Patton: A Biography (Great Generals Series)

Overview

George S. Patton embodied contradiction: a cavalryman steeped in romantic military tradition, he nevertheless pulled a reluctant American military into the most advanced realms of highly mobile armored warfare. An autocratic snob, Patton created unparalleled rapport and loyalty with the lowliest private in his command; an outspoken racist, he led the only racially integrated U.S. military unit in World War II; an exuberantly profane man, he prayed daily and believed God had destined him for military greatness; a ...

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Overview

George S. Patton embodied contradiction: a cavalryman steeped in romantic military tradition, he nevertheless pulled a reluctant American military into the most advanced realms of highly mobile armored warfare. An autocratic snob, Patton created unparalleled rapport and loyalty with the lowliest private in his command; an outspoken racist, he led the only racially integrated U.S. military unit in World War II; an exuberantly profane man, he prayed daily and believed God had destined him for military greatness; a profoundly insecure individual, he made his Third Army the most self-confident and consistently victorious fighting force in the European theater. From Patton's boyhood battling dyslexia and becoming an avid reader, to his leadership strategies that modernized the U.S. army, Alan Axelrod delivers a fascinating account of Patton's life and legacy.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An engaging minibiography...Patton's race across France has become legendary, but Mr. Axelrod reminds readers that it was the result of careful planning."—The Washington Times

"Like Patton at his best: polished, precise and persuasive." —Kirkus

"An excellent choice for the initial volume in Palgrave's Great Generals series... a solid if brief introduction to Patton's life and career.... Axelrod has captured Patton's checkered legacy in a balanced biography suitable for anyone looking for a concise introduction to the commander German Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt pronounced the Allies' best."—Publishers Weekly

"Concise, incisive, and authoritative, Axelrod's Patton is a clear and entertaining biography of the famous general that captures both his complicated personality and the monumental events that made him perhaps the most controversial warrior in American history. For those who don't know Patton, it is a superb primer. For those who do, it is a balanced and insightful presentation of his life and the philosophical drive, personal and military, which propelled him to both greatness and scorn. Axelrod has cut through the politics and chaff to get to the man."—Robert K. Wilcox, bestselling author of First Blue and Wings of Fury

"Axelrod's powerful prose and historical insight bring the epic bronze monument of George Patton to vibrant life in glorious tones, personal secrets and dramatic action. A compelling story that is a pleasure to read and read again—and to rely on as a rock-solid reference book."—Colonel Jack Kingston, National Security Consultant

"Axelrod has written an excellent and compelling brief biography of an American aristocrat of violence, a scourge of the battlefield driven by a hunger for glory, whose enduring lesson for soldiers and commanders alike is that war is not about perfection but about opportunity."—Colonel Ernest Fisher (USA, ret.), Ph.D., Former Senior Historian, United States Army and author of Guardians of the Republic: A History of the Non-Commissioned Officer Corps of the United States Army

"Few generals achieve the status in the popular mind where their last name alone conjures up an image of martial prowess and preposessing personality strong enough to threaten to turn the man into the image. Surely George S. Patton is one such figure for Americans, but thanks to Alan Axelrod's marvelous compact biography the human Patton and the warrior are both revealed in startling relief. Clearly and concisely we are taken to the core of Patton's generalship."—Theodore F. Cook, co-author with Haruko Taya Cook of Japan at War: An Oral History

