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War as I Knew It

(The Great Commanders)

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  2,311 ratings  ·  71 reviews
The personal and candid account of General Patton's celebrated, relentless crusade across western Europe during World War II

First published in 1947, War as I Knew It is an absorbing narrative that draws from Patton's vivid memories of battle and his detailed diaries, covering the moment the Third Army exploded onto the Brittany Peninsula to the final Allied casualty
Paperback, 448 pages
Published May 8th 1995 by Mariner Books (first published 1947)
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Average rating 4.13  · 
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 ·  2,311 ratings  ·  71 reviews

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Oct 22, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: education
I'm more enamored with Patton than ever! I read this books and simultaneously watched a few films about Patton. And now I can say from experience, that "you are what you listen to." (this was a book on tape). Just after finishing the book, I taught a class at church. I got so passionate about one story I was telling that I swore!! -- (The 'd' word.) It was a perfectly good Patton word to use. I had just told Hal that swearing didn't bother me so much when Patton was swearing. Me and George S!!! ...more
Apr 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
One of my great uncles was part of Patton's 3rd Army, and when he died, his rotten f-ing grandkids attacked his house like locusts, tossing out 80+ years of keepsakes & antiques that they couldn't pawn or sell on ebay.
One of my little treasures that my mom snagged was his copy of "War as I Knew It".
The only truly charasmatic person I've ever been in the presence of was Pope John Paul II, and that was simply stunning. I cant imagine what it was like to be around Patton. The man truly was
Mark Singer
Published in 1947 just two years after his death, General George S. Patton's "War As I Knew It" was assembled and edited from his wartime diary. It is fascinating reading, but needs to be read as a diary, not an autobiography, and if the reader has a knowledge of events beyond what is in the diary it helps.
Brian Finch
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
This reads like a travel log through the eyes of one the greatest generals as he treks through war stricken land during WWII. It is interesting what captures his imagination. When he stops in Sicily, Patton spends pages admiring the ancient ruins. It is hard not to wonder how Patton would have fared against some of those Ancient generals who were know for their innovative tactics. Hannibal or Alexander The Great or Scipio versus Patton all with ancient equipment or modern all with modern ...more
Joe Krakovsky
Oct 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Great Book! Not just history, but WWII tactical manual as well. He tells of some pretty amazing stuff too, like how REAL Sicilian tomatoe sauce is made. Yuk!
Henry B. Davis IV
Aug 15, 2018 rated it liked it
This was a surprising good read. I'm definitely not a Patton fan, but his widow who was instrumental in getting this book published kept some of Patton's more hairbrained ideas out of this work and significantly toned down portrayal of his famous ego. I recommend this book to anyone with even a casual interest in World War II.
Oct 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
An excellent journal of one the US Army's best commanding generals. The journal covers late 1942 until VE Day and unfortunately does not include Patton's thoughts up until his tragic death.
Donald Kirch
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
He was much more than a general who "slapped" a soldier. We need more like him.
May 08, 2011 rated it liked it
Patton's memoirs of WWII are interesting on many levels. First, it is interesting to gain a glimpse into the man. Most of what people know about Patton is his brashness, his reputation for profanity, and his aggressiveness in battle. His memoirs show him to be much less crass in his private life than he acted around his men. They also showed him to be a surprisingly well-rounded person who obviously admired and knew a lot about architecture and was an avid reader and student of history. He was ...more
Hank Hoeft
There are many war histories that focus on the "big picture," there are many war histories that focus on small units, and there are war memoirs that focus on individuals. Most of the memoirs I've read have been those of low-ranking soldiers, sailors, and airmen--I haven't read all that many written by generals or admirals. So War as I Knew It was a change of pace for me. I was interested in Patton's relating of strategy and tactics, as filtered through his philosophy of how war should be ...more
Jul 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
George S. Patton, Jr., in spite of his weaknesses and propensity to enrage General Eisenhower from time to time, whether by comments or actions, was World War II's most brilliant field commander. His near total recall of of battles fought, from North Africa to Sicily to Italy, France and Germany is remarkable. Patton describes his wartime experiences in a way that makes the reader feel as if he or she is sitting with him and hearing about the war in great General Patton perceived it.
Mike Salmans
Apr 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Great words from an even Greater man!
Aug 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
non-fiction. excellent and highly relevant
Dr. Amiruddin Alauddin
Feb 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
One of our greatest generals indeed.
Sep 10, 2012 rated it really liked it

Patton's own eloquent words, hard to put it down.
Dec 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a strange and funky little book! This is controversial American General George S. Patton's "memoir" published first in 1947 . But since he passed in 1945 in a vehicle accident, it's not the smooth finished product it might be to make it truly comparable to most other WWII memoirs. It's rough and seems to be a hodge-podge of extant materials cobbled together for a quick book profit. It's basically his war diary, with lots of details and stories dropped in almost randomly. Through it all ...more
Harrison Vetter
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed Patton’s memoirs, which are really just his diary entries and letters to home edited into a book format. Even if you aren’t interested in military history, War as I Knew It is a must-read simply for the quintessential Patton quotes, entertaining anecdotes, and guidance on leadership. Further, I think it preserves General Patton’s true beliefs. The fact that he died shortly after the conclusion of World War II, with War As I Knew It being published after his death, prevents the book ...more
Mike Thiac
In a quick sentence, what an auto-biography this would have made! Unfortunately, not to be, as General Patton died in December 1945.

