Tag Archives: WWII

Review of “Dead Secret”

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“Dead Secret” eBook was published in 2016 (the paper version was first published in 1981) and was written by Alan Williams (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Williams_(novelist)). Mr. Williams published 11 novels.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this Thriller novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Situations. This novel is set in various countries in Europe. The primary character is Tom Hawn, a British journalist.

The story takes place in the late 1970s or early 1980s. Hawn begins to investigate where the Nazis had obtained their oil supply during the final months of World War II. He believes there is a tie with one of the now largest western oil companies ABCO. He and girlfriend Anna Admiral dig into the records. They find, and follow a series of clues that lead them across Europe. They learn a little more with each interview of the men who had been connected to the Nazis. As they proceed, many of their contacts soon turn up dead. Hawn and Admiral often run into danger, whether from ABCO or other parties is not always clear.

The 8.5 hours I spent with this 288 page novel were enjoyable, though it did get a little slow. There was not a lot of ‘edge-of’your-seat’ type of action, but more intrigue. Even though the book was written more than 30 years ago it was still a reasonable read. I did have some problems with the primary character Hawn. For being an experienced reported who had worked in many dangerous places around the world, he seemed rather reckless and inept. I also found the conclusion of the novel less than satisfying. I give this novel 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).

USA, Louisiana, New Orleans – The National World War II Museum

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My wife and I love visiting museums. When we were in New Orleans in April 2015 we had the opportunity to visit The National World War II Museum. The museum occupies several
buildings
within walking distance of the French Quarter at 945 Magazine Street.

The idea of the museum was conceived by historian Stephen E. Ambrose. Many will recognize that name as he authored many books about World War II, including Band of Brothers. That book was turned into a popular TV series on HBO. The museum became reality in June 6, 2000 when the Grand Opening of the then “D-Day Museum” was held. The museum was designated by the US Congress to be the “National World War II
Museum” in 2003. Today the museum is home to over 100,000 artifacts, and has hosted more than 3 million visitors. The museum is widely supported with over 130,000 members.

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This museum tells the story of the American experience during World War II. The museum has many aircraft and vehicles on exhibit, as well as a few shows and many artifacts. Separate areas of the museum address the war in Europe and the war in the Pacific. I have always enjoyed reading about World War II. My father served in the US Army during the war and was stationed in London and Paris.

The museum is open seven days a week, 9AM – 5PM (Closed only for Mardi Gras Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day). At the time I write this post, general admission is $24, with both the “Beyond All Boundaries” and “Final Mission”
shows an additional $5 each.

My wife and I spent around 6 hours touring the exhibits, and still feel like we rushed through. We are both looking ahead to visiting New Orleans again and spending more time with the museum. If you are in New Orleans, are interested in history (particulary World War II) and have a few hours available, this is a fantastic place to visit!

All images “Courtesy of The National WWII Museum.”


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Review of “Captain Riley”

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“Captain Riley” eBook was published in 2016 and was written by Fernando Gamboa. Mr. Gamboa has published half a dozen novels. This is the first in his “The Captain Riley Adventures” series.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence, Mature Situations, and Mature Language. This novel is set in 1941, mostly in the Mediterranean, but some in the North Atlantic. The primary character is Captain Alex Riley.

Riley is a veteran of the Spanish Civil War. Now he is Captain of the costal freighter Pingarrón. He and his crew are mostly small time smugglers and trying to stay off everyone’s radar as World War II rages around them. They are approached by one of their underground contacts with the opportunity to make enough for them all to retire.

They sign on to recover a device from a sunken ship just off the coast of Morocco. They soon discover that the ship is a German and has been sunk by torpedo. As they search the sunken vessel, they find not only the device they have been sent after, but Secret German documents as well.

They attempt to fulfill their contract and deliver the device. They soon find that there are multiple parties after them and what they recovered. As they attempt to escape, they find that the Germans are plotting a devastating attack on both England and the United States. Now Riley and his crew must not only escape from those that seek to silence them, but must find a way to stop the Nazis before they can strike.

I enjoyed the 9.5 hours I spent reading this 478 page novel. As with many Thrillers the story was a little far fetched. The action was near constant and kept my interest. I did notice one minor flaw. At one point in the story Riley is digging into some electrical equipment and transistors are mentioned. Transistors were not invented until the late 1940s and only became available commercially in the mid 1950s. Perhaps, though, this is an artifact from the book being translated English from the original Spanish. 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 “No Human Enemy”

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“No Human Enemy” eBook was published in 2013 (originally published on paper in 2008) and was written by John Gardner (http://www.john-gardner.com). Mr. Gardner published more than 50 novels. This was the fifth and last of the ‘Detective Sergeant Suzie Mountford’ series.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. This novel is set in June 1944 England. The Allies have been successful in their invasion at Normandy and are now pressing on towards Germany.

