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Killing Patton - Lunchtime Lit with Mel

Updated on August 7, 2016
Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere graciously thanks you for your stamp money, which he uses to finance his lunchtime reading habit and resulting book reviews.

Let's see what's inside Mel's literary lunch box today.
Let's see what's inside Mel's literary lunch box today. | Source

Don't Dis Dad

One of the hard learned lessons I have taken from this life is not to talk back to my Father or disrespect his ideas, regardless of how antiquated, hucksterish, or silly they seem. Dads are a lot like icebergs - there is a lot beneath the surface that you can't see, and since Pennsylvania Yankees aren't exactly emotional geysers - spewing their feelings to anyone within earshot, it takes you a while to figure them out.

For years I thought my Father's literary tastes were pretty mundane and simple. I didn't think he was a very curious person at all, until one day I caught him watching historical documentaries in the middle of the night, when he thought everyone was asleep. Since then I have come to understand that Dad and I are not a lot different in our tastes in books, movies, and TV shows. Just recently, for example, he confessed to my wife that Life of Pi was one of his favorite films. You wouldn't expect this type of sensitivity from a man who is a skilled bowhunter; but as with everything else so this saying goes for Dad - You can't judge a book by its cover.

I went to visit my sire this last Father's Day, and as usual he gave me a huge pile of books that he didn't want anymore, for whatever reason. Some of them were fairly sophisticated, but others were real eye-rollers, the kind of stuff I would only read in the bathroom where nobody could see me. Nonetheless, I have learned the hard way that you never say no to Dad, so I carted them back to San Diego and, like a dutiful son, out of respect decided to read one of them for my Lunchtime Lit reviews.

This book was Killing Patton - a work by noted conservative Fox News political pundit Bill O'Reilly. My ultra-liberal friends would warn me to stay away from such dangerous deviations from orthodoxy, but my response to such cautionary admonitions is - What are you afraid of? So let's see if we can judge this book by its cover - let's dare to venture inside Killing Patton and find out if it's safe, or if the boogeyman is really lurking around inside there, waiting to eat Mel for the midday meal, along with a lunchbox full of progressive-minded people.

General George S. Patton fearlessly surveys Fortress Lunchtime Lit.
General George S. Patton fearlessly surveys Fortress Lunchtime Lit. | Source

About Lunchtime Lit

General George S. Patton, the subject of O'Reilly's Killing Patton, said that Fixed fortifications are monuments to man's stupidity. In spite of the subtle critique of my intellectual prowess that this great warrior's quote represents, my rules for Lunchtime Lit are unalterable monuments in stone, towering powerlessly over the carnage of the literary battlefield below. As other reviewers run Blitzkriegs around my Maginot Line of Fortress Lunchtime Lit, I hold fast to my rule that Lunchtime Lit books can only be read during my half hour Postal lunch break, no exceptions. Below is a graphical summary of this series to date:

Lunchtime Lit One Year Recap * **

Word Count
Date Started
Date Finished
Lunchtimes Consumed
The Wind-up Bird Chronicle
223,000 (est.)
487,700 (est.)
425,000 (est.)
On The Beach
97,000 (est.)
The Last Temptation of Christ
171,000 (est.)
Killing Patton
106,000 (est.)
7/11/2016 (Slurpee Day)

* One other title, with a word count of 387,700, and 46 lunchtimes consumed, has been reviewed under the official guidelines of this series.

** Word counts are estimated by hand counting a statistically significant 23 pages, then extrapolating this average page count across the entire book.

O'Reilly's Killing Fields

Killing Patton is part of O'Reilly's Killing series, where the notable newsman's goal is to kill everybody famous all over again, from Elvis to Jesus. Actually I don't think he's killed Elvis yet, but I think it's safe money that The King really will be dying soon.

Snarky Reviewer's jealous barbs aside - O'Reilly has killed only 5 famous people to date. Three of these were Presidents. Another one, Jesus Christ, certainly could have been President in today's divisive political environment, but being born on Israeli soil disqualified him and he couldn't fake the birth certificate, as other Presidents have allegedly done. Another President on the list, one Ronald Reagan, apparently was killed too. This insidious act was probably part of the international liberal conspiracy to destroy humanity, while all this time everybody assumed he died of Alzheimer's related complications at the ripe old age of 93.

The Killing books are, in order of publication: Killing Lincoln, Killing Kennedy, Killing Jesus, Killing Patton, and Killing Reagan.

Bill O'Reilly has said "I always felt that history is fascinating, but the books are boring, and if you can write exciting books you would sell a lot of copies and have movies made of them...And that's all come true." You can't argue with success. O'Reilly's Killing books have sold around 7 million copies, or thereabouts.

All the same, we here working around the clock in the sweatshop review mill of Lunchtime Lit are not impressed with sales figures. We examine all books reviewed - whether they sold 1 copy on Amazon from an accidental fat finger click, or they top the New York TImes Review list with uncounted billions, with the same discerning eye. Let's now take this discerning eye inside the pages of Killing Patton, and let the other, non-discerning eye get some sleep.

