THE YEARS OF MACARTHUR: Volume II 1941-1945 by D. Clayton James


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This copious second volume (Volume I appeared in 1970) can stand on its own. James gives a firm if often unintentional sense of MacArthur's vanity and paranoia, his military deficiencies, and his political pretensions. Chronically grumbling about the ""pro-Communist"" Roosevelt cabal, MacArthur acted like an enfant terrible instead of waging a real infight. Then he allowed himself to be built up by the Hearst and McCormick press as an anti-New Deal figurehead, climaxing in the 1944 ""MacArthur for President"" draft campaign. James shows how the General used Admiral Nimitz as a liberal bogeyman while fashioning Admiral Halsey into a father figure and surrounding himself with incompetent yes-men like Chief of Staff Richard Sutherland. From the initial airfield debacles of Clark and Iba to the Philippine return, James' attitude is that MacArthur ""made mistakes aplenty"" but his ""presence"" usually redeemed them. His evidence itself indicates, however, that deathly truth underlay the ""Dugout Doug"" epithet growled by GI's starving on Bataan and the curses against ""Doug's Communiques"" which vaingloriously and prematurely declared the conclusion of battle. One gets no impression of strategic genius. Indeed, apart from specific operational and intelligence lapses, MacArthur remained highly suggestible, could be sold schemes from month to month, and measured his field officers' execution of those schemes by totting up casualty counts. What gave his command continuity was his obsessive effort to reoccupy his Manila office. Despite the tunnel vision induced by viewing the Southwest Pacific Theater through the General's eyes, James has made his point that the ""real heroes"" were the American and Filipino soldiers, and made it more strongly than he wished.

Pub Date: May 13th, 1975
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin