Tag Archives: Non-Fiction

Review of “Voices from the Second World War: Stories of War as Told to Children of Today”

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Book ReviewsWWIIWWII Timeline – “Voices from the Second World War: Stories of War as Told to Children of Today” eBook was published in 2018.

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 book is a collection of very short (mostly 2-3 pages each) stories about World War II experiences shared with today’s children. Views are recorded from the military and civilians, Allied and Axis. The accounts give a very different look at World War II and the lives of those who lived through it.

I thought that this was an interesting 7 hour read of this 320 page non-fiction book. I learned a few things while reading. I had never heard of the Land Girls. I did find that the stories began to get a little repetitive. I think that Young Adults would be interested in these accounts, but would have a difficult time reading the book cover-to-cover. I can see where teachers would want to share selections with their classes when the World War II era was being covered in history. I liked the cover art. 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).

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Review of “The Flying Tigers”

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Book ReviewsWWIIWWII Timeline – “The Flying Tigers” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Sam Kleiner. This is Mr. Kleiner’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 novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story begins just before World War II and lasts until just after it ends. While the primary character is US Army Colonel Claire L. Chennault leader of the Flying Tigers, there are many others whose story is told.

China had been at war with Japan for years and it was suffering. The Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek and his wife approached Chennault in the late 30’s to leave the US and form up a volunteer group to train Chinese pilots. This group eventually evolved into what is now known as the Flying Tigers (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_Tigers), an all-volunteer combat fighter group. They got their name from the from the shark face painted on the nose of the P-40 fighters that the group flew. This group was recruited before Perl Harbor but flew their first combat mission only a few days later on December 20, 1941. The Flying Tigers did not last long, being disbanded in July of 1942, but it had a significant role in the early months of the war.

While this is not the first book on the Flying Tigers that I have read, I did enjoy the 7+ hours I spent reading this 304 page history. I liked the deep backgrounds that were given on many of the important personalities. 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).

Review of “Morning Star, Midnight Sun”

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Book ReviewsWWII – “Morning Star, Midnight Sun” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Jeffrey Cox. Mr. Cox has published two non-fiction books on 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 book tells the story of the first campaign in the Pacific Theater by the Allies – the invasion of Guadalcanal. The story documents the many mistakes made by both sides during the conflict and emphasizes how important communications is.

I enjoyed the 16 hours I spent reading this 466 page World War II history. I found this book gave me a better understanding of what went on during this first campaign in the Pacific. Given the challenges that faced US forces, I am amazed that the invasion was successful. The book is a little dry and is filled with the numerous names of military personnel and ships on both sides of the conflict. I like the chosen 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).

Review of “Lady Death”

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Book Reviews – “Lady Death” eBook was published in 2018 (I believe that a Russian version was published much earlier, but I have not been able to determine when) and was written in Russian by Lyudmila Pavlichenko. The English version was revised by Martin Pegler. Mr. Pegler had published 16 non-fiction books, all of which deal with the history of firearms.

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 years of World War II at various locations on the Eastern front. It is told from the perspective of the autobiography author, Lyudmila Pavlichenko.

Pavlichenko was the most successful Russian female sniper of World War II with 309 confirmed kills. Some believe her actual total was closer to 500. This is her story, beginning with her as a girl before the war, then covering her exploits during the war and a little of her life afterward. No doubt her academic training as a historian helped immensely with her autobiography.

Her story is filled with a great deal of loyalty to and patriotism for Soviet Russia. I thought that this was a very interesting look at World War II. The Easter European Front is not one I have read a great deal about. Her story is remarkable. Her time with first lady Eleanor Roosevelt while touring the US was very interesting. For a historical autobiography, this read well. I like the chosen 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).

Podcast – 99% Invisible

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Podcasts – As I have mentioned a few times, I listen to a lot of podcasts. One of the more recent additions to my playlist is “99% Invisible“. I like podcasts that delve into the unusual history of things, and this one fills the bill. As they say on their website:

99% Invisible is about all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about — the unnoticed architecture and design that shape our world. With over 250 million downloads, 99% Invisible is one of the most popular podcasts on iTunes and is available on RadioPublic, via RSS and through other apps.

