Growing Up Patton: Reflections on Heroes, History, and Family Wisdom

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Overview

This unique memoir by the grandson of General George S. Patton Jr. offers a rare and intimate look into the life of the legendary man and the legacy he passed down from one generation to the next. It includes never before published letters between General George S. Patton and his son during WWII, as well as never before published family photographs.

The grandson of the legendary World War II general George S. Patton Jr., documentary filmmaker Benjamin Patton explores his family ...

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Growing Up Patton: Reflections on Heroes, History, and Family Wisdom

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Overview

This unique memoir by the grandson of General George S. Patton Jr. offers a rare and intimate look into the life of the legendary man and the legacy he passed down from one generation to the next. It includes never before published letters between General George S. Patton and his son during WWII, as well as never before published family photographs.

The grandson of the legendary World War II general George S. Patton Jr., documentary filmmaker Benjamin Patton explores his family legacy and shares the inspirational wit and wisdom that his grandfather bestowed upon his only son and namesake.

In revealing personal correspondence written between 1939 and 1945, General Patton Jr. espoused his ideals to Benjamin's father, then a cadet at West Point. Dispensing advice on duty, heroism and honor with the same candor he used ordering the Third Army across Europe, the letters show Patton to be as dynamic a parent as a military commander.

Following in those famous footsteps, Benjamin's father became a respected and decorated hero of both the Korean and Vietnam wars. Ironically, as he rose to Major General, he also proved himself just as brave, flamboyant, flawed and inspiring as his father had been.

A study of a great American original, Growing Up Patton features some of the pivotal figures in Benjamin's father's life, including Creighton Abrams, the WWII hero who became his greatest mentor; Charley Watkins, a daredevil helicopter pilot in Vietnam; Manfred Rommel, the son of German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel; Joanne Patton, the author's mother and a resourceful fighter in her own right; and Benjamin's mentally challenged brother, George. Growing Up Patton explores how the Patton cultural legacy lives on, and in the end, reveals how knowing the history of our heritage-famous or not-can lead to a deeper understanding of ourselves.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
With a name like Patton, it's impossible to write a book about family and not devote a sizable portion to the legendary WWII General George S. Patton Jr. (technically G.S.P. III). But this volume—written by George's grandson and featuring plenty of anecdotes about his grandfather and father, George S. Patton IV—is primarily a meditation on the bonds of family, the influence of heritage, and the importance of sharing one's stories. Born from previously unpublished letters (reprinted in the book) between the author's grandfather and father, as well as the author's interviews with his old man following a house fire that destroyed the dozens of diaries he'd kept over the course of his own illustrious military career, this book is by turns sweet, funny, and poignant. Patton discusses the exploits of his grandfather and father, and includes profiles of a handful of people who played a significant role in his their lives, such as General Julius Becton—a professional rival and family friend—and Manfred Rommel, the son of the German general Field Marshal Erwin Rommel (aka Desert Fox). At once an intriguing portrait of two of the American military's best-known heroes, Patton's debut is a poignant tribute to a family's rich history. Photos. (Mar.)
Kirkus Reviews
With the assistance of former Elle and Vogue contributor Scruby, the grandson of George S. Patton Jr. chronicles the relationship between his father and grandfather in this mélange of memoir, correspondence and biography. The book opens with the fascinating correspondence exchanged between Gen. Patton and his son, George Patton IV, then a new cadet at the United States Military Academy at West Point. The selected letters highlight the close relationship between father and son. Straight from the battlefront, Patton's letters are solicitous and enthusiastic about the daily concerns of a cadet, while his son's letters express encouragement for his father's battle campaign and an eagerness to begin his own military career. Documentary filmmaker Benjamin Patton continues with a series of character studies of a wide array of people who figured prominently in his father's life, including his wife, his developmentally disabled son (the author's brother), a commanding officer and a nun. One such significant figure is Manfred Rommel, son of Patton Jr.'s chief military rival during World War II, Erwin Rommel, who was executed by Hitler for alleged disloyalty. These two sons of military legends began a friendship later in life when George Patton IV was stationed in Germany, and their mutual admiration for their fathers served to cement their unlikely friendship. An attentive consideration of the deep affection between a military legend and his son, of particular interest to those already enthralled by Patton's larger-than-life shadow.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425243510
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/6/2012
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 993,512
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Benjamin Patton, grandson of WWII general George S. Patton Jr., is a documentary filmmaker who specializes in biographies for individuals and families, as well as documentary-style commercial work. A former development executive and producer at Manhattan's PBS affiliate, he also teaches filmmaking through his Fred's Film workshops. He lives in New York City. To find out more, visit PattonProductions.com and FredsFilms.com.

