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Patton, Montgomery, Rommel: Masters of War…

Patton, Montgomery, Rommel: Masters of War (original 2008; edition 2009)

by Terry Brighton

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895135,585 (3.55)5
Title:Patton, Montgomery, Rommel: Masters of War
Authors:Terry Brighton
Info:Crown (2009), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 448 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Non Fiction, History, Military, WW2, Land, Europe, Generals, D, Troy

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Patton, Montgomery, Rommel: Masters of War by Terry Brighton (2008)



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Just finishing this up. I thought it was an excellent examination of the different styles of these 3 war leaders- I knew the basic stories of each but this delved into the probably mindsets of the men, and tried to postulate the possible reasons for actions. Interesting how completely different personalities can end up leading wars... clearly arrogance is one of the common denominators of all the men in this book. It also shows how these personalities don't really think about "people" but, rather, reputations and self-serving actions - kinda disgusting actually, but I suppose necessary for leading men. ( )
  marshapetry | Sep 17, 2014 |
Quick and interesting read about generalship during WW2. Enlightening insights into the frailties and strengths of the three most notable senior leaders on the European Western front battle scene. Frequently flawed but dramatically successful summarizes this authors perspective on these men. ( )
  jamespurcell | Dec 25, 2012 |
A skillfully written comparative biography of three egotists who, between them, were responsible for the deaths and injuries of tens of thousands of their own troops. For students of psychopathology, this book provides illustrative case studies of the differences between a sociopath, a psychopath and a psychotic. All three were megalomaniacs, of course; but each took different paths into the thickets of more serious personality disturbance. The fact that each was lionized in his own country is all the proof anyone needs of the fundamental insanity of war, an organized activity in which only the most demented can rise to positions of distinction. That our societies readily adopt this enterprise as a paradigm for structuring other corporate endeavors (business, education, "sport", among others), makes a powerful case for the concept of original sin. ( )
2 vote jburlinson | Jul 15, 2012 |
A comparative biography of Rommel, Montgomery, and Patton, although it might have been better titled Montgomery and two other guys, since Montgomery, by far gets the most coverage. It is an interesting choice to include all three, there are some similarities between Patton and Rommel, but Montgomery is very different. I do not know much about the three subjects of the book, other then what I know from watching Patton, so the book was quite interesting, however I do have a concern regarding it. Early in the book, Brighton attempts to make a connection between the three generals using Clausewitz’s Principles of War. He states that all three read it while in their respective military academies in the early 1900s, as it was the primary text for officer cadets. However, I am pretty sure Principles of War wasn’t translated into English until the 1940s. Perhaps he was intending to refer to Clausewitz’s On War, although that book would be unsuitable for officer cadets and it is unlikely that any service academies would be using it as the primary text. Furthermore, Brighton describes an incident in which Patton was on his honeymoon in London, bought a copy of Principles of War, and then ignored his new wife while reading it. This does not make much sense if he had just finished using it as the “primary text” while at West Point. This makes me question the rest of the book, what other errors are there that I don’t know enough to see?

There was a review of this book in a relatively recent issue of the JMH. I waited until I finished the book and this review before reading it. It mentions the same issues I had regarding Clausewitz and ends with this quote, “This is a book that will result in a much distorted picture for the general reader, and extremely frustrating reading for the more knowledgeable reader.” ( )
  sgtbigg | May 27, 2011 |
It's been a number of years since I read a Patton book, so I'm not sure if there was a lot of new information in this one, or I was just reminded of things I'd forgotten. It would have been helpful if Brighton would have included foot/endnotes. His bibliography seems extensive, but I have no idea what information came from where. Doing some web searches on some passages leads me to believe he relied heavily on D'Este's book for the Patton material. As well he should.

Brighton's writing moves briskly, and even at 400 pages, the book was a quick read. Obviously, when writing a triple biography there is not much depth provided. The purpose of the book was to explain the relationships between the three men and was not really a character study, but by doing this much of the interesting material is overlooked. For example, he mentions a few times where Patton stopped to see ancient military ruins, but doesn't give us much information as to why he did this and Monty and Rommel did not. Unless you know about Patton already this behavior may be lost on you.

Of the three, Brighton has the lowest opinion of Monty, and perhaps Ike. He certainly doesn't whitewash Patton's mistakes, or Rommel's, but is of the mind that they were the better commanders and that their personality quirks were less disruptive to their respective war efforts. Patton may have slapped two soldiers, but that was a PR problem. Monty's ongoing attempt to usurp Ike's command role affected the war effort until Ike finally put an end to it. Rommel is given the benefit of the doubt about the July 20 attempt on Hitler and there seems to be good evidence that he deserves it. I know little of Rommel, so I have to trust Brighton.

There are few maps, and the ones there are don't do much good, but the book is much more about the interactions of the men than detailed campaign histories. There are some good myth-busting passages, and it's obvious that some of the animosity in the Patton-Monty legend is a bit overblown, though certainly based on fact.

All in all, a good book which held my interest, but if you're looking for an intro for any of these three men, don't start here. This is good material after you have a base of knowledge. ( )
  sergerca | Feb 27, 2010 |
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In "Patton, Montgomery, Rommel," one of Britain's most accomplished military scholars presents an unprecedented study of the land war in the North African and European theaters, as well as their chief commanders--three men who also happened to be the most compelling dramatis personae of World War II.… (more)

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