George S. Patton Criticism - Essay

Gerald W. Johnson (essay date 1945)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Prometheus Patton," in The Virginia Quarterly Review, Vol. 21, No. 2, Spring, 1945, pp. 273-80.

[In the following essay, Johnson draws upon statements made by Patton, as well as ideas expressed by José Ortega y Gasset, to make predictions concerning the postwar world.]

The appalling thing about the late Big Bill Thompson, sometime Mayor of Chicago, is not how wrong he was, but how nearly right he was in some of his most unpleasant manifestations. Bill's contribution to diplomatic protocol, you remember, was a promise to bust King George in the snoot if that potentate ever stuck his nose into Chicago. He was wrong; but his error was in picking his objective....

(The entire section is 2765 words.)

Ira Wolfert (essay date 1947)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "George Patton's Plain-Spoken Diary," in The New York Times Book Review, Vol. 52, No. 27, November 9, 1947, pp. 3.

[In the following essay, a review of War As I Knew It, Wolfert finds fault with Patton's expressed views toward himself, others, and the war.]

In the introduction to this book—a book written by General Pattom from the diary he personally kept until four days before his fatal' automobile accident—Douglas Southall Freeman writes, "It is to be hoped that General Patton will be among the first to attract a competent biographer and that others will leave him alone. He was a man to win, to intrigue and sometimes to enrage his...

(The entire section is 1145 words.)

Sherman Miles (essay date 1947)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Patton Preferred," in The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 180, No. 6, December, 1947, pp. 128, 130, 132.

[In the following review of War As I Knew It, Miles offers a positive appraisal of a book that aids in understanding of both the war and Patton himself]


War As I Knew It, by George S. Patton, Jr., is the first personal narrative of an Army Commander in the late war—the most picturesque and probably the most brilliant of them all. And for good measure, the Navy's counterpart, Admiral Halsey, simultaneously tells his story. Decades hence, historians will turn to such narratives in drawing the true picture of those who won our...

(The entire section is 2645 words.)

Aram Bakshian, Jr. (essay date 1972)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Peppery Paladin," in National Review, Vol. 24, No. 2, April 14, 1972, pp. 407-8.

[In the following essay, a review of The Patton Papers, 1885-1940, Bakshian applauds editor Martin Blumenson for allowing Patton's own words to control the direction of the narrative.]

There was far more to General George S. Patton Jr. than met the eye. Fortunately, much of it can now be found in this massive edition of the Patton papers. From his earliest years America's most peppery paladin was a chronic scribbler. By the time of his death, there were enough notebooks, letters, diaries, essays, lectures and articles to fill over fifty filing cabinets—perhaps the richest...

(The entire section is 1119 words.)

Josiah Bunting III (essay date 1972)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "The Man Who Would Be Hero," in The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 229, No. 4, April, 1972, pp. 107-8, 111.

[In the following essay, a review of The Patton Papers, 1885-1940, Bunting compares Patton to other leading figures in the United States military during World War II.]

For many it is difficult to acknowledge authentic military genius—and there is such a thing—without a patronizing smile. The very existence of brilliant generals seems an unacceptable reminder of our failures to stop hating and fighting one another. The political systems and ambitions of nations in which men esteemed the profession of arms their highest calling are now largely despised...

(The entire section is 2129 words.)

Martin Blumenson (essay date 1972)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Harmon Memorial Lecture, 16 March 1972," in The Many Faces of George S. Patton, Jr., by Martin Blumenson and Ernest J. King, United States Air Force Academy, 1972, pp. 1-26.

[In the following essay, an address given to the United States Air Force Academy on March 16, 1972, Blumenson summarizes the life and complex character of Patton.]

General and Mrs. Clark, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:

I am doubly privileged this evening. It is a great privilege for me to be asked to give this 14th Annual Harmon Lecture, which honors the memory of a distinguished Air Force officer. It is a great privilege also to talk with you about General...

(The entire section is 9958 words.)

Carmine A. Prioli (essay date 1985)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "The Poetry of General George S. Patton, Jr.," in Journal of American Culture, Vol. 8, No. 4, Winter, 1985, pp. 71-82.

[In the following essay, Prioli offers a close reading of several pieces of Patton's verse, both published and unpublished.]

"I have a hell of a memory for poetry and war."
—Major George S. Patton, Jr. to his wife,
March 20, 1918.

Next to war, poetry was one of the great passions of George S. Patton, Jr. He was a diligent student of military history, an accomplished horseman and polo player, a skilled sailor and swordsman. Above all, of course, he was a soldier but he...

(The entire section is 754 words.)


(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

Should I compare you to the dawning day
What day was ere so beautiful as you:
What colors of the dawn may hope to vie
In their fresh pinkness to thy cheeks' fair hue?

Or if with evening I compare thy face
What stars fair shining that at evening rise
Can in their sparkling loveliness compare
To the pure splendor of thy lovely eyes?

Show me the flower though it be passing fair
That hath the velvet softness of thy cheek
There never was a rose or lily blown
That such divine perfection we might seek....

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A Soldier's Burial

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

Not midst the chanting of the Requiem Hymn,
Nor with the solemn ritual of prayer,
'Neath misty shadows from the oriel glass,
And dreamy perfume of the incensed air
Was he interred.

But in the subtle stillness after fight,
In the half light between night and day,
We dragged his body, all besmeared with mud,
And dropped it clod-like back into the clay.

Yet who shall say that he was not content,
Or missed the priest or drone of chanting choir,
He who had heard all day the Battle hymn
Sung on all...

(The entire section is 4619 words.)

X. J. Kennedy (essay date 1994)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Meter-Rattling," in The Sewanee Review, Vol. CII, No. 1, Winter, 1994, pp. 148-52.

[In the following essay, a review of The Poems of General George S. Patton, Jr., Kennedy observes that the poems engender an effect quite different from that which their author might have imagined.]

From Richard M. Nixon's favorite movie, Patton, millions first became aware that Old Blood-and-Guts, conqueror of North Africa, Sicily, and the Rhine, had written verse. This devotion to such an outmoded pasttime was made to seem part of the general's quaint and old-fangled character, a throwback to days of chivalry. High-handedly the scriptwriter Francis Ford Coppola...

(The entire section is 1717 words.)

Martin Blumenson (excerpt date 1996)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "The Legend and the Man," in The Patton Papers: 1940-1945, edited by Martin Blumenson, Da Capo Press, 1996, pp. 836-59.

[In the following excerpt, Blumenson presents a eulogy for Patton through the words of others.]

"I can't decide logically if I am a man of destiny or a lucky fool, but I think I am destined . . . I feel that my claim to greatness hangs on an ability to lead and inspire . . . I am a genius—/think I am. "

—November 3, 1942

If from some unearthly place George S. Patton, Jr., observed the human scene after his death, he no doubt smiled cynically. He had been...

(The entire section is 9018 words.)