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.)
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.
A great writer doing justice to a great subject. Manchester's thoughtful appreciation of the yin and yang of an extraordinarily complex man is compelling.
Very informative and entertaining! Great read for anyone looking to learn more about the pacific theater and what happened there in WWII
A professional with a life-long love of reading.
Those of you who know Grover Gardner's work will enjoy this well written story about a uniquely flawed genius. Manchester is honest though somewhat sympathetic to the General. The book's title is fits the narrative.
Manchester's research is exhaustive and the book shows it. We become fairly intimate with The General, his Jeanie and young Aurthur as well as their circle of intimates. Manchester is honest as he works to answer the questions about why certain controversial actions are taken. All in all I truly enjoyed this audiobook.
Yes, Douglas MacArthur comes from a time when Americans thought mush differently than we do today. We need more of it!
Made me wonder could Americans today overcome what we suffered through in the past? The MacArthur's of America's past were visionaries that also had the ability to carry out their visions. They thought differently than what we see today. We may need more of them now!
I belief that every American school needs to teach more about men such as Douglas MacArthur, they could learn much from his successes and failures. If nothing else, the way he handled Japan after WWII is a lesson we all should learn.
Heroic Epic Adventuresome
The Bright Side of an American Hero
I thought I knew about Douglass MacArthur . . . I didn't know Jack S**t.
I didn't think i would like this book, but was mistaken. Wm. Manchester can bring life to history. And MacArthur's life was fascinating great virtue...great folly
William Manchester's biography of Douglas MacArthur is engaging, well reported and insightful. It's also for the most part a balanced view, though readers/listeners familiar with Manchester know that he has an occasional propensity to offer up tasty, if almost certainly apocryphal, details and snarky editorializing.
While listening to the book, I asked a number of college-age people if they knew who MacArthur was, and not one did. I suppose that's inevitable. But it's still sad and remarkable that such a towering figure of American history could be forgotten so soon.
Tom Parker's narration is very good, though it takes awhile to get used to his somewhat tinny, "1940s radio" voice.
An excellent book, well worth the 40+ hours it takes to listen to it.