In the Second World War, the United States, Great Britain, and Germany each produced one land-force commander who stood out from the rest: George Patton, Bernard Montgomery, and Erwin Rommel. All were arrogant, publicity seeking, and personally flawed, yet each possessed a genius for command and an unrivaled enthusiasm for combat. But their explosive relationships with one another rivaled the pyrotechnics of their tank battles in determining the conduct and outcome of the war. In the first book of its kind, historian Terry Brighton brings all three men "together" against a backdrop of the great armored battles of the war.
Brighton dug through archives in England, Germany, and the United States to find new primary source material and interpretations of how these masters of battle sought the fight, despised the politics, and captured their own glory. Was Patton actually like George C. Scott's portrayal of him in Patton? Did Monty always steal thunder from Patton? How would the war have ended if Rommel had had more tanks? Brighton tackles these absorbing questions and more in a fascinating book that any student of history will savor.
It seems like the bad guy was the best guy of the group
I typically don't delve into the European side of World War II, but this title was intriguing. After listening to the author's own words, I have to disagree with the Mr. Brighton. I found Rommel the most intriguing of the group. He was always dealt the inferior hand, fewer troops, and no help from HQ, yet he always made a good fight of each predicament. He didn't win, but he made the best effort. The second best guy of the group seemed to be Patton. He had clear strengths and weaknesses. He was organized and aggressive, but somewhat irresponsible. It struck me that he was in the perfect roll in Europe, he wasn't in charge of anything (Ike, Bradley, Monty, outranked him) that freed him from responsibility. When he won, he was aggressive. When he lost, it wasn't his fault. The least of the group in my mind was Monty, though the author didn't agree, he spends the war living off his victory over Rommel, but he used his predecessor's plan AND he had the broken German codes, so he knew every move and could bomb every supply ship without risk, and still it took him months to win. That is not impressive. Follow that up with poor performances in Sicily, Belgium, and the failure of Market Garden; all with the same advantages of prior code knowledge and I have to drop him to third. Other than that, you know how it ends.