Tag Archives: Non-Fiction

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).

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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.

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.