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Killing Patton
Cover of Killing Patton
Killing Patton
The Strange Death of World War II's Most Audacious General

Readers around the world have thrilled to Killing Lincoln, Killing Kennedy, and Killing Jesus—riveting works of nonfiction that journey into the heart of the most famous murders in history. Now from Bill O'Reilly, anchor of The O'Reilly Factor, comes the most epic book of all in this multimillion-selling series: Killing Patton.

General George S. Patton, Jr. died under mysterious circumstances in the months following the end of World War II. For almost seventy years, there has been suspicion that his death was not an accident—and may very well have been an act of assassination. Killing Patton takes readers inside the final year of the war and recounts the events surrounding Patton's tragic demise, naming names of the many powerful individuals who wanted him silenced.

Readers around the world have thrilled to Killing Lincoln, Killing Kennedy, and Killing Jesus—riveting works of nonfiction that journey into the heart of the most famous murders in history. Now from Bill O'Reilly, anchor of The O'Reilly Factor, comes the most epic book of all in this multimillion-selling series: Killing Patton.

General George S. Patton, Jr. died under mysterious circumstances in the months following the end of World War II. For almost seventy years, there has been suspicion that his death was not an accident—and may very well have been an act of assassination. Killing Patton takes readers inside the final year of the war and recounts the events surrounding Patton's tragic demise, naming names of the many powerful individuals who wanted him silenced.

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  • ATOS:
    8.4
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    UG
  • Text Difficulty:
    7

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  • Copyright © 2014 by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard

    Prologue

    Room 110
    U.S. Army 130th Station Hospital
    Heidelberg, Germany
    December 21, 1945
    5:00 p.m.

    The man with forty-five minutes to live cannot defend himself.

    Gen. George S. Patton Jr. fears no one. But now he sleeps flat on his back in a hospital bed. His upper body is encased in plaster, the result of a car accident twelve days ago. Room 110 is a former utility closet, just fourteen feet by sixteen feet. There are no decorations, pictures on the walls, or elaborate furnishings—just the narrow bed, white walls, and a single high window. A chair has been brought in for Patton's wife, Beatrice, who endured a long, white-knuckle flight over the North Atlantic from the family home in Boston to be at his bedside. She sits there now, crochet hook moving silently back and forth, raising her eyes every few moments to see if her husband has awakened.

    Patton is fond of the finer things in life, and during the course of the Second World War, he made his battlefield headquarters in mansions, palaces, castles, and five-star hotels. But right now the sole concession to luxury is that, as a four-star general, Patton does not have to share his room with another patient.

    "Old Blood and Guts," as his soldiers refer to the sixty-year-old legend, is a man both revered and feared. He has many enemies. Thus the need for the white-helmeted armed guards posted directly outside his door, at the end of the long hallway leading to the hospital lobby, and at every entrance and exit of the building. Nicknamed for their helmets, these "Snowdrops" protect Patton from the American journalists who have descended on this quiet former cavalry barracks in a great pack, ignoring the ongoing Nuremberg war crime trials so that they might write about Patton's accident and expected recovery. General Patton "is getting well like a house afire," the Associated Press reported four days ago, basing its information on the army's daily 6:00 p.m. briefing about his condition. The story also reported that Patton sat up in bed, throwing off his injury "with a speed reminiscent of his wartime advances."

    The truth, however, is far different. Gen. George S. Patton Jr. is paralyzed from the neck down. Bones in his spine were dislocated when his car collided with an army truck full of drunken joyriding soldiers. Patton's number three cervical vertebra was shattered, badly bruising his spinal cord. The good news is that he has recovered some movement in his extremities. The bad news is that his doctors believe it is highly unlikely he will walk again.

    The reporters don't know this, and so they work overtime to invade Patton's privacy to see his amazing recovery for themselves. Some have tried to sneak into Room 110 dressed as nurses or orderlies. Others have bribed hospital staff with Hershey bars and nylons. Thanks to the sentries, however, all of them have failed. The closest call was when Richard H. O'Regan, the same reporter from the Associated Press who wrote of Patton's remarkable recovery, cadged an interview with Patton's nurse by pretending to be a patient. For his troubles, O'Regan was able to reveal to the world that doctors were allowing Patton to sip a thimbleful of whisky each night with dinner.

    But reporters are the least of Patton's worries. Throughout the course of the Second World War, he made many high-ranking enemies in Moscow, Berlin, London, and even Washington, DC. Patton's fiery determination to speak the truth had many powerful men squirming not only during the war, but also afterward. He recently went on the record praising his former German enemies for their skills as soldiers, while also criticizing the Soviet Union as...

About the Author-
  • Bill O'Reilly is a trailblazing TV journalist who has experienced unprecedented success on cable news and in writing thirteen national number-one bestselling nonfiction books. There are currently more than 17 million books in the Killing series in print. He lives in Long Island.
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    Henry Holt and Co.
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The Strange Death of World War II's Most Audacious General
Bill O'Reilly
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