George Patton’s reading list
This is the note I sent yesterday to Fox’s spokesman, who seems to be in charge of making stuff up: Mr. Clemente, To clarify my comments for you: I did not apologize. As it happened, I ran into Bret Baier as I emerged from the interview. We know each other from working at the Pentagon. ...
This is the note I sent yesterday to Fox's spokesman, who seems to be in charge of making stuff up:
This is the note I sent yesterday to Fox’s spokesman, who seems to be in charge of making stuff up:
To clarify my comments for you: I did not apologize.
As it happened, I ran into Bret Baier as I emerged from the interview. We know each other from working at the Pentagon. He asked if I was serious in saying that Fox had hyped Bengahzi, and I said I was. We discussed that. It was a cordial exchange. (I wouldn’t mention this private conversation except that you apparently are quoting my hallway conversations as part of your attack.)
Later, as I was leaving, the booker or producer (I am not sure what her title was) said she thought I had been rude. I said I might have been a bit snappish because I am tired of book tour. This was in no way an apology but rather an explanation of why I jumped a bit when the anchor began the segment with the assertion that pressure on the White House was building — which it most clearly was not.
Mr. Clemente has not responded, as is his right. While he stews, I’m looking forward to heading northward and diving back into my books. Which brings me to today’s subject. I’ve read a lot about Patton, but had never come across his reading list before. My ex-boss Nate Fick sent it along.
It is a good one, even though it was compiled by Patton’s wife after his death as a list of his favorites. It is as old school, as you’d expect, but reflects his deep study of war. Here ’tis:
- Maxims of Frederick the Great
- Maxims of Napoleon, and all the authoritative military biographies of Napoleon
- Commentaries, Julius Caesar
- Treatises by von Treitchke, and von Clausewitz
- Memoirs of General the Baron de Marbot, and de Fezansec, a colonel under Napoleon
- Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World, Creasy
- Charles XII of Sweden, Klingspor
- The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Vols 1, 2, 3) (Vols 4, 5, 6), Gibbon
- Strategicon, Marcus and Spaulding
- The Prince, Machiavelli
- The Crowd, Le Bon
- A History of the Art of War in the Middle Ages, Oman
- The Influence of Sea Power Upon History,, Mahan
- Stonewall Jackson, Henderson
- Memoirs of U. S. Grant, and those of McClellan
- Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, R. E. Lee, and Lee’s Lieutenants, Freeman
- Years of Victory and Years of Endurance, Bryant
- Gallipoli, Hamilton
- Thucydides’ Military History of Greece
- Memoirs of Ludendorff, von Hindenburg and Foch
- Genghis Khan, Alexander, Lamb
- Alexander, Weigall
- The Home Book of Verse
- Anything by Winston Churchill
- Kipling, complete
- Anything by Liddle Hart
- Anything by J. F. C. Fuller, especially ‘Generalship: Its Diseases and Their Cure’
- The Normans in Sicily, Knight
- The Greatest Norman Conquest, Osborne
- The History of the Norman Conquest of England, five volumes by Freeman
- Caesar’s Gallic War
- Infantry Attacks, Rommel
Thomas E. Ricks is a former contributing editor to Foreign Policy. Twitter: @tomricks1
More from Foreign Policy
Chinese Hospitals Are Housing Another Deadly Outbreak
Authorities are covering up the spread of antibiotic-resistant pneumonia.
Henry Kissinger, Colossus on the World Stage
The late statesman was a master of realpolitik—whom some regarded as a war criminal.
The West’s False Choice in Ukraine
The crossroads is not between war and compromise, but between victory and defeat.
Washington wants to get tough on China, and the leaders of the House China Committee are in the driver’s seat.