"HISTORY CANNOT BE COMPREHENDED BY PACIFISTS": GENERAL GEORGE S. PATTON JR.'S PERSONAL COPY OF MCFEE'S SIR MARTIN FROBISHER, THRICE SIGNED BY PATTON, WITH HIS MARGINAL ANNOTATIONS
(PATTON, George S.) MCFEE, William. Sir Martin Frobisher. London: John Lane The Bodley Head, (1928). Octavo, original navy cloth, cartographic endpapers. Housed in custom half morocco clamshell box. $8200.
First edition of this illustrated biography of pirate, explorer, and naval commander Martin Frobisher—this memorable association copy belonging to General George S. Patton Jr., thrice signed by him, as he often would with his personal copies: in ink on the spine ("Patton") and on the front cover and in ink on the recto of the frontispiece and dated "Nov 1928." There are also three penciled marginal annotations by Patton indicating that he read this volume.
"General George S. Patton Jr. has earned a place in the pantheon of authentic American heroes…. [Yet] his great success on the battlefield did not come about by chance…. He read voraciously… During the interwar years Patton consulted an eclectic list of the famous and the lesser known, ranging from Napoleon and Clausewitz to du Picq, Jomini, Cromwell, Xenophon and Frederick the Great" (D'Este, Patton, 3-4, 317-18). No other military leader wrote so frequently in his letters or diary what he was reading, and no leader's library was so well-documented since Napoleon's. Patton's library, which was almost entirely inherited by his son, Major General George Patton III, was given to West Point, with just a small portion of books, including these volumes, inherited by other descendants or friends. This rare association copy of McFee's Sir Martin Frobisher—Patton's own copy—is thrice signed by him, as he often would with his books: signed in full on the front cover and with his last name on the spine, and signed and dated by him "Nov 1928" on the recto of the frontispiece. There are also three penciled marginal annotations by Patton in the text, on pages 3, 14, and 27. On page 3 Patton has written "Tacking ship 1500," on page 14, "Fore & aft rig 1539," and on page 27, he has underlined the sentence, "History cannot be comprehended by pacifists," and penciled in the margin, "pacifists." Historian and novelist William McFee's "writing, lucid and colorful, reflects his vast reading and his seafaring experiences. Reviewers saw him as a first-rate storyteller, a master of characterization, and a good craftsman" (DAB).
A few leaves roughly opened, a few signatures unopened. Minor rubs to cloth extremities. A near-fine association copy.