Fighting Patton: George S. Patton Jr. Through the Eyes of His Enemies by Harry Yeide

I have read several books on George Patton and most of them treat him like the icon that he is in American history.  Most of us have learned about how he was a great general who had a few flaws – mostly his propensity to slap combat fatigued soldiers.  As one can tell from the title, Fighting Patton: George S. Patton Jr. Through the Eyes of His Enemies, Harry Yeide takes a different approach in writing about Patton.

The book is not a pure biography of Patton.  The first few chapters do chronicle Patton’s career before World War II – with particular attention on Patton’s limited experience in World War I.  However, the majority of the book focuses on Patton’s World War II German opponents – those who fought against him in Africa, Sicily, France, and Germany.

Yeide calls upon a wealth of information from his research in the National Archives.  For instance, during the D-Day preparations by the Allies, Yeide explains that despite Eisenhower’s and others’ claims that the Germans tied down many of their forces in order to counter Patton’s fictitious First United States Army Group, the Germans, according to Yeide, did not mention Patton at all in their intelligence analysis.

Although many Americans believe Patton to be a master strategist who charged across France against German resistance, Yeide concludes that the Germans did not think of Patton as a major strategist, but more of a good tactical armor leader.  Yeide goes as far to say that if Patton was in the Wehrmacht, he would be one of the least experienced armor generals.

The book is 422 pages (including a glossary) divided into 14 chapters.  Yeide includes 34 maps and 52 black and white photographs.

This book brings a fresh perspective to one of America’s most studied and admired generals.

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