Jennifer Scruby is a former editor at ELLE and Vogue, and has also written for GQ, O - The Oprah Magazine, Lucky, ELLE Décor and The Financial Times of London. She lives in Miami.

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Table of Contents

Foreword Bob Woodruff ix

Part 1 Father To Son 1

Introduction 3

Chapter 1 Family History 11

Chapter 2 Wartime Correspondence between George S. Patton Jr. and George S. Patton IV 31

Part 2 Students, Doers, Teachers 85

Chapter 3 Creighton Abrams 87

Chapter 4 Manfred Rommel 107

Chapter 5 Geasung "Sammy" Choi 127

Chapter 6 Julius Becton 141

Chapter 7 Vera Duss-Lady Abbess 157

Part 3 The Young Commanders 183

Chapter 8 Jim Dozier 185

Chapter 9 Dave Palmer 205

Chapter 10 Glenn Finkbiner 217

Part 4 Spiritual Inspirations 231

Chapter 11 Glenn Myers and Lamar Hunt 233

Chapter 12 Tom Bowers 249

Part 5 Scenes From a Marriage 267

Chapter 13 Joanne Patton 269

Chapter 14 Wartime Correspondence between George and Joanne Patton (1968-1969) 285

Part 6 Moving Forward 299

Chapter 15 Charley Watkins and my brother George S. Patton Jr. 301

Epilogue 319

Interviews Conducted 325

Acknowledgments 327

Notes 331

Index 343

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 28, 2012

    A good family history story for those who study the life of GEN

    A good family history story for those who study the life of GEN George
    S. Patton, Jr. though most of the book relates to his son, Major General
    George S. Patton, IV. Instead of war stories, it's more about how the
    grandfather and father of the author interacted with one another at
    first and then later focuses on the life and career of the latter,
    George Patton, IV. With the author sharing some of the personal
    correspondence between the grandfather and his son and a few other
    tidbits, it makes for a good look into what it was like to grow up in a
    family that carried the name of Patton.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2014

    One of the most memorable books I read in 2013. Surprising and t

    One of the most memorable books I read in 2013. Surprising and thought-provoking.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 12, 2012

    You never hear much about Patton as a father. So I was intereste

    You never hear much about Patton as a father. So I was interested to learn about the impact he made on his only son, who followed him into the army and fought in Korea and Vietnam. You'll find lots of great father-to-son advice in Patton's letters from the front. You also learn about heroes who were closely connected to the Patton family, like Creighton Abrams and Manfred Rommel (son of Germany's Desert Fox). I read their stories over a few sittings.  Together, they offer a close-up look at modern warfare and how quickly it's evolved.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 10, 2012

    Everyone's family history includes a complex network of friends

    Everyone's family history includes a complex network of friends and acquaintances. When you're a Patton, many of these connections turn out to be history-makers. This is exactly the kind of memoir I like best. It's immediate, inspiring and engaging - with lots of surprise relationships that punch up the storytelling. For example, who would have thought that General Patton IV would become close friends with his father's arch-rival's son, Manfred Rommel? I loved this book and gave copies to many of my friends.  

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2012

    great book

    not based on war history. just a great read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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