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War As I Knew It Paperback – May 8, 1995

4.5 out of 5 stars 118 customer reviews

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From the Back Cover

First published in 1947, War As I Knew It is the captivating memoir of George S. Patton, Jr., the legendary American general, incendiary warrior, and unparalleled military tactician of World War II. Drawing on his vivid memories of battle and detailed diaries, Patton dramatically recounts his celebrated Third Army's sweeping campaign across Western Europe right up to the final Allied casualty report. The result is a remarkable frontline view of daily strategies and heroic drivesincluding the rescue of the Battle of the Bulge from Allied infamy and the triumphant Palatinate Campaign - revealing a fascinating portrait of the full-of-vinegar, controversial commander. With selected prefatory letters from Patton's earlier ventures in North Africa and Sicily and a powerful concluding retrospective, War As I Knew It is a classic of American military history.

About the Author

Rick Atkinson is the bestselling author of "An Army at Dawn" (winner of the Pulitzer Prize for history), "The Day of Battle", "The Long Gray Line", "In the Company of Soldiers", and "Crusade". His many other awards include two Pulitzer Prizes for journalism, the George Polk Award, and the Pritzker Military Library Literature Award. A former staff writer and senior editor at "The Washington Post", he lives in Washington, D.C.

Rick Atkinson is the bestselling author of "An Army at Dawn" (winner of the Pulitzer Prize for history), "The Day of Battle", "The Long Gray Line", "In the Company of Soldiers", and "Crusade". His many other awards include two Pulitzer Prizes for journalism, the George Polk Award, and the Pritzker Military Library Literature Award. A former staff writer and senior editor at "The Washington Post", he lives in Washington, D.C.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 425 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin; Reissue edition (May 8, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395735297
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395735299
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,017 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"War As I Knew It" is not an autobiography. It is not a study of World War II. And it is not a doctoral dissertation. It is simply one of the greatest, most insightful accounts of the campaign in NW Europe, beautifully written by one of history's most charismatic and successful generals.
The book begins with a collection of open letters written by Patton during the time of his campaigns in North Africa and Sicily. For cesnorship reasons, these letters do not contain much battle information, but they provide a unique insight into the man Patton was, and how he dealt with problems that were not military in nature. He discusses his meeting with French and Arab leaders in attempts to protect his rear while he defeated the Germans to his front. The letters from Sicily are similar, discussing not so much tactics but outcomes, reactions, and the like. These early letters show how much Patton was moved around, and the interesting places that he visited.
The main part of the book covers Patton's proudest moments--commanding the U.S. Third Army. This section is wholly unique. Written shortly after they campaign ended with Germany's surrender, Patton describes the actions of Third Army from Normandy to Czechoslovakia. While he does not go into great detail about tactics and such, he provides a window into his own mind. The reader knows what he was thinking when he made his decisions, and the reasons that he made those decisions. In so doing, the reader gets a firm understanding of how an army worked in WW II. Also, he mentions his personal relationships with many different generals...ones you don't read about in history books. In short, this is a first hand account from the man who was a pure warrior.
The concluding section is Patton's gift to future leaders.
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Format: Paperback
The book is composed of excerpts from the diaries of General Patton. It isn't the complete diaries but is fun and interesting. It's good to read something, in his own words, of how the general actually thought. It seems that General Patton had intended to write a book called "War as I Knew It". He didn't live long enough after the war to get it done. He does expound some about his philosophies and why he put on his war face to give the impression of being hard boiled, when in many ways he was very sentimental. He did not want to get soldiers killed needlessly. He made the "tough guy" act in order to inspire his men and psych them up for the job they had to do. His rough, hard, & extremely thorough training made his troops among the best-trained and combat ready troops in the army. The hard training was to condition and train the men to know what to expect and how to react so they would not get killed for lack of condition or not knowing what to do. General Patton's biggest problem, not controlling what he said in public, is not treated very much in this book. His war principals are outlined at the end of the book. It's a rather short read and quite entertaining.
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General George S. Patton, Jr.'s diaries and letters were assembled into this book in 1947, two years after his death. His widow Beatrice Ayer Patton served as a capable editor. This edition has some new material and was reprinted in 1995 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of V-E day.
Unfortunately with Patton's premature and unusual death in December 1945, (calm yourselves, conspiracy theorists) the post-war world lost its opportunity for the war's greatest memoir and its most unpredictable political leader. War As I Knew It is the next best thing, a full account of the leadership and strategic thinking of our greatest warrior.
Readers will travel with Patton from his arrival in North Africa in 1943, through the campaigns in Sicily, Western France, Belgium, the Bulge, and ending in May 1945 in Austria. Lesser known events are related such as the initial fighting with the French in Africa. In many cases, Patton revisits towns and territory that he had first seen as a young officer in the First World War.
Surprisingly, the book is also full of humorous stories such as unusual encounters with African tribal leaders, British generals, and French politicians. Cameo appearances include Marlene Dietrich, General T. Roosevelt (son of the President, who participated in the Normandy Invasion), and historical figures like William the Conquerer who influenced Patton's tactics.
Patton greatly plays down the events that led to his downfall, only briefly mentioning the slapping incidents, although he does make a very forceful argument that malingerers are a great threat to morale and need to be punished with extreme measures.
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By A Customer on January 3, 1999
Format: Paperback
A great book even after all those years. The reader gets a pretty good impression of Patton's personality an his way of thinking. The first part of the book covers his experiences in Northern Africa and Sicily from 1942 on. Besides the military aspects he describes how he learned to know the local cultures and we are reminded how well educated he was in some other sciences than war. The second and biggest part deals with the operations conducted by his Third Army from France to Germany, Czechoslovakia and Austria. Very informative are his views of Eisenhower, Bradley and Montgomery as well as the German side especially concerning the Battle of the Bulge. The third part is a personal view of tactics, the military generally and his career. All in all a great book for people interested in military history as well as leadership. A little drawback, as in many books covering military history, is the lack of good maps, the few maps in the book only give a very general impression of the campaigns.
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