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American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur 1880-1964 | [William Manchester]

American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur 1880-1964

Virtually all Americans above a certain age hold strong opinions about Douglas MacArthur. They either worship him or despise him. Now, in this superb book, one of our most outstanding writers, after a meticulous three-year examination of the record, presents his startling insights about the man. The narrative is gripping, because the general's life was fascinating. It is moving, because he was a man of vision. It ends, finally, in tragedy, because his character, though majestic, was tragically flawed.
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Publisher's Summary

Virtually all Americans above a certain age hold strong opinions about Douglas MacArthur. They either worship him or despise him. Now, in this superb book, one of our most outstanding writers, after a meticulous three-year examination of the record, presents his startling insights about the man. The narrative is gripping, because the general's life was fascinating. It is moving, because he was a man of vision. It ends, finally, in tragedy, because his character, though majestic, was tragically flawed.

©1978 William Manchester; (P)1991 Blackstone Audio Inc.

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (234 )
5 star
 (128)
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3 star
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2 star
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Overall
4.5 (122 )
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3 star
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1 star
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4.4 (120 )
5 star
 (65)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Bebe El Dorado, AR, United States 10-05-13
    Bebe El Dorado, AR, United States 10-05-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    46
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    "Best biography"

    I've listened to many biographies, and this one is the best. I'd never thought much about MacArthur before I listened to this book. I'd just thought he was an egotistical old general. Now I know that he was one of the towering figures of the last century. If you are interested in WWII, the Korean War, or a history of Japan, you need to listen to this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    EVERETT PORTLAND, OR, United States 07-11-13
    EVERETT PORTLAND, OR, United States 07-11-13 Member Since 2012
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    3
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    "MANCHESTER AT HIS BEST"

    As the best historian of my lifetime William Manchester again delivers a detailed yet focused account of a most complex man.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charlotte A. Hu San Antonio, TX, United States 05-19-13
    Charlotte A. Hu San Antonio, TX, United States 05-19-13 Member Since 2008

    USMC journalist, turned Embassy FSO, now USAF Web Chief

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Great American"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vernon ROYSE CITY, TX, United States 04-17-13
    Vernon ROYSE CITY, TX, United States 04-17-13
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    "A surprising interest"
    Where does American Caesar rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Top 5


    What was one of the most memorable moments of American Caesar?

    The stories regarding the Korean War. I never studied that conflict very deeply


    Have you listened to any of Tom Parker’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    I chose this book because I knew nothing about MacArthur (beyond the superficial) and I had a project which was going to be tedious and long. I wanted a long audio book. This book pleasantly surprised me, and I enjoyed it. Caveat: I enjoy military history and psychological breakdowns, and this book delves deep into these. It may not be for everyone. Good history, though.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adam IRVING, TX, United States 03-07-12
    Adam IRVING, TX, United States 03-07-12 Member Since 2005

    Adam

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    "Good book"

    Overall this was a very good book and I highly recommend it. The discussion of MacArthur's father provides the core of a side discussion on the generation of military leaders that preceded MacArthur, and I thought that this was especially valuable. I also thought this book did a good job of de-mythologizing MacArthur and showing how he was truly perceived in his own day, which was different than how we perceive him today. In addition, the book does a good job of explaining an important sub-theater of WW2 and the Korean War.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    X Cincinnati, OH, United States 03-13-11
    X Cincinnati, OH, United States 03-13-11

    Male. Mammal. High school equivalency graduate. I like fruit and I just got a haircut. I would describe myself as somewhere between Christmas and being buried alive.

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    "Hail Caesar and Hail Manchester!!!"

    The epic life story of one of the greatest generals in American history as told by a virtuoso biographer and storyteller. You tell me. Does it get any better than this? Well yes, it does. The narration of Tom Parker (also known as Grover Gardner) can best be described as an iron fist in a velvet glove. Parker complements the story with his gravitas and smooth diction. I have listened to about 50 audio books from many genres. I can tell you without reservation that this book is a must in your collection. Buy it. You won't be disappointed. One last thing. This not just a book for those interested in military history. The story covers every facet of MacArthur's life and it should be of interest to anyone. MacArthur was truly fascinating.




    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Neil Vernon, CT, USA 09-09-08
    Neil Vernon, CT, USA 09-09-08 Member Since 2006
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    "A must read"

    This masterpiece endures and allows a glimpse back in time at heroic and seriously flawed personalities. It is of special significance given the fighting of another war. Who to trust; the generals or the politicians. History teaches strange lessons.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William SAN DIEGO, CA, United States 09-29-13
    William SAN DIEGO, CA, United States 09-29-13 Member Since 2013

    My book reviews, except for fiction, will mostly be about the information value of a book.

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    "Collection of facts"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Yes and no. Yes, it's good to know the facts. No, the narrator's voice really gave me a headache.


    Would you recommend American Caesar to your friends? Why or why not?

    No. There must be a better biography of Douglas MacArthur.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    Not much. Much.


    Did American Caesar inspire you to do anything?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    Look for an alternative biography of Douglas MacArthur.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff Pickering, Ontario, Canada 12-03-12
    Jeff Pickering, Ontario, Canada 12-03-12 Member Since 2007

    50yrs old / audible member for 5 yrs library. 75% nonfiction, 15% classics and 10% fiction. History/Science/biography/Eng.18th cent fiction

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "GREAT ESSENTIAL LISTEN"

    Manchester didn't write a lot of books, but what he did write is stunning. This book was a revelation in the quality of the writing which made for a very enjoyable read!
    If you ever wondered how japan recovered to take on the world after ww2 Like I did read this. Your preconceived notions of MacArthur will take a big hit and a facinating rarely visited story will fill in an overlooked hole in the usual telling of the ww2 story.
    Beyond the WW2 aspect- this biography is a fascinating well told tale of a giant of the times. If you liked this- read the last lion trilogy, which is Manchesters masterpiece bio on Churchill.
    When JFK died Jackie asked HIM to write the story of his last days!!( wish audible had that one). and his other book for that matter called- the arms of krupp . AUDIBLE please put out his missing 2 books thanks

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    scott independence, KS, United States 09-14-10
    scott independence, KS, United States 09-14-10 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fabulous read!"

    As a young man I had no knowledge of MacArthur what so ever. I read this because I'm interested in military history and my grandfather served under him in The Pacific. This was a fabulous read; entertaining all the way through. I found myself laughing aloud at his antics and bravado. If I ever had "The Dinner" where I could invite people dead or alive, Mac would be seated at my immediate left

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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