The “Killing” trilogy will soon become a quadrilogy: On Sept. 23, Henry Holt will publish “Killing Patton” by prolific author/Fox News host Bill O’Reilly and his collaborator, Martin Dugard. The book follows “Killing Jesus,” “Killing Lincoln” and “Killing Kennedy.”
General George S. Patton serves as an interesting subject for O’Reilly. He’s the controversial, aggressive leader who commanded forces to victories in North Africa, Sicily and the Western front. Nazi generals feared the no-nonsense general, though his approach also got him into trouble: In Sicily, he slapped a traumatized soldier, temporarily derailing his career as a military leader. Patton died after a car accident in 1945, and some have questioned the official story of his death. The 1970 movie “Patton” cemented his status as an American icon.
O’Reilly last night on “The O’Reilly Factor” hyped the book as follows: “The book examines the last few months of World War II in Europe and the very strange death of General Patton. It’s a mystery history. If you think you know what happened to Patton, Roosevelt, Hitler, Stalin, you do not. I know that sounds bold and fresh, but I think we back it up,” said the host/author.
Somehow, this quote from Patton sounds like the inspiration behind the approach of “The O’Reilly Factor” to the issues of the day: “We shall attack and attack until we are exhausted, and then we shall attack again,” Patton said before landing in North Africa.
The signature of the “Killing” books is fast-moving narrative punctuated by occasionally cheesy O’Reilly literary devices. Page 7 of “Killing Kennedy,” for instance, contains this little poke: “The man with fewer than three years to live has his left hand on the Bible.” Such foreboding reminders pop up throughout the oeuvre.
Though we don’t know just what O’Reilly and Dugard will allege in “Killing Patton,” we do know that O’Reilly will plug the book to the hilt at every turn. He has a knack for eliding current events with promotional opportunities for his books. On Tuesday night, for example, he mentioned a New York Times story on Jeb Bush, and then noted, “the former governor of Florida told the world he’s reading my book ‘Killing Jesus,’ which was very nice of him to do. I hope the governor is enjoying it. And if you have not read ‘Killing Jesus,’ shame on you. It’s entertaining. It will provide a perspective you’ve never heard before about the most famous man who ever lived.”
A biography of Fox News chief Roger Ailes claims that he once referred to O’Reilly as a “a book salesman with a TV show.” An extremely hard-working one, too.