©1985 by Martin Blumenson; (P)1990 by Blackstone Audiobooks
"A gem of a biography...No previous work on Patton can match it." (Stephen E. Ambrose)
"Blumenson makes [clear]... the contradictory elements in his character that caused him at times to be outrageously impossible but made him a winning commander." (Forrest Pogue)
I have long admired Patton but knew little about the mans life. This book provided great details about his leadership and desire to achieve. It also gives his moral flaws as well, reminding us Patton was a real person like any of us. We all have the ability to achieve great things.
The story is excellent but the recording frequently had skips in the narration. I found this rather irritating. It wasn't much of a loss, but it detracted from the flow of the story. Other than that, the actual story is excellent and an important biography on the history of this great but imperfect General.
First of all - you can skip the first 4 chapters, which were rather long and boring and dealt with his family history, his time as a youth, etc. Chapter 5 is where it really all begins and discusses his WWI exploits and the post-war years leading up to WWII.
This book really brought to bare some of the idiosyncrasies and events which defined Patton's character. Repeated head trauma from polo injuries, for example, may have been the cause for his often violent temper later in life. Also, despite what anyone might think, Patton was often plagued with self-doubt that he was never doing enough, or being all he could be. In his mid-50's before the start of WWII he had a major mid-life crisis where he thought the Army would feel he was too old, and miss the next war - thus denying him of what he believed was his destiny. Destiny, was something that Patton believed in - that he was born to lead men into combat. Even throughout WWII as various decisions were made by Eisenhower and other commanders, Patton often wondered if he would ever realize his true destiny, and would often become depressed - whenever he was not leading men, or in combat.
Right after WWII there several very close calls Patton had - nearly freak accidents - which made him think that someone was trying to kill him. He even said to his children, upon returning home from the war briefly before going back to keep peace in Europe, that they would never see him alive again. He was right. Somehow, he knew he was going to die - but, as many friends and family believe - it was better than having him living the rest of his life in a world without a war. Patton said himself that, "Now that there is no war, I have lost all my value to this world". Nevertheless, it makes me wonder if there really was a plot to kill him from various political beliefs he held, including wanting to go to war with Russia, and showing public sympathy for some Nazi business leaders in Europe.
Overall - an interesting book - but as I stated - the first four chapters were not really relevant.
The story itself. This is a hero at the fullest extention of the word, loaded with great deeds as well as deep downfalls. One might even think this to be a carefully crafeted work of fiction. Because it did hapen, Patton's life soars above any myth. He was a living myth.
His notes and letters, where he expressed his focused drive to become famous, his view on military tactics, and the role and attributes of a true leader.
Clear voice, as well adequate emmotional rendering where applicable.
Some small parts of the recording are damaged. It would be great having them fixed.
Concise and informative.
What's not to like about Patton's story. In this case, well told.
The WWII years.
The panoramic storytelling is breathtaking. This is a fascinating narrative about the life of a truly great man.
Shelby Foote's Civil War A Narrative
It made me proud to be an American and also further appreciate our greatest generation.
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