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The Question of MacArthur's Reputation: "Côte De Châtillon, October 14-16, 1918" Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: University of Missouri (November 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 082621830X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826218308
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,802,949 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Professor Emeritus of History at Indiana University, Robert H. Ferrell is the author or editor of many books in American foreign relations, presidential history, and military history, including Five Days in October: The Lost Battalion of World War I; Collapse at Meuse-Argonne: The Failure of the Missouri-Kansas Division; and most recently Argonne Days in World War I (all available from the University of Missouri Press).  He lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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23 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Sam Bloberg on January 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Robert H. Ferrell's account and analysis of General Douglas MacArthur during the major engagment at Cote de Chatillon is what he claimed MacArthur was guilty of, distorting the record and exaggerating his own role. I am a military historian with the Department of the Army, a World War I historian and published on the Meuse-Argonne offensive and especially the 42nd Division's role in the battle. It is hard to accept a sweeping revision of facts from a historian that does not understand the profession of arms and military history. It is just another example how the study of military history and scholarship has been lost in present-day academia. As a 25 year veteran of the Army and retired Lt. Col. I was amazed at Dr. Ferrell's lack of military scholarship. One does not have to a veteran to write military history but it sure helps. As for the scholarship of this work, I find that he began with a thesis and then went out to prove it collecting facts to support it. He completely ignored how MacArthur as a colonel and the division CofS went out on night patrols himself many, many times to ascertain and gather intelligence so "he" could brief the commanders of the division, brigades and regiments on the up coming operations. This was usually a task for a captain at best, but MacArthur often did it himself and he was awarded seven, count them, Silver Stars (star citations) for valor! Ferrell's weak premise that a night bayonet attack was a foolish tactic is not based on what a commander's true assessment should be. Yes, LTC Bare of the Alabama 167th Infantry was probably right in convincing MacArthur not to do it, but for other reasons more grounded reasons such as fatigue and lack of fire-support, other than the reasons that Ferrell outlines.Read more ›
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12 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Clement Finn on June 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover
After serving us a rather pretentious title (it seems to imply MacArthur's entire reputation is in jeopardy, but the author is only focusing on a single incident from World War One) the opening shot of Mr. Ferrell's book is stated thus:
" General Douglas MacArthur made his reputation from an action toward the end of the World War on October 14-16, 1918: the taking of the Cote de Chatillon...." This of course is quite inaccurate, ignoring as it does MacArthur's other medals and decorations in his nearly one and one half year tour of duty in the Europe of World War I. MacArthur's reputation rested on more than just one battle. From this opening misfire, Mr. Ferrell goes on to accuse MacArthur of claiming all the credit for this victory (Cote de Chatillon) which is also simply wrong. In his own memoirs MacArthur gave credit to his subordinates whom he described as "indispensible". Simply put, MacArthur never claimed full credit for the Cote de Chatillon. That was a small part of his contribution to WWI. No one doubts MacArthur's flaws, they are quite evident in more comprehensive books such as William Manchester's brilliant "American Caesar". A single incident in life does not make or unmake any individual. We should of course, also remember also D. Clayton James multivolume "Years of MacArthur" which Mr. Manchester seemed to think superior to his own. Manchester once asked James for s short appraisal of MacArthur. James replied :"Hated him on Tuesday, loved him on Wednesday". And so it is... The following is from Col. Cole Kingseed's excellent review at the AUSA site. It points out not some of the foregoing issues and still other problems with this book:
"Reviewed by
COL Cole C. Kingseed
USA Ret.
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4 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on December 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Douglas MacArthur is remembered as one of America's most outstanding five-star generals. His military reputation was built at the hill of Chatillon during the great battle of Meuse-Argonne in World War I. Historical accounts have lauded his leadership and bravery, in his alleged (and self-proclaimed) act of seizing the hill of Chatillon and breaking the main German line in northern France, inspiring the Eighty-fourth Infantry Brigade to greater heights. The Question of MacArthur's Reputation: Cote de Chatillon, October 14-16, 1918 dares to examine the question of what really happened on those critical few days - though it is undisputed that MacArthur's forces were victorious, there are to this day no detailed accounts of how exactly the battle progressed. Robert H. Ferrell (Professor Emeritus of History, Indiana University) has pored over a multitude of imprecise accounts of the battle found in regimental and divisional histories, as well as Army records, to determine whether MacArthur's claims were, in fact, true. Presenting a moment-by-moment reconstruction of how the battle unfolded, Ferrell offers surprising new insight into history, with the revelation that MacArthur's subordinates were the true heroes. A fascinating re-examination of a critical span of days in American military history, highly recommended.
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5 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Watson on December 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Robert Ferrell presents a well-documented presentation of the one little-known and un-deserved military decoration given to MacArthur that he would use to embellish his resume and serve as a springboard for more rank and career mobility.

MacArthur is revealed once again (see "December 8, 1941: MacArthur's Pearl Harbor," Texas A&M University Military History Series, 87, by William H. Bartsch) as the inept leader he really was. Although Bartsch's book is more forthright than "MacArthur's Reputation," Ferrell does an adequate job presenting the picture of MacArthur's leadership from the rear, where, by the way, he was sending messages back to HQ that were not only inaccurate about the course of the battle, but false and filled with excuse-making.

MacArthur was the prima donna who couldn't take a stand against failed tactical planning by inept higher general staff officers. He was a "company man" who didn't want to rock the boat, as did General Robert A. Brown. By remaining silent in the face of an order that made no sense, MacArthur saved face...and his career. Unlike Colonel Conrad S. Babcock, MacArthur didn't do the right thing...he simply did nothing.

MacArthur, who was absent and in the rear, when action by his regiments took place, and took the credit for the success of Cote de Chatillion, which credit, really belonged to others of lesser rank.

After receiving the undeserved award following this World War I battle, MacArthur's vanity would reach new heights before, during, and after Pearl Harbor.
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