Review: Killing Patton by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard

4 1/2 Star Review…it was almost 5 stars…almost…

I may not always agree with his politics, but I can readily admit that Bill O’Reilly is one heck of a storyteller.  And what’s most impressive is that he and his co-writer take what could be an incredibly boring documentary about General George Patton and turn it into a rich narrative.  My only complaint came from the fact that the actually death almost ended up as being just a footnote.  But it is understandable.  When your source material no longer exists and you don’t want to go too far into the world of guessing and conspiracy theories, you have to keep it simple and stick to what is known and what could be proven.

This book is definitely a must for anyone who wants to know more about General Patton and who he was and how he was viewed by those who loved him, loathed him, feared him and tried to ignore him.  It’s easy to see why people on both sides of the line wanted him to disappear.  But who had the best motive?  Who could actually be blamed if it really wasn’t natural causes?  The Germans?  The Russians?  The precursor to the CIA?  His own beloved Army?  There is no smoking gun and there is no proof that it was other than complications from a car accident.

We follow General Patton through the waning days of the European theatre as he and the Allied forces march their way toward Germany.  Along the way we slowly begin to get a fuller picture.  We are taken to the front lines where horrible atrocities are committed on both sides.  We are given a harrowing account of the war and the toll that it takes on every side.  For those of us who were born in the generations following World War II, we’re given an unvarnished look at how hellish this war was.  There are no white-washed history lessons here.  There are many spots where you just want to weep at the horrific images of what this conflict did to everyone from the highest offices in the world to the lowliest peasants.

While the central question is never truly answered and never can be, I have to say this was an amazing book.  I was actually sad to have it end.  I definitely recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in General Patton or just an interest into World War II.  Not only is this a fantastic book about one of America’s best strategic generals, it’s an amazing account of the last days of the European conflict.  I only wish more had been dug up about the possible conspiracies and subterfuge that may have caused the death of General Patton.

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