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Publisher's Summary

Douglas MacArthur was arguably the last American public figure to be worshipped unreservedly as a national hero, the last military figure to conjure up the romantic stirrings once evoked by George Armstrong Custer and Robert E. Lee. But he was also one of America's most divisive figures, a man whose entire career was steeped in controversy. Was he an avatar or an anachronism, a brilliant strategist or a vainglorious mountebank?

Drawing on a wealth of new sources, Arthur Herman delivers a powerhouse biography that peels back the layers of myth - both good and bad - and exposes the marrow of the man beneath. MacArthur's life spans the emergence of the United States Army as a global fighting force. Its history is to a great degree his story. The son of a Civil War hero, he led American troops in three monumental conflicts - World War I, World War II, and the Korean War. Born four years after Little Big Horn, he died just as American forces began deploying in Vietnam.

Herman's magisterial book spans the full arc of MacArthur's journey, from his elevation to major general at 38 through his tenure as superintendent of West Point, field marshal of the Philippines, supreme ruler of postwar Japan, and beyond. More than any previous biographer, Herman shows how MacArthur's strategic vision helped shape several decades of US foreign policy. Alone among his peers, he foresaw the shift away from Europe, becoming the prophet of America's destiny in the Pacific Rim.

Here, too, is a vivid portrait of a man whose grandiose vision of his own destiny won him enemies as well as acolytes. MacArthur was one of the first military heroes to cultivate his own public persona - the swashbuckling commander outfitted with Ray-Ban sunglasses, riding crop, and corncob pipe. Repeatedly spared from being killed in battle - his soldiers nicknamed him "Bullet Proof" - he had a strong sense of divine mission. "Mac" was a man possessed, in the words of one of his contemporaries, of a "supreme and almost mystical faith that he could not fail".

Yet when he did, it was on an epic scale. His willingness to defy both civilian and military authority was, Herman shows, a lifelong trait - and it would become his undoing. Tellingly, MacArthur once observed, "Sometimes it is the order one disobeys that makes one famous".

To capture the life of such an outsize figure in one volume is no small achievement. With Douglas MacArthur, Arthur Herman has set a new standard for untangling the legacy of this American legend.

©2016 Arthur Herman (P)2016 Recorded Books

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I couldn't stop listening....

Absolutely fascinating History-comes-to-life story of one of the 20th Century's indispensable men. I had a five-hour (driving) business trip on the road and could not wait to get going so I could listen without interruption! I have over one hundred books in my Audible library and this is in the top three.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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the best read out of the MacArthur books..

fair, not hero worship or condemnation. very complex and complete but not drug down by facts that do not matter.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Well done and interesting throughout

Very good. Author covered warts and all. So good. Amazing to be so interested throughout the entire audio

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Greatness!!!!

Like I have said before about many things, everyone should have to read this book! Especially before they can VOTE!!! Everyone should have to know the history of their Country!

H

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Douglas Macarthur

The best single volume bio on Macathur. Truly shows his strategic. and tactical genius. Demonstrated the General's short comings and vanity. However what was really brought out was his humanity. Of even greater importance was bringing to light the revisionist historians and politicians attempt to discredit. and demonize him for political reasons. There was also quite a bit of professional jealousy. This bio drives home that he was one of the great captains of history and the geatest general the United States has ever produced. A truly remarkable man highly recommended.

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Simply Superb

MacArthur was a true American hero from the political right of the spectrum at a time when the left was trying to impose it socialism on America, from Woodrow Wilson, to FDR to Truman, so the truth about MacArthur had to be hidden from the American people. Herein you'll finally read the truth about this towering figure.

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  • Ron P
  • Monroe, WA USA
  • 10-26-17

Hagiography is too mild a term

This purportedly balanced view of MacArthur makes American Caesar seem like a hit job.

I chose this book because it's well reviewed, and I've been anxious to read a truly balanced take on MacArthur's life.

This book ain't it. There are so many unsupported declarations of fact that are contradicted (with supporting evidence) in other sources. The smearing of Admiral Hart and General Brereton, to name but two early examples, are demonstrably biased; their versions of events are supported by official dispatches and other records.

MacArthur's excellent job in Japan is covered reasonably well, but there's a lot better info in American Caesar. And Herman's rationalization of MacArthur's demand to drop 20+ atomic bombs on China?

There are many better biographies of MacArthur. I've read several, and I've not read one worse.

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MacArthur's life... nearly every SECOND of it.

This was obviously a well researched book and I learned a ton about this controversial general - his decisions that always seemed strange and out of character to me suddenly make sense based on the way he was raised and the type of personality he had.

Having said that, could have been HALF the length without impacting the important parts of his life. I felt like about 25 hours of the book were "cruise control" for my brain - not really paying attention, but listening occasionally to see if it was FINALLY time for the book to talk about something I gave a darn about.

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fantastic book

a very enjoyable read. narrator is great, story is engaging, learned alot of history that has been glossed over. only complaint is i wish there had been more details on the battles but the book was already very long.

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Outstanding Work, Superb Reading

I've long been interested in Douglas MacArthur. He and my grandfather were friends and served together in World War I. This is by far the best researched and thorough book on him I have ever read, the author presents him as he was, balanced and correct. There is a lot more than that however. The world would look vastly different today if MacArthur had been in Marshall's place and if FDR and Truman would have followed his advice.