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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.

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings

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American Caesar

Would you consider the audio edition of American Caesar to be better than the print version?

I didn't read the book so...... I can say that this is the absolute best audible book I've ever listen to.

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

General MacArthur's WW1 experience was an inspiration.

Which character – as performed by Grover Gardner – was your favorite?

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.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

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.

Any additional comments?

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.

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Amazing life, unbiased recounting

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

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Well balanced look at a complex man

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.

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  • JSK
  • Charlotte
  • 01-22-16

Good Book about a Complicated 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.

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  • KH
  • 11-19-15

Manchester at his peak

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.

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MacArthur Writ Large as Life

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.

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Masterful

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.

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A must read for history buffs!

Very informative and entertaining! Great read for anyone looking to learn more about the pacific theater and what happened there in WWII

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Manchester and Gardner delight us once again

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.

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Great read

Really artful telling of the great general's story, especially at the beginning of the Manila retreat to Bataan.

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