Book Review: “Killing Patton” by Bill O’Reilly & Martin Dugard

This is a fascinating story of the World War II era centering around George Patton, a 4-star general leading the 3rd army in driving Adolf Hitler to his demise. It’s as much about the key characters in WWII as about George Patton’s life.

From this book, I learned about several interesting tidbits about all the key players in World War II.

Franklin Roosevelt: He’s a man of great passion for the country who worked himself to death. But his personal life like most political figures in the early era is bit shady.

Dwight Eisenhower – a military man with political savvy that frequently ran into conflict with George Patton in his effort to appease the British by favoring UK’s Montgomery at times to make UK look good. Also, some mention of his affair was intriguing.

Winston Churchill – tried hard to position UK’s power post WWII by working out deals with Russia’s Stalin, who didn’t honor any of them. He was voted out of office at the end of WWII but came back to power later. Pretty resilient. The fact that Churchill was more American than British; his mother was from NY.

Joseph Stalin – what a vicious dictator he was in treating his people and his German enemy. He was conniving, calculating leader. No wonder Patton was very skeptical of the Russians and fearful of the Russians more than the Germans.

My impression of George Patton:
1. He appears to be a very good judge of characters like Stalin, Hitler, and Dwight Eisenhower.
2. Patton made lots of enemy and got himself into controversies by talking from his guts, especially the last controversy he talked something nice about the Germans and his distrust against the Russian. Almost got himself fired.
3. Some personal poor judgement on his affair with young Lucy Mercer Rutherford and sending a commando to rescue his son-in-law in keeping his promise with his daughter. The poorly executed plan cost more than 30 lives.
4. His cause of death appears to be non-accidental. Looked like someone was out to get him. That’s what happened when you had lots of enemy. My guess is the OSS (Office of Strategic Services) head, William J. Donovan.
5. Patton was a very brave man and served the country well despite the strange death shrouded his latter day in life. Was it an accident or assassination? The author presented the facts that tilted toward the latter.

This is a great book. Not only the Patton character is interesting, the surrounding characters and the war details in the book were equally intriguing. I highly recommend this book, even if you’re not a history buff. It reads like a novel and very educational.