Explore Patton's Career Through AUSA Books, Podcasts

Explore Patton's Career Through AUSA Books, Podcasts

Thursday, July 28, 2022

George Smith Patton, Jr. remains one of the Army’s most charismatic, confounding, and controversial generals.

His actions during the Sicily campaign of World War II aptly demonstrated his multi-faceted character. In the final week of July 1943, TIME magazine featured Patton on the cover (just a few months after he first graced that spot).

Operation Husky was off to a good start, and the magazine portrayed Patton as the famously flamboyant commander (“beautiful and battle-fevered in boots and whipcords”) who was no stranger to embellishing his own reputation: “Ahead of him came stories befitting the Patton legend…. Patton’s colleagues smiled at such stories, believed some of them.”

Then, twice in the next two weeks, Patton struck enlisted men who were being treated for combat stress. He was forced to apologize and faced harsh criticism when the incidents became public. The Army withdrew him from combat command for nearly a year, concerned about his lack of judgment and discipline.

When Patton finally got back into the field in August 1944, his successes on the offensive from France to Germany secured his place in military history.

AUSA’s Army Matters podcast recently featured a conversation with Stephen L. Moore, author of Patton’s Payback: The Battle of El Guettar and General Patton’s Rise to Glory. The discussion covers the first days of the general’s national prominence when, following the debacle of Kasserine Pass, Patton took over command of II Corps in North Africa and spurred his men to victory.

Listeners can find that episode here: https://podcast.ausa.org/e/general-patton-s-rise-to-glory/. (The story about Patton’s treatment of Maj. Gen. Terry Allen is something I’ll not soon forget.)

Going back even earlier, both for the Army Matters podcast and for Patton’s military career, Jon Mikolashek spoke about Patton’s pioneering work in armored warfare with a discussion of his book Blood, Guts, and Grease: George S. Patton in World War I: https://podcast.ausa.org/e/thought-leaders-blood-guts-and-grease/

Moving to the printed page, the AUSA Book Program has over the years featured many books about “Old Blood and Guts.”

Patton’s early years as tanker can be found in both Mikolashek’s book and Pershing’s Tankers: Personal Accounts of the AEF Tank Corps in World War I edited by Lawrence M. Kaplan.

Those more interested in the Second World War will find such titles as Patton at Bay: The Lorraine Command, 1944 and Advance and Destroy: Patton as Commander in the Bulge, both by John Nelson Rickard, and Patton’s Photographs: War as He Saw It by Kevin M. Hymel.

To order any of the AUSA Book Program titles about Patton, please visit www.ausa.org/books.