Publishers Weekly
Gen. George Patton, "a great and flawed figure" who still elicits strong feelings, makes an excellent choice for the initial volume in Palgrave's Great Generals series. Axelrod, a prolific business writer and historian (Patton on Leadership; Elizabeth I, CEO), delivers a solid if brief introduction to Patton's life and career. Seeking a "balanced appreciation" of Patton, Axelrod focuses on the contradictions that make the general such a controversial figure. A tactical genius who was instrumental in pioneering the concepts of modern maneuver and combined arms warfare, Patton often struggled to control his own personal demons and emotions. Thus, the man who conquered Sicily and turned "a stunning catastrophe" into an equally stunning victory at the Battle of the Bulge once set off a media storm-and was sidelined by General Eisenhower for 11 months-after he assaulted two soldiers suffering from battle fatigue. Restless in peace, the man who Eisenhower observed was "born to be a soldier," was killed in an automobile accident in occupied Germany in 1946. Axelrod has captured Patton's checkered legacy in a balanced biography suitable for anyone looking for a concise introduction to the commander German Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt pronounced the Allies' best. (Feb.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
First in Gen. Wesley K. Clark's "Great General" series; from the author of Patton on Leadership and other books on U.S. and military history. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
George Patton revolutionizes warfare while struggling with his inner demons during times of peace. Axelrod (Patton on Leadership, 2001, etc.) kicks off editor General Wesley Clark's "Great Generals Series" with a compact but insightful volume on one of the most controversial military leaders in American history, a man who, in his own mind, was born and bred to be a warrior. Descended from a long line of military men on his father's side, Patton decided at a young age to make war his business. Accolades and controversy followed him in equal measure from the moment he arrived at West Point in 1904. For every brilliant tactical maneuver he conceived and executed, he managed to alienate those around him, whether by cheating on his wife, offending his fellow officers or being too hard on his men. It was Patton's shocking abuse of a shell-shocked private-and proclivity for putting his foot in his mouth-that sidelined him for nearly a year during World War II, a period of time during which Patton's lightning strikes might have inflicted heavy damage and, perhaps, shortened the war. Patton was a walking contradiction: a pious man who cursed like a sailor, a man who knew peace through war and warred with himself in times of peace and a man who projected confidence while enduring excruciating bouts of self-doubt. For the most part, Axelrod holds nothing back in painting the portrait of a man who was something of anathema to a democratic society leery of having a large standing army: a professional warrior whose sole goal in life was to be in the thick of battle and emerge covered in glory. At times, Axelrod stretches in trying to justify some of Patton's more glaring faults, but this can perhaps beattributed to the nature of the series. Still, this is a concise yet in-depth look at a fascinating man whose myth, in many ways, outshines the facts. Like Patton at his best: polished, precise and persuasive. First printing of 75,000
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781403971395
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 2/7/2006
  • Series: Great Generals Series
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 331,345
  • Product dimensions: 5.71 (w) x 8.46 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Meet the Author

Alan Axelrod is the author of the BusinessWeek bestseller Patton on Leadership and many books on American and military history, including Encyclopedia of Wars, America’s Wars, and The Macmillan Dictionary of Military Biography. He and his work have been featured in BusinessWeek, Fortune, Men’s Health, Cosmopolitan, and many newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and USA Today.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Command and Controversy

• To the Army Born

• Cadet, Soldier, Athlete, Swordsman

• In Pursuit of Pancho Villa

• The Great War and the New Weapon

• At War with Peace

• Restless Mentor

• From African Defeat to African Victory

• Conqueror of Sicily

• The Slap Heard ‘Round the World

• Operation Cobra

• Warrior

• 90 Degrees to the North

• The Final Advance and the Last Controversy

• Epilogue: Blood, Guts, and a Damn Good Plan

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A concise yet insightful biography of the triumphant American WWII battlefield commander, General George S. Patton Jr.

    General George Smith Patton Jr. was a bold, inspirational American World War II military leader. Known as "Old Blood and Guts" to his troops in Europe, Patton had no equal as a military tactician. As military historian Eric Larrabee put it, Patton had the unique ability to "think like an army" and possessed a nearly mystical, intuitive understanding of battlefield tactics. As commander of America's Third Army, Patton achieved notable successes on the European battlefield in the war against Hitler. The Germans established blitzkrieg (lightning) warfare when they conquered Poland in 1939. But Patton shoved this concept down their throats as his Third Army swept across Europe after the Normandy invasion. Alan Axelrod ably tells Patton's life story in this concise, masterful biography. getAbstract highly recommends this outstanding book about one of America's greatest, most colorful military heroes.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Patton

    This was a good book. The author went into subjects about patton that was like writing stories. He didnt really go into great detail about the different chapters he wrote. i have read 4 books on pattons biography and none went into great details exceept for Patton: Ordeal and Triumph. if you just want to know gereral knowledge of patton's chaqracter, then this book is good.

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    Posted January 22, 2010

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    Posted April 20, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2010

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