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Killing Patton: The Strange Death of World War II's Most Audacious General - Bill O'Reilly, Martin Dugard, Bill O'Reilly

I have listened to a couple of other Bill O’Reilly books. They were all read by him, and he did a pretty good job. However, this one disappointed me. He has a speech impediment which I never realized before, and it was distracting. Also, his pronunciation of some words was off as was his emphasis in some places. For this book, he should have had an outside reader.

The narrative’s timeline began at the end and then filled in the missing spaces, but often it was choppy and confusing because he bounced around from time frame to time frame, country to country and battle to battle. There were some interesting anecdotes that I had not heard before, but for the most part, it was information that was “old hat”. Eisenhower, Marshall, Montgomery, MacArthur, and Rommel were among those featured in the book along with Patton.

The title of the book “Killing Patton” did not fulfill its promise. It could easily have been called “Killing Hitler”, if you consider the amount of time spent on both men. It was a detailed investigation of several battles fought during the war, some with Patton at the head, and some with Patton’s absence. Patton had a somewhat tarnished reputation because of his violent treatment of soldiers who didn’t fit his ideal mold, who didn’t seem to be courageous or brave enough to meet his standards. He was a harsh and angry taskmaster, but those that believed in him respected him and loved him. He was brave and he was a patriot, dedicated to the war and his country. Although he remained married to a wife that adored him, he was not loyal. Apparently, neither was Eisenhower. He and Mamie were married for decades, but he, too, had a mistress.

History aficionados will have an easier time following the battles, geographic areas and timeline, but anyone who is not completely familiar with WWII and its various battlegrounds will have a harder time. Because Patton served during WWII there was a great deal of information provided about the battles fought and the tragedy of the Holocaust and its victims. Then the book covered the negotiations between the major powers, Roosevelt and Stalin, carving up Europe, Churchill being largely excluded, Truman rising to the Presidency and handling the helm well.

The best part of the book was the end, both the afterward and the summing up which provided the most important information about all of the people mentioned in the book. The attempts on Patton’s life, and the possibility that he was murdered, were explained more carefully, clearing up some of the confusion as a result of the disjointedness of the book, but no actual proof was offered to show if he was truly murdered, but the innuendo is there and points the reader in that direction. Using journals and letters and other written evidence, there are some conclusions drawn that are not totally credible.

In the end, the book seemed more about the battles, the other generals and the victims of the war, rather than Patton, alone. It was too light, too thin to truly engage my interest. It was enjoyable, but it was not very enlightening.