Patton, The Man Behind The Legend

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WillBrink

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I just finished this biography of Patton. Highly recommended. I was going to write a review, but I thought others (via amazon) did such a great job of it, I am going to use one here below:

By The Man Who Served Under Patton, May 15, 2004
By S. Annand (Alexandria, VA United States) -

The one primary reason this ranks as the paramount biography of Patton is because the Patton family never tried to control the author. The secondary reason for the success of this biography is because the author, Blumenson, served as a young lieutenant under Patton.

I surprised about a number of facts regarding Patton. First of all, he was dyslexic, but was able to overcome that problem through hard work. He was also kicked by a horse later in life, and this may be the reason for his "unstable" and volatile character.

There are plenty of fun facts in this biography. I was surprised that Patton was an Olympic athlete in the pentathlon. I did not realise, though, that the pentathlon was built around an officer carrying dispatches (i.e., horse, sword, pistol, swimming, running). He also should have placed first, but they could not decide if his pistol round had punched through the same hole twice (so the judges counted it as a complete miss).

Patton had many doubts about his manhood. He joked, while at West Point, that he made a fine woman as a dancer. Since West Point only had men at the time, they had to trade off when learning to dance. There is also a serious character flaw in Patton regarding his niece. Although he denied it, it was pretty obvious he was having sex with his niece. This is where we, as the reading public, must give all thanks to the Patton family. They trust Blumenson so much that he is the only man they have given full access to the family papers and letters. At no point did they tell Blumenson to hide anything. They recognized that their family member was an historical figure,and insisted on a complete analysis--warts and all. Otherwise, how can you form an opinion on the man?

Blumenson ends his biography with a chapter "Behind the Legend." Patton's ideal of leadership is one key to understanding him. On page 307 he states "slef-confidence and leadership are twin brothers." As Blumenson states, "the sublime irony is that Patton's self-confidence was an act, forced and assumed, put on, riveted to his exterior."

Blumenson is quite informative and a must see. He is positive that, had Patton lived a lengthy life, he would have been discredited. He was a real embarrassment, great in war but terrible in peace. The author is also a very humble man, even though he is a retired colonel, and always makes the emphasis when he speaks about Patton.

The book and more reviews here:

http://www.amazon.com/review/produc...cm_cr_acr_txt?_encoding=UTF8&showViewpoints=1
 
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WillBrink

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He'll always be a hero to me!

No matter to me, what his personal demons or problems might have been!

All of our hero's are still human beings. It's only the blind followers and bad historians who don't admit to that. I learned a bunch about Patton from this biography I didn't know, good and bad. A great read.
 

ROS

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So, why exactly would one actively seek to discredit a man's character decades after his death, and not only that surrounding his personal life, but his leadership as well?


To me, that speaks volumes on the character of the author.
 
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WillBrink

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So, why exactly would one actively seek to discredit a man's character decades after his death, and not only that surrounding his personal life, but his leadership as well?


To me, that speaks volumes on the character of the author.

The author was lieutenant under Patton and the official biographer for the 3D Army. Telling the facts, both the good and the bad does not "discredit" either the man or his leadership. The author is, as was virtually every man who served under him (which included my step grandfather) in awe of Patton, and is crystal clear Patton was one of the greatest military minds who ever lived. I suggest reading the book if the real man behind the legend interests you. Didn't tarnish my opinion one bit. If anything, seeing how human Patton was only increased my respect for him as a leader.
 

pardus

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So, why exactly would one actively seek to discredit a man's character decades after his death, and not only that surrounding his personal life, but his leadership as well?


To me, that speaks volumes on the character of the author.

Actively seeking to discredit him? :uhh:

Just telling it how it is from I read.
------------------------------------

I'd be quite interested in reading this bio myself, I don't know that much about Patton.
 

ROS

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Blumenson is quite informative and a must see. He is positive that, had Patton lived a lengthy life, he would have been discredited. He was a real embarrassment, great in war but terrible in peace.

I wouldn't say his opinion of Patton's leadership was too high. ;)

I'd be interested in seeing how well-rounded it is.
 

pardus

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I wouldn't say his opinion of Patton's leadership was too high. ;)

I'd be interested in seeing how well-rounded it is.

You and I are reading that passage totally differently.
From what I do know of Patton I'd say that would be an accurate assessment.
Look at Gen McCarthur.
 

ROS

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You and I are reading that passage totally differently.
From what I do know of Patton I'd say that would be an accurate assessment.
Look at Gen McCarthur.

Very true, on both counts.

I'd say that in order to draw a complete and finite conclusion on the book, I must read it.

Now I have a mission. :D
 
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WillBrink

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Very true, on both counts.

I'd say that in order to draw a complete and finite conclusion on the book, I must read it.

Now I have a mission. :D

We look forward to your review. Some comments from the back cover:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0688137954/ref=sib_dp_pt#reader-link

From the National Review:

NO GENERAL lives with us more today than George S. Patton Jr.--perhaps in part because of what the author of this book calls George C. Scott's "remarkably accurate portrayal of the public figure" in the 1970 film. In the present work, Martin Blumenson attempts a portrait of the private figure--no easy task, because Patton so Thoroughly honed his image. But Mr. Blumenson is eminently suited for the job, having been a staff historian for Patton's Third Army...

Cont:

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1282/is_v38/ai_4502628
 

Diamondback 2/2

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I have studied Patton off and on for better part of 10 years, read countless reviews and twisted theories about the kind of man Patton was. The bottom line is nobody has ever proven (with factual information) that Third US. Army Commanding General Patton was anything other then the greatest commander the United States had ever produced.
 

Trip_Wire

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I have studied Patton off and on for better part of 10 years, read countless reviews and twisted theories about the kind of man Patton was. The bottom line is nobody has ever proven (with factual information) that Third US. Army Commanding General Patton was anything other then the greatest commander the United States had ever produced.

Well stated! I of course agree 100%! :)
 
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WillBrink

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A co-worker if mine told me about the book, said the Patton family gave him several photo albums.

Way beyond that. He was given access to Paton's diary, letters between he and his wife, between he and his father and mother, and many other sources, which gives an amazing insight into the actual person that was Patton. The author does a most impressive job, with Patton's daughter saying "Martin Blumenson has written an extraordinary book about my father." There are many good books about Patton's military exploits (and he was a genius of war, make no mistake) but for insight into the man himself, this book is without equal. It only made me respect him that much more, and it's clear the author deeply respected Patton.
 
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