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American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur 1880 - 1964 Paperback – May 12, 2008
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''Gracefully written, impeccably researched and scrupulous in every way - a thrilling and profoundly ponderable piece of work.'' --Newsweek
''A through and spellbinding book...a dramatic chronicle of one of America's last epic heroes.'' --Saturday Review
''A blockbuster of a book...It reads like a novel, but all of it is based firmly on the complex but fascinating record.'' --New York Magazine --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
William Manchester writes with wit and candor as he chronicles MacArthur's life from his earliest days to his death in 1964, at age 84. Manchester's portrait of his subject is balanced and objective. We see MacArthur at his finest: capable and courageous on the battlefield during World War I, rising quickly to general officer rank as a result of his abilities; between the world wars, a progressive, reform-minded superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy, and later U.S. Army Chief of Staff; during World War II, a Medal of Honor winner, and the gifted but overly vainglorious commander of all Allied forces in the South Pacific, who achieved brilliant military successes with his "island-hopping" strategy; and later, as Military Governor of Japan, displaying a surprising magnanimity toward the conquered Japanese by introducing American-style democracy and liberal reforms. We also see him at his worst: pompous and vain, always seeking personal glory, often at his subordinates' expense; vindictive toward his subordinates when they disagreed with him; and finally, during the Korean War, the Supreme Commander whose hubris led him to openly defy his commander-in-chief, resulting in his relief by President Harry Truman.Read more ›
Douglas MacArthur was a colossus. He did not merely play an important role in the war in the Pacific, he dominated it and went on to play a crucial role in the West's early response to Communism in the Far East. William Manchester's exhaustive biography paints a warts and all portrait of the General. Manchester expresses rightful admiration for MacArthur's strategic brilliance and his amazing role in the recontstruction of post-war Japan. Yet, he does not shy away from criticism of MacArthur's extraordinary vanity which, in many cases, almost led (and during the Korean War did lead) to the General's downfall. I finished the book far more enlightened on the character of this individual and yet was left to draw my own conclusions as to his place in history.
Manchester's book is not just an immensely readable, throughly documented portrait of Douglas MacArthur. It also serves as a valuable work on the prosecution of the war in the Pacific and the early years of the Cold War and draws some very valuable and raises some interesting questions on the origin of America's entry into the war in Vietnam.
Individuals such as Douglas MacArthur should not be forgotten. Love them or hate them, they played a critical role in the history of the 20th Century and to the lives which each and every one of us live today. "American Casear" does justice to all aspects of Douglas MacArthur's life and character and I have no doubts that it will fascinate anyone who picks it up.
5 stars without any hesitation whatsoever.
William Manchester's incisive "American Caesar" is an 800-page argument that the Supreme Allied Commander of the Southwest Pacific Area was, for all his numerous personal faults and jarring pomposity, the most brilliant, compelling commander in American history. For every GI killed under MacArthur, thirty Japanese were killed, a ratio Eisenhower or any other commander could only dream of. A scant fifty years after his Inchon landing, historians of even the most measured ilk, are proclaiming that radical move one of the most daring and decisive in history. The numbers alone are staggering. When the dust had settled from an amphibious assault that was discouraged by nearly every officer around him, just 500 Americans had died to 40,000 North Koreans, and the entire complexion of the war had completely changed.
So why is MacArthur's name largely forgotten in a popular culture that still holds iconic names like Patton and Bradley, Eisenhower, and Doolittle? First, it's a discouraging inevitability that only the worst battlefield tragedies are remembered. Gettysburg, Antietam, the Battle of the Bulge, the Battle of Verdun in 1916. Terrific loss of life was the uniting feature in all these battles; not commanding excellence.
When 500 Americans die landing in a remote Far Eastern locale, what's the chance that ground will be hallowed and memorialized?
MacArthur also suffers at the expense of his politics, which were unabashedly conservative.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great read about one of the last great larger than life characters in history. Started to drag near the end, but a truly enjoyable and unique perspective.Published 4 days ago by Amazon Customer
"American Caesar, Douglas MacArthur" by William Manchester is a masterly crafted biography of one of America's finest military leaders. Read morePublished 22 days ago by E. Joseph Anna
Well worth the time and effort to slowly work through it. Manchester succeeds in my view in his painting of MacArthur as a highly intelligent, success driven, one-in-a-million... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Rev. John D. White
Only by reading this superbly written book can one truly comprehend the seminal accomplishments of this man. Read morePublished 1 month ago by MRW
When I was a young member of the Capitol Police force I stood guard as the rich and famous of the world passed by his open casket. I can still remember what he looked like. Read morePublished 1 month ago by mmcleodamcom99
It's a wee bit difficult for me to be completely objective when reviewing any of William Manchester's books, because he's in my top 3 of best writers of all time. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Kelly Howard
The story was well written and kept the reader interested. It was factional and timely on events of the war. 5 star ratingPublished 2 months ago by Eddie ervin