Tag Archives: WWII

Review of “Black Phoenix”

58F3C0DF-EBFE-46FA-9768-9FDA78EA0CA5

Book Reviews – “Black Phoenix” eBook was published in 2017 (original paper edition was published in 1994) and was written by George Bernau. Mr. Bernau published three 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 and Mature Situations. The story is set in the closing days of World War II. The primary character is US Army Major Thomas Sheridan, an Army Intelligence officer.

Berlin is about to fall to Allied troops. The Nazis are all but crushed, but they still have a plan. Key officials are secretly transported to South America along with a deadly substance known as Black Phoenix. Sheridan, along with his partner and lover Debra Marks, are sent in search of the fleeing Germans and for a lead on Black Phoenix.

They find that Nazi leadership still has a plan to conquer the world, and thousands may die. It becomes a race to see if they can survive the German fanatics and save the world.

I thought that this was an interesting 8.5 hour read of a 291 page World War II era Thriller. This is a little old and shows its age some, but it is still an interesting read. I am not sure why the cover are was chosen as rockets are not part of the plot. I give this novel a 3.4 (rounded down to a 3) out of 5.

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

Advertisements

The World of Sci-fi during WWII – Intermission Story (29)

WWII – I thought that this was an interesting look at Science Fiction during the years of World War II.

Pacific Paratrooper

Alex Schomburg artwork

The goings-on at the home front!!

The first Golden Age of Science Fiction—often recognized in the United States as the period from 1938 to 1946—was an era during which the science fiction genre gained wide public attention and many classic science fiction stories were published. In the history of science fiction, the Golden Age follows the “pulp era” of the 1920s and 1930s, and precedes New Wave science fiction of the 1960s and 1970s. The 1950s are a transitional period in this scheme.

One leading influence on the creation of the Golden age was John W. Campbell, who became legendary in the genre as an editor and publisher of science fiction magazines, including Astounding Science Fiction, to the point where Isaac Asimov stated that “…in the 1940s, (Campbell) dominated the field to the point where to many seemed all of science fiction.” Under Campbell’s editorship, science fiction developed more realism and psychological depth to characterization. The focus…

View original post 647 more words

Review of “The Valkyrie Directive”

51F4eUxkpUL

Book ReviewsWWII – “The Valkyrie Directive” eBook was published in 2017 (original paper edition was published in 1987) and was written by Peter Berresford Ellis under the pseudonym of Peter MacAlan (https://www.fantasticfiction.com/m/peter-macalan/). He is also know under Peter Tremayne. Mr. Ellis published more than 90 books under those names.

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 is set in the early years of World War II – 1940.

Germany has just invaded Norway and there is a accomplished surgeon, Dr Didrik Stenersen, in Oslo that is wanted in London to treat a critical patient. A small team made up of the Doctor’s niece who had been studying in England, a Norwegian who had recently escaped from Norway ahead of the Germans and a British Doctor in London who had worked with Stenersen are chosen for the mission.

The three are quickly recruited and parachuted into Norway. They must come up with some kind of a plan to contact Stenersen and his surgical team, then sneak them out of the country and back to England. They have to evade the German Army and the Gestapo. They must also be wary of German sympathizers within the Norwegian population.

I thought that this was an interesting read of just under 6 hours for this 294 page World War II Thriller. I have not read much before about the war in Norway. I thought that the characters were well developed and I liked the plot. This novel is a bit unusual in that one character does not truly stand out as the primary. I do not think much of the cover art. Something relating more to the snow and ice of Norway would have been better. 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).

“Close Assault 1944” at Camp Mabry

IMG_1121.jpg

I was able to visit the Texas Military Forces Museum today on the grounds of Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas. I went there to see the World War II re-enactment performed by their “G Company” volunteers. Their “Close Assault 1944” program (lots of good photos in that link) re-enacts a typical engagement between US and German forces during World War II.

 

For today’s (and yesterday’s) Veterans Day weekend re-enactments, 36 volunteers (see bottom photo above) outfitted as either US or German military participated in the show. Prior to their skirmish, the weapons used by both groups were described and demonstrated.

Version 2

The “G Company” website page description:

G Company is the officially recognized living history detachment of the Texas Military Forces and Texas National Guard.  Members of the company are volunteers of the Texas Military Forces Museum located at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas.  The unit supports the museum and the Texas Military Forces by hosting and participating in the annual Muster Day event at Camp Mabry — a celebration and commemoration of all Texas military history which brings together reenacting units, historians and military vehicle collectors from the Texas Revolution through the Vietnam War.  A World War II battle reenactment is always a major part of Muster Day, however, G Company places great emphasis on creating realistic displays to help educate the public about the day to day life and realities for the front line soldier in World War II. In addition to Muster Day, G Company also stages “Close Assault 1944” on Memorial Day weekend and the weekend closest to Veterans Day each year.

If you are interested in military history, you should plan a visit to the museum. If you can, plan on attending one of their re-enactments. I know I will be looking forward to joining them again for Muster Day in April of 2018.

Review of “Soldier, Sail North”

51crE3Y6lML._SY346_

Book Reviews – “Soldier, Sail North” eBook was published in 2017 (original paper edition published in 1956) and was written by James Pattinson (https://www.fantasticfiction.com/p/james-pattinson/). Mr. Pattinson published over 100 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 set during World War II aboard a cargo ship taking supplies from England to the Russians.

