Germany’s Defeat in the Ardennes Forest, 1944

George Patton liberates the Battling Bastards of Bastogne on Christmas Day by a night march across his entire front

George Patton liberates the Battling Bastards of Bastogne on Christmas Day by a night march across his entire front

It is interesting that the loudmouth television personality published a book under his name, Killing Patton, which in its illustrative materials provides a marvelous illustration of how to beat the other guy, in documented real-world outcome.

The map shown was drawn by one Gene Thorp [it says, in fine print, on the bottom-right just at the edge of the photo taken by Michael Kepler Meo: you can see the tops of the letters], and the authors [Mr O’Reilly acknowledges the co-authorship of one Martin Dugard, who once worked, we are told for the New York Times, but puts his name in smaller print and a hard-to-read color] never once refer to its content in the narrative of the book.

You see, Dear Reader, all we get in Mr O’Reilly’s rather disjointed tale is that Patton was sure a great leader of men, and aint it awful that he was killed in a driving accident at the end of the war.  That’s the whole thesis, and if you find that extraordinary, to have a book published with a thesis impossible to prove and absent any evidence of its validity, you greet on the inside cover the three books, with or without coworkers, Mr O’Reilly has already written : Killing Lincoln, Killing Kennedy, Killing Jesus; four books in two years, and none of them — it’s not possible — actually setting out new evidence or interpretation.

These are not history books: they are books, much of them not false — indeed, look at what the map by Gene Thorp adds to the story — without any value other than the name of the co-author.  They do not say anything.  What, you think Bill O’Reilly has something fresh to say about the killing of Jesus of Nazareth?  Or, for that matter, of JFK?  Not at all; he says what everyone else says — in the book I began with, it’s that Patton was a very very driven leader of military men (you kind of get a picture of him chewing his fingernails), and that not all questions about his death have been answered.


Not all questions about lots of events have been answered.  The phrase describes all events.

Meanwhile, there’s this great map, nowhere mentioned in the text.

As you can plainly see, marching during the middle of the night on Christmas Eve, from the farthest right of the units fighting to lift the Siege of Bastogne, to the furthest left of the units fighting the following morning.  And that is how Patton broke the Siege.

About M. Meo

Worked as translator, museum technician, truck lumper, lecture demonstrator, teacher (of English as a Second Language, science, math). Married for 25 years, 2 boys aged 18 & 16 (both on the Grant cross-country team). A couple of scholarly publications in the history of science. Two years in federal penitentiary, 1970/71, for refusing the draft.
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