Growing Up Patton
Growing Up Patton
Reflections on Heroes, History and Family Wisdom
Berkley Publishing Group, Hardcover, 9780425243510, 355pp.
Publication Date: March 6, 2012
The grandson of the legendary World War II general George S. Patton Jr., documentary filmmaker Benjamin Patton explores his family legacy and shares the inspirational wit and wisdom that his grandfather bestowed upon his only son and namesake.
In revealing personal correspondence written between 1939 and 1945, General Patton Jr. espoused his ideals to Benjamin's father, then a cadet at West Point. Dispensing advice on duty, heroism and honor with the same candor he used ordering the Third Army across Europe, the letters show Patton to be as dynamic a parent as a military commander.
Following in those famous footsteps, Benjamin's father became a respected and decorated hero of both the Korean and Vietnam wars. Ironically, as he rose to Major General, he also proved himself just as brave, flamboyant, flawed and inspiring as his father had been.
A study of a great American original, "Growing Up Patton" features some of the pivotal figures in Benjamin's father's life, including Creighton Abrams, the WWII hero who became his greatest mentor; Charley Watkins, a daredevil helicopter pilot in Vietnam; Manfred Rommel, the son of German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel; Joanne Patton, the author's mother and a resourceful fighter in her own right; and Benjamin's mentally challenged brother, George. "Growing Up Patton" explores how the Patton cultural legacy lives on, and in the end, reveals how knowing the history of our heritage-famous or not-can lead to a deeper understanding of ourselves.
Jennifer Scruby is a former editor at "ELLE" and "Vogue," and has also written for "GQ, O - The Oprah Magazine, Lucky, ELLE Decor" and "The Financial Times of London." She lives in Miami."
With a name like Patton, it's impossible to write a book about family and not devote a sizable portion to the legendary WWII General George S. Patton Jr. (technically G.S.P. III). But this volume--written by George's grandson and featuring plenty of anecdotes about his grandfather and father, George S. Patton IV--is primarily a meditation on the bonds of family, the influence of heritage, and the importance of sharing one's stories. Born from previously unpublished letters (reprinted in the book) between the author's grandfather and father, as well as the author's interviews with his old man following a house fire that destroyed the dozens of diaries he'd kept over the course of his own illustrious military career, this book is by turns sweet, funny, and poignant. Patton discusses the exploits of his grandfather and father, and includes profiles of a handful of people who played a significant role in his their lives, such as General Julius Becton--a professional rival and family friend--and Manfred Rommel, the son of the German general Field Marshal Erwin Rommel (aka Desert Fox). At once an intriguing portrait of two of the American military's best-known heroes, Patton's debut is a poignant tribute to a family's rich history. --Publishers Weekly (Mar.)
With the assistance of former Elle and Vogue contributor Scruby, the grandson of George S. Patton Jr. chronicles the relationship between his father and grandfather in this mélange of memoir, correspondence and biography. The book opens with the fascinating correspondence exchanged between Gen. Patton and his son, George Patton IV, then a new cadet at the United States Military Academy at West Point. The selected letters highlight the close relationship between father and son. Straight from the battlefront, Patton’s letters are solicitous and enthusiastic about the daily concerns of a cadet, while his son’s letters express encouragement for his father’s battle campaign and an eagerness to begin his own military career. Documentary filmmaker Benjamin Patton continues with a series of character studies of a wide array of people who figured prominently in his father’s life, including his wife, his developmentally disabled son (the author’s brother), a commanding officer and a nun. One such significant figure is Manfred Rommel, son of Patton Jr.’s chief military rival during World War II, Erwin Rommel, who was executed by Hitler for alleged disloyalty. These two sons of military legends began a friendship later in life when George Patton IV was stationed in Germany, and their mutual admiration for their fathers served to cement their unlikely friendship. An attentive consideration of the deep affection between a military legend and his son, of particular interest to those already enthralled by Patton’s larger-than-life shadow. --Kirkus Reviews