Patton: Blood, Guts, and Prayer

Written by Michael Keane
Review by Mary Tod

In the acknowledgements, Michael Keane describes his work as focused on General George S. Patton’s “formative and guiding principles”. To accomplish this, the author has structured the book in three parts with carefully chosen incidents to expose the man behind the legend. Part I – Blood – describes Patton’s heritage as one steeped in heroes, military tradition, and a father who regretted his decision not to join the army. The section’s concluding chapter is dedicated to Beatrice, a woman who believed in her husband’s destiny and was a steadying force throughout their marriage. Part II – Guts – offers pivotal examples of Patton’s courage and command mixed with episodes for which he was severely criticized. In the final part – Prayer – the reader learns of a man whose faith sustained and motivated him to accomplish great success amidst the frequent possibility of death.

Those who knew Patton described him as spectacular, deeply religious, profane, irascible, kindhearted, lacking judgment, easily moved to anger, brash, boastful, humble, uncertain, and brilliant. Though the timeline is occasionally confusing, Michael Keane weaves facts drawn from biographies, family papers, speeches, and Patton’s personal diaries to illustrate the complexities of this famous soldier while telling a compelling story of dedication and leadership.