William Manchester was the greatest American biographer of his generation. He was a great, powerful writer on his own, and he chose subjects well worthy of his talents. His account of MacArthur's long, rich, and consequential life traces a life and character that would be considered too far-fetched in a fictional character. Tom Parker's reading is perfectly pitched to Manchester's writing. (Parker also does an awesome job of reading Audie Murphy's To Hell and Back, a book I'd started to read several times; in Parker's hands, the story is riveting, and there is no question of stopping.)
It was a huge undertaking to listen to 40 hours about Douglas MacArthur. But, I am so glad that I did. Both my mom and my Dad were over in Bataan/Corregidor. My Mom as an army nurse, my Dad in the Army. Though, it was difficult to hear the parts about Bataan and Corregidor.....I needed to know.
It was mind blowing to hear about the occupation of Japan. What a strange story and time. But, again, I needed to hear it.
Although, it was painful to hear about all the mistakes that were made....by everyone concerning the abandoning of the Philippines. I needed to hear as my Dad was part of the Bataan Death March.
It was well worth the time and money. It was well written and the story was told well by the narrator.
We live in an age where the media as well as University historians deee-lite in seeking their greatness by destroying the greatness of the men you have done so much to craft our nation and lives. This work portrays MacArthur as the living illustration of the words of the Apostle Paul, " we have this treasure in earthen vessels" he was a man who was completely dedicated to a work that was far above that of man.
I didn't read the book so...... I can say that this is the absolute best audible book I've ever listen to.
General MacArthur's WW1 experience was an inspiration.
Well General MacArthur of course! The man was just right for his challenges and just what our country needed. The positives to this man far outweighs any negatives.
I tend to buy books that are lengthy and this one was a long one. My only wish for this book is that it would be twice as long as it was.
This book is just wonderful. I listen to it while I run. When I'm finished running I quit the book and absolutely look forward to my next run to continue with the book.
What an amazing accomplished soldier for the ages as well as a flawed individual, but isn't that how we like all of our heroes? Manchester does am excellent job in his thoroughness and his unbiased retelling if the history of this man. Great book and as a result I'm be reading his oops on Churchill
Mac was a unique man, even in his time. This biography approaches him as a tragic hero but spends enough critical time with the tragic to balance the overall heroic portrayal. I deeply enjoyed the history and story of this singular man.
What a great American General MacArthur was. Had he learned some humility he would have gained the White House - and I believe, brought about the Civil Rights movement 15- years earlier. I never knew the General had fewer American casualties in the Pacific in all of WWII than Bradley incurred in just the Battle of the Bulge. This was a General that truly cared about his troops and the citizens of the countries in which he occupied. The clash of MacArthur/Truman was tragic.
If you haven't read a William Manchester biography, do yourself a favor and start here, with this accessible classic. Manchester provides a great combination of clinical separation and expert-level subject matter expertise. As a biographer, he is apart from the subject. But as a soldier himself, and a military expert, he occasionally weighs in with frank analysis. MacArthur is one of the most intriguing American figures and the title is quite appropriate. Until I read this, I was only aware of the General's Phillipine career. I did not know that he functioned as the ruler of Japan after the atomic bombs. The manner in which he raised a downtrodden nation by allowing the Japanese space to regain respect and honor in day to day life is genius. Within two years, the man was beloved by the same Japanese nation that vowed to kill Americans to the last man until the day he took powers. A truly inspiring story with great narration. I've listened three times.
Increasing my ops tempo by allowing storytellers to whisper in my ear(buds).
This book was my introduction to the narrative histories of William Manchester. It opened up for me an interest in WWII in general and in the great figures of that era in particular. Manchester is a wonderful prose craftsman. He can put together a paragraph like the finest fiction writer. Manchester is also adept at filling the need we have for hero worship, the idea that the men who determined the fate of civilization, and saved us from tyranny, must needs be great—larger than life. He manages to downplay their personal foibles, suborning such short-comings to the personality traits that make them great. This biography of Douglas MacArthur is no exception. When listening to this biography we quickly learn that Manchester pulls no punches. We quickly learn about MacArthur’s narcissism, his inability to accept blame, his need to be in control of every detail. On the converse, we also learn about his almost transcendent competence in organizing a battle theater and for commanding the respect and loyalty of his staff. This sympathetic biography will give you the impression that no one else in the entire world could have possibly directed the forces in the South Pacific to victory with to few American lives lost other than MacArthur. Larger than life? Perhaps. Entertaining and engaging? Certainly. Manchester’s work has an epic quality to it, that quality that not only are you learning about a great moment in history, but that it mattered.
At the end of the production the narrator comes on to announce that “this book has been narrated by Tom Parker" (aka. Grover Gardner). I found Gardner’s voice less grating than his effort on Shelby Foote’s Civil War series—although here he never reaches the level where he could be considered to enhance Manchester’s work—at least here he is not an obstacle to the text. Words that you will never hear me say about Gardner are: soothing, pleasant or relaxing. But, as I have said before, Gardner’s voice has the one admirable quality of being easy to differentiate from background noises. His diction is always crisp, always clear and always understandable in even the most noisy environments.