Book Review: Killing Patton
Author: Bill O’Reilly & Martin Dugard
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Number of Pages: 326
My Rating: 5
Summary from GoodReads.com:
Readers around the world have thrilled to “Killing Lincoln, Killing Kennedy,” and “Killing Jesus”–riveting works of nonfiction that journey into the heart of the most famous murders in history. Now from Bill O’Reilly, anchor of “The O’Reilly Factor,” comes the most epic book of all in this multimillion-selling series: “Killing Patton.”
General George S. Patton, Jr. died under mysterious circumstances in the months following the end of World War II. For almost seventy years, there has been suspicion that his death was not an accident–and may very well have been an act of assassination. “Killing Patton” takes readers inside the final year of the war and recounts the events surrounding Patton’s tragic demise, naming names of the many powerful individuals who wanted him silenced.
All political views aside… this is a great book.
While I have not read any of the other famous books that Bill O’Reilly has written in this series, I had heard many great things about them, especially Killing Patton, and was intrigued about all of the hype. I am a sucker for anything World War II related so for obvious reasons I was instantly drawn to this specific book in the franchise and started it right away.
One thing I had heard people talking about regarding this book series, was the fact that the author is a huge political commentator and that they wouldn’t read it strictly because they didn’t agree with his views. If this is how you feel, I strongly suggest you push those ideas aside and read the book anyway. O’Reilly is not inserted in the book and his ideas and viewpoints aren’t secretly trying to sabotage the pages. He has done his research and has created an amazing account of some of the greatest leaders of this historic time period.
Another thing that people have been debating over on social media and websites was the fact that Bill O’Reilly is bringing up a crazy conspiracy theory about the idea that Patton could have potentially been assassinated instead of dying in a car crash. In reality, this idea doesn’t have much room in the book and isn’t really pushed at all. While there are a couple of pages about the odd circumstances this famous man died in and the fact that a lot of the evidence has been lost concerning his death, there isn’t a whole lot else talking about this theory. I think these facts are vital to bring up as they are that- facts. You can’t really argue much that this evidence is odd, but the idea that this entire book is one giant Republican conspiracy theory is not true.
Once you get past all of the extra stuff and actually get into the guts of the book, you will find a historically accurate, unique portrayal of many of the era’s greatest war heroes as well as war villains. This book obviously follows George S. Patton throughout his war experiences and journeys, but it also follows the paths of other leaders such as Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Winston Churchill. I really enjoyed this aspect of the book as it didn’t feel like a heavy biography of one man’s life; it read like a thriller and I found myself quickly turning pages late into the night to discover how all of the pieces fit together.
As I have mentioned, I am a huge World War II fan and feel that I am pretty knowledgeable about the subject matter as well as the different people involved. Considering this, I still learned so much in this book that I didn’t know before as it does follow so many different people and their circumstances. I loved that it was a smart read while at the same time never seeming too overbearing for the average reader. The authors included many maps, pictures, and diagrams in the book which was an added bonus as you were able to actually see the people they were talking about as well as the battles and whereabouts of the troops at specific times, which can be extremely confusing if you aren’t familiar with the geography of the region.
Overall, this was a fast-paced book that, when considering the amount of information that was in it, could have read like a history textbook, but was literally a thriller that kept me entertained and wanting more. If you are at all interested in this time period and about learning more about these famous people, both good and bad, I highly recommend you read Killing Patton. You will get a glimpse into the life of a great war hero and noble man, as well as see how all of the other leaders of the time fit into his life and his actions. You will find yourself wanting to read other books to continue to find out about this important time period and the people in it.
This is the first O’Reilly book I have read and it definitely won’t be the last. Whether you love the man or hate him, the historical research in this book is impeccable and the writing is strong. He found the facts and shared them with us, while providing a rare view into the lives of the most famous men and women of World War II. If you trust me at all, you will pick up this page turning, nonfiction work and start digesting it right away. Then you can decide, is the history of World War II already all written? Or do some things deserve a second look…