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macarthur's victory the war in new guinea, 1943-1944 Hardcover – January 1, 2004

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 292 pages
  • Publisher: Presidio; Book Club (BCE/BOMC) edition (2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0739450751
  • ISBN-13: 978-0739450758
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.8 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,034,974 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Craig Swain on November 23, 2005
Format: Paperback
Gailey comes close but just does not capture the struggle in New Guinea completely. Give the author credit for the coverage of the battles around Lae, Salamaua, Wau, and Finschhafen. Outside of official histories, the battles of that pivotal stage of action in the South West Pacific have gone largely unrecorded. Gailey introduces the reader to the Japanese chain of command, providing rare explanations of Japanese command decisions.

However aside from that coverage, I found the book lacking depth. We are given a little more than the "box score" of the major battles, but much less than the play by play description. For example the Marine operations on Cape Gloucester, while presented, do not provide any insight into the flow of that battle. Instead "Chesty" Puller's "Pig Sticking" is briefly discussed.

We are introduced to generals and other leaders, without any discussion of their background or personality. I found this troublesome as the author adopted the tried and refuted mantra - MacArthur could not get along with anyone - regarding inter-service and coalition high command interactions. Why didn't MacArthur get along with Blamey? For that matter what personality traits led MacArthur to distrust General Brett but bond with General Kenney? The same can be asked for Admirals Carpenter and Kinkaid.

The book abruptly ends with the occupation of Noemfoor and Sansapor-Mar, with no coverage of the action at Morotai, which in the strategic sense closed off Japanese access to New Guinea. Conclusions drawn were well thought out, but not breaking any new ground. Stephen Taaffe comes closer in his coverage of the same campaign - MacAurthur's Jungle War.

Lastly, for any publishers reading this, please, if you present a volume of military history, include as many maps as possible. And more to the point, if the writer mentions a location or place name prominently in the dialog, do us the favor of pinpointing such on the map!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By I. R. Beste on May 25, 2005
Format: Paperback
Gailey provides a solid narrative on the 1943-44 campaign in New Guinea. He credits MacArthur for his operational abilities while not overlooking or excusing away his faults: occasional overly-optimistic planning, poor use of intelligence, rocky relations with the US Navy, distrust of our Australian allies, and certain decisions relating to the removal of subordinates. The book does not overlook the contributions of the Australians and points out some of the logistical and political limits that affected the Aussies. The contributions of the US Navy and US Army Air Forces are considered, as well as the medical conditions that the Allied forces faced. Decisions by Japanese commanders are discussed and considered, something not all "popular" histories do well.

The book is primarily drawn from secondary sources, though most of those are official and unit histories, but the source notes do credit some interviews with participants and archival materials.

On the downside, the book suffers from: inconsistent mapping, as some operations get a map while others do not; a lack of an order of battle; and some of the sloppiest copy-editing I've seen from a major publisher--inconsistent capitalization (half the time it is "thirteenth Air Force", the other half "Thirteenth Air Force"), inconsistent proper names (the 1st Infantry Regiment is identified in three location with two pages as the "1st Regiment" [inaccurate], "1st Infantry" [better] and "1st RCT" [best-but nowhere is the significance of RCT as "regimental combat team" explained]), and constant misspelling of Japanese names. And would it kill an editor to insist on an explanation of the seemingly-odd numbering system of Australian units e.g. why one unit is the 2/24th and the other the 56th/57th? On balance, these are irritants, and do not substantially detract from the book's quality.

Overall, strongly recommended for any collection with an interest in the Second World War.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By David M. Dougherty VINE VOICE on December 16, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book continues where author Gailey's "MacArthur Strikes Back - Decision at Buna New Guinea 1942-1943" leaves off and covers the remainder of the New Guinea campaign during 1943 through most of 1944. There is little new in Gailey's works, but the coverage is relatively good and thorough at the regimental level and above. I recommend it be read in conjunction with Holzimmer's "General Walter Krueger" for a view from Krueger's standpoint and Morison's "Breaking the Bismarcks Barrier" for a treatise from the Navy's side.

The book serves best an an introduction to the campaign since it is written from a rather high level. Surprisingly, the Japanese command problems are present in as much detail as the American, and the Japanese lack of good intelligence versus the American sources through Ultra are in sharp contrast to each other. Sometimes one wonders how well Krueger and MacArthur would have done without Ultra or how well the Japanese would have done with almost any intelligence at all.

General Kenney is given well-deserved kudos by the author, and in many respects his advice on strategy determined the campaign. MacArthur consistently took the most aggressive strategy possible, particularly in the early days when he possessed little naval or air support. His problem was that he was building to a liberation of the Philippines, something considered in naval circles to be unnecessary. History has not yet decided this issue as the central Pacific campaign was undoubtedly decisive, but not liberating the Philippines might have had many undesirable political consequences for the US.

Interestingly, the first half of the New Guinea campaign was fought by Australians and the last half by Americans.
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