Patterson, Benton Rain 1929–
Patterson, Benton Rain 1929–
Born December 2, 1929, in New Orleans, LA; son of E. Palmer (an accountant) and Jess (a homemaker) Patterson; married Patricia Roberts (a homemaker), January 14, 1951; children: James R., Benton Rain, Jr., Margaret Patterson Elfvin, Coleman, Gina. Education: Stetson University, A.B, 1950; East Texas State University, M.A, 1979. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Baptist.
Held various editorial and writing positions at newspapers and magazines, including Saturday Evening Post, New York Times Magazine, and Dominion, in Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Alabama, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and New York, 1951-67; Guideposts, New York, NY, managing editor, 1967-75, executive editor, 1975, director of creative development, 1975-76, contributing editor, 1976—; North Texas State University, Denton, lecturer, 1977-80; University of Florida, Gainesville, assistant professor, 1980-85, associate professor, beginning 1985, became emeritus associate professor of journalism.
Jesse H. Neal Award, American Business Press, 1967, for an article on a race riot in Newark, NJ, published in Food Topics.
Write to Be Read: A Practical Guide to Feature Writing, Iowa State University Press (Ames, IA), 1986.
(With Coleman E.P. Patterson) The Editor-in-Chief: A Practical Management Guide for Magazine Editors, Iowa State University Press (Ames, IA), 1997, 2nd edition, 2003.
A Reporter's Interview with Jesus, Tyndale House (Wheaton, IL), 2000.
Harold and William: The Battle for England, A.D. 1064-66, Cooper Square Press (New York, NY), 2001.
Washington and Cornwallis: The Battle for America, 1775-1783, Taylor Trade Publishers (Lanham, MD), 2004.
Benton Rain Patterson, a former journalism professor, is the author of guides on writing and editing as well as a number of works of historical nonfiction. His first published work, Write to Be Read: A Practical Guide to Feature Writing, appeared in 1986. Patterson once told CA: "I wrote Write to Be Read to let young writers know what it is they should be trying to achieve in their writing and to show them how to do it. The book emphasizes angle, structure, and—most important, the elements of good writing: narrative, description, and quotes. It places great weight on anecdotes; it also emphasizes interviewing. The book is sort of a distillation of my experiences with writers as a newspaper and magazine editor over a career of more than thirty years." A former associate editor of the Saturday Evening Post and editor of Dominion magazine, Patterson also penned The Editor-in-Chief: A Practical Management Guide for Magazine Editors.
Patterson wrote A Reporter's Interview with Jesus after retiring from his position as managing editor at Guideposts, an inspirational magazine. In the work, a journalist questions Jesus about his life and ministry; Jesus's "responses" are taken from the gospels of the New Testament. According to Library Journal contributor Graham Christian, the work "is both enlightening and gently amusing," and a reviewer in Publishers Weekly noted the author's "unorthodox approach to such very orthodox issues as wealth, power and prayer."
In 2001, Patterson published Harold and William: The Battle for England, A.D. 1064-66, which tells through dramatic interpretation the story of two bitter rivals. Harold Godwinson, earl of Wessex, once rescued Duke William of Normandy; William in gratitude granted knighthood to Harold. When Harold later reneged on his promise to support William's claim to the English throne, the two became implacable enemies. It was Harold who assumed the throne in 1066, selected by King Edward in a decision that outraged William. The rift would come to a head that very year, when the now-King Harold was killed by the invading Normans, led by William, during the Battle of Hastings. A Publishers Weekly contributor described Patterson as "decidedly pro-Harold" in this book; "indeed, [Patterson] refers to William as ‘the Bastard’ and often highlights the Norman's brutality." But the bias, added the critic, "doesn't stop Patterson from weaving a highly entertaining narrative."
In Washington and Cornwallis: The Battle for America, 1775-1783, Patterson examines the campaign strategies of George Washington, leader of the Continental Army, and British general Lord Charles Cornwallis, whose surrender at Yorktown in 1781 ended the Revolutionary War. In a later work, The Generals: Andrew Jackson, Sir Edward Pakenham, and the Road to the Battle of New Orleans, Patterson details the events leading to the final major battle of the War of 1812. In January, 1815, American soldiers, sailors, and militia led by Jackson fended off Pakenham's British forces, who were intent on capturing the vital port city of New Orleans. According to Journal of Southern History contributor Matthew Warshauer, "the American victory ushered in a wave of nationalism that purged the nation of shame and ultimately carried the heroic Jackson to the White House." In addition to his account of the battle, Patterson examines the vastly different lives of the two commanding officers. "The contrast between the orphaned son of immigrants and the privileged child of British nobility and their intertwining destinies is an important story that in many ways is representative of young America," wrote Jason R. Musteen in Parameters. "On one hand, the seemingly foolish belief that victory was possible in the Revolution, the Quasi-War with France, the Tripolitan War, and the War of 1812 reveals the rash impetuousness of America, but on the other hand, it also points to an inherent sense of justice and optimism."
In With the Heart of a King: Elizabeth I of England, Philip II of Spain, and the Fight for a Nation's Soul and Crown, Patterson examines the personal rivalry between the powerful sixteenth-century rulers. "An engaging book for those interested in clear, condensed studies of these monarchs," wrote Library Journal reviewer Tonya Briggs. According to a Publishers Weekly critic, the author presents "an enjoyable narrative of the intensely personal politics of the era, with plenty of intrigue and colorful characters," including Sir Francis Drake, Mary Queen of Scots, and Martin Luther.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
British Heritage, May, 2005, Allyson Patton, review of Washington and Cornwallis: The Battle for America, 1775-1783, p. 61.
Historian, winter, 2006, C. Edward Skeen, review of The Generals: Andrew Jackson, Sir Edward Pakenham, and the Road to the Battle of New Orleans, p. 840.
History Today, November, 2001, Anne Pointer, review of Harold and William: The Battle for England, A.D. 1064-66, p. 54.
Journal of Military History, January, 2006, Gene A. Smith, review of The Generals, p. 232.
Journal of Southern History, August, 2006, Matthew Warshauer, review of The Generals, p. 663.
Library Journal, May 1, 2000, Graham Christian, review of A Reporter's Interview with Jesus, p. 122; February 1, 2007, Tonya Briggs, review of With the Heart of a King: Elizabeth I of England, Philip II of Spain, and the Fight for a Nation's Soul and Crown, p. 85.
Parameters, summer, 2006, Jason R. Musteen, review of The Generals.
Publishers Weekly, February 21, 2000, "Extra, Extra: Jesus Speaks," p. 38; October 22, 2001, review of Harold and William, pp. 63-64; January 1, 2007, review of With the Heart of a King, p. 46.
Reference and Research Book News, November, 1997, review of The Editor-in-Chief: A Practical Management Guide for Magazine Editors, p. 148; May, 2003, review of The Editor-in-Chief, p. 228; August, 2005, review of The Generals, p. 66.