Blumenson, Martin 1918–2005

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Blumenson, Martin 1918–2005

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born November 8, 1918, in New York, NY; died of cancer April 15, 2005, in Washington, DC. Historian, educator, and author. Blumenson was a highly respected military historian who was best known for his expertise on World War II and the life of General George S. Patton, Jr. After completing his B.A. in 1939 and M.A. in 1940, both at Bucknell University, he finished a second M.A. in history at Harvard University in 1942. Soon after that, Blumenson enlisted in the U.S. Army as America entered World War II. Because of his history degree, he ended up assigned to the army's history unit and at one point was stationed at 3rd Army headquarters in Europe, which was under Patton's command. After the war, Blumenson remained in France where, as a talented musician, he earned money as a nightclub pianist. Finally returning to America, during the late 1940s he was a history instructor at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and in 1950 he joined the Hofstra University faculty. With the Korean War heating up, Blumenson returned to active duty, continuing his military service through 1957. Over the next ten years he honed his expertise in military history as an historian for the Department of the Army in Washington, DC. A variety of history teaching positions followed, including at Acadia University and the Naval War College in the early 1970s, the Citadel from 1974 to 1975, the Army War College in 1976, and George Washington University from 1979 to 1983. Blumenson joined the George Washington University faculty as a visiting professor of military history in 1981, and from 1983 to 1984 was an adjunct professor at the National War College. Blumenson's many books focus on history and include biographies of military figures from the World War II era. His best-known works concern his favorite subject, Patton. He edited the two-volume The Patton Papers (1972, 1974) and published the authoritative Patton: The Man behind the Legend, 1885–1945 (1985), which was praised by critics for being a thorough and fair portrait of the brilliant but egotistical general. Among Blumenson's other writings were such equally respected tomes as the biography Eisenhower (1972), and the books Sicily: Whose Victory? (1969) and Heroes Never Die: Warriors and Warfare in World War II (2001). At the time of his death, Blumenson, who had been awarded the prestigious Samuel Eliot Morrison Prize for military history in 1995, was at work on another book about Patton.

OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Chicago Tribune, April 18, 2005, section 2, p. 11.

Los Angeles Times, April 27, 2005, p. B12.

New York Times, April 21, 2005, p. A21.

Washington Post, April 17, 2005, p. C11.