Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Killing Patton - Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard

Title: Killing Patton
Author: Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard
ISBN: 978-0-8050-9668-2
Publisher: Henry Holt Books
Year: 2014
Pages: 352
Photographs/Maps: 30/19

This is the fourth book in the series written by the authors identifying controversial or sensationalist aspects about the deaths of their subjects; in this case Gen George S Patton. The book provides an overview of Patton’s drive through Western Europe and his clashes with many of his superiors and allies. It includes his efforts to try and have the war extended beyond the defeat of Germany into a clash with the Soviet Union.

That Patton was a dynamic, driven and controversial General is beyond doubt. That there was a conspiracy to have him killed for political reasons has not, in the opinion of this reviewer, been proven by this narrative. Indeed the portion relating to his death and the alleged plot takes up only the final few pages of the book. There are a number of books and authors that provide a much better analysis of Patton as a Commander and a General. This book, while providing a broad brush discussion of his achievements, did not provide any more than a shallow recitation of the Patton experience. It was also very suggestive of a USA bias regarding Patton’s competencies (suggesting for example that the only Axis General that was equal to Patton was Rommel – something that historians would take umbrage with when considering Manstein, Guderian, Balck, Raus or Manteuffel to name a few).

If the reader is looking for a quick surface read of the events surrounding Patton’s command experience and leadership style then this is a book for you.

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