Germany has begun the bombardment of England using the V-1 and V-2 missiles. After a V-1 hits near a convent, three bodies are discovered. Detective Sergeant Suzie Mountford and her boss Tommy Livermore are called in when one of the three nuns killed in the attack turns out to be a man in disguise with his throat cut.

Livermore is pulled off this case to help with the death of a young woman. As he digs into her past, she seems to have had a questionable history. Mountford takes on the case of the dead nuns and soon finds more peculiarities about two of the victims.

Concurrent with these events in England, there are high level meetings going on within the German SS. A plot is afoot to disrupt the Allied war effort through a secret attack. As Montford continues to dig into the deaths, she begins to find possible nazi connections.

I enjoyed the nearly 7 hours I spent with this 286 page novel. I liked the combination of World War II time frame and Mystery. There were some hints where the plot was heading, but I thought that it was a well told story. The language was a little difficult to understand at times because of English slang, but still understandable. There were references to things that has happened earlier in the series, but this was a descent stand-alone read. 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 “Company Commander”

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“Company Commander” eBook was published in 2015 (though the original paper publication was in 1947) and was written by Charles B. MacDonald (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_B._MacDonald). Mr. MacDonald was the author of seven historical non-fiction books about World War II. This book is the story of his command of two infantry companies during the last year of the European campaign during World War II.

I received a copy of this book for review from the publisher, Endeavor Press. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains many scenes of Violence. This non-fiction history book tells the story of Captain Charles MacDonald and his command of companies G and I of the 23rd Infantry, 2nd Division, US Army.

The book begins in October 1944 when MacDonald, then only 20 and already a Captain, is given command of I company. The story follows MacDonald as he leads his men against the Germans during the final days of World War II.

His first combat assignment was holding a sector of the Siegfried Line. A few months later his unit was sent to block part of the German attack that became the Battle of the Bulge. He was wounded during this action and after recovering was assigned command of G company. Finally, he led his company through Germany as the US Army drove the disintegrating German defense until the war ended.

I enjoyed the 12+ hours I spent reading this 337 page book. It reminded me a lot of “Band of Brothers”. I would recommend it if you are interested in the history of WWII. 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).


If you are interested in the WWII era of history, you may find these two pages of mine of interest. 

The  World War II Sources” page is a collection of more than 270 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and other sources with information on the World War II era in history.

The “World War II Timeline” page shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.

Review of “In Command”

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“In Command” eBook was published in 2015 (the paper edition was originally published in 1983) and was authored by Philip McCutchan. Mr. McCutchan wrote 45 novels about the Navy. This is the 8th of 14 novels in his “Donald Cameron RNVR” series.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The setting of this World War II era Thriller novel is a British corvette, the HM Briar. While the newly appointed Captain of the HM Briar, Lieutenant Commander Cameron is the primary character, the view points of several crew members are included.

The Briar is being sent to the Falkland Islands, then on to the channels north of Cape Horn (the southern tip of South America). Intelligence indicates that the Japanese Navy will be sneaking a force through those channels. Once through, they will attack and occupy the Falkland Islands.

The British have little forces to spare to stop the Japanese. The Briar is being set with Army Engineers to blast closed the narrow channel to block the Japanese. The Briar and her crew dodge Japanese aircraft and ships in the frigid, narrow quarters of the channels. The plan is to set the Army Engineers with some of the Briar crew ashore so that they can place charges to block the Japanese. The Briar crew must not only battle the Japanese, but the fowl weather around Cape Horn as well.

I enjoyed the 4 hours spent reading this 150 page novel. This was a relatively short read, but did a good job of describing the perils of war. Even though I had not read prior books in the series, this novel read well on its own. It was a good WWII action Thriller. I look forward to read others in this series. 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 “The Fall of Japan”

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“The Fall of Japan” eBook was published 2015 (the paper version was originally published in 1968) and was written by William Craig (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Craig_(author)). Mr. Craig has published four books.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains some scenes of Violence. This Non-Fiction book gives a historical view of the weeks starting just prior to, and following Japan’s surrender in World War II.

It follows several leading figures of both Japan and the US. I have read a good deal about World War II, but this is the first book I have read that goes into the details of the Japanese point of view. The description of the efforts of some within the Japanese military to thwart peace and fight to the death read like a thriller.

I found the description of what many of the principal figures did during this time to be very interesting. There was also a good bit of graphic description as to the damage caused by both the conventional air raids, as well as the atomic bombs dropped on Japan.

