Books by Richard H. Rovere

Released: Oct. 17, 1951

The MacArthur fans will find this a bitter pill to swallow. While the authors give the General full measure of credit as a brilliant military strategist, an able administrator, and so on, they succeed, bit by bit, in destroying what they call the "MacArthur myth". They show him as over-confident, bombastic, vacillating. They trace his career, in broad sweeps up to the time of the weeks prior to Pearl Harbor, then in greater detail, placing the blame squarely on him for the debacle in the Philippines. They then go on to the balance of the war, emphasizing the incomparable skill with which he carried out Washington directives, even when he quarreled with them. Though he never had a field command, he emerged with most of the glory, yielding little to the Navy and the Marines who had fought most of the battles while he stayed on the periphery. Next comes the section devoted to his career as "Proconsul", with a sense of historic mission. Again credit is given him for many of the reforms, particularly the successful land reform, but to him is attributed the gross failure of bringing the old crowd back into power in heavy industry and banking. The war in Korea rounds out his Pacific record, with the brilliant conception and execution of the Inchon operation the high spot, and the worsening relations with politicians and statesmen the low. The fiasco of Chinese intervention and the reversals are blamed wholly on him. The recall, however, was over political disagreements. And the final section deals in some detail with the contradictions and revelations and evasions of the Senate investigation, and with a brief recapitulation of State Department policy in the Far East, not — the authors feel — a failure in policy but in communication to the American public. A revealing and disturbing book. Read full book review >