To a greater degree than Omar Bradley’s “A Soldier’s Story,” you get a first person account of arguable our finest army (as opposed to corps or division) commander in the Second World War. The constant struggle to find enough resources to keep an army going, units, supplies, etc. Some things never change. In 2003, the US outran its supply train in Iraq. Even with
Jude McCoy
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Cowardice is a disease and must be checked before it becomes epidemic by the only kind of discipline, perfect discipline because a pint of sweat will save a gallon of blood and battles are won by frightening the enemy. George S. Patton led the charge to liberate Europe in World War II from Nazi occupation. To halt under fire was folly and to halt under fire and not fire back was suicide. He believed in officers setting the example of moving forward out of fire.

Consistently he wanted to move
Dean Brickland
Jul 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great stories of some heroic people that you would not read about in the history books such as the officer running onto a bridge to disarm an explosive device under fire from the nazis, disarming it to help complete the objective and died in the process. Makes the hair stand on the back of my neck reading this incredible stories.
So much detail that seems unnecessary to most of the information of what happened but that was Patton. Meticulous with his plans. Such a smart man and so many quotes
Hayley Shaver
Feb 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very well written memoir of war written by General Patton. It also has illustrations and maps, which help to understand the memoir. It is a must read for war history and memoir enthusiasts.
Jul 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
This should be read as a companion piece to other non-autobiographical versions for a more rounded picture of GSPj. However, it's still a brilliant work on it's own. He does shade over some of his worse moments, but he also shades the failures of others.

A complex book by a complex man.
Michael Burton
Jun 09, 2019 rated it liked it
If you are really into battle strategies you will enjoy this book. If you consider reading this because you liked the movie Patton you will be disappointed.
Apr 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ww2
For a book published more than 70 years ago, still an interesting read
William DuFour
Sep 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: military
An interesting take by Patton and should be read by historians and military enthusiast for his observations and comments.
Samuel Duarte
Sep 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very good book on the way Patton fought and worked. Recommended for any one interested in the most unique man in World War II
Justin Tapp
Jan 12, 2014 rated it it was ok

This was another of my $1 garage sale audio books. While Patton didn't exactly write an autobiography, this book is entirely made up of his journal entries, memoirs, letters home, and copies of orders given. As such, it's all in the first person and reads like a personal history of WWII.

Since much of it deals with commands given, areas taken, tactics used, and suggestions for future Army organization, it is pretty boring for a non-soldier to read. But sprinkled throughout are Patton's
Nov 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
In this book, Patton reflects on his military career from the invasion of Morocco to the end of the war in Europe (he died shortly after the war ended). If you've seen the George C. Scott film, you'll recognize a few of the lines that were worked into the movie. What surprised me, though, was that this book didn't quite show Patton as the gruff, divisive figure you may expect. Early on, in the chapters on Morocco, he spends much time talking about the architecture, the landscape, the trees, the ...more
Jim Gallen
Nov 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
War As I Knew It" is the World War II memoirs of General George S. Patton, beginning with the Operation Torch landings in North Africa in 1942 and continuing to the German Surrender on May 8, 1945. Patton died a few months after the end of the war. I suspect that this explains its fairly unpolished style.

This book is, essentially, World War II as Patton observed it. It verifies many of the scenes and dialogues which we enjoy in the movie "Patton". It does not get into deep analysis of the war or
Amanda Coussoule
Aug 25, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2016
I've long admired GEN Patton, and find him imminently quotable. When I saw this book on my dad's bookshelf, I thought - I can't believe I've never read this. A veteran, a West Point graduate, and a general military history enthusiast, and I've never read this.

As my husband said last night - if the memoir was a classic, don't you think it would've been required reading at school?!

Sadly, I found this to be a laundry list of troop movements and commander's decisions, almost certainly taken from his
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George Smith Patton, Jr. was a United States Army officer best known for his leadership while commanding corps and armies as a general during World War II. He was also well known for his eccentricity and controversial outspokenness.

Patton was commissioned in the U.S. Army after his graduation from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1909. In 1916–17, he participated in the unsuccessful
“Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” 69 likes
“continue to advance until you run out of ammunition. Then, dig in.” 30 likes
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