:

The Normandy landings (codenamed Operation Neptune) were the landing operations on Tuesday, 6 June 1944 (termed D-Day) of the Allied invasion of Normandy in Operation Overlord during World War II. The largest seaborne invasion in history, the operation began the liberation of German-occupied northwestern Europe from Nazi control, and contributed to the Allied victory on the Western Front.

On D-Day, the Allies landed around 156,000 troops in Normandy. The American forces landed numbered 73,000: 23,250 on Utah Beach, 34,250 on Omaha Beach, and 15,500 airborne troops. In the British and Canadian sector, 83,115 troops were landed: 24,970 on Gold Beach, 21,400 on Juno Beach, 28,845 on Sword Beach, and 7900 airborne troops.

11,590 aircraft were available to support the landings. On D-Day, Allied aircraft flew 14,674 sorties, and 127 were lost.

In the airborne landings on both flanks of the beaches, 2,395 aircraft and 867 gliders of the RAF and USAAF were used on D-Day.

Operation Neptune involved huge naval forces, including 6,939 vessels: 1,213 naval combat ships, 4,126 landing ships and landing craft, 736 ancillary craft and 864 merchant vessels. Some 195,700 personnel were assigned to Operation Neptune: 52,889 US, 112,824 British, and 4,988 from other Allied countries.

By the end of 11 June (D + 5), 326,547 troops, 54,186 vehicles and 104,428 tons of supplies had been landed on the beaches.

Review of “Churchill’s Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare”

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Book Reviews – “Churchill’s Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Giles Milton (http://www.gilesmilton.com). Mr. Milton has published nearly a dozen books, both historical 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 ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is told beginning just before World War II through it’s conclusion. Most of the stories are of events in the UK, but there are other events depicted as well.

As Nazi Germany was beginning to rise in power, a handful of British saw the need to develop new tools to wage war against the Nazi’s. Once Europe had been overrun, unconventional weapons and techniques were needed to fight a guerrilla war. This book is the story of their efforts.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 9.5 hours I spent reading this Non-Fiction account of World War II ingenuity. I was surprised at all this ‘skunk shop’ was able to develop, with so little infrastructure and resources. I was also surprised at how much resistance they met with from the established military. Had it not been for Churchill backing these renegades, history might have turned out much differently. 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).

Celebrating Alan Turing

WWII – This video was produced in 2012 to celebrate the 100th birthday of Alan Turing. Turing is a well known and accomplished Mathematician. He was also an early contributor to the field that we now call Computer Science. He invented the ‘Turing Machine‘ in 1936. The Turing Machine is an abstract machine that reads and writes symbols on an infinite tape.  Turing also played a key role in the rapidly developing fields of Artificial Intelligence and modern electronic computers.

However Turing is probably best known to the world at large for his work during World War II. He, and the other scientists in the Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park in Britain, took on the German Enigma Machine. They were successful at breaking the coded messages that it produced allowing the Allies to gather much critical intelligence.

According to Professor Jack Copeland of the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, “Thanks to Turing and his fellow codebreakers, much of this information [coded messages] ended up in allied hands – sometimes within an hour or two of it being transmitted.” It is estimated that the code breaking effort, while unknown to the world for nearly 30 years after the war, is credited with shortening the war in Europe by as much as two years and saving over 14 million lives.

Review of “The First Victory”

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Book ReviewWWII – “The First Victory” eBook was published in 2016 and was written by Andrew Stewart. Mr. Stewart has published 8 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 East Africa during the period 1939-42. This is the non-fiction account of the defeat of the Italians by the British in East Africa.

As expected for Non-Fiction, this book is full of names, dates and facts. Some chapters have more than 100 footnote references. The last 26% of the book is reference material. I thought that the 9+ hours I spent reading this 328 page book were interesting, but dry. I have read quite a bit about the history of WWII, but never this aspect of it. The cover art is reasonable for the topic. I give this book a 3.6 (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 “John F. Kennedy and PT-109”

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Book ReviewsWWII – “John F. Kennedy and PT-109” eBook was published in 2016 (the original paper edition was published in 1962) and was written by Richard Tregaskis (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Tregaskis). Mr. Tregaskis published over a dozen 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 several different islands of the South Pacific during World War II.

This non-fiction novella tells about the growth of the use of PT Boats during the war years, as well as the exploits of then Navy Lieutenant John F. Kennedy.

It tells about the harrowing experience that Kennedy and the crew went through after their boat, PT=109, was cut in half by a Japanese destroyer. Kennedy let the survivors to safety, then set about to contact the US Navy to get them rescued.

I thought that this 2.5 hour read of 99 pages was interesting. I have read other accounts of the incident, but always enjoy histories of the War era. The cover art is reasonable. I give this novella a 4 out of 5.

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

Review of “Special Boat Squadron”

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Book ReviewWWII – “Special Boat Squadron” eBook was published in 2016 (original paper edition in 1983) and was written by Barrie Pitt. Mr. Pitt published eight 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 throughout the Mediterranean during the years of World War II.

This book tells how the British Special Boat Squadron was formed and details many of the actions that it undertook. As expected with a Non-Fiction History book, there are many names and dates of those involved in various missions.

I like reading history, especially the World War II period. I found this book to be interesting, though a little on the dry side. I found the 6.5 hours spent with this 240 page book interesting. The cover art does give the impression of the harsh conditions that the members of SBS units suffered during the war. 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).