Academic journal article Military Review

Patton: Blood, Guts, and Prayer

Academic journal article Military Review

Patton: Blood, Guts, and Prayer

Article excerpt

PATTON: Blood, Guts, and Prayer, Michael Keane, Regnery Publishing, Washington, DC, year, pages, $27.95

MICHAEL KEANE'S BIOGRAPHY of the leader who displayed such great contradictions weaves together a compact, readable book focused on three specific facets of Pattern's history and remarkable character: blood, guts, and prayer.

In the chapter named "Blood," Keane examines Gen. Pattern's genealogy, highlighting the experiences and influences of his ancestors, especially his grandfather and great-uncle who served as officers in the Confederacy; both Patton brothers died of battle wounds during the Civil War. The genealogy traces even further back to Hugh Mercer, a contemporary and colleague of George Washington, who crossed the Delaware River with Washington in the Christmas attack on the Hessian Barracks in Trenton. Mercer also died of battle wounds during the Revolutionary War. Keane illustrates how Pattern's familiarity with his family's military heritage shaped the character of the historic figure we know well.

In "Guts," Keane explores Patton's demonstrated physical courage, building a perspective for better understanding the "slapping incident" that almost terminated Patton's career and would have demoted him all the way to colonel. Keane's presentation of correspondence between generals Eisenhower and Marshall about Patton's relief and potential future make it abundantly clear what a narrow escape it was. In his own defense, Patton indicated in conversation and correspondence that he had "saved an immortal soul," by grabbing his attention and having him sent back to his unit. One may wonder if Patton was so obsessed with proving his own physical courage that he was frightened by what he saw as a lack of courage in others--that somehow a threat of contagion existed, not only to the troops he commanded, but also to him. …

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