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Target: Patton: The Plot to Assassinate General George S. Patton Hardcover – November 4, 2008

4.4 out of 5 stars 290 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

He was the most controversial American general in World War II—and also one of the most successful, courageous, and audacious. As a postwar administrator of defeated Germany, he sounded alarm bells about the dangers of Soviet encroachment into Europe. Politically, he was a lightning rod—an outspoken conservative who continually embarrassed his superiors with his uncensored, undiplomatic, and unrestrained comments to the press. He was General George S. Patton Jr., old Blood and Guts.

In 1945, shortly before he was to fly home to the states as a conquering hero, he was involved in a mysterious car crash that left him partially paralyzed.

Two weeks later, just as his doctors were about to send him home to finish his recovery, he was dead.
The army ruled the car crash an accident, his death natural. Yet witness testimony on the crash conflicted, key players in the incident disappeared, official reports vanished, soldiers were ordered to keep silent, and there was no autopsy performed on the body.

Investigative and military reporter Robert Wilcox, author of Black Aces High and Wings of Fury, has spent more than ten years investigating these mysteries, and in Target: Patton he has written an electrifying account of the shocking circumstances—long hidden from the public—surrounding the death of America's most famous general. In Target: Patton, you'll discover:

The extraordinary war hero, artist, and mercenary who said he was ordered by U.S. intelligence to assassinate Patton
The OSS agent who knew Patton was in danger and tried to save him
New evidence from recently declassified documents revealing doubts about the official version of Patton's death
The final stories of those involved in the accident, including those who were thought to have disappeared—until now

Provocative, shocking, and compelling, Target: Patton takes you through the maze of denials, contradictions, and treacheries behind one of the great unsolved mysteries of World War II.

From the Back Cover

"Robert Wilcox's Target: Patton has enough twists and turns to satisfy the most demanding murder-mystery fan with the added bonus of historical possibility. Populated with legendary real-life characters, Wilcox introduces the world to Douglas Bazata: a man of action as improbably true as Lawrence of Arabia. With a screenwriter's gift for picture images and a military historian's discipline for detail, Wilcox peels back the decades to the chaotic fi nal chords of WW II and the opening act of the Cold War by asking the heretofore unanswered question: was General George S. Patton murdered?"
--Doug McIntyre, KABC Radio/Los Angeles Daily News

"Target: Patton is a terrific book investigating the mysterious death of one of America's greatest military heroes: General George S. Patton, Jr. Reporter Robert Wilcox takes the reader into the mystery: from Patton's suspicious car crash in Occupied Germany in 1945 to his unexpected death two weeks later, bringing to light new evidence and raising serious questions, all of which makes for a fascinating read."
--Paul E. Vallely, Major General, U.S. Army (Ret.) Chairman, Stand Up America USA, Co-author of Endgame: The Blueprint for Victory in the War on Terror

"I am most surprised to learn in Robert Wilcox's highly readable book that there is a reasonable doubt and more that George Patton's death in Germany in December 1945 was not the result of a car crash but possibly foul play by hired assassins. Certainly there was motive and opportunity, but was there method? Over the years, I had heard a version of this tale based upon German villainy, but never with the detail and matter-of-fact persuasion in Target: Patton. I don't know if he was murdered, but I am no longer sure he wasn't. Exhume the corpse. End the debate."
--John Batchelor, host WABC, WMAL, KSFO, KFI

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 444 pages
  • Publisher: Regnery History; First Edition edition (November 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596985798
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596985797
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (290 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #697,007 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I am very familiar with the life of General Patton, owning a library of over 30 volumes. It was with this background that I skeptically purchased and read this book. There were questions that I believed could not be answered, the most important being the unplanned hunting trip on that fateful day. The author has convinced me of the possibility that our greatest combat Commander was, indeed, the target of assassination. From European operative reports of a Stalinist hit list, the clandestine operations of the OSS, the leftist concerns in the US Government about Patton's post-war outspokenness against our 'ally,' Russia, to all the missing significant documents (investigation reports), I finished this book angry. We will never know as all those who could have shed light on this troubling assertion are now dead. I am not a conspiracy adherent by nature ... but this one gave me pause. A worthwhile book written thirty years too late.
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Format: Hardcover
BOOK REVIEW: 'Target: Patton' Explores the Suspicious Car Crash That Led to Controversial General's Death

By David M. Kinchen

On Sunday, Dec. 9, 1945, a day before he was to return to the U.S., Gen. George S. Patton Jr., the highest ranking American general in occupied Germany, went on his last hunting trip. On the way to hunt birds with another American general, Patton's 1938 Cadillac Fleetwood limousine plowed into an army truck that had suddenly turned in front of them.