The beginning of this book was a little dry, but as I got into it, I found it fascinating. The 9 hours I spent reading this 384 page Non-Fiction novel was enjoyable. I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in the history of World War II, particularly the war in the Pacific. 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 “The Strasbourg Legacy”

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“The Strasbourg Legacy” eBook was published in 2015 (the paper version was originally published in 1975) and authored by William Craig (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Craig_(author)). Mr. Craig has published four books.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The setting of this Thriller novel is the final days of World War II, and then covers about 30 years afterward.

As the German SS see the inevitable surrender, they make long range plans to see the Reich rise again. Escape routes are set up and significant wealth is secretly transferred out of Germany and hidden away for future use. In the years after the war, the SS cadre help those friendly to their cause. By the time the bulk of the story takes place, there are many leaders of industry and high placed government officials secretly friendly to the cause.

There are many characters in this novel, though the primary one is CIA agent Matt Corcoran. Corcoran leaves a training position at CIA headquarters to investigate the theft of weapons from the US Army. There are a series of other events that seems to point the finger at Soviet espionage, but Corcoran feels there is a deeper plot. He sets out to track down who is behind it all.

The SS has bided it’s time and now (the mid 1970’s) it uses its connections, wealth and power to put a series of events in motion that will topple the current German government. Waiting to step in to fill the resulting power vacuum are secret leaders within the SS.

I enjoyed the 3+ hours I spent reading this 187 page novel. It reminded me a lot of novels I had read years ago by Helen McInnes and Alistair Maclean. The ‘feel’ of the novel made me believe that it was authored some time ago, and that indeed proved to the be case (1975). It did seem to be a little disorganized at some points, and I think there were perhaps too many characters being followed. Over all, though, I enjoyed the novel. I give this novel a 3.9 (rounded up to a 4) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads.

Review of “Squadron Scramble”

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“Squadron Scramble” eBook was published in 2015 and was written by Robert Jackson. Mr. Jackson has written several books, both Fiction and Non-Fiction, on World War II, with a focus on aircraft of the era.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because of Violence. This Fiction novel is set in the early days of World War II. It covers the ‘Battle of Britain’ (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Britain) that lasted from late July 1940 through October of that year.

Those months saw an aggressive air power battle between the British and Germans in the sky over Britain. This story follows Sergeant George Yeoman of the British RAF and Lieutenant Joachim Richter of the German Luftwaffe. Yeoman and Richter combat one another more than once in the sky.

I thought that this story paints a good picture of the stress both sides were under during the Battle for Britain. Pilots and those interested in that era of flying will enjoy the many details that the author has included. I have read many stories from World War II, both Fiction and Non-Fiction. This book is short (119 pages and about 6 hours of reading), but I enjoyed it. 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 “The Sleeper”

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“The Sleeper” eBook was published in 2015 (December) and was written by J. Robert Janes (http://www.jrobertjanes.com). Mr. Janes has published seven novels.

I was offered a copy of the novel for review by the publisher. I would categorize this novel as ‘R’ as there are instances of Violence, Mature Language and Mature Situations. This Mystery Thriller novel is set in England in the period just before World War II begins.

There are several characters in this novel, but the primary are David Ashby and Hilary Bowker-Brown. Abby is a veteran of World War I and now teaches at a boys boarding school. He has a failed marriage to Christina von Hoffman, the daughter of a Nazi general.

Christina had prevented Ashby from seeing their young daughter, Karen, who was being taught the Nazi ways by her grandfather Hoffman. Ashby makes a daring trip to Germany and kidnaps his daughter, bringing her back to England. Knowing that his estranged wife as well as Nazis agents will be searching for Karen, he hides her with friends in a small village along the Cornwall coast.

Bowker-Brown has bought property along the Cornwall coast which includes an old tin mine. She is trying to write a novel set in a mining area. She is fluent in German and French, so in an effort to make his daughter fit better into England, Ashby engages Bowker-Brown to teach Karen English.

The Germans, driven not only by the Hoffman’s but by Nazi pride, are committed to finding Karen and returning her to Germany. German intelligence, including a here to fore unknown ‘Sleeper’ agent are put on Karen’s trail.

A young woman who Ashby has been involved with is kidnaped, tortured and brutally murdered – Is it German agents or someone else? British MI5 and MI6 are both aware of what is going on and want Karen as bait to trap German agents. But they are competing with one another rather than cooperating. Christina is willing to do anything to get her daughter back. Many different characters come into play as the story unfolds.

This is a story with a few twists and turns. A combination of mystery and spy thriller. I did enjoy the 8+ hours I spent with the book, but it felt very muddled. The beginning, in particular, seemed very slow and confusing. I almost called a Rule of 50 on this book, but I am glad that I stayed with it. The book was a little confusing at times as points of view changed in the middle of a paragraph and it was not always clear from whose perspective the story was being told. That said, I give this novel a 3.9 (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).