Will Bill O'Reilly eventually kill Elvis too, before the fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches can get around to it?
Will Bill O'Reilly eventually kill Elvis too, before the fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches can get around to it? | Source

Complete Retelling of World War II in 300 Pages, with A Couple Bonus Chapters About Killing Patton Thrown In at The End

In reality, if I had been the writer fortunate enough to pen Killing Patton, I would have entitled it: A Complete Retelling of World War II in 300 Pages, with A Couple Bonus Chapters About Killing Patton Thrown In at The End. That's quite a mouthful, I understand, but I think it more accurately reflects what the book is all about.

The fact is, O'Reilly digresses a lot in this book, wandering off into other areas of World War II history that are only marginally relevant to Patton at all, and have little or nothing to do with his death. I think I learned more about Franklin D. Roosevelt and his mistresses, Dwight Eisenhower and his mistresses, and Josef Stalin and his mistresses, then I did about George S. Patton and his mistresses. Not to say that this information was not compelling and good reading for us voyeuristic types who love peeping in on other guys with their mistresses, I'm just saying that I think there was a lot of marginal material added for fluff and filler, perhaps because there is very little extant on the actual alleged killing of General George S. Patton.

O'Reilly even rambles over to a lengthy discussion of German General Erwin Rommel and his killing, making me think for a moment that I was really reading Killing Rommel, and someone had switched the cover. But then the author deviates once more to a thorough discussion of the Holocaust, which leads to a substantial narrative about Holocaust victim Anne Frank, she of diary fame. Is O'Reilly subtly implying that poor little Anne Frank was in on the conspiracy to kill Patton too? Interesting food for thought to chew on while you are eating your Postal lunch beneath your favorite shade tree.

At long last, after I had basically given up hope on learning who really killed General Patton, in the last 30 or 40 pages or so O'Reilly finally came through with a multiple choice selection for who really killed Patton. It could have been A:) Accidental death in a car crash, B:) OSS director Wild Bill Donovan, C:) The Soviets, or D:) he really didn't die at all, but is living with Fat Elvis and Michael Jackson in Bolivia. Actually, that last choice was made up by me, but O'Reilly gives you so many options about people who had it in for Patton that it makes you goofy.

Was Anne Frank in on the plot to kill Patton?
Was Anne Frank in on the plot to kill Patton? | Source

Real Democracy in Action - Voice Your Take on O'Reilly's Killing Books

What is your opinion on Killing Patton, and other O'Reilly "Killing" books?

See results

Martin Dugard and The Subcontracting of Ghostwriter to Another Ghostwriter

Bill O'Reilly is a busy man, I get it. When he is not killing historical figures, he has to run a Fox News talk show, which is not an easy job. Therefore, it doesn't surprise me that he had to bring in a ghost writer, one Martin Dugard, to help him research and write Killing Patton and the other Killing books. I don't have a problem with that.

What I do have a problem with is; while O'Reilly gets him name splashed across the cover in flashing neon lights, Mr. Dugard is included in tiny letters as an afterthought, like the publishers thought they better add him or they'll have more of those famous lawsuits that O'Reilly occupies himself fighting off, in between historical-figure killing and political punditry.

Most of the time ghost writers are employed by celebrities to write their biographies, either because these luminaries don't have time to do the writing themselves, or their hands are so occupied holding a mirror up to their beautiful Hollywood heads that there is no room for a writing pen. The ghost writing case of Bill O'Reilly is another case altogether, however, and a curious one indeed. Bill O'Reilly is effectively ghost writing the biography of George S. Patton, who never got around to it because he was either too busy blitzkrieging past fixed fortifications, slapping around soldiers with PTSD in field hospitals, or getting run over by drunken G.I.s. But I'm willing to go out on a limb here and say that the ghostwritten Killing books are the first case in history where the ghostwriter, Bill O'Reilly, subcontracts with another ghostwriter, Martin Dugard, to do the job. It's a nifty arrangement and a good living, if you can get it.

Martin Dugard is a ghostwriter but he is certainly not a ghost.  Here he smiles happily because Bill O'Reilly has not killed him yet.
Martin Dugard is a ghostwriter but he is certainly not a ghost. Here he smiles happily because Bill O'Reilly has not killed him yet. | Source

Killing Paternal Stereotypes

My Dad is a smart man. He is a retired school administrator with a Master's degree he received during the Kennedy administration, a President who was also assassinated by Bill O'Reilly. If my progenitor reads books like Killing Patton from time to time, it is because sometimes all of our brains need a break. I have been known to sneak away into the reading refuge of my bathroom to read Archie comics. My revered Father, I would like to believe, sneaks away to read books like Killing Patton because when your mind has been satiated by the main course it craves a little desert and that is exactly what Killing Patton is - brain candy. Not much by way of scholarly solid food here, but it makes for a tasty snack.


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