Robert K. Wilcox explores the accident and the widely held theory that the controversial general was assassinated in "Target: Patton: The Plot to Assassinate General George S. Patton" (Regnery, 444 pages, $27.95).

It's a thoroughly researched book that raises many questions about a general that many people are familiar with through the 1970 multiple Oscar-winning movie "Patton" starring George C. Scott as "Old Blood and Guts."

"Patton" the film was based in part by a book by Ladislas Farago, Wilcox tells us, one of the many writers who delved into the accident which left Patton with a broken neck and partial paralysis, although no one else in the big Caddy received more than a few scratches and bruises.

What was the driver of the 2 1/2-ton GMC Army truck, Specialist Robert L. Thompson, doing out on a Sunday morning and what happened to the two men who were in the truck's cab with him -- in violation of a regulation that limited the cab to a driver and a passenger?

Among the issues Wilcox raises are:

* What happened to the five known accident reports on the Dec. 9, 1945 crash involving a four-star general? The reports are nowhere to be found.
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Format: Hardcover
Like most people of my generation (post WW2), I had a cliched and inadequate understanding of the complicated and brilliant Gen. George S. Patton. Most of what we know derives from the film "Patton" (1970), an admirable achievement, but not history. We know (vaguely) that Patton was a brilliant field commander, that he slapped a soldier whom he considered cowardly, that he was envied by other Allied commanders, and that he was considered a talented problem child by Generals Eisenhower, Bradley, and Bedell Smith. We understood that he died after the war in an automotive accident (usually decribed, incorrectly, as a jeep accident).

Robert Wilcox's book "Target: Patton" is valuable for two reasons: (1) he does not outrun the evidence that he offers and declare that he has solved the case, and (2) he has uncovered a wealth of information which raises troubling questions about Patton's demise. He demonstrates that official accounts of the accident were lacking -- or that they had disappeared. He shows that the "death car" (a Cadillac limo, not a jeep) in the Patton Museum is in fact not the car in which Patton was riding. And finally, he brings forth the witness Douglas Bazata, who claimed that Wild Bill Donovan himself commissioned the hit on Patton.

Bazata's confessions, if such they were, are both the strength and weakness of the case which Wilcox offers. Bazata, a fascinating figure in the "black ops" of WW2, was certainly in a position to know whereof he spoke, but at the same time he seemed unable to decide whether he had actually participated in Patton's murder or simply was aware of who did. As the author himself admits, the evidence could perhaps bring an indictment, but not a conviction in a court of law.
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Format: Hardcover
My uncle, PFC William Paul Kennedy was killed on October 8, 1944 at a small crossroads outside Metz. As a soldier in Patton's Third Army, he, along with the rest of the army were halted outside this city.Instead of giving the gasoline and supplies to Patton so he could wrap up the war by Christmas,it all went to Montogomery for his reckless and dangerous airborne invasion of Holland. This halt gave the Germans time to pull back to the east bank of the Rhine and dig in. It also allowed them to gather the forces that they would use in the Ardennes two months later. Patton, who could not sit on his hands and do nothing went against his own good military judgement and attacked the fortresses around Metz. The attack on Fort Driant especially was tough and it ended up being the only battle that Patton lost. Was he outspoken? Yes. Was he wrong? No. Patton had made many enemies after the Sicily Campaign inside and outside of Washington. Patton was the fly in the ointment. He was the squeaky wheel. He was the only one that stood in the way of Roosevelt and Truman realizing their postwar plans. Did he have his eyes on the presidency? Probably not. But, Eisenhower did. They were all feathering their nests so Patton had to go. There were rumblings about this back in the 70s. Was Patton murdered? Yes, because he knew too much. Remember, everyone thought that the Germans murdered 15,000 Polish officers in the Katyn Forest until the Russians finally admitted that they did it after the fall of the Communists.This is an important and excellent book whos time has come. Highly recommended.
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