Tag Archives: WWII

Review of “The Gemini Agenda”

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Book Reviews – “The Gemini Agenda” eBook was published in 2018 (original paper edition was published in 2012) and was written by Michael McMenamin and Patrick McMenamin (http://www.winstonchurchillthrillers.com). Mr. McMenamin Sr. has authored or co-authored 12 books. Mr. McMenamin Jr. has authored or co-authored 6 books. This is the third in their “Winston Churchill 1930s Thriller” 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 ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Situations. The story is set in 1932. The primary characters are Mattie McGary, Churchill’s goddaughter and a reporter for the Hearst newspapers, and Bourke Cockran a law professor, former US Army MID agent, and the son of one of Churchill’s former mentors. Also playing a significant role in the story is the German Kurt von Sturm.

By this point, McGary and Cockran are an intimate pair, though not yet engaged. McGary is drawn into a mystery of grisly murders across the US by Hearst. She encounters ruthless thugs who try to discourage her investigations. Meanwhile, Cockran is engaged as the divorce attorney for Ingrid, the wife of Wesley Waterman. Waterman and Cockran have already crossed paths earlier in the book series. Waterman uses his wealth and power to block the divorce including violence and murder.

When Ingrid’s siblings disappear while traveling in Europe, she and Cockran set out to find them. McGary’s investigation of the murders also leads her to Europe where there is evidence that some Americans that have been abducted are being held. Both paths lead to a secret medical facility where studies are being conducted under the direction of the Nazis.

Von Sturm has had affairs with both McGary and Waterman and still carries deep feelings for both women. When he finds Waterman under threat, he steps in to rescue the young woman. In doing so he risks the deadly retribution of both colleagues and his employers if they find out. He feels honor bound to do what he can to save Waterman’s siblings.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 11+ hours I spent reading this 400 page historical thriller. I have enjoyed the three major characters in the novels, as well as the other real people of the era that are woven into the story. While this isn’t a true WWII story, it deals with real factors that lead up to the war. The cover art is OK, but an image of one of the Pitcairn autogiro craft that Cockran and McGrady repeatedly use would have been better in my opinion. 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).

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Review of “Tidal Wave”

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Book ReviewsWWII – “Tidal Wave” eBook was published in 2018 and was written Thomas McKelvey Cleaver. Mr. Cleaver has 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 ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The book covers action in the Pacific Theatre during the period in World War II from the fall of 1944 until the end of the war.

This is a detailed account of action, primarily naval air warfare carried out by both sides. There are many individuals, aircraft and ships named, along with their activities. This is not a book that is easy to read due to all the facts laid out. I do think this would be a good read for the serious student of World War II history. I did find the 10 hours I spent reading this 320 page non-fiction history interesting. The cover art is a good selection. I give this novel a 3.8 (rounded up to a 4) out of 5.

Those interested in this book may also find my “World War II Timeline” and “World War II Sources” pages of interest.

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

Some World War II Information

WWII – Today being 4th of July, 2018 I thought it was an appropriate time to introduce two pages that I have been working on.

The first is “World War II Sources“. This page is really an on-going collection of both social media and physical sites that have information or photos relevant to the World War II period of history. As you might expect, this is a work-in-progress and is changing every week as of the date of this article.

The second page is my “World War II Timeline“. While this page is far from complete at this point, I have tried to note significant events leading up to or during the World War II period of history. As I have read either fiction on non-fiction on the World War II period, I have often found myself unclear on the timing of events. I started this timeline more as a tool to keep things straight in my own mind as to when events happened. As it grew, I decided that it might be of interest to others so made it this public web page.

Please enjoy both and I look forward to any feedback.

Short WWII Film – “Unintended”

Short FilmsWWIIWWII Timeline – I have come across many short films, but this is the first set during World War II. This short (13:14) film is named “Unintended” and you will see why as you watch it. It was published to YouTube in December of 2011 by Ben Hector.

It is not the best film and the special effects are minimal. It does have an interesting story though and it is fairly well acted.

Review of “The Berlin Affair”

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Book ReviewsWWIIWWII Timeline – “The Berlin affair” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by David Boyle. Mr. Boyle has 12 publications. This is the first in his “Xanthe Schneider Enigma thriller” 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 ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence, Mature Language, and Mature Situations. The story is set in England and Germany during 1940. The primary character is the young American woman Xanthe Schneider.

Schneider is recruited by British intelligence to travel to German in the guise of an American reporter. She is to determine if Ralph Lancing-Price, a former British government minister, is still a patriot to England or a traitor.

She finds more in Germany than she bargains for: Information about the secret German ‘Enigma’ coding device is revealed to her; She develops a romantic relationship with Lancing-Price; and Germany begins to mobilize its armies.

I thought the 3+ hours I spent reading this 121 page World War II spy thriller was interesting. This wasn’t a very compelling read. The story seemed to just amble along. I think it would have been better if it had been expanded into a full novel. The cover art is OK, but not very closely related to the story. I give this novella a 3.5 (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).

Remembering D-Day 2018

WWII – WWII Timeline – It is that time of year again when I make an effort to see some of the movies that depict D-Day, June 6, 1944 or that period in history. I watched “Darkest Hour” recently on the long flight home from Singapore. Not D-Day but certainly an interesting look at the war. I will watch “The Longest Day“,  “Saving Private Ryan” and the “Band of Brothers” series over the next couple of weeks.

74 years have past since D-Day and a shrinking number are left today that experienced it. I’m surprised as how many of today’s youth do not even understand the significance of June 6 or December 7.

I am glad to see the film, “Dunkirk” come out last year. I think that there are WWII period films in production that will depict the Battle of Britain and one with Tom Hanks as a destroyer Captain. With 2019 being the 75th anniversary, I suspect we will see a lot more in the media looking back at this important date in our history.

I have an interest in history, particular of that period. I had hoped to visit the “National World War II Museum” in New Orleans again this year, but that has now been delayed. I have been there twice now but I am ready to visit again. They have done a superb job of telling the story of both the European and Pacific Theaters in World War II.

Locally in Austin, Texas there is the Texas State Military Forces Museum that covers that period in history as well, though it is not nearly as large.

Review of “Prisoner in the Castle”

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Book ReviewsWorld War IIWorld War II Timeline – “Prisoner in the Castle” eBook was published in 2018 (August) and was written by Susan Elia MacNeal (http://www.susaneliamacneal.com). Ms. MacNeal has published eight novels in her ‘Maggie Hope Mystery’ series. This is the eighth in the 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 ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Language. The story is set in Scotland during World War II. The primary character is Maggie Hope, a former British spy.

Hope has been sent to a castle on a remote Scottish island because she has become aware of the plans for D-Day. She and a hand full of others from the intelligence community are there to set out the war where they cannot reveal sensitive information that they have come across.

Soon after a new resident arrives, members of their small community begin to die. At first, the deaths seem like accidents, but before long it is obvious that there is a killer amongst them. Not only are they living with a killer, but the evidence indicates that there is a German spy on the island after Allied secrets.

I really enjoyed the 8 hours I spent reading this 320 page World War II-era mystery/thriller. While this is one of a series, it reads well as a stand-alone novel. I liked the characters in the novel. I would like to go back and read earlier novels in the series, and I will certainly be looking for future additions. I like the cover art. I give this novel a 4.5 (rounded up to a 5) out of 5.

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

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).

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).