A portrait of the complex Third Army general draws on untapped archival materials, as well as government and family records, to discuss such topics as his military maneuvers, relief from command, and controversial decisions.
General George S. Patton Jr, an inspirational leader and outstanding tactician, has intrigued and confounded his biographers. Utilising untapped archival materials in both the USA and UK, government documents, family papers, and oral histories, Hirshson creates the most balanced portrait of Patton ever written. It reveals Patton as a complex soldier capable of brilliant military manoeuvres but also of inspiring his troops with fiery speeches that resulted in horrendous acts, such as the massacres of Italian civilians. It explains Patton′s belief in a soldier′s Valhalla, connects the family′s wealth to one of America′s bitterest labour strikes, and disputes the usual interpretation of Patton′s relief from command of the Third Army. In investigating this complex man, Hirshson has uncovered surprising material about a series of civilian massacres in Sicily, about the two slapping incidents, about attempts to exploit Patton′s diary after his death, and about Patton′s relations with top Allied generals. Patton emerges as a soldier of great imagination and courage, and his military campaigns make for edge-of-the-seat reading. All the drama of Patton′s life comes alive in this meticulously documented volume.