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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2009 Terry Brighton (P)2009 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Brighton [moves] into the top rank of general audience military writers with this effervescent, perceptive triple biography." ( Publishers Weekly)

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  • Overall

Excellent ... Patton, Montgomery, Rommel

I was more than pleasantly surprised with this book and Terry Brighton, who I never read before, pulled off something rather extraordinary. Far from being a gimmicky attempt to use top generals to slap together an historical narrative, this book is very well written, the content well researched, and the presentation well delivered.

From an historical perspective this is a surprisingly good book on WWII. I liked how the author offers several view points on a subject, or the motivation of why a General did "x", and when he gave his own insights I found them to be well reasoned and thoughtful. I also found myself both liking and disliking all three of these great "Masters of War", and the excellent back drop of the important events in WWII made this an enjoyable read.

I came away with a better understanding of all three men, and surprising insight on the course of the war in the Western theatre and how significant each of these men were in the overall outcome of the major battles and the war itself. Whether you are a war buff; or are new to the world wars in Europe, I think you will find this book informative an enjoyable as I did.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


This book turned out to be quite a surprise for me. I have read a good deal about the Second World War including descriptions of the battles in North Africa, Italy, Western and Eastern Europe and the Pacific so I did not expect to learn much new. Still I thought that the concentration on Patton, Montgomery and Rommel was an interesting approach and I expected to enjoy the book.

To my surprise I found the book to be not only engaging, but to offer a view of the war quite different from all I had read before. It was full of vignettes and information that was new to me and I thoroughly enjoyed it and was somewhat disappointed when it finished.

It did not touch of some of the things I would like to have known about the three men, but I feel that I can highly recommend this book to those with an interest in the people involved in the Western European and North African campaigns in the Second World War. But please note that this book is concerned with the three principals named and this book is more about them and their approaches to the war (and to each other) than about the details of the battles concerned. If you are looking for details about the battles themselves you should probably look elsewhere.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Such an Interesting Juxtaposition

What did you love best about Patton, Montgomery, Rommel?

The contrasting and comparison of these three Generals is fascinating. I have read biographies of Patton and Rommel, but this book is a worthwhile supplement to my previous knowledge. Warning: don't read this book if Monty is your hero!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Robert
  • Chicago, IL, United States
  • 05-14-10

Great history

Great story of each man's career including a little info on their pre-war lives. I think the author did a good job not delivering the standard analysis of each man and their respective motivation, but tried to look at the historical records of their career as whole to establish patterns. It kept my interest the whole way. Though it would have been useful to have a map at times.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • S. Friday
  • Ramstein Air Base, Germany
  • 05-21-10


The three generals were fascinating people, each with their own agendas and personality quirks. This made for very interesting listening. The narrator did a nice job, except that he butchered the German words, making it difficult--as a German-speaker--to listen to those parts.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Richard
  • Pittsfield, MA, USA
  • 05-03-10

Exceptional and enjoyable.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It moves smoothly between each of the three principals in a time-line format that proves fascinating. The story compares and contrasts each leader within his own theater of operations as well as his/their impact on a global perspective. Well done and recommended.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Bryan
  • syracuse, NY, USA
  • 01-06-10

well balanced

This book gives a very well balanced view of these three amazing commanders. The narration is also good.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Steven
  • Damascus, OR, USA
  • 04-12-10

Three Very Different Tank Warriors

This book exemplified how these three very different men serving different countries had the tactical genius to utilize the tanks just as they were being made into the armored juggernaut that we know today. Rommel and Patton were masters of the lightning/blitzkrieg quick strikes that the tanks were very useful for, while Montgomery was a brilliant trainer and played with superior numbers in a way that detached himself from the lives of men he was sacrificing. They all had a great deal of pride and were not afraid to voice their opinions which led to each of their downfalls in different ways. This book showed a very important chapter in World War II history. Had any of these warriors not come to his own during this time, the world could be a very different place today.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

very good book, not easy task to write

Biography is challenging. Trio biographies so tightly told and woven together.
excellent job by the author and narrator.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Matt
  • Simi Valley, CA, United States
  • 01-30-18

Very good listen!

Such an eye-opening account of some key leaders from the war. Definitely would recommend to anyone wanting insight into the politics behind/the head butting that took place, between the top leaders and best known men of the European theater.