Growing Up Patton

Growing Up Patton

Reflections on Heroes, History, and Family Wisdom

Additional Formats
  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780425255940
  • 368  Pages
  • Berkley
  • Adult


The grandson of the legendary World War II general George S. Patton Jr., documentary filmmaker Benjamin Patton, explores his family legacy and shares the inspirational wit and wisdom that his grandfather bestowed upon his only son and namesake.

In revealing personal correspondence written between 1939 and 1945, General Patton Jr. espoused his ideals to Benjamin’s father, then a cadet at West Point. Dispensing advice on duty, heroism and honor with the same candor he used ordering the Third Army across Europe, Patton shows himself to be as dynamic a parent as a military commander.

Following in those famous footsteps, Benjamin’s father became a respected and decorated hero of both the Korean and Vietnam wars. Ironically, as he rose to major general, he also proved himself just as brave, flamboyant, flawed and inspiring as his father had been.

A study of a great American original, Growing Up Patton features some of the pivotal figures in Benjamin’s father’s life, including Creighton Abrams, the WWII hero who became his greatest mentor; Charley Watkins, a daredevil helicopter pilot in Vietnam; Manfred Rommel, the son of German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel; Joanne Patton, the author’s mother and a resourceful fighter in her own right; and Benjamin’s mentally challenged brother, George. Growing Up Patton explores how the Patton cultural legacy lives on, and in the end, reveals how knowing the history of our heritage—famous or not—can lead to a deeper understanding of ourselves.



"At once an intriguing portrait of two of the American military’s best-known heroes, Patton’s debut is a poignant tribute to a family’s rich history." –Publishers Weekly

"An attentive consideration of the deep affection between a military legend and his son, of particular interest to those already enthralled by Patton’s larger-than-life shadow." — Kirkus Reviews

“A poignant and often touching record of the interactions amongst successive generations of an Army family devoted to duty and soldiering. Ben Patton appreciates family cultural legacy and documents his own with grace and charm.” –Lewis Sorley, author of A Better War

“Benjamin Patton and Jennifer Scruby have written a gem of a book that is both hugely entertaining and enormously insightful. It is not only the story of the Patton family but evocative portraits of a number of famous and not so famous people associated with the Pattons and the legacies that they have inspired. These people come to life leaving us wishing we knew them. Highly recommended.” –Carlo D’Este, author of Patton: A Genius For War

“Ben Patton creates a beautiful story from the real life of an extraordinary American family.  It is fascinating to read the wartime correspondence between father and son—the father, an iconic war hero, and the restless, passionate son…[He] puts forth the indisputable notion that bloodlines set us on a path, yet chance encounters provide direction and meaning to life. Truly an inspiration, the Patton family story is one of discovery and passion, how one leads to the other, and how, together, they allow us to live life to the fullest.” –Mary T. Scott, Chairman, Board of Governors, National Military Family Association

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