Book Review: Killin’ Generals by Dwayne Epstein

April 25, 2023

About:

Killin’ Generals: The Making of the Dirty Dozen, the Most Iconic WW II Movie of All Time by Dwayne Epstein takes a look at the World War II film The Dirty Dozen, from writing the book to its big screen adaptation. Mr. Epstein is a published biographer, and journalist.

  • 256 pages
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Citadel
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0806542411

Book Review: Killin’ Generals by Dwayne Epstein
My rating for Killin’ Generals – 5

BuyKillin’ Generals from Amazon.com*
More books by Dwayne Epstein*
Buy the book The Dirty Dozen*
Watch the movie*

Thoughts:

Accidentally, or not so accidentally based on whatever privacy policies I was inclined to agree to, I saw this book just as I was started to watch The Dirty Dozen on one of my already-too-many streaming services. I have always enjoyed this movie, but saw it many years ago and it was nice to get a fresh perspective on this classic.

I didn’t realize how many actors evidently were propelled to fame by this movie. From Jim Brown and Charles Bronson, whose line “killing generals could get to be a habit with me” gave the book its title, to Donald Sutherland and, of course, Telly Savalas in all his bald Greek glory.

Killin’ Generals by Dwayne Epstein uses interviews, documents, and gossip to bring forth a complete story of this classic. The author also gives context to the success of the movie, by analyzing the environment in which it was released. America was in the midst of civil right protests, the Vietnam War, and other social issues. At the time Hollywood wasn’t afraid to hold a mirror up to the audiences, who certainly weren’t afraid to look.

I also never realized the impact The Dirty Dozen had on pop-culture. The movie was both a critical and commercial success, delivering superb acting, action, defying authority, mocking the military, all while killing Nazis galore. The picture was a template to other directors, and stories, which are with us to this day.

The author also tells of the dynamic relationships between the actors, the crew, and the writers. Lee Marvin, already an alcoholic was the consummate professional. Ironically, the other “big star” was popular singer Trini López, who attempted to “pull his weight” and his character was promptly killed off, and his career dwindled off. I also enjoyed seeing some of my favorite actors, Richard Jaeckel, Ernest Borgnine, George Kennedy, and Robert Ryan among others.

I certainly enjoyed reading this book very much, as a fan of the movie and as fan movie making. The author goes into great detail re-telling the story of the novel by E. M. Nathanson , and the changes that were made to the motion picture, as well as behind the scenes anecdotes which I especially appreciate.

BuyKillin’ Generals from Amazon.com*
More books by Dwayne Epstein*
Buy the book The Dirty Dozen*
Watch the movie*

Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer:I got this book for free.
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account, the money is usually spent on books

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Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Killin' Generals: The Making of the Dirty Dozen, the Most Iconic WW II Movie of All Time by Dwayne Epstein
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Wrap Up

Killin' Generals: The Making of the Dirty Dozen, the Most Iconic WW II Movie of All Time by Dwayne Epstein

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