This is the story of the nine soldiers, Maritime Royal Artillery men, who have been assigned to man the anti-aircraft guns and defend the ship. The plan is for the ship to sail from Liverpool to Murmansk, then back to England. The German air force and navy harass them all the way. The men must endure the arctic conditions, the constant strain from enemy attacks and their own demons.

I thought that this 6.5+ hour read of 224 pages was interesting. I had not heard of the Maritime Royal Artillery before. This was far from one of my favorite World War II era novels. The focus was far more on what the men were going through, than on the war. The cover art is OK, but in my mind should have contained more ice. I give this novel a 3 out of 5.

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

Review of “The Rest is Silence”

51JBt-+b9IL._SY346_

Book Reviews – “The Rest is Silence” ebook was published in 2014 and was written by James R. Benn (http://www.jamesrbenn.com). Mr. Benn has published twelve novels, all in the “Billy Boyle WWII Mystery” series. This is the 9th novel in that series.

I purchased this novel from the Barnes & Noble (Nook) bookstore. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in World War II England, just weeks before the Allied invasion of France. US Army Captain Billy Boyle is the primary character.

An unidentified corpse washes ashore on a beach being used for secret rehearsals of the D-Day invasion. Boyle is sent to find out who the dead man is, more importantly to determine that he was not a German spy observing the secret activities.

Boyle and his friend and associate Lieutenant Piotr “Kaz” Kazimierz stay at the estate of an old friend of Kazimierz which is located near where the body was found. The family they are staying with seem to have their own secrets and intrigues going on.

On top of their investigation hundreds of US military are killed during a German attack white they are practicing for the invasion. “Operation Tiger” (depicted in the story) was a real life disaster for the Allies while preparing for D-Day.

I thoroughly enjoyed the nearly 10 hours I spent reading this 336 page World War II Mystery. I have read all nine of the novels up to this point and I have thoroughly enjoyed them all. I like the characters that author Benn has created in Boyle and Kazimierz. I also like how he weaves real history into his stories. The cover art is a good selection. 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).

USA, Texas, Austin – Texas Military Forces Museum

The Texas Military Forces Museum is located in Building 6 on Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas. The street address of Camp Mabry is 2200 West 35th Street. A photo I.D. for all adults is required for entry onto Camp Mabry. In addition, Camp Mabry regulations require motorcycle riders to wear long pants, a long sleeve shirt, and a motorcycle helmet. The museum is always free and is open 10AM to 4PM Tuesday thru Sunday.

IMG_1045

I like history museums and particularly those that cover the period 1939-1945, the years of World War II. I had seen the sign at Camp Mabry while driving down MoPac many times for the Texas Military Forces Museum. Finally on September 17 of this year I was motivated by Austin Museum Day to visit the museum.

IMG_1056

While this isn’t a huge museum (at only 45,000-square feet it is a fraction in size of the National World War II Museum in New Orleans), I was impressed with it’s size and the extent of it’s collection. As the name implies, the museum covers all periods of Texas military history from the war of independence with Mexico, the US Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and todays War against Terrorism. The largest portion of the collection is focused on the action by Texas units during World War II. The museum has been open since November 14, 1992.

IMG_1046

The museum holds several vehicles from the World War II era. Mostly US, but also a few German vehicles. Some of these they take out of the museum and use during reenactments conducted a couple of times each year on the grounds of Camp Mabry.

 

They also have some well done dioramas from several periods, though I think my favorite is the one depicting a down in France shortly after D-Day. Amazingly this detailed display was built by Gilbert High School students of Gilbert, Arizona.

IMG_1057

Leaving the building itself, there is a static display of armor and artillery around the building. Mostly from World War II, but a few more modern as well. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit. I wish I had made the time to explore the museum earlier.

IMG_1060

I am hoping that I can return on Armistice Day (November 11, 2017) weekend when they host one of the re-enactments “Close Assault 1944“. The re-enactment is presented by “Company G”, this is a “hard core” LIVING HISTORY group. Their principle aim is to find out what it was like to be on the front lines and in camps during America’s greatest conflicts – the War Between the States, World War I, World War II and Vietnam – while educating and commemoration along the way. The event is free and there is plenty of free parking.

If you like history, particularly military history, you will want to visit this museum.


See my other Food & Location articles


 

Review of “Operation Armageddon”

51PtPth0+GL

Book Reviews – “Operation Armageddon” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Richard Freeman. Mr. Freeman has published 17 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 and Mature Language. The story takes place in 1943 Europe. The primary characters are Royal Navy Lieutenant Commander James Bosanquet and French resistance leader Marie Le Faucheur.

The war is beginning to turn for the Nazis. Their army at Stalingrad is in danger of being surrounded and the Allies will soon invade North Africa. Hitler himself comes up with a daring plan to strike a blow against the Allies with a submarine loaded with 250 tons of explosives.

Faucheur in Cap d’Enfer, France comes across information about the U-boat in her job at the German naval base. Bosanquet, working for British Naval Intelligence, is dropped behind German lines to take action against the threat. Working together with Faucheur, Bosanquet comes up with a plan to at least delay the sailing of the U-boat.

As with most plans, things fall apart quickly and their attack is thwarted with many injured or killed. The U-boat sails and it becomes a race to see if it can be found and stopped before the Germans can strike their ‘Armageddon’ blow against the Allies.

I enjoyed the 6.5 hours I spent on this 258 page World War II thriller. The main characters were a bit bungling in their jobs, but that is more realistic than the ‘James Bond’ like heroes we normally read about. The cover art is reasonable given that a German U-boat is central to the story. 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”

51HJI8dOHKL

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.