Contributor: C. Peter Chen
Review Date: 10 Feb 2016
Full Title: Killing Patton: The Strange Death of World War II's Most Audacious General
Journalist Bill O'Reilly and author Martin Dugard ventured into WW2 history with Killing Patton, aiming to investigate the many unanswered questions surrounding the vehicular accident which led to the premature death of George Patton. Although I had been fed up with O'Reilly's sensationalism and controversy previously, my curiosity for the popular "Killing" series led to this title in its audio book format. Sadly, after a most intriguing opening chapter, disappointment set in fairly quickly after. My foremost complaint was that I had expected an in-depth investigation about the accident, but instead, only a very small portion of the book was devoted to the topic. O'Reilly and Dugard ventured far and wide across the full scope of WW2, spending a few pages on Franklin Roosevelt's relationship with Winston Churchill there, another few pages on Otto Skorzeny's career there, none of which had any direct link to the accident that fatally wounded Patton. While the narratives of the Battle of the Bulge and the slapping incidents were most gripping, the authors' wide ranging interests combined with the physical size limitations of the book meant that these side topics were cursory, while sacrificing valuable page space for the main theme. When they finally returned on topic in the final chapter, I felt that their arguments were so weak that I was actually further convinced that Patton's death probably was just an accident, for that the authors were unable to really piece the unanswered questions into anything thought provoking.
Having reviewed this book in its audio book format, I did find one strength. Bill O'Reilly performed the reading of the book, and he did a good job. Those who enjoyed his radio and television programs would also like his performance. Meanwhile, as I often note, no one would know the flow and the stresses of the sentences more intimately than the person who wrote the very words.
I found Killing Patton lacking as a piece of work on Patton. With so many biographies of Patton available, many of which much richer and more precise in content, I could not recommend this book.
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Joachim von Ribbentrop, German Foreign Minister, Aug 1939