By an expert on the war in the Philippines, a riveting portrait of perhaps America's greatest and very likely most controversial generals at one of the critical moments of World War II.
For many, Douglas MacArthur was a general to be ranked with Grant and Lee; for others he was much bluster and some cowardice. The truth, according to military historian Richard Connaughton, lies somewhere in the middle. MacArthur and Defeat in the Philippines is a judicious and hard-headed portrait of a courageous general and deeply flawed man.
Douglas MacArthur was born into a military family in 1880, and the need to measure up to the heroic example set by his father drove MacArthur. MacArthur's best qualities would be undone by his arrogance, vanity, deviousness and a truly breathtaking capacity for making enemies-FDR chief among them-and so when MacArthur arrived in the Philippines in the mid-30s it was as an exile from Roosevelt's anger.
The Philippines were something of a family business for the MacArthur clan (his father had distinguished himself there at the turn of the century). Against all the odds, he assured Washington and the Philippine government of the islands' defensibility against a Japanese attack. In holding this view, Connaughton argues, MacArthur was proceeding on a notion with as much romance to it as military good sense. Willfully blind to the impending crisis, MacArthur and his troops were vulnerable to attack when it came finally in late December of 1941.
MacArthur and Defeat in the Philippines is a fascinating study of Douglas MacArthur and the crisis of leadership as well as a focussed study of one of the pivotal moments in World War II.
About Richard Connaughton
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Published September 10, 2001
by Overlook Hardcover.
History, Travel, War.