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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 (254 )
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  •  
    Geekazoid Prairie Village, KS USA 04-13-09
    Geekazoid Prairie Village, KS USA 04-13-09 Member Since 2002

    Larry

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    "Great material. Well read."

    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.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wolfpacker Memphis, TN 05-27-12
    Wolfpacker Memphis, TN 05-27-12 Member Since 2005

    Curtis

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    "An Honest Portrayal of a Flawed Hero"

    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.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SDit LA County, CA USA 02-13-13
    SDit LA County, CA USA 02-13-13 Member Since 2005
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    "Masterpiece of Biography"
    Where does American Caesar rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Among the best. The writing pulls the reader in.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew Williamsburg , VA, USA 05-20-08
    Andrew Williamsburg , VA, USA 05-20-08
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    "EXCELLENT"

    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.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    06-02-10
    06-02-10 Member Since 2010
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    "A Great Leader....indeed."

    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.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Philly 11-09-12
    Amazon Customer Philly 11-09-12 Member Since 2011
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    "One of the Essential Audibles"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barry Petaluma, CA, United States 08-18-12
    Barry Petaluma, CA, United States 08-18-12 Member Since 2006

    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.

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    "Thorough and detailed"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Blauvelt, NY, United States 02-08-11
    Robert Blauvelt, NY, United States 02-08-11
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    "Very informative book on Mac Arthur"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen Platteville, WI, United States 04-02-10
    Stephen Platteville, WI, United States 04-02-10 Member Since 2008
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    "Beyond Praise"

    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.)

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rich Katy, TX, United States 08-05-14
    Rich Katy, TX, United States 08-05-14 Member Since 2001
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    "Manchester...true to form - Excellent"

    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

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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