Episodes of the show can range anywhere from about 20 to 45 minutes in length. This might be a great little podcast to add to your playlist.

Review of “Seven Days of Infamy”

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Book ReviewsWWII – “Seven Days of Infamy” eBook was published in 2016 and was written by Nicholas Best (http://www.nicholasbest.co.uk). Mr. Best has published more than 20 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. The story covers the days just before and then following December 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked Perl Harbor.

While I have read several accounts of the Perl Harbor attack, this non-fiction book brings a different perspective. Most of it focuses on various people around the world and what they were doing when they heard about the attack. These come from a wide range of sources from diverse backgrounds, some Allied and some with the Axis powers. The book touches on many lives with their perspectives on the attack and how it impacted their lives.

A couple of stories are good examples of the variety. One tells of author Edgar Rice Burroughs who was in Hawaii at the time of the attack. He is handed a Springfield rifle and spends the night guarding a group of Japanese civilians aboard their small boats. Another tells of the Japanese embassy officials in Washington DC trying to type out a 15-page document that includes a break in diplomatic relations with the US. This document was supposed to be delivered just before the attack, declaring war. Because of security concerns, typists were not used on the document, but an official who could only “hunt and peck” with two fingers had the task of typing it up. As a result, the declaration was late, delivered well after the attack.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 8.5 hours I spent reading this non-fiction account from World War II. While the was definitely a historical account, this read very easily. This is definitely a book I recommend for anyone interested in World War II. I learned many interesting facts about the attack. The cover art is a reasonable choice. I give this book a 5 out of 5.

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

Review of “Working Smarter for Mac Users”

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Book Reviews – “Working Smarter for Mac Users” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Bob Levitus (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_LeVitus). Mr. Levitus has published more than 75 non-fiction books.

I purchased this book from Bob when he spoke to the Capital Macintosh Users Group (https://www.capmac.org) last spring. He gave a short overview of his book that night and it intrigued me.

As the name of this book implies, it focuses on techniques and software to enable Mac Users to work more effectively. Some of the tips are very Mac-specific, but there are other tips that anyone can use.

I have been a Mac user since shortly after it was introduced. I have also read and posted about Mac software for several years. That said, I learned a lot from Bob’s book. It is not something I will read once and set on the shelf. I know I will be looking back through it for his recommendations as an on-going reference.

Bob has set up a website (https://www.workingsmarterformacusers.com) and offers a newsletter as well as a full course on how to “work smarter”. If you use a Mac or procrastinate, you might want to take a look at this book. I thought it was well worth the $25 price. The book is available in both print and eBook format from Amazon. I personally chose the eBook version. With this version, all of the photos in the book can be blown up to study in detail. The eBook also contains videos that cannot be included in the print version. 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 “Destination Casablanca”

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Book ReviewsWWII – “Destination Casablanca” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Meredith Hindley (https://meredithhindley.com). Ms. Hindley is a Historian living in Washington, D.C. This is her first book.

I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this book as ‘G’. The book tells the story of Casablanca from just prior to the onset of World War II until shortly after the war ends.

This is an historical look at the the major figures in Casablanca during this period. Many fled from the Germans as they engulfed Europe, and found themselves stranded in Casablanca. The French had mixed sentiments. They wanted to insure their continued hold on Casablanca and North African assets, while throwing off the control of the Germans. Many French leaders, particularly military, felt the need to maintain the honor of their word to the Vichy French government.

The Allied invasion of North Africa brought many of these issues into focus, with several French military leaders siding with the Allies, but opposing them because of their commitments to the Vichy government. This led to a few days of very bitter fighting between US and French forces.

I found the 13.5 hours spent reading this 465 page history interesting. As most non-fiction histories, this was a little dry, but it was interesting enough to keep me reading. I certainly learned much about the Allied invasion of North Africa and the political entanglement they suffered through with the French. The cover art is OK. 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).

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).

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).