Get local news delivered straight to your phone
Support City Paper!
If it weren’t for Civil War Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, biographer Stanley P. Hirshson might never have written his 800-plus-page tome about World War II Gen. George S. Patton. While working on a book about Sherman’s life, Hirshson spent countless hours holed up in the West Point research library. There, he started chatting up a history professor who was putting the finishing touches on his own study of Patton. After much good-natured haggling over the minute details of Patton’s life, Hirshson decided to set the record straight with a Patton book of his own. Faced with the vast number of existing volumes exploring the life of one of the best-known generals in American history, Hirshson decided that, to distinguish his work from the pack, he would have to dig up and deliver previously overlooked information—and he does. General Patton: A Soldier’s Life contains all of the usual war stories, but what sets it apart is the book’s focus on the human element of its subject: We all know Patton was a brilliant tactician, but who knew the man couldn’t spell for shit? His inspirational—albeit foul-mouthed—speeches are the stuff of legend, but Patton also wrote touching poems for his feisty wife, Bea, and their daughters. Hirshson invades at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 22, at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919. (Sarah Godfrey)