Cover Image: THE TRAGEDY OF PATTON A Soldier's Date With Destiny

THE TRAGEDY OF PATTON A Soldier's Date With Destiny

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Member Reviews

Like many readers of this book, I suspect, my first encounter with the Patton story was the acclaimed George C Scott eponymous movie in 1970. Perhaps it was this film, or the exposure that audiences in the 1960s and 1970s had to both feature films and documentaries about the Second World War, that first lit the flame that has led me to read extensively around the subject. When I saw this book it appealed as I had only recently read the recently published account of Operation Husky, in which Patton features as a highly successful, if unconventional, military leader. As an introduction to Patton’s life and his turbulent military career, this book serves a useful purpose, although it is unlikely to add much to the understanding of readers who have read extensively around the Second World War in Europe. However, although the title does not suggest this, the book does provide significant detail around the almost accidental way in which the devastation of post war Eastern Europe came about as a result of poor decisions made by the western Allies, particularly Roosevelt, that paved the way for the malign hegemony of the Soviet Union over what became the Warsaw Pact countries from 1945 to the collapse of the Soviet Union decades later. The author rightly credits Patton with correctly predicting how events would turn out and the price he paid for his candid remarks to that effect that put him at odds with the US government’s post war policy.
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Subtitle: A Soldier’s Date With Destiny

I received an advance reader copy of this book from the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

I’ve been a George Patton fan boy ever since seeing the Academy Award-winning movie Patton in the early 1970s. I even included him as a character in my time travel novel. When I saw this title available through Net Galley, I couldn’t resist putting in a request for it.


The Tragedy of Patton appears to have used Patton as an outline. The book offers in depth background and analysis relating to incidents and battles from the book, in addition to some additional biographical detail. It takes deep dives into possible reasons why Allied leadership kept Patton on a short leash (besides the public relations problems he caused by being so outspoken). The author reached the conclusion that Generals Eisenhower and Bradley were concerned about potential congressional investigations of mistakes they had made while managing the European campaign and didn’t want Patton mucking things up for them.

After the end of the war in Europe, Patton was adamant that the Allies should have shifted the target of the war effort to Russia, as he considered war with them inevitable. With troops, weapons, and supplies in place, he may have been right. Orlando seems to dismiss the possibility that Stalin, Eisenhower or others within the American command structure arranged Patton’s death to keep him from speaking out.

I gave The Tragedy of Patton four stars on Goodreads. The author has written multiple books about Patton, and is obviously very passionate about the subject. The book was well researched, but could have benefitted from additional material.
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This was a wonderful book. Anyone who is interested in Patton and WWII would do well to add this one to their collection. I rarely give 5 stars to a book, but this one deserves it.
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Seventy-five years after George Patton’s mysterious death and a half-century after the Academy Award-winning classic film story about his life, Patton is increasingly seen as the one hero we should have listened to much sooner..

Author and film director Robert Orlando, who studied the great general in the film “Silence Patton: First Victim of the Cold War,’’ returns with a new book, his most enjoyable work: The Tragedy of Patton: A Soldier’s Date With Destiny.

Fittingly, this beautiful book arrives on the key date of November 11, which is: Patton’s birthday, Veteran’s Day, the anniversary of the end of World War I and the resurrection of Poland, a nation enslaved from 1795–1918 and again from 1939–1989 (ground zero in both World War II and the Cold War).

Patton, a gutsy military genius, a romantic poet and a strategic visionary, saw what the victors of World War II largely still won’t talk about: Poland lost World War II twice (in 1939, triggering WWII, and again in 1945, triggering the Cold War). Patton kept speaking truth to power, seeing clearly that the Germans and Russians both needed to be challenged.
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My First Patton Biography. Patton is one of those men who have seemingly entire libraries written about him. I know off the top of my head of the existence of at least a dozen different Patton biographies, and he is a subject I only have a very passing interest in. So if you've read any of those, you may have a different take on this book than I do.

For me, as the grandson of two men who both survived the Battle of the Bulge (without ever meeting, to my knowledge) and who went on to have the war shape them in *very* different ways, anything I can get my hands on to help me understand that period of their lives better is always a treasure. And while Orlando spends a fair amount of time in arguably Patton's finest hours, he also spends quite a bit of the book on what got the man to that point and what was going on around him during all of these eras. Ultimately, Orlando paints a picture of a man many men of "lesser" pedigree can very much identify with. A man haunted by past family glory, trying to live up to expectations both external and internal - and having to bear the burden of saving mens' lives while also motivating them to live up to his own expectations of them. A fascinating look at a complicated and oft misunderstood man, written in an easily approachable manner. Very much recommended.
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Definitely not the most exciting read if you aren't into history but I really liked it. It was sometimes a little too bogged down though and that took away from the experience.
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