Apr 18, 2014

My New Home

Find me at Tumblr - pics, culture, wit & wisdom. More or less.
Available April 2014

For Author Info and Review Copies:
Josefine Kals
Publicity Manager
Alfred A. Knopf/Pantheon
(212) 572-2565

The Washington Post:
"Powerful . . . outrageous . . . colorful. Sometimes vivid writing needs no technology other than words."

The Wall Street Journal:
"Highly entertaining. Patton tells the story with gusto, for he has a great tale to tell."

Kirkus Reviews:
"Densely researched, swift-moving account full of fighting detail."

The Boston Globe:
"[A] lively look at the emergence of America's first war correspondents and their dispatches from the front lines. . . .  Patton's spirited chronicle evokes a lost age of journalism."

"Patton offers a fascinating cast of characters as he details major conflagrations and social and technological changes amid the gore of war and the prose of reporters of another era."

Geoffrey Wawro, author of A Mad Catastrophe - The Outbreak of World War I and the Collapse of the Habsburg Empire:
"Patton follows a half-dozen of the 19th century's best war correspondents from the battlefields of the Civil War to the deserts of Central Asia. The portraits are sharply drawn, and some of the scoops, like the 'Bulgarian Horrors' of 1876, still send a chill up the spine."

Carlo D'Este, author of Patton: A Genius for War and Warlord: A Life of Churchill at War, 1874-1945:
"An epic account of how America's forgotten war correspondents risked their lives in some of the world's most dangerous places to report their stories. In this splendidly written book Robert H. Patton has once again proven that he is a gifted writer with a keen eye for chronicling their tales in a way that is both entertaining and insightful."

Publishers Weekly:
"Patton focuses on the war correspondent persona and the band of bold adventurers who earned their keep on the frontlines in this detailed salute. . . . Patton's tribute to these battlefield scribes revives an understanding of why these men mattered."

Aug 27, 2013

Now Syria

Ralph Peters, whom I admire, in today's NY Post makes his case that Syria is no place for American military intervention, even in the wake of Assad's all-but-proven use of chemical weapons. The perilous variables that may result, most especially the unleashing of Islamist radicals into the Syrian leadership vacuum, aren't worth the risk, Peters says.

He finishes with the scornful observation that any order for American attack will ultimately be made by men and women who have never faced combat themselves. Sorry, but that's an irrelevancy under our system of government.

As for his recommendation to steer clear of the Syrian conflict, I disagree. Certain red lines have to be enforced. As Bret Stephens writes today in The Wall Street Journal, Iran is watching the West's reaction to the use of WMD. The lesson he would like to see delivered is summed up in his piece's title, "Target Assad."

It's an objective clear, simple - and appropriate. Assad must go. We'll deal with the aftermath afterward.

Aug 14, 2013

Egypt Burns On

I had hopes for an upturn in Egypt's democratic prospects after Mohammed Morsi and the Islamic Brotherhood were toppled last month. Yes, I get the paradox (okay, hypocrisy) of supporting Egyptian democracy as dictated by a military coup, but the Islamic Brotherhood had no intention of relinquishing power via the ballot, so it seemed better to support the glimmer of democracy presented by the Egyptian military and its many millions of civilian supporters rather than abide the Brotherhood's guarantied theocratic despotism.

But now Cairo burns and the streets run with Islamist blood spilled by the military, which is evidently following the anti-insurgency dictum that when confronting street riots, "Shoot one protester and it's a martyrdom, shoot dozens and it's an object lesson."

Of course we all know hatred begets hatred, especially in that part of the world. Killing unarmed Islamists in the street will lead to Islamists killing unarmed others somewhere else - and on and on.

Still the question remains, Which side to support? The virtuous answer is neither, but nations can't always be virtuous in their calculations - so if push comes to shove, who despises us less gets the nod. No one ever said it'd be pretty.

Jul 15, 2013

Trayvon and George

Stipulated: Trayvon Martin did not deserve to die that night.

Stipulated: George Zimmerman was not guilty of second degree murder or manslaughter.

No surprise, therefore, that we're left with the paradox of both a tragedy and a just verdict.

The U. S. has a serious problem with racial bias in the prison-industrial complex that the American penal system has become. The Martin-Zimmerman case was unrelated to that.


(But God deliver us from those who would foment perpetual racial division under the guise of truth-telling, grievance, and cathartic national "conversation." They are hucksters and hypocrites - and everyone knows but fears to say it.)

Jul 4, 2013

The New New Arab Spring

I hadn't been familiar with the writings of Robert Satloff, executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, but his piece in today's Washington Post seems really to put in proper perspective the amazing "reset" of the Arab Spring that is occurring right now in Egypt.

Satloff's view is cautionary, chastening (of the "embarrassingly silent" Obama Administration foreign policy team), and, like me, optimistic. The developments are potentially fantastic for Egyptians, devastating for Islamic radicalism, and wonderful for the cause of democracy and freedom in that long benighted region. Emphasis on potentially.

Jun 30, 2013

I wonder which party they'll vote for in 20 years

On the unemployment/underemployment of today's college graduates - devastating article, devastating chart.

Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds lays out the grim situation here. The moral of the story: American higher education is a stone-cold ripoff.