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And I wake up to his theme song every day!

In Ft. Carson, lo these many moons ago, I picked up "Patton: A Genius For War" by Carlo d'Este. I was thinking I'd send it on to my dad after finishing it, but I have decided I'm going to hang onto it and send Dad his own copy.

I didn't know much about George S. Patton Jr. until this year. Early this spring I finally got around to seeing the movie with George C. Scott and wanted to read a biography afterwards. (If you recall, Mei-Mei also very much enjoyed the movie, but I think this book would be too hard for her.) This bio is 800+ pages but d'Este's writing style is smooth and engaging, with an obvious fascination for his subject apparent.

And what a subject! If someone made up Patton as a fictional character, readers would roll their eyes and say, "Oh, come ON!" "Georgie" was born into an old Virginia family that had moved to California--something I can wholeheartedly relate to. Heck, his family's first home in the state was Anaheim, before moving to San Gabriel. The Patton family was loving, happy and close-knit, so the only adversity young Georgie had to overcome was a mental ailment that we now know as dyslexia.

All he wanted to do was be a soldier, so dyslexia be damned, Georgie struggled through high school and West Point in order to get his commission, marry his sweetheart, get the power up and win the game.

His mad creativity was both Patton's greatest strength and his downfall, resulting as it did in an artistic temperament and a strong inability to keep his mouth shut when it needed to be shut. He was a complicated man, tormented by a low self esteem that he kept wrapped in bravado and the simple fact that yes, he really did excel at everything he put his mind to. Reform the cavalry? Sure. Promote this crazy new war machine called a tank? Hooah! (Okay, he never said "Hooah" but he would have.) Ask him not to liberate Sicily? Too late, already did it.

I really ended up liking the guy, although it was impossible not to cringe when he had one of many, "George S. Patton Jr., have you lost your mind?" moments.

L'audace, l'audace, tourjours l'audace.


No, this isn't the only book I've read lately, but a horror short story anthology and a couple of Warhammer 40K books aren't really worth commenting on.



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 26th, 2009 03:36 pm (UTC)
Horse lover that I am, I've always had a soft spot for Patton since he helped save the Lippizans.
Jul. 26th, 2009 03:50 pm (UTC)
He did, although he was a bit puzzled as to why anyone would teach horses tricks that he interpreted as just "butt wiggling". He loved horses, but felt it was rather impractical.
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 26th, 2009 05:58 pm (UTC)
That would probably have been Ruth Ellen. Bea died shortly after her father did, when she was in her 30s.
Jul. 26th, 2009 06:37 pm (UTC)
His son apparently inherited a lot of the genius but none of the crazy.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


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