General George S. Patton is known for his aggressive, action-oriented tactical brilliance.

His character was also marked by a lesser-known but equally fundamental mystic piety.

Those two qualities would come together in the lead up to and execution of Patton’s greatest achievement during WWII: the relief of Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge.

Alex Kershaw tells this story in his new book Patton’s Prayer: A True Story of Courage, Faith, and Victory in World War II. Today on the show, Alex shares how, when the Third Army’s advance into Germany was stalled by plane-grounding clouds and road-muddying rain, Patton commissioned a prayer for better weather that was distributed to a quarter million of his men, and how that prayer became even more urgent after the commencement of the Battle of the Bulge. We also talk about Patton’s qualities as a leader and a man, including his reading habits, how he combined a profane assertiveness with a pious faith and a belief in reincarnation, and what happened to him as the war came to a close.

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