Brothers, Rivals, Victors

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At two inches thick, weighing two pounds, and holding seven hundred pages between its covers, Brothers, Rivals, Victors is an imposing book, nearly as big and proud as the three men it portrays. For anyone interested in World War II, the book is a must read, an entertaining and compelling story of three of the men who led the Allies to victory and who remain larger than life figures today.

Author Jonathan W. Jordan has supreme command of the field of battle, from the smallest details to the broad scope of the movement of armies across France and to the Rhine. Brothers, Rivals, Victors aims high with impeccably researched history–history we can almost touch–while peering into the minds of the three Generals through their diaries, letters, and speeches. The reader is with each of the men in turn.

  • In the often uncooperative weather: “Omar was as foul as the weather that gray day … Two days later, the clouds retreated, the big orange ball showed itself, and First Army attacked.”
  • With their torment and doubt and the physical effects of war: “He (Ike) smoked more than ever, the barracks bags under his eyes grew thick and dark, and he weakly complained there was not a single part of his body that didn’t ache.”
  • As they stew over disappointments: “Thanksgiving Day. I (Patton) had nothing to be thankful for so did not give thanks.”
  • And as they are with all their many human frailties and faults: “He (Omar) could almost see that smug, bucktoothed grin on George, a telephone in one hand and a cigar in the other, sunlight gleaming off the brass of his ‘wrestler’s belt’ and the polished silver of his six shooters.”

It would be almost easy to pick up one of the many portraits of these well known figures or histories of the Second World War and repeat the narrative. But that exercise would fall far short of the discovery Brothers, Rivals, Victors enables of the men behind the myth. There’s much to learn, including that at one time these men were the best of friends, then rivals–sometimes fierce rivals–and often disparaging of the others, but victors at the end.

As gentlemen all, in their own unique ways, they found the means to reconcile at the end of their lives, accepting the best and worst in each other, perhaps knowing how their legacies would be told.

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Brothers, Rivals, Victors can be purchased on Amazon.com and other book retailers.

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