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Mark YostBrian Sobel's The Fighting Pattons is an extraordinary history of one American family's love of war. It includes the exploits of Hugh Mercer, a famous Revolutionary War general who married into the Patton line, and Col. Waller Tazewell Patton, who was mortally wounded at Gettysburg while taking part in Pickett's Charge. But the focus is on the careers of the 20th-century Pattons, World War II legend Gen. George S. Patton Jr. and his lesser-known namesake and son, Maj. Gen. George S. Patton who fought in Korea and Vietnam.
And this most conventional warrior's view (Major General George S. Patton) on that most unconventional war, Vietnam, makes for good reading. "We were in total violation of surprise, simplicity, command and objective," he says of U. S. strategy in Vietnam. "Somewhere someone made the statement that we would not go above the seventeenth parallel with land forces. We never should have told them that, we should have let them worry. Most importantly, we should have taken Vietnam on as a theater of war—just exactly like the Italian theater or the Mediterranean or South Pacific or Central Pacific theaters. We should have drawn a circle around Southeast Asia.
His father couldn't have said it better.
—The Wall Street Journal Review