Had Lieutenant George S. Patton not served on the southern border during the Mexican Expedition of 1916, there might never have been a General George S. Patton who took the world by storm as a bold and daring commander during World War II.
Relying on Patton’s detailed personal journals of his eight months in Mexico, Michael Lee Lanning describes the young officer’s exploits during the hunt for Pancho Villa. As an aide to General John Pershing, Patton learned leadership and logistics from the man who would soon command American forces in World War I. Begging for a field command, he received it—and led the first motorized attack in U.S. military history and may or may not have killed two of Villa’s lieutenants. The press ate it up, and Patton learned not only how much he loved attention, but how to promote himself.
In Mexico are the roots of Patton the World War II general, and Lanning tells the story deftly, focusing on Patton the man as well Patton the commander, and always casting an eye forward to Patton’s future career. This is how Patton became Patton.
Michael Lee Lanning served more than twenty years in the U.S. Army, where he commanded an infantry platoon, a recon platoon, and a rifle company in Vietnam and went on to serve as public-affairs officer for Norman Schwarzkopf. He has appeared on NPR, CBS, and the History Channel and has written more than twenty-five books. His previous books include the classic Vietnam, 1969–1970: A Company Commander’s Journal, which the New York Times called “one of the most honest and horrifying accounts of a combat soldier’s life to come out of the Vietnam War.” His other books include Tours of Duty: Vietnam War Stories, Inside Force Recon: Recon Marines in Vietnam,The Court-Martial of Jackie Robinson, and The Blister Club. Lanning lives in Lampasas, Texas.