©1978 William Manchester; (P)1991 Blackstone Audio Inc.
"Listening to Parker, one imagines a jovial uncle delivering a slap on the back and sitting down to describe war experiences in a rich voice filled with humor and pathos. The 'you-are-there' quality grabs and holds. This is a carefully done, seamless audio presentation." (AudioFile)
McArthur was a complex and gifted leader. This biography treats him fairly and brings to light many facts that have been buried or misinterpreted by previous treatments. It is neither fawning hagiography nor poisonous character assination. It was a great listening experience.
Manchester has been hailed as one of the all-time great biographers. His two-part trilogy (yes, the third part was never written.) of Churchill is fabulous. This biography of MacArthur is also excellent. You will learn many new aspects of the island-hopping strategy so brilliantly executed to conquer unfathomable expanses of the Pacific. (Caveat: get a good map to refer to as you listen.) The size of the Japanese conquests that the US had to liberate was immense. The flawed character of the capable General is also a fascinating study.
Among the best. The writing pulls the reader in.
A little dated in its 1970s attitudes and fascination with Japan's modern economy, but otherwise an extremely engaging and balanced look at an important historical figure.
Former Marine 4321, former State Department public diplomacy officer. Current USAF Public Affairs Specialist
As a former Marine, I always considered Douglas MacArthur a failure because I perceived he was disrespectful of his leadership, specifically the American Presidency.
However, after reading this book and getting a much more nuanced understanding of the chaotic politics of the time, and watching the movie, the Trial of Billy Mitchell, I wonder if even I would have been able to follow such ludicrous orders as they endured.
In the end, I came to deeply admire Gen. MacArthur and I'm grateful in the modern era for the Japan we have now. I also had no idea that Gen. MacArthur's initial failure to understand the movement of technology developments and the significance of airpower resulted in the Bataan Death March, the largest surrender of American troops. While he was a great man, when he made a mistake, it was a colossal failure.
This book is written by a great Marine, William Manchester, and he highlights the fascinating and the painful realities of the world of MacArthur. The story transported me during my daily commutes as I listened to it from an audible download through my car stereo each morning and afternoon. Some elements were so painful that my eyes became teary.
Douglas was truly a great American and we're lucky he commanded the helms he did during those critical moments in history.
This seems to be a well balanced picture of one of the greatest Americans. Manchester makes effort to point out the flaws in MacArthur's character as well as his genious as a military leader and statesmen.
If one reads one book on the life of this extrodinary man, this should be it.
Although, I did find I needed a dictionary at times to understand the author. And some may find some of the details a bit too much for thier liking.
Parker does an excellent job as narrator.
Despite the extranious details and PhD vocabulary, I found it gripping and truley enlighting to learn about one MacArthur's that spanned over 50 years as a military leader through both World Wars, Occupied Japan and the Korean War.
Moreover, I am saddened to realize that so many people of today are literally clueless as to what this one man has done for the world in terms of winning the war in the Pacific (along with
Fleet Admiral Nimitz), reconstruction of Japan, and shaping cold war policy in the wake of World
War II and the Korean War
Read or listen to the book to learn for yourself.
I must admit I didn't expect such a balanced account. A real leader of leaders in a time of many great leaders. You will love him or hate him but it is impossible to remain indifferent. I became immersed in the life of the man and the history of the time. The narrator did a top job.
Grab this one. Manchester is an incredbile author and does a great warts and all bio of a fascinating subject.
It is slightly longwinded at times, but he captures the essence of the man from childhood through his "fading away".
The narrator didn't stand out like Humphrey Bower or Kevin Pariseau, but he keeps story moving.
Complaints below were that Manchester is too pro-Macarthur. While he may not be as critical of Macarthur, he doesn't put him on a pedestal. The man comes across as brilliant, arrogant, egotistical, yet a true family man.And his handling of the Truman issue was very fair-handed, rapping both for the issues.
I would love to see Manchester's book on Krupp next on audible.
My interests run to psychology, popular science, history, world literature, and occasionally something fun like Jasper Fforde. It seems like the only free time I have for reading these days is when I'm in the car so I am extremely grateful for audio books. I started off reading just the contemporary stuff that I was determined not to clutter up my already stuffed bookcases with. And now audio is probably 90% of my "reading" matter.
MacArthur deserves to be better remembered. He's in jeopardy of being recalled merely as the guy Truman had to fire for insubordination. But he was a complex character: arrogant, brilliant, the consummate military commander, perennial outsider. Eventually, the powers that be found a proper use for him, keeping the Japanese busy while they focused on Europe. MacArthur was understandably a little paranoid given the way he was treated, but whether he ever understood how he was being used is a mystery this book never answers. Maybe it cannot be answered. The book is comprehensive in its scope, and the author works hard not to draw inferences unsupported by his sources. This is the virtue of good biography and also its shortcoming. Because why do we read biography if not to understand what the subject was thinking or feeling? For all the documentation about MacArthur and all the witnesses who knew him, there just isn't that much information about his internal life. Of course, MacArthur had a vested interest in cultivating his own version of himself. Manchester does about as well as anyone could in reconstructing MacArthur.
I am a history buff and thought I knew alot about Mac Arthur. This book informed me on many things I did not know about Mac Arthur. Including his family back and his thought process on many things he was involved in. I was very impressed with this book and highly recommend it.
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.)
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