If anyone considered an army wife to be merely the kite's tail, Beatrice Ayer Patton had the perfect retort, "How high can a kite soar without its tail?"
General George Patton once remarked that World War II undoubtedly would have lasted a lot longer were it not for his soldiers and his wife. Those who knew the Pattons were aware of the vital role Beatrice played in his reaching his destiny, but few others understood the singular impact of this remarkable woman whom people described as having "a personality which radiates like a brilliant gem."
Raised in a forward-looking family to be independent, Beatrice possessed an iron will and maturity beyond her years by the time she was sixteen. When she first laid eyes on George S. Patton Jr. in the summer of 1902, she was determined to make him her husband. She followed him relentlessly across Catalina Island on a family vacation in Southern California, setting a pattern for the rest of their lives.
The arduous army life was alien to Beatrice growing up on Boston's Commonwealth Avenue, but her adventurous spirit and insatiable curiosity allowed her to adapt quickly. She became an immediate asset to her husband's career and continuously fanned the flames of his burning ambition, yet she managed to maintain her identity and pursue her interests. As comfortable on the back of a magnificent steed as at the helm of a great schooner, she became an authority on Hawaiian legends while stationed on the islands twice.
Lady of the Army: The Life of Mrs. George S. Patton tells the story of the General's greatest champion in life and fiercest defender in death while shedding new light on a complex personality many remember as "old blood and guts." Beatrice Ayer Patton was a good soldier who fought the war on the home-front three times, but she would not have hesitated a second had she been offered the chance to stand beside her husband on the battlefield.