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The Most Dangerous Man in America: The Making of Douglas MacArthur [Kindle Edition]

Mark Perry
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)

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Book Description

At times, even his admirers seemed unsure of what to do with General Douglas MacArthur. Imperious, headstrong, and vain, MacArthur matched an undeniable military genius with a massive ego and a rebellious streak that often seemed to destine him for the dustbin of history. Yet despite his flaws, MacArthur is remembered as a brilliant commander whose combined-arms operation in the Pacific—the first in the history of warfare—secured America’s triumph in World War II and changed the course of history.

In The Most Dangerous Man in America, celebrated historian Mark Perry examines how this paradox of a man overcame personal and professional challenges to lead his countrymen in their darkest hour. As Perry shows, Franklin Roosevelt and a handful of MacArthur’s subordinates made this feat possible, taming MacArthur, making him useful, and finally making him victorious. A gripping, authoritative biography of the Pacific Theater’s most celebrated and misunderstood commander, The Most Dangerous Man in America reveals the secrets of Douglas MacArthur’s success—and the incredible efforts of the men who made it possible.

Editorial Reviews


New York Times Book Review
“[A] well-written, insightful portrait of a commander whose occasional military genius vied with an overweening ego that alienated his superiors in Washington and led to his eventual downfall.”

Wall Street Journal
“Mark Perry's enjoyable The Most Dangerous Man in America amply captures the general's ‘proud and egotistical’ streak."

Washington Post
“[An] engrossing book on the great, though greatly flawed, general… fans of military history and general readers will have much to enjoy and to ponder: The author offers a vivid and convincing recounting of MacArthur’s tremendous skill as a pioneer of air-land-sea battle in the Pacific, along with ample evidence that ‘proud and egotistical’ MacArthur ‘was his own worst enemy.’”

Boston Globe
“[A] dazzling biography…[a] deft portrayal centered mainly on MacArthur’s World War II years.”

Foreign Affairs
“Without ever denying MacArthur’s flaws and mistakes, Perry revives the general’s reputation by carefully and positively appraising his role in some of the war’s key moments.”

Dallas Morning News
“Perry sets out to demonstrate how FDR ‘tamed and used’ the general as the principal tool that would defeat the Japanese. Perry accomplishes this efficiently through an entertaining narrative that will satisfy MacArthur’s defenders…”

Christian Science Monitor
“A perceptive, authoritative biography of the legendary general.”

Washington Independent Review of Books
“A riveting and accessible biography of General Douglas MacArthur...simultaneously providing insights into his behavior and filling in needed and appropriate biographical nuggets in order to illuminate his bigger than life persona.... A noble portrait of an often misunderstood and complex 20th-century American.... Without diminishing the humanity of the book’s central protagonist, Perry captures the conundrum of being a great man and presents a story that is full of its own kind of romance and adventure.”

Shelf Awareness for Readers
“A compelling, succinct account of a deeply flawed but brilliant leader, a man seemingly created for the circumstances through which he lived… With fluid prose and fascinating personalities, The Most Dangerous Man in America should appeal to military history and biography buffs alike.”

Buffalo News
“Perry undertakes a thorough re-examination of MacArthur’s role in World War II, with the goal of bursting the myth promoted by Roosevelt’s inner circle that this dangerous, uncontainable commander, and possible Republican foe, deserves the judgment accorded him by modern historians…In making his case, Perry dazzles in his telling of the Pacific narrative through the eyes of his general…That is Perry’s story and he tells it superbly: The political infighting, the inter-service rivalry, the president who favored the Navy, all overlaid on the internal bickering within MacArthur’s talented and high-powered staff.”

“An excellent…limited examination of MacArthur’s life in the critical years preceding and including WWII....informative and easily digestible.”

“A study of quiet authority… A majestic overview with an engaging sense of the nuance of character.”

Library Journal
“A gripping read, this book will be valuable to the novice and specialist alike.”

Publishers Weekly
“[Perry] provocatively reinterprets the volatile relationship between F.D.R. and Gen. Douglas MacArthur.”

Lewis Sorley, author of A Better War: The Unexamined Victories and Final Tragedy of America’s Last Years in Vietnam
“Second only to his monumental self-regard was Douglas MacArthur’s ability to polarize those who encountered him. Thus Mark Perry’s achievement in this even-handed and insightful assessment is all the more remarkable. Concentrating on the events of World War II, he reveals in telling detail the strengths and weaknesses of this most controversial military figure.”

David Crist, Senior Historian, Joint Chiefs of Staff
“The book is extremely well-written and the story simply enthralling. It pulls you in from the first page. Mark Perry has written balanced, accurate book on one of the most important men in American military history. If there is one biography to read about Douglas MacArthur, this is it.”

John Prados, Author of Islands of Destiny: The Solomons Campaign and the Eclipse of the Rising Sun
“Mark Perry intrigues with his inquiry into Douglas MacArthur, one of the most fascinating, frustrating characters in modern U.S. history. In The Most Dangerous Man in America, Perry not only illuminates General MacArthur’s actions and motives in the Depression-era U.S. Army and World War II, he shows MacArthur’s human side, sheds new light on the relationship between him and President Franklin D. Roosevelt, reframes FDR’s wartime leadership, and gives deserved attention to such comrades as Robert L. Eichelberger. Don’t miss this fresh vision of the general who returned to the Philippines.”

Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, former Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs
“A pleasure to read, Mark Perry's The Most Dangerous Man in America is a revealing and topical biography on arguably the greatest general in American history. It shows MacArthur at the pinnacle of greatness and the nadir of vanity—usually simultaneously—during the most critical periods of the Japanese campaign in WWII. Replete with new information, insights and perspective on this most enigmatic of American generals, MacArthur's legend is thoroughly but respectfully dissembled to show him, and the generation of political and military leaders that won WWII, as petty, vindictive but brilliant military strategists and ruthless political infighters. Mark Perry's well-balanced book stands far above the crowded collection of official military histories, biographies, hagiographies and analyses of General Douglas MacArthur and should be mandatory reading for those that aspire to command—that most humbling of military experiences—at any level.”

Eliot Cohen, author of Supreme Command and Conquered Into Liberty
"MacArthur's reputation has been in eclipse for some time. Mark Perry restores much of it in this vivid and compelling account of his career before Korea. Without scanting MacArthur's faults and failures, he makes a convincing case that during World War II he was not merely an able but at times a brilliant commander."

David Kaiser, author of The Road to Dallas: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy
"A balanced and wide-ranging portrait of one of the United States' most brilliant and controversial military leaders, reminding us that MacArthur had great strengths as well as weaknesses."

About the Author

Mark Perry is a military, intelligence, and foreign affairs analyst and writer. His articles have appeared in The Nation, The Washington Post, Foreign Policy, and The Los Angeles Times, among other outlets, and he is a frequent guest commentator and expert on Al Jazeera television network. He is the author of eight books, including Grant and Twain, Partners in Command, and Talking to Terrorists. Perry has served as editor and Washington bureau chief for a number of publications, including Washington D.C.’s City Paper and The Veteran, the largest circulation newspaper for veterans in the nation.

Product Details

  • File Size: 5376 KB
  • Print Length: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books (April 1, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00G1SD72S
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,185 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
72 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dangerous to America's Enemies March 24, 2014
By C L
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have read several books concerning General Douglas MacArthur. A few have been scathing, giving him hell for just about everything he did (the author Stanley Weintraub does not think much of him) some are admiring (William Manchester comes to mind). Mark Perry, in this excellent book, does not fall under either category. He looks at the record and the relationship between MacArthur and President Franklin Roosevelt and Army Chief of Staff George Marshal and calls the shots as he sees them. He obviously believes that all three of these men were good men and talented men. They needed each other during hard times. They helped form each others' characters and ideas. In the end, MacArthur was brilliant as a military commander, perhaps even a genius, all the while earning the anger of other people with his arrogance and near paranoia that others were against him. Perry has done a great job of separating the faults of the man from his sometimes astonishing successes. We are lucky that he took the time to do so and then write this book.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars General Douglas MacArthur -- An American Caesar! April 7, 2014
The author was one of only three historians who interviewed General Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964), and he was fortunate to do so, for this was only three years before MacArthur's death at the age of 84 in Washington, D.C. This authoritative biography relates exceedingly well the life and times of perhaps the greatest and most fascinating and enigmatic of all American generals of the 20th century.

MacArthur was raised in an old military family of the old West, fought the Mexicans during the occupation of Veracruz in 1914, served in the two World Wars, and had a prominent role in the Korean Conflict (1950-1951) -- serving officially in the U.S Army from 1904-1964. His accomplishments were outstanding and copious, but Mark Perry, the author of this book describes them well, succeeding remarkably well in relating why the General continues to fascinate us.

MacArthur was the only American to rise to become Field Marshall of the Philippine Army, earning also the Medal of Honor for his military service in the Philippine Campaigns, a decoration and badge of honor also awarded to his father, whom MacArthur revered. General MacArthur strove to emulate his father whose early achievements MacArthur feared he could never attain. In fact, he surpassed his admired and accomplished father, MacArthur being only one of 5 Americans to rise to the rank of General of the Army (5 star general).

The Big Chief (one of MacArthur's nicknames) was to become a legendary figure for his military strategies, tactics, and prominent role in the wars in the Pacific theater, fighting not only the Japanese during World War II, but also the North Koreans and Red Chinese in the ensuing cold war, a drawn out conflict that was not so cold for MacArthur.
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17 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Flawed Man at the Right Time April 9, 2014
Of the numerous books about Douglas MacArthur this book is unique in that it examines his life and career through the lens of being Army chief of staff in 1932 through the surrender of Japan in 1945 with a focus on his complex and challenging relationship with Franklin Roosevelt. MacArthur was vain and egoistical but also a brilliant strategist who, according to the author, led the most successful combined arms operations military history while in the Southwest Pacific in World War II. His rivalry with the Navy, his relationship with Australia, and how he was used by FDR to advance the New Deal make for fascinating reading as was the fact MacArthur could select a "royal court" for his staff yet chose excellent combat commanders for his land, air, and sea operations. An unanswered question for me was how MacArthur's experience with the Civilian Conservation Corps set the stage for his extraordinary leadership in remaking Japan following World War II.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Leaves you somewhat in the middle June 1, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've read a lot about the history of World War II and almost every book leaves you with a VERY low opinion of Mac. This book leaves you with a low opinion of Roosevelt, Truman and Marshall, especially Marshall. The title of this book would leave uou with a different anticipation. It only reflects a quote from Roosevelt.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insight through words May 26, 2014
Mark Perry is able to lead one to understanding of the character of a man, famous for his conquests and at times infamous for his own failing. I found it most educational as a book that describes the thinking of men who are destined to lead others to war and during war.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Book May 1, 2014
By Bob .P.
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book covers almost exclusively MacArthur's experiences in the Southwest Pacific during WWII. His egotism is on almost every page, but the book covers inter-service rivalies to an extent that I never knew before. I suggest this as required reading for thos interested in the Pacific theater during WWII.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
This is Mark Perry's ninth book, and they just keep getting better. While billed as a revisionist history by some reviewers, Perry has proven his excellence as a solid reporter, superb historian and dazzling writer. I have rarely seen such a broad selection of fine reviews -- from the New York Times and Wall Street Journal to the Washington Post and Boston Globe. Better yet, The Most Dangerous Man In America is a page turner. I couldn't put it down.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars "American Caesar" and this is a superior read in my opinion
Having only read one other book about MacArthur, "American Caesar" and this is a superior read in my opinion. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Lawrence J. Corvari
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 5 days ago by J Fred Herlocker
2.0 out of 5 stars Better history than biography
If one wants a biography of MacArthur, this is not the book to read. If you want a historical relation of MacArthur's role in the Pacific phase of WW II, then this book might serve... Read more
Published 8 days ago by lawyer reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Heroes Are Born
A clear cut picture of this stalwart leader.
Published 10 days ago by CHRISSY
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book with a lot of background
Excellent book with a lot of background. Explores a lot of the background for MacArthur's career in the1930s through WWII. Read more
Published 14 days ago by Joseph Schlosser
2.0 out of 5 stars One rational approach to measure any leader/commander is the simple...
Well. a college try yes...but in the end Mark seems to come under the "MacArthur Spell." The indicator the author fell under the "spell" is Mark Perry's statement... Read more
Published 14 days ago by Carol Shealy and Michael Shealy
4.0 out of 5 stars He is a person
Many Japanese only know his GHQ days. Need to know what he did prior to the "unconditional surrender" to fully figure out why he did that all reforms in post-war Japan.
Published 19 days ago by Yasuhiro Namba
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a very good book about World War II in the Pacific
This is a very good book about World War II in the Pacific. MacArthur is certainly a brilliant but controversial figure and this book
covers both his good and bad sides and... Read more
Published 20 days ago by C. Hylton
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book of the life of one if not the ...
Fantastic book of the life of one if not the most outstanding General of the US Armed Forces from almost four decades. Read more
Published 20 days ago by gonzalo vargas
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent with the sole proviso that MacArthur's military actions are...
Excellent with the sole proviso that MacArthur's military actions are converted from average victories over a heavily outnumbered enemy into military triumphs. Read more
Published 29 days ago by mariandavid
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