O'Reilly reconstitutes his Killing Patton (2014) for younger audiences with a grabbier title, lightly massaged extracts from the original, and additional period photographs.
It’s a patch job from start to finish. The book opens with a Patton-centric account of the Battle of the Bulge that takes up nearly a third of the volume and closes with 13 arbitrarily ordered minidisquisitions on topics ranging from Hitler’s mustache and his diet to Nazi art looting and the Nuremburg trials; in between, spare glimpses of life in Hitler’s Berlin bunker alternate with accounts of the Allied drive into Germany in 1945. The narrative is composed of rearranged excerpts, subjected to editing that in some cases makes the writing even more overwrought than the original: “The woods are dark and gloomy. A dense fog makes the Germans even less visible,” becomes “The woods are dark and gloomy inside, as if covered in a shroud of pines. A dense fog makes the Germans even more invisible.” Illustrating the text are black-and-white war photos, many generic, some badly placed or bearing uninformative captions (“German tanks”), all too many blurred and murky.
Readers looking for a clear picture of “modern history’s best-known evil ruler and murderer” or the course of World War II in general would be far better off skipping this knockoff for some of the well-chosen titles recommended at the end. (maps, index) (Nonfiction. 11-14)