“Engineers of Victory’’ is a demandingly complex account of a relatively neglected side of the World War II. And it cries out for a touch of Ben Macintyre or a Lynne Olson, popular historians of that era who revel in character and scene-setting. Kennedy sorely lacks these skills; his “engineers of victory” are elusive folk. He only glancingly evokes figures like Major General Percy Hobart, from whose clever head sprang the mine-flaying tanks (known as “Hobart’s Funnies”), but does not bring them alive. Winning wars may require superior management as well as significant firepower, but waging war is still a human endeavor.
Matthew Price is a regular contributor to the Globe. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.