by J. Furman Daniel Daniel III
Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2020. Pp. xvi, 305.
Illus., maps, notes, biblio., index. . $40.00. ISBN: 0826222099
The General who Studied History
Prof. Furman Daniel (Emory-Riddle), the author of 21st Century Patton, on the applicability of the general’s thought to contemporary conflict, has produced a unusual biography of Patton. He uses the General’s life-long interest in history to explore how it helped him develop his ideas about strategy, planning, operations, and warfare in general. This can be seen, for example, in Patton’s preparations for Operation Torch, for which he did extensive reading in the history of Morocco and even the Quran, to gain an understanding of the cultural and historical environment in which he was about the fight
While Furman Daniel covers Patton’s entire life and military career, in the process rebutting the notion that the general was a “Natural Warrior”, he devotes most of his coverage to the Second World War. We get a balanced account of the general’s wartime activities, pointing out Patton’s errors and less admirable personality traits, as well as his successes. He carries Patton’s story into the postwar era, offering some critical views of how historians and strategists have expounded, for better or worse, on the general’s military thought.
This makes Patton: Battling with History, a volume in the Missouri series “American Military Experience”, a valuable read not only for those interested in the general and his career, but for those interested in how history evaluates and educates good generalship.
Note: Patton: Battling with History is also available in audio- and e-editions.
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