THE PATTONS: A Personal History of an American Family by Robert H. Patton

THE PATTONS: A Personal History of an American Family

Email this review


A descendant's affectionate and affecting account of those who helped make Patton a celebrated family name in the often violent annals of the New World. Drawing on the private papers and memorabilia of his forebears, Patton offers an anecdotal, generation-spanning chronicle that extends back to the flight of Huguenots from 16th-century France. While he focuses on George S. Patton Jr., the four-star general who won enduring fame as a WW II commander, the author devotes considerable attention to other family notables, including several remarkable women and two fugitives from British justice. One, Hugh Mercer, fought with Bonnie Prince Charlie before fleeing Scotland for the colonies, where he became a general in the Revolutionary War. The other early arrival in America, a wanted criminal, changed his name to Patton (popular among ÉmigrÉ highlanders, the name means ""king's pensioner"" in Gaelic). Covered as well are those who bore arms for the Confederacy and were subsequently obliged to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives in California. Beyond reporting his decision to break tradition and pursue a career outside the Army, the author has precious little to say for himself. He does, though, pay graceful, if brief, tribute to his own father, a retired major general with a chestful of decorations from Korea and Vietnam. Against the odds, moreover, Patton provides fresh, human-scale perspectives on his legendary grandfather, whose exploits are writ large in the pages of military history. History in an intimate, personal vein.

Pub Date: March 16th, 1994
ISBN: 1574886908
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Crown