Timeline World War 2 with Robert MacNeil – Read, Learn, Enjoy

Total Score:  28.5

As I have mentioned before there is an app for every interest and hobby. One of my interests is World War II history. My father and his two brothers were at Normandy and my father-in-law was in the Philippines on Pearl Harbor Day and was later captured by the Japanese. For both my fathers the outcome was a long, happy life, but this was a defining time for their generation and one that I completely admire. It was with great anticipation that I started reviewing this app. After watching the intro by Robert MacNeil all I could say was wow! Timeline WW2 is packed with information and features and has been a joy to explore.

Price Rating = 5     $8.99. There is an absolute treasure trove of information in this app.  The only way to define this is media rich. It has over 100 videos, 600 photos and over 1500 written entries. Compared to others in the genre, it could be under priced.  It is well worth the investment.

Ease of Use Rating = 5     There is an excellent intro video which walks you through the functionality of this app.

  Readability Rating = 4     Most of the app has large readable fonts. Some of the longer stories are book size font and cannot be increased by pinching and zooming.

Will You Use It Rating = 5       I could imagine this as fitting multiple needs. The WWII hobbyists will enjoy this well-organized app. If you didn’t know anything about the era, this would be a great place to start. Most of all, if you were alive during this time you will enjoy the videos.  This book is a rare glimpse into life as it was in the late 30’s and 40’s.

 Downsides Rating = 0     I did not identify any downsides.  I am just being greedy, but I would love to have the opportunity to bookmark areas that are important to me.

 Consumer Review Rating = 4.5     The comments about this app are very positive. I found one that thought it was too heavily loaded with European information, but as someone who was looking for information on the Pacific theater, I found plenty.

 Why Do You Need This App Rating = 5     We don’t want to forget the sacrifices are fathers and grandfathers made for us, nor do we want to allow ourselves to repeat mistakes. Understanding this history helps us to appreciate the men and women who fought in the war and our country.

I can also imagine watching war movies and opening up the app to get a better understanding of where action is taking place and how it fits into the war. This would be a great companion to the HBO movies Band of Brothers and The Pacific. It would be perfect for one of my favorites, the series, Foyle’s War (available through Netflix.)

How does it work?

  1. Your first step after downloading should be to play the introduction. Robert MacNeil explains how the app works and how you can tailor it to your own interests.
  2. You can either view the information in a timeline or map format.  I’ll start with the timeline view. There is a slide bar at the top and by tapping on the plus or minus icons you can see greater or less detail. Somewhere in the middle worked best for me.
  3. There is a bar along the top with the years 1939 – 1945. You can easily move between those years by simple scrolling on the screen. As you scroll through the years, months show at the bottom.
  4. There are photos scattered throughout the timeline, but additionally, any items with paperclips have additional photos.
  5. Tapping on any of the items enlarges it and it will stay in this mode until you double tap to go back to the timeline. Being in the large mode allows for easier reading of notes and viewing photos.
  6. You will see yearly overviews that contain videos. You can listen to the original recording or click on US overview and hear Robert MacNeil’s narration. Also scattered throughout are newsreels from the period. It is truly an amazing collection of videos.
  7. You can filter the timeline to match your interests. Just some of the choices are battles, films, photos, and ships.
  8. On each of the written notes is a small globe. If you tap on it, a map pops up showing you the exact location of the action.
  9. You can also view the progress of the war through the map. By clicking on arrows at the bottom of the screen, you can see information about the next battle or executive decision and see how it impacts the map.  You can also use the timeline at the top to advance the map from year to year.

This is a truly remarkable collection of information about World War II and I can offer you hours of entertainment.

Devices: This app is compatible with the iPad. It requires iOS 5.0 or later. Developed by Ballista Media